Welcome To Inquisitive Quest…

April 27, 2016
Perpetuating an Inquisitive Quest

                       Perpetuating an Inquisitive Quest

This is not a opinionated blog – but a posting of remembrance, beginning with first memories #1 (February 2010 archives) a chronological journey of a past era and personage of an individual, initiating in 1943 at the age of two,  a progression thru the years,  seeking an inquisitive quest for the sentience of life

 

 

About inquisitivequest.com and Gary

December 14, 2012
Today

Today

 

Yesteryear

Yesteryear

Gary has changed occupations,  no longer participating in the world of commerce,  but has retired to the realm of antecedent anamnesis.   His prescription for life is renewed by sharing the aspects that frequented a diminutive journey.   The episodes on Inquisitive Quest are recollections and reflect a time in his life.   He writes in the third person,  or attempts ,  to observe the surrounding environment because it can be more authoritative than the actuality of  celebration  His pursuit is to enlighten his experiences in absolute and abstract principles, with no predication.  Sharing his true-life experiences presents avaricious pleasure and he accentuate them as a chronicle of his presence,  not as pedantic writings,  but a perspicacious journal.

     Upon a January 1959 graduation from high school, a missile electronics & nuclear warhead school enlistment parlayed Gary to Oklahoma, followed by a marriage, children and aspiring music career at the keyboard  for almost two decades. A second marriage, children, various work opportunities in Kansas, followed by a introduction to a healthcare profession serving as a EMT, Hospital Engineer, Plant & Environmental Services Director, elected president of the Kansas Hospital Engineers Association in 1996.  A return to California after a forty year pilgrimage, a marriage and a 2009 retirement from healthcare service. Gary resides in Modesto California by happenstance,  seizing a pause before adjudication.  The countenance of his life having been arrested by the passing of his wife in 2014,  with intrepidity his journal will continue to document those events remaining.

Archives

December 14, 2012
  • Word Press Format publishes in reverse numerical order,  a relative decade time period has been added for the publishing month,  also included are the numerical chapter numbers for easier access.  If scrolling for chapters be aware of the “newer & older entries”  posted for continuity.  A continuous updating of each chapter including people, pictures, stories and adventures will be penned………Gary
  •    Published                   Time Period            Chapter
    •    Published                   Time Period            Chapter
    • February 2010                   (the 40’s)                  1 – 8
    • March 2010                       (the 50’s)                  9 – 32
    • April 2010                          (the 50’s)                33 – 59
    • May 2010                           (the 60’s)                60 – 87
    • June 2010                          (the 60’s)                88 – 112
    • July 2010                           (the 70’s)               113 – 133
    • August 2010                      (the 80’s)               134 – 159
    • September 2010                (the 80’s)              160 – 179
    • October 2010                     (the 80’s)              180 – 187
    • November 2010                 (the 80’s)              188 – 197
    • December 2010                 (the 90’s)               198 – 207
    • January 2011                      (the 90’s)              208 – 217
    • February 2011                    (the 90’s)              218 – 223
    • March 2011                        (the 90’s)               224 – 230
    • April 2011                          (the 90’s)               231 – 237
    • May 2011                           (the 90’s)               238 – 244
    • June 2011                          (the  90’s)               245 – 246
    • July 2011                           (the  90’s)               247 – 251
    • August 2011                      (the  90’s)               252 – 253
    • September 2011               (the  90’s)               254 – 255
    • October 2011                    (the  90’s)               256 – 257
    • November 2011               (the  2000’s)           258 – 260
    • December 2011               (the  2000’s)           261 – 262
    • January 2012                  (the  2000’s)           263
    • February 2012                (the  2000’s)           264 – 267
    • March 2012                     (2009 -2011)           268 – 270

Immaculate Conceptions……#271 – (2010 -2011)

March 27, 2012

1217 Blue Daisy Way

1217 Blue Daisy Way

It was almost a year into retirement when Gary received a call from Country Villa,  this time it wasn’t a call from Rashmi Birla the Administrator asking him to once again return,  but Scott, Gary’s replacement.  Apparently the warm May Modesto weather abrogating the seasonal change in the facilities two pipe fan coil heating and cooling units from heat to air conditioning,  Scott unable to accomplish the task,  asking if Gary would come by and resolve the problem.   Gary agreeing, arriving adjudging the situation asking the first question,  had Scott diverted the circulating water to let it cool before entering the AC system.  Scott replying that he had turned off the boiler that supplied the heated water a week ago.   Gary,  not laughing but somewhat amused about Scott’s logic,  the boiler that heated the facilities room fan coil units also supplied the 180 degree water to the laundry and the Unimax 60 lb washers.  Shutting off the boiler  effectively lowered the temperature of the water to the laundry and for the past week the residence laundry needs were being washed in cold water.   Gary as a supervisor instructed the laundry log the washer temperature as required by regulation,  a simple button on the washer provided a current  temperature display.  Apparently the new contracted housekeeping,  laundry and janitorial aggregation hired by Country Villa didn’t enforce this,  if they had,  this misjudgment would  never occurred.   Gary addressing Scotts predicament again,  pointing out the closing and opening of the two valves to redirect the flow of water thru the prodigious new 60 ton air conditioning unit rather than the boiler.   The AC unit accomplishing its function,  Scott thanking Gary mentioning that if he hadn’t been available he would have called Valley Air in Fresno.   Gary’s response  probably saved Country Villa several hundred dollar for a service call and in the same respect didn’t reveal Scott’s ineptness concerning the HVAC system.   In some ways Gary missed this work environment, the satisfaction of remedying a problem but still thankful for his retirement.

dave dawson

The 54 volumn Great Books of the Western World

The 54 volume Great Books of the Western World

Without a doubt opportunity abounded, only no longer requiring predetermined time and dedication,  Gary able subjugate his daily activity and to read was a priority.  Having been a extravagant reader in his younger days deciding to reread many of the books that constituted an establishment of values from his childhood days.   Fran finding a 24 volume set of the Walter R Brooke’s  “Freddy” series,  on E-bay,  the classic’s beginning 1927,  the series a prize for a young fourth grader.   An enjoyment to reread and reflect on Brooke’s writings knowing  that it was a factor in contributing to his character and moral standards.   Fran searching again able to find the missing editions in his collection of the 15 volumes of Robert Sidney Bowens’ 1941 – 1946 World II epic series of Dave Dawson on Ebay.  With the new additions the collection complete save one,  the 15th novel in the series,  “Dave Dawson at Truk”,  the seller asking $700 for the edition.   As a youngster the wartime adventure series led to Gary intrigue about the second world war,  later in  life becoming a member of the Military History Book Club,  a novice historian,  in a ten-year period purchasing over a hundred books written by those on both sides of the conflicts.   Gary having one more collectible desire,  Fran again searching and finding the 54 volume edition of   “The Great Books of the Western World“.   A display of the works of Plato,  Homer,  Aristotle, Archimedes,  Newton,  Shakespeare, Tolstoy,  Marx and many others, the list goes on,  the writing of those in history that formed the course of western civilization.

Sandra, Jeremy & Brennan - Nancy & Rob - Jan & husband

Sandra, Jeremy & Brennan – Nancy & Rob – Jan & Burton

Rob and Nancy Willson

Rob and Nancy Willson

The news from Texas was championed by Gary and Fran, his son Rob called announcing that he and Nancy would be getting married and to expect an invitation in the mail.  The couple receiving the October 3, 2010  summons, Gary apologetic telling his son that he and Fran would be unable to attend mainly because of financial reasons and secondly he knew Fran’s wouldn’t want to leave the dogs.  The reality was Gary didn’t want Fran to feel that it was her fault he couldn’t attend, because it wasn’t.

Marlo and Parker

Marlo and Parker

Again

Again

Gary’s daughter Marlo was once again an expectant mother,  a prodigious acclamation for someone who had reached the age of forty.   The expected one to acquaint the Denton’s,  Chris,  Marlo,  Allison  and Hollyann.   Parker Aaron Denton gracing the earth with his appearance on July 8th 2010,  a new creative bundle of joy for the family.   Gary finding an equanimity in that Chris and Marlo brought another son into the realm of the Denton’s life  after experiencing the tragedy of his grandson Garrett,  Parker a new endowment from God to a deserving family.   The financial restrictions of retirement preventing a grandfather from an introduction to his Grandson,  but a continuing resolve in acquiring this achievement.

A Motley Crew

A Motley Crew – Gary, Nancy, Kay & Dad

Dad at Sunset View

Dad at Sunset View

Life was attenuated in Modesto,  a occasional visit to his sister Nancy and his mother’s home in Columbia,  a journey to his Fathers resting place on Memorial Day at the Sunset Cemetery outside of Jackson in Amador County, always having a special meaning.   The drive north on highway 99,  turning east on highway 88,  traversing thru Lockford and Clements,  the small communities no longer resembling those from his childhood era,  but a pasted memory etched forever.   Arriving at the military cemetery,  Gary having honored his father many times since returning to California,  the placing of dime coins around his father’s place marker, A ritual performed its meaning only known to his mother and sisters.   A childhood remembrance  which his father started in 1947 embedding dime coins in the branches of the youthful weeping willow tree on their Greenly Drive home in Oakland to mark it growth,  Gary never forgetting some of his father’s esoteric assuetude.  The placing of coins at his father resting place,  a lasting and memorial tribute to an ever lasting memory.

      Gary and Fran would receive a  Thanksgiving invitation to Yosemite Rose,  his sister Katherine’s and brother-in-law Donald’s Bread and Breakfast in Groveland,  the B & B ideally situated enabling a 20 minute drive on Highway 120 to the entrance to Yosemite National Park.   The Thanksgiving Day Dinner,  not an exactly a quiet family event  but a regal banquet production.  Gary and Fran finding themselves sitting alone in the Parlor or library awaiting this overwhelming presentation.   The aftermath,  a long process of kitchen activities,  Gary recognizing that this was assuetude because of the seven a day a week commercial activity of the B & B,  his sister Katherine harmonizing her life and adhering as a subordinate to her service business.

Sandra and Karsen

Sandra and Karsen

Brennan and Karsen

Brennan and Karsen

The communiqué from Wichita Kansas was a surprise,  arresting and prodigious,  Gary’s youngest daughter Sandra Birzer was expecting again,  having imparted but to a few that she was again with child.  Gary blythe with the announcement,  perceptive that this blessing addition would cement an affinity for his grandson Brennan,  Gary having witnessed the closeness of his son and daughter,   Robert and Sandra thru the years,  their birth dates being a year and a little over three weeks apart,  the two growing up in accordance, their childhood life almost as one,  sharing it joys.   August 18th 2011,  Karsen Nikola Birzer,  weighing 6 lbs. 5 Oz,  blessed by the Grace of God,  announced his debut into this world.   What was once a world without grandson’s, now a three-fold blessing , an expanding  horizon provided by Marlo and Sandra, with son’s to grace the world.

A Journey – Texas, Oklahoma – Kansas…#270 (2009)

March 24, 2012
The first stop - Rob and Nancy Ft. Worth Home

The first stop – Rob and Nancy Ft. Worth Home

Gary receiving an unexpected call from Columbia,  his 89-year-old mother proposing an excursion east  desiring to see her great-grandchildren in Oklahoma and Kansas,  Sarah,  Allison, Hollyann and Brennan.   Gary acceding with his mother’s desire, asking  Fran to accompany them,  but his wife giving a declination to remain and accommodate their two dogs.  Gary’s sister Nancy conveying his mother to Modesto to stay the night  for an early morning flight from the Modesto.   Gary and his mother Betty boarding a United Airlines SkyWest,  Pratt & Whitney powered twin turbo propped Embraer 120 in the twilight of the morning.   This being a third time for Gary,  a first for his mother,  traveling on the 30 seat turboprop non luxurious aircraft with its 24 years of history.   The morning flight as before,  a tour over the wind turbines Altamont Pass,  San Francisco Bay coming into view.  A drop in altitude and an alignment with the San Mateo Bridge,  the circumnavigating craft banking right for its approach to SFO the San Francisco International Airport and a its final quay.   Gary having made this landing dozens of time at home on his computer utilizing a Logitech joystick,  enjoying the Google Earth flight simulator,  the scenic view on Google Earth,  a realistic visual depiction, a marvel of modern science.

Google Earth flight simulator screen when landing at SFO

Google Earth flight simulator screen when landing at SFO

Marvelous view from 37,000 feet

Marvelous view from 37,000 feet

Embarking from the Embraer, the ground level mobile stairs placed in position,  Gary and his mother proceeding to the upper terminal  awaiting their 7.56 a.m. departure time for the 1460 mile non stop journey to DFW, Dallas/ Ft.Worth International Airport.  This first stop to visit with his son Rob and bride to be Nancy before continuing on to Oklahoma and Kansas to sojourn with his other three children.    Mom and Son commencing a United Airlines 757, their seating arrangement providing Gary with a window seat  enabling an animate visual view from aloft.  The aircraft raising to its cruising altitude of 37,000 ft. on a southwesterly course,  a flight time of 3 ½ hours,  their arrival at DFW expected at 1:45 p.m. central standard time.   Thirty minutes into the flight,  the cabin lights dimmed and a host of screens descended from the ceiling,  the in-flight movie was to begin.  Gary vigilant,  noticing that everyone seated before him pulling down their window shading device,  the featured, the animated movie Up about to start.   The interior of the aircraft now shadowed in darkness,  Gary casting a wonder about those he was seated among, because the real embodied display wasn’t the TV screen,  but the scene from the window,  the wondrous cloud flow,  the terrain passing beneath the winged craft,  the happening of flight.   Gary, to the duress of many of the other passengers,  the only person to allow the acquiesce glowing signature of nature  to abide,  leaving his window unadorned with a shade, the blue sky and bright sun giving presence to the majestic lapsing earth below.

Rob, Grandma and of course Lilah

Rob, Grandma and of course Lilah

Dealy Plaza

Dealey Plaza

Rob and Grandmother Willson

Rob and Grandmother Willson

The Boeing 757 arraying a perfect platform,  the airliner discerning its station,  the Willson’s disembarking,  descending to the unsecured lower level,  Robert greeting them on their arrival.   Rob’s crew cab pickup the mode of transportation to His and Nancy’s newly purchased home on Shady Glen Court in Fort Worth.   Gary very much impressed with Rob’s and Nancy’s home,  although not completely furnished,  the beginning of a showcase, having always recognizing that his son was perfectionist.  The father  recalling his son’s youthful days in high school,  when given his grandfather Chevrolet Blazer to drive school,  Robert keeping his grandfather’s pride  immaculate.   A late afternoon enhancement,  finally getting the experience of being introduced to Rob’s better half of life, Nancy,  a lady with a radiate smile and cascading personality.   The couple having a third member of the family, young in age but also having a profound personality which always got attention,  a five month Boxer pup named Lilah, another charisma in the family.   The evening  hour provided another introductory, meeting and being introduced to Nancy’s mother and two younger sisters at a charcuterie food establishment,  the accumulation enjoying a meal and conversation.   Gary not having spent any meaningful time with his son in the past ten years,  partly because of Rob’s military career,  but acknowledging Rob’s forethought at this sit down meal,  an analogous introduction to Nancy’s family.

The Historian

The Historian

The dawning of the morning Nancy providing an enjoyable breakfast, the couple deciding on a journey to Dallas to experience Dealey Plaza,  the texas school book depository, and the grassy knoll where circumstances lead to President John F Kennedy  final  destiny.  Gary having prospected this realm 25 years earlier,  but a first for Rob,  Nancy and his Mother.    Approaching the upper cemented pillars of the grassy knolls concave,  the two couple joining others mesmerized by a local elderly historian relating what transpired on that monumental day.   The person professing to be an eyewitness to the unfolding events of November 22nd,  able to name those who attested as witnessing the event.  The historian  affirming that Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t act alone,  concluding the assassination was a conspiracy and that Oswald was duped,  being the fall guy.   The elderly narrator was very convincing in his dialogue,  Gary observing people acknowledging their wallet including his mother contributing a token of gratitude  for his thirty minute discourse.   Gary suspect that this animate elderly person having found a livelihood,  arraying himself on the grassy knoll each day, articulating and describing very convincingly the scene of this historical event,  his narration a profiteering enterprise.   A walk to the Texas School Book Depository Building,  the sixth floor from which Lee Harvey Oswald, according to the Warren Commission’s Report fired the fatal shots depriving the country of their President,  the entrance and sixth floor now a museum, the cost of observation being $13.00 per person,  although interested,  Gary and his itinerary deciding against participation.   A sandwich lunch at a local bistro fulfilled,  the four returning to Rob and Nancy home  preparing to leave on  the 3 hour, 200 mile excursion to Edmond a suburb of Oklahoma City, and Gary’s eldest daughter Marlo and her family.

Sarah and Hollyann

Sarah and Hollyann

Allison

Allison

hollyann - pool side

hollyann – pool side wet toes

Marlo, Ally and Hollyann

Marlo, Ally and Hollyann

The Denton's driveway

Marlo and Mom

Rob putting the pedal to the metal,  the crew cab pickup’s radar detector on guard duty,  the 200 miles of Interstate 35 to Oklahoma normally a 3 hour journey captured in far less time.   The four arriving  at the Denton’s in Edmond,  Rob and Nancy  staying briefly desiring to return to Texas.  Gary bidding a heartfelt farewell, realizing the bisecting mile between the two families that remained,  but hoping that one day they could once again absorb a closer epoch and unite as a family.   Gary was impressed with Chris and Marlo’s Edmond residence, the swimming pool,  its acreage,  the creek flowing below the house, the spacious kitchen and living room,  all a marvel,  but most impressive was his two Granddaughter,   Allison and Hollyann,  both a gleaming pyramid to the family.   A Saturday morning,  Ally having a weekend rehearsal for an upcoming event,  Marlo providing a tour of the exclusive private Cassidy School,  Gary discovering the school with its uniformed students,  80 acre lake, its grounds resembling a small college campus.   Cassidy recognized as one of the foremost educational facilities in the nation.

Cassidy High School Campus

Cassidy High School Campus

Jerry Willis

Visiting Jerry Willis

Sunday morning Gary and Grandmother Betty accompanying the Denton’s,  with the exception of Chris  who was on duty at the fire station,  to their Edmond Baptist Church.  Gary most impressed by the visiting minister,  the President of Oklahoma Baptist University at Shawnee Oklahoma.   Having heard many latitudes and sermons in his lifetime,  this being one of the best.   Accompany the visiting speaker was a quartet of musicians from the University playing and vocalizing an outstanding performance,  giving amplitude to character of this University.   The Sunday afternoon at the Denton’s,  found a reunion,  his son Scott,  Lana Norwicki and Gary’s Granddaughter Sarah,  along with Tad Norwicki and his fiancé Kelly whom Gary thought bore a striking resemblance to Jennifer Anniston,  Gary’s mother finally having the opportunity to meet the Oklahoma faction of the Willson’s and their lineage.   The following day,  Gary having the opportunity to telephone his Oklahoma City friend of over forty years,  Jerry Willis.   Jerry driving to Edmond,  an afternoon spent with this remarkable guitarist and twice the best man at Gary’s weddings,  th two reminiscing their days as musicians in the 60’s.

Chris - a steadfast family anchor

Chris – a steadfast family anchor

Gary and his Mom

Gary and his Mom

Gary and his Mom

The evening providing and excursion,  Chris  providing a tour of his work place fire station and nationally acknowledged, a one of a kind  Children’s Safety Village complete with a city park,  buildings, streets with traffic lights, the attraction a show place to educate the youth about safety.   Chris broaching that the Children’s Village having educational school district’s from throughout the State of Oklahoma busing their students to this applauded safety inducement.   Before leaving, Chris acknowledging the name Garrett Way,  posted on one of village’s street signs,  a tribute to Gary’s only grandson whom had risen to Heaven at the age of 12 on April 7,  2001.   The night ensuing the family enjoying a fiesta meal at a Mexican Restaurant,  Gary discovering why it was chosen,  a group of firefighter from another station were seated at an adjoining  table,  this establishment a favorite of these communities guardians.   Another sortie the following evening, the group briefly acquainting the familiar Brick Town for a short duration,  Chris pointing out it’s new boardwalk and the waterway canal that flowed towards the recently name changed North Canadian River, Gary questioning why the state would change this historic rivers name to a new bland non historical name,  The Oklahoma River.  Before leaving an introduction to a specialty,  a self-help ice cream parlor presenting their product not sold by the scoop, but sold by weight, one able to sample a variety of flavors, a scale at the checkout stand providing the cost.

Brennan not much into the food.

Brennan not much into the food.

Father and Son

Father and Son

The Birzer Family

The Birzer Family

It was time to journey to Wichita, Gary’s eldest son Scott offering to navigate the elder Willson north on Interstate 35,  the 160 mile trip a  2 ½ hour venture.   Gary reluctantly having to relate a farewell to his daughter and grandchildren,  especially Hollyann, her vigor a paramount architecture, bringing new meaning to the Denton family.  His departure bringing forth an overwhelming sensitivity of  loss, this part of  his life missing.   Traversing north in Scotts aged Nissan the afternoon hour beginning, the threesome halting at Blackwell Oklahoma to partake of a McDonald’s,  a halfway stop.   An arrival at the Birzer residence on W. 18th in Wichita,  his daughter Sandra a welcoming sight.  Scott desiring an immediate U-turn,  having to work that night,  Gary grateful for his eldest son’s assistance,  Scott the only one making frequent trips to California and Modesto thru the years to visit Dad.
The Birzer home was inviting,  a two-storied structure with a superbly finished basement entertainment and office room with a large screen LCD screen,  a large sectional and Jeremy’s desk.   Great Grandma delighted with Brennan  who was just beginning to walk, knowing that this new-found experience fun,  his  smile a lively exponent reflection of Jeremy and Sandra.   The morning found Sandra desiring to shop for Brennan,  Gary and his mother about to enter Sandra BMW mode of transportation,  when Gary noticed that above the rear fender of Jeremy’s pickup parked in the driveway,  a bullet hole.   Gary questioning his daughter about the abnormality,  Sandra laughing,  replying she wasn’t suppose to say anything about it,  but during a visit by Rob,  his concealed handgun fell to the ground discharging,  resulting in a bullet hole in Jeremy’s pickup.   Sandra with Brennan firmly position in his car seat,  proceeding to take Gary and his mother on a tour of Wichita., Gary discovering that  Wichita had changed,  it being ten years since his days of frequenting this majestic city.   The evening found Jeremy adorning his culinary expertise, providing an outstanding specialty meal,  including an adorning glass of wine.   Jeremy,  securing a day off from his employment duties,  entertaining all for a luncheon engagement at a favorite bistro adjoining Old Town,  a pavilion that mimicked Brick Town in Oklahoma City.  Gary remembering when the area was first resurrected from the old abandoned warehouse district and now a showplace bordering the Arkansas River.

Brennan and Great Grandmother Willson

Brennan and Great Grandmother Willson

With a solemn feeling,  departure time and a return to California having descended,  Gary once more having a feeling of loss, a farewell to the meaningful people in his life.   Jeremy providing transportation in the morning hour to Wichita Mid Continent Airport,  Gary and his mother Betty boarding a United Airlines flight for their return journey to Modesto.   Unlike the Boeing 557,  non stop flight to Texas,  the smaller 737 was destined to Denver,  a connecting flight to San Francisco awaiting.  The delay in Denver was short-lived,  but during the escalator travel between gates Gary noticing that his mother didn’t look well.  Questioning her about her medication,  finding that her nitroglycerin patch that she was required to apply at high attitudes was never exercised,  a brief halt was made,  the stubborn matriarch Willson complying.   Gary enjoying the flight from Denver, having traversed this journey many time before,  never a monotonous journey,  the scenic view from above an august array displayed below the buoyant aircraft.   A gentle touchdown at the San Francisco International Airport,  a two-hour delay before a welcomed boarding on SkyWest to Modesto.   The traveling couple finding an interesting display at SFO, spending their waiting time enjoying an exhibit of the history of gambling slot machines,  the walkway between terminals lined with these historical relics from the past.  both finding the history absorbing,  stopping and reading the placard that accompanied each exhibit.   The short Embraer 120 flight to Modesto was enhanced,  upon arrival  expecting Gary’s his sister Nancy to meet them and return her mom home to Columbia, to his surprise it was Gary sister Katherine and husband Donald.  The transient adventure fulfilled,  Gary sad in one respect but happy to be back with Fran, Sammi and Little Bit, Gary giving his mom a loving parting hug, thanking her for the time they spent on their journey and their togetherness his sister and brother in law short visit ending before continuing on.  Gary mentioning to Fran that  this was only the third time in nine years that his sister Katherine who lives only 70 miles distance from Modesto had ever visited, he guessed she didn’t have much to say.

 

An Epistaxis Experience Before Retirement……#269 (2009)

March 12, 2012
Colony Park/Country Villa - Gary's Building for the past 9 years

Colony Park/Country Villa the 99 bed skilled nursing facility – Gary’s Building for the past 9 years

      It was a warm March friday afternoon,  Gary participating in his routine of breaking down the accumulated empty cardboard boxes deposited by Rosa Guzman.  Rosa responsible for ordering and stocking the palates of  weekly truck delivered patient care supplies, Gary responsible for depositing the unsightly remnants in the 10 yard compactor.  The sun giving notice, the sweat on Gary’s brow bearing witness, a brief handkerchief swipe of the forehead and face remedying the moisture only the white cloth kerchief bore the red stains of blood,  Gary realizing the signs of a runny nose, only it was blood that was exiting.  Having never realized a bloody nose since his childhood days,  only the occasional sign of dried blood when blowing his nose with a head cold,  it was somewhat puzzling.  Returning inside the maintenance shop he followed the prescribed procedure from his EMT days, sitting, head slightly forward, pinching the cartilage on the nose but after several minutes the blood flow continued.  With handkerchief in hand he decided to see who was at the nurses station, discovering that Carolyn Hauser the director of nursing and another nurse was in her office.  From the appearance of the bloody handkerchief Carolyn immediately recognized Gary’s predicament listening as he related the event, telling her that he had already tried pinching his nose.  Reaching for a blood pressure cuff, Carolyn telling a CNA to go to the kitchen and get some ice in a plastic bag.  Gary noticing Carolyn expression changing as she murmured that can’t be right retaking his blood pressure, Gary asking what the reading was,  Carolyn not immediately answering, reaching for her purse saying that we need to go to the hospital and that she would drive, then adding your blood pressure is 221/128.

Doctors Medical Center

Doctors Medical Center

Doctors Medical Center being only four blocks from Country Villa, Carolyn pulling into the employee parking instead of the ER, realizing her mistake but leading Gary and the other nurse through the entrance asking an office employee how to get to ER from the office annex side.  In ER his blood pressure remaining exceedingly high, causing more concern with the nursing staff that himself, Gary telling Carolyn that he could take it from here but would appreciate it if she would call Fran and tell her he would be late getting home.  After what seemed like an eternity a physician entered the treatment room, the doctor swabbing the inside of his nose with silver nitrate, the flow beginning to stop,  upon leaving telling Gary to remain for at least thirty minute. He was about to leave when to his surprise Fran entered the treatment room having taken a cab to the hospital, it was a comfort,  the two walking back to Country Villa to retrieve the car.

  The 6:30 a.m. Monday morning ritual was normal except as Gary was about to step out of the shower his nose bleed from the previous Friday had returned, only this time with a continuous flow vengeance.  He found it difficult to hold a towel over his nose with one hand while attempting to dry himself off with the other,  then the  thrust upon challenge of getting dressed, soon discovering that you can’t tie shoes with one hand.  Once dressed he placed a call to Country Villa to give noticed he wouldn’t be in and by chance Brad happen to pick up the phone,  Gary explaining the situation but after hanging up the situation turned for the worse, the blood not only was exiting thru his nose but now down his throat causing him to gag.  It was decision time, a concern about driving,  his condition wasn’t life threatening, he didn’t need to call an ambulance, what he needed was a ride to the hospital, deciding to call Brad back and see if he would come by, Brad answering assuring him he was on his way, Gary finally waking Fran making her aware of the situation.  Doctors Medical Center ER is not a pleasant environment on a Monday morning, it resembled a walk-in clinic for those in Modesto who have no family physician or insurance, many spanish speaking families with small children.  Gary seated waiting his turn after signing in, the blood continuing its flow, his towels almost totally soaked, enough was enough, approaching the reception counter area once more only this time removing the towel letting the blood drip all over the counter, getting the attention of the person behind the glass, it worked he was immediately taken to a treatment room.  For the second time in three days his nose bleed was stopped, the noon hour having arrived deciding to walk to the Nursing Home for a ride home, but no sooner had he exited the building his nose bleed resumed.  Returning once again, the process of waiting for his name to be called returned, the second doctor repeating the same process as the first, the bleeding stopped and once again he told to remain.  Gary thought they had forgotten about him as the evening hour came, calling it to a nurse’s attention that he had been here since 7:00 a.m., the hour reaching  10:00 p.m.. when the bleeding once again resumed.  This time requiring suction to prevent the blood from entering the throat, the third doctor performing the examination informing him that they were transferring him by ambulance to the Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Fremont, Kaiser his insurance HMO.  He was moved to the ambulance entrance surprised to find Fran standing there having just arrived after being notified by the hospital of his impending transfer, looking very concerned..

Kaiser Permenente Fremont

Kaiser Permenente Fremont

   It became evident that the AMR ambulance crew hadn’t made very many trips to Fremont, as Gary heard one of the EMT’s tell the driver he was at the wrong hospital,  apparently the driver pulled into the 269 bed Washington Hospital instead of Kaiser Permanente Fremont,  he was relieved that the hour and twenty-minute experience was over.  Once again in a treatment room he was introduced to a young lady doctor with a pleasant disposition and a smile which was only somewhat appreciated as it was 1:30 a.m. and even though the nosebleed had finally slowed to a trickle he was beginning to feel the stress of his long day.  He questioned the doctor about the procedure relating that the previous two doctors had used silver nitrate to no avail,  she said she would be using something different this time, it was medicinal cocaine, that it had vasoconstrictor properties, in essence, the cocaine puts a chemical tourniquet on the blood supply to the septum.  The procedure was completed, the bleeding stopped, Gary relegated to a wheelchair, the hospital unseemly quiet at that time of the morning, thoughts about how and when he could return home beginning and just when he thought all was well, returning from the restroom his nose once again gave forth another notice.  He was beginning to have a concern that he might have to have surgery but the doctor informing him that there was another non surgical procedure and that an ENT from the Bay Area was on his way to administer.

     Once again relegated to waiting only this time in a tranquil secluded area seated in the wheelchair attempting to stay awake.  A night shift nurse breaking the solitude wheeling him into a treatment room, informing him that the doctor would be right in.  The door opened, stepping into the room was a short elderly Chinese man wearing a traditional white lab coat who spoke up gingerly about the upcoming procedure that would halt the bleeding.  Laid out on the table Gary had his doubts until the doctor pulled  two 24 inch strips of packing saying that it might be somewhat painful as he proceeded to work at inserting a strip into each side of his nostrils and up into his sinus cavity.  The procedure completed , his tensing up, reacting to the pressure felt with the insertion of the packing leaving him somewhat exhausted plus  the biting reality of the past 2o hours setting in.   The doctor relating that he would have to live with the packing in place for the next ten days but at that moment it was of little concern,  a means of returning to Modesto was foremost on his mind.  He was relieved after being told that the hospital had notified his wife and that she was making arrangements, concluding that admittance was out of the question he asked if there was some place he could possible lay down while waiting, his request being answered, a nurse moving him into what appeared to be a darken unoccupied ward room, the bed a welcoming sight.  The doctor was right when telling him of the discomfort that would come with  the sinus packing, sleep never really settled in, being aroused from a slumber his ride home having arrived, his sister Katherine who lived in Groveland and his mother.  Gary questioned about Fran, not surprising she too had felt the experience of his ordeal time wise, seeing him off to Fremont, arranging for transportation  and was also was pretty much exhausted  declining on making the three-hour trip.

March 26th having arrived and time  for the packing to be removed, Kaiser having scheduled him an afternoon appointment with Dr. Vijay Bias ENT.  Gary still somewhat amazed at the past event, a epistaxis, better know as a nose bleed attempts by 5 doctors and two hospitals to halt the flow from cartilaginous nasal septum.  Leaving home deciding he would stop at work as quip on his way so they could see his disfiguration from the packing and what he had endured for the past ten days., the expression on the business office manager Joanie Peels face was priceless.  Dr. Bias a very congeal elderly man, removing and flushing the sinus cavity, Gary recognizing a familiar rotten odor as the packing was removed, it reminded him of the smell of decomposition, the doctor smiling, nodding when told.

Joanie at her desk

Joanie at her desk

Returning to work, Gary thankful that Brad had interceded having Val Galindo pulled from Janitorial duty to cover any minor maintenance requirements, Val and his wife Kay having visited Gary at home on his return from the hospital.  A renewed effort being made for the third time to secure a replacement for Gary, this time interviewing those with previous applicable experience.   A person of interest was found having previous nursing home experience at the Manteca Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.   Scott a much younger person in his late 30’s besides having worked in a nursing home environment also possessed a Contractor License and had worked as a skilled carpenter.  Gary took an immediate liking to his replacement  but when questioned about the major plant systems and the maintenance on kitchen, laundry, medical equipment he enumerated the Manteca facility contracted most of it out.    Gary deciding he would do his best to foster Scotts mechanical expertise on “the what, where and how” of Country Villa‘s plant systems and the need for documentation that was required, recognizing this younger person had the potential to properly fulfill the position if he would apply himself.

Over six weeks having passed, Gary satisfied with his replacement approaching Rashmi giving her notice that his last day would be Friday, May 29, 2009, having attained  68 years resiliency of life and for  third time giving notice of a retirement from his occupational perspicacity.  His final day much like most keeping busy, finally entering the business office to cede a farewell to Joanie Peel the business office manager, Joanie and many others were almost like family, Gary having employed her son Michael and daughter Karen in the past.  Say goodbye, about to leave,  Joanie stopping him,  imparting that he shouldn’t leave just yet,  grabbing his arm,  leading him to the closed door of the conference room.  Seated inside before him was Rashmi and all the department supervisors and many others, a large cake and refreshments adorning the long conference room tables,  Gary was taken aback,  caught without words,  receiving an unexpected going away gift, one that had meaning,  their acknowledgement and presence.

Due Diligence’ – Retirement Time? …….#268 ( 2008)

March 4, 2012
Colony Park now Country Villa Modesto

Colony Park now Country Villa Modesto

    2007,  Gary’s seventh year at Colony Park,  the 6:30 a.m. morning alarm giving notice of a new day beginning to be an adversary rather than a welcomed friend, discovering with his 66th year of earthly presence his inveterate avidity for Colony Park Nursing & Rehabilitation Center was beginning to wean.  A passing thought that age might have something to do with it but a new energizing necessity coming into focus, Colony Park and all 11 facilities making up Healthcare Management Company were chronicled for purchase.  The LLC bottom line showing a deficiency,  rumored it was not to any paucity of the CEO Arden Bennett,  but the corporation’s CFO (chief financial officer) persuading the board to purchase  additional facilities of which he was a major stockholder,  the facilities under state scrutiny for violations and operated at a loss.  The clamor of the unforeseen news soon wearing off, the only immediate difference was Brad Kikuta resuming his position as an acting Administrator and  engaging Gary to furtherance the cosmetic appearances to the building, including painting the exterior.   Gary purchasing a Wagner sprayer at Home Depot, being honest with Brad,  mentioning that he wasn’t the best at spray painting and not surprised when Brad,  although having never spray painted before, was willing work with him.   The team intact, Brad spray painting, Gary rolling and brushing the eaves, window frames and sprayer inaccessible areas.

HealthCare Management CEO Arden Benett

HealthCare Management CEO Arden Bennett who good-naturedly acknowledged his resemblance to Tattoo on TV’s Fantasy Island and “De plane, de plane”

Gary assigned another project, a detailed analysis of the building and of all plant, medical and safety equipment,  a complete inventory of office equipment, resident room  beds and furnishings a requirement for the sale.  The process to included opening the fiscal, employment,  state health and safety records for inspection,  plus a detailed account of the exact size and physical attributes of the buildings,  even to the point of carpeted area,  all part of a process known as Due Diligence.   Thru the years Gary having befriended the owners of Johnson Rug Company, Dennis Pankow, his wife Sue and Daughter Kim,  at first contracting their company to re tile the resident’s room, then just  purchasing all the tile doing the installation himself with some assistance.  Brad wanting to finish all the remaining 37 resident rooms, Gary finding himself at least twice per week in the routine of removing the furniture from a room,  using a floor tile scraper removing the old tile,  spending time on his hands and knees with a hammer and chisel when the adhesive cemented vinyl tiles was stubborn to remove.  Once removed, the floor would buffed with a gritted pad,  vacuumed,  troweled with the new adhesive,  letting it cure,  before exacting and placing the new tiles, remaining was the adhesion of new baseboard and the replacing of the furniture.  Gary scheduling the event on mornings that Brad was available, the administrator never-failing to volunteer as a participant in the floor tile  laying event.   The two enacting other improvement including the replacement of the floor tile  in the conference room and business with carpet squares,  the face lifting of Colony Park becoming a reality because of the intended sale and  due diligence.

The new procurer

The new procurer

It was a done deal, Country Villa,  the largest privately owned procurer of nursing homes in the State, the Reissman family operating over 50 facilities had purchased all the assets of Healthcare Management except their office in Madera.  A curiosity rising among the department managers as to what changes the new company would bring, Brad assuring all during a supervisors meeting that the transition would be amenable and he would remain as a temporary administrator.   Disclosing to the group that he was the only Healthcare Management executive ask to remain,  adding he would be assuming responsibilities as vice president in charge of Country Villa’s Northern Region that including their newly acquired facilities.  Gary finding his position as Environmental Service Director would no longer be envisioned, Country Villa contracting a commercial company to manage housekeeping,  janitorial and laundry services and all environmental service department workers would retain their employment status and tenure as employees with the new company.  Gary’s position the only one that was amended, relieved of his management responsibility no longer having to post a monthly work schedule for 12 employees and cover for the unexpected shortages, returning to his prior duty as maintenance supervisor and safety director and  once again required to join the ranks of those punching the time clock.  Gary having lost his maintenance assistant and dependable friend Ray after the transition, having the foresight to list him as a janitorial employee rather than a maintenance employee so he could remain employed with the new contracted service company.  Brad who never cared for Ray in the past, having suggested in vain for years that Gary discharge him,  Gary suspect that Brad was aware of what he had done, but Ray’s janitorial  job description change remained.

The uniform of the day

The uniform of the day

 Gary recognizing with new corporate management,  changes would be a certainty and  it soon became apparent when 17 advisors from the Country Villa Corporation ascended on their new acquisition, immediately  noticing a difference with the assertive healthcare professionals from Southern California. Brad Kikuta was somewhat candor, giving the department’s supervisors a briefing about the assets of the Country Villa and the upcoming restructuring  and improvements scheduled for the fifty year old Colony Park building.   First major project on the agenda was a replacement of the HVAC system Brad taking Gary recommendation to consider awarding the contract to Valley Air in Fresno,  whom had installed the previous HVAC cogeneration units in the 90’s.  Gary remembering and mentioning to Brad about Tobbie Bigelone the artful character founder of Valley Air and his animate presentation, but noting that the colorful Tobbie had passed.   Gary having  maintained a good relationship with the Fresno company and their northern area service personnel John and Brandon, the two always giving Colony Park priority when called upon.  Gary somewhat concerned that Brad might be questioned by Country Villa for not taking bids, but the contract was accorded to Valley Air.   Six weeks into the Country Villa acquisition,  Brad giving notice of another change,  he would no longer serve as administrator,  but would maintain an office in the building fulfilling his positions as a Country Villa Vice President for Northern California.

Rashmi Birla Administrator

Rashmi Birla Administrator

     Once the reality of Brad being replaced had sunk in there were questions, Brad giving the supervisors a heads-up on the new facility administrator starting in June.   Rashmi Birla having been an administrator for Nexion Health in Bayview Texas and a prior administrator for Country Villa Westwood facility in Los Angeles.  She  was married with two sons,  her husband Rajnish, a physician,  having acquired a position with Kaiser Permanente in Modesto.    Brad making a point that this lady was an Alpha,  “type A”  on the Jacob Goldsmith theory of personalities,  aggressive,  ambitious,  business like, a competitive and time conscious person. Gary was somewhat surprised when meeting this a young knowledgeable lady, very striking in appearance with admirable business experiences in Nursing Home Health Care.   The new Administrator coming across as an understandable person who would listen and someone you could talk to with ease,  but always firm in her directives.  The staff having no quarries working for a female administrator, Colony Park having hired a lady for a six month period, one of three other short-term administrators in the past.  During her tenure the state fire marshal whom she had dealt with at another facility made an inspection appearance.  Gary managed a deficiency free inspection, an almost unheard of event in California for an old building. The administrator so enlivened by the results she awarded Gary a $500 bonus check, another almost unheard of event.  With the advent of Rashmi so was the advent of improvements to the facility, Valley Air parking a large semi-trailer with two 100 ton mobile chillers for use as they proceeded to disassemble the old air absorption unit, cooling tower and cogeneration system, installing a new 120 ton system.

    The new corporate management with their southern California oversight representatives and their monthly appearance beginning to have an affect  on not only Gary but the other department heads.  Gary recognizing the difference between the diminutive Healthcare Management Corporation and the prodigious Country Villa, jokingly associating that department supervisors working for HealthCare Management might be deem as  big fish in a little pond, but with Country Villa as  little fish in a big pond not that self-esteem mattered only the results.  A hard decision was in the making, maybe it was retirement time.   Gary visiting with his wife agreeing that maybe the time had come,   given thought that it might be in the best interest of Country Villa to find a replacement, offering to remain however necessary to find and familiarize someone to fill his position.   A much younger person, Tony was employed,  somewhat knowledgeable as a fix-it person,  but having no logic when addressing the mechanical systems of the building and the equally important aspect of the position,  the paper work,  the logging of the monthly inspections of all plant equipment required by Medicare and the State.   Gary instilling in him the need for a morning walk thru of the facility,  grasping obvious or potential problems for the day.  Working with Tony for several months,  the young man more interested in the young “CNA’s”  than performing his duties.  Tony’s extracurricular activities continuing becoming manifold,  followed by a separation from his wife,  the facility administrator Rashmi taking notice,  a reprimand was enhanced.   Gary’s chosen retirement date was approaching when Rashmi requested his presence, notifying him the Tony had just given his notice and had enlisted in the Army,  requesting  Gary to remain until another suitable person could be found .

Brad Kikuta - a Country Villa Vice President

Brad Kikuta – a Country Villa Vice President

      The interviewing process enfolded once again for several weeks,  Brad and Rashmi doing the interrogating for a maintenance person,  the position of Safety Director  no longer included.  Another fix-it person,  Alex was hired,  much like Tony in ability,  not able to grasp the importance of documentation,  but able to change fluorescent bulbs,  ballast, snake the sewer lines,  repair electric beds, but having no  knowledge of HVAC , fire alarm, the kitchen or medical equipment,  Gary again spending his time trying to educate an apprentice.  His retirement date having finally arrived, without fanfare bidding a farewell to Country Villa and its corporate entity, no longer a clock to dictating the start of his day.  The assuage lasting but three months,  when the telephone rang, Gary recognizing the voice,  it was Rashmi again asking if he could return and resume his position,  adding that Alex performance was unacceptable and she had just terminated his employment.   Gary’s affirming her request,  his 6:30 a.m. clock reset,  a Country Villa routine beginning once again as the facility began another search mode.

A Hoboken Class Reunion……..#267…( 2006)

February 23, 2012
Frances Marion (Harriott) Willson

Frances Marion (Harriot) Willson

Finding no rush to check out of the Holland Hotel in the morning,  Gary trekking to the lobby to secure the complimentary pastries provided, gathering a diet Pepsi for Fran and a cup of coffee for himself awaiting their conveyance to the Renaissance Meadowlands Hotel, Fran’s high school classmate Vicki and husband Sal Mattessich accommodating the Willsons’.  The Mattessich’s having accomplished a 380 mile journey from Hubbard Ohio to celebrate the forty-year reunion of Hoboken High‘s class of 1966.   Departing the Holland Hotel,  Sal at the helm,  the car and the two couples traversing the highway to Rutherford and the Meadowland Hotel,  located a mile from Giants Stadium,  home of the National Football New York Giants.   Gary enjoying the excursion,  finding humorous entertaining moments during peregrinations,  Vicki administering corrections to Sal’s driving,  whom as a truck driver most of his life was quite confident,  Sal apparently used to his wife’s comments,  taking it all in stride.   Arriving at the Renaissance Meadowlands Hotel their reservations confirmed,  the desk clerk noting Fran’s name,  asserting that a Bob Santangelo had inquired about her,  Bob a Hoboken High classmate

Fran's mother Gladys

Fran’s mother Gladys

Fran's father Francis

A young Francis  (Frank) Harriot

Francis Harriot in postal uniform

Frank Harriot in postal uniform

Hoboken Post Office branch named for William E.J. Harriot after Sinatra's demise

Hoboken Post Office branch named for William E.J. Harriot changed to Sinatra after his demise

Hoboken Post Office Letterhead

Hoboken Post Office Letterhead

The wives requesting a return visit to  Hoboken ,  Gary and Sal listeners as Fran and Vicky conversed traversing down Washington Street,  designated by the two locals as “The Avenue”.   Fran  anointed as a native of Hoboken, espousing from a full-time working mother and a father upholding a standing family tradition as a member of the Postal Service.   Her grandfather William E.J. Harriot a Hoboken Postmaster, the Hoboken Postal Branch named in his honor.  The town having currently evolved from the past, the primary residence of  3 & 4 storey walk-up apartments now converted into exclusive condominiums with elevators, Fran discerning that this wasn’t the Hoboken she grew up in.   The travelers stopping at Stan’s Sporting Goods a convenience still remaining from the past, Gary now sporting a Hoboken Red Wings hat.  A second stop at the Hoboken City Museum, the entrance inside a walk thru alcove on Hudson St., a single hostess seated at a desk welcoming them.  Gary perceiving the historic photographs of the military shipyard repair docks from both World War I and II.   Posted was a tribute to the once proud factories of Lipton Tea,  Maxwell House Coffee,  Standard Brands,  Hostess,  Todd Shipyard, the infamous Bethlehem Steel Corporation, and the historic Delaware,  Lackawanna and Western train station,  all from a past era  enhancing this communities of one square mile in area.   Hoboken  a paramount  contributor to the  commence of the nation, but its industrial presence no longer standing, just a footnote in its historical past.

Stan's Sporting Goods a school days rememberance

Stan’s Sporting Goods a school days remembrance

The quaint Hoboken City Museum

The quaint Hoboken City Museum

Class of 1966

Class of 1966

Fran and Vicki

Fran and Vicki

The couples deciding to have a bite to eat before their scheduled journey to the high school open house, a welcome sign greeting the returning graduates,  the building and classrooms awaiting the alumni.    Filing into the auditorium for a brief welcoming ceremony from the school officials the class dispersing to once again walk the halls of memory.   The remembrance a peregrinations of this  assemblage, the classmates exchanging the anamneses of rooms and teachers and specific events of forty years ago.  Gary a witness to the afterthoughts of those who cherished the past and the throes of youthful exuberance.   The high school tour fulfilled, the two couples and  most of the touring group journeying the two blocks to the  High School athletic field,  the Red Wings football team hosting the Emerson Cavaliers.   A special area  cordoned off for the 1966 alumni,  the school band playing the national anthem, the public address announcer presenting special recognition to the attendance of the alumni.   Gary a high school football enthusiast  soon discovering that the Red Wings  team was in a different league than the struggling  Cavaliers,  a slight rain beginning in the second half,  but like true Red Wings fans they stayed to its conclusion,  the Red Wings winning the game, 61-0,  a gift to the attending alumni.   The evening events coming to a conclusion, Sal and Vicki returning the couple  the Meadowland Renaissance Hotel and an appreciative nights sleep,  the morrow reunion festivities awaiting.

The Meadowland Hotel

The  Renaissance  Hotel

Gary dressing for the occasion, attired in suit and tie,  Fran in her finest,  the Willson’s perambulated downstairs from their room into the Meadowland Hotels large convention center,  Gary rather surprised at the number in attendance.  The dimmed lighting and music of the sixties resonating,  a free beverage bar which include the usual alcohol,  but included champagne and vintage wines.   An unbelievable buffet,  including calamari and escargot, Gary immediately discerning the difference between the lavished east coast buffet, and a west coast one.  Fran acquainting many fellow students that she hadn’t contemplated in years, jointing classmates Fran Sneyers, Karen Jensen, Nicky and Rita Herr, and of course Vicki and Sal, the group all seated at a large table,  her friend Bobby Santangelo making his presence known.   Gary being introduced to the amenities from Fran’s past,  including the current Hoboken Chief of Police,  Carmen LaBruno.   The evening progressed with recognition given to the person traveling the longest distance, being Hawaii and the person with the most grandchildren, which surprisingly was the Willson’s.   The evening coming to a conclusion,  an elevator ride to their room,  the couple weary, but dexterous for their return home.

Newarks Liberty International Airport

Newark’s Liberty International Airport

Vicki Mattessich

Vicki Mattessich

The morning dawning,  Fran and Gary meeting again with Sal and Vicki whom generously proffer their transportation to the Newark Liberty International Airport,  a Boeing 757,  awaiting the Willson’s flight home.  The couple for the second time discussing about a stay in Denver for a day,  Fran in the past desiring to acquaint a long time special friend.  John Madden,  whom for over the  past thirty years was a practicing attorney,  their friendship beginning in the 60’s when he was a member of the acclaimed Serendipity Singers.   The prestigious 757 lifting off the ground,  Gary able to see the illustrious observance of Hoboken and the island of Manhattan and New York City,  the remembrance of this visit forever leonine,  a memory not to be forgotten.  Reaching the throes of the morning blue sky,  the winged vessel heading westward,  the magnificent view of the terrain passing beneath the expeditious aircraft,  Gary as usual,  a sentinel of flight , mesmerized by the flow of the earth’s contour,  its splendor a captivating scene,  the hours passing as an abeyance.

An arrival at Denver International Airport,  the largest area airport in the United States,  providing landings of over 600, 000 aircraft per year,    but not a hub for any major airline with the exception of low-cost Frontier Airlines which caters to only 76 destinations.   The weather was once again a factor for Gary to postpone a stop-over, thunderstorm and rain,  electing once again to postpone their stop over, boarding their scheduled United Airlines flight and continue on to San Francisco.   The 737 United flight from Denver to the west coast was one of familiarly,  Gary once again affixed to window,  absorbing the wonders of flight, descending over the north bay area on its final approach,  the 737 setting down on runway 10R,  their journey about completed.   An hour wait then boarding a United Express Embraer 120 turboprop,  the last leg of their flight.  Again the familiar terrain of the Altamont Pass and the Central Valley coming into view,  their journey to Modesto fulfilled, all that remained was the taxi ride home.

A One Day Tour of New York City….266 .. ( 2006)

February 16, 2012
Not Grayhound but New Jersey Transit Authority bus...

Not Greyhound but New Jersey Transit Authority bus…

The morning hour at the Days Inn in Vineland New Jersey found Gary and Fran without transportation,  but within walking distance of Denny’s, acquiring a breakfast before checking out.   Securing their luggage,  the couple journeying four blocks to the Vineland Transportation System Terminal on W. Landis Ave awaiting a New Jersey Transit Bus to Atlantic City.   Gary attempting to recall the last time he had traveled on a commercial bus line for any distance,  adjudging it must have been in 1979, during his families residential move from Oklahoma City to Kiowa Kansas.   The Willson family 1979 departure from Oklahoma City,  leasing a rental truck to transport their furnishings,  the truck unloaded in Kiowa and returned to the company in Alva Oklahoma.   Gary boarding a bus to Oklahoma City to retrieve the rest of their possessions loaded on a trailer attached to his car.   The New Jersey Transit Bus traveling experience was a pleasure,  after all these years of being a driver,  one could sit back and enjoy the scenery a spectator to the passing scenery. Arriving in Atlantic City,  there was no hesitation,  the Willson’s able to dismount one bus and immediately embark another bound for the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City.   The bus traversing on the Garden City Parkway,  a 2 ½ hour,  125 mile excursion,  a view of the New Jersey shoreline abundant for many mile before adjoining Interstate 95,  the skyline of New York City soon coming into view.

Port Authority Building New York City

Port Authority Building New York City

Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central much like a mall

Grand Central much like a mall

The Port Authority building,  located between 40th and 42nd street,  the largest bus station in the world,  over 7,200 buses per week line up to take on passengers, the couple  disembarking  desiring to find the light-rail to the Holland Hotel in Hoboken.   Asking a cab driver to convey their need,  discovering a short trip of four blocks,  Fran back on familiar grounds from her youthful ventures to New York City.   Gary impressed with the thrive of the New York City people,  their hustle and bustle,  an attitude of purpose,  their hurried venture in pursuit of goals,  the spirit of America.   The subway entrance to Hoboken being on the same block as Grand Central Station,  the name a misnomer,  mislead by Hollywood  as it’s it’s not a station stop but the starting and ending of subway lines officially known as Grand Central Terminal.   Gary desiring to see the wondrous architectural structure,  the building consuming 48 acres of land,  with two levels below ground,  41 tracks on the first below ground level, platforms and 26 tracks on the second.   The structure having started construction in 1903,  a new additions completed in 1913  . The building consuming many restaurants, shops and galleries,  Gary marveling that the builder of this hundred year old pavilion could never have realized they were building a prototype of today’s modern Mall.

The Holland Hotel & entrance to the tunnel

The Holland Hotel & entrance to the tunnel

The view of the Empire State Building

The Empire State Building from Hoboken

The street entrance to the subway was  like entering an underground cavern of walkways,  much to Gary’s surprise subway tickets were available from a vending machines and even more surprising,  the tickets were only $2.00 per person.    A directory giving the visitors a track number,  the posted walkway signs providing directions to their intended platform.   The subway light-rail  arriving,  boarding a car was a reminisce from the scenes of Hollywood Productions,  Gary experiencing déjà vu,  he had done this before,  knowing the possibility was nil but from a life time of movies he had viewed and his childhood memory of taking the A Train across the bay bridge to San Francisco.   Crossing beneath the Hudson River,  the first station stop being Holland Station in New Jersey,  the couple exiting with baggage in hand,  knowing that the Holland Hotel/Motor Lodge was within a four blocks radius  but not sure where.   Approaching a parked cab to inquirer the directions to the Hotel,  the driver predicating an offer to drive them the short distance.   Checking in with prior reservations, the hotels second floor accommodations were exceptional,  a window view of the entrance to the Holland Tunnel.  Gary intrigued, watchful of six lanes of traffic funneling down to the two lanes for entrance to the Holland Tunnel,  a traffic officer attempting to direct the halting rush hour six lanes of traffic,  astounded that it could be accomplished.   The room vantage point also provided an across the river view of the skyline of New York City and since 9-11  the stately Empire State Building  now presiding over that domain.   The couple soon discovering that  the Lodge not accommodating any formal source of nutrient substance, finding  a necessity to locate a food establishment, discovering a Burger King but a block away.

The touring convinence a retired MTA bus

The touring convenience a retired MTA bus

A wakeup call, the Holland providing morning coffee and donuts before greeting a New York City Tour Bus,  the day long excursion to unfold.   Gary not surprised when discovering the touring convenience was a retired MTA bus, the couple seated up front across from the driver.   Gary finding himself in conversation with the younger transit chauffeur,  the driver with his pronounced New Jersey accent proclaiming himself as a boxing enthusiast.  Gary relating his past  indulgence of the sport,  the bus driver expelling the time he was in the ring with Hector Camacho as a sparring partner and winning the session.  Gary coming back with the story of Milo Savage during the fifties,  the only fighter on TV to tell his opponent that his shoes were untied, his opponent looking down,  then blasting him.   Gary smiling to himself, sitting across from the New Jersey bus driver,  the conversation an enjoyable congruous tactility.   The first hour of travel was spent making several stops  acquiring the other twenty members of the tour.   Arriving in New York City,  a brief hesitation at a hotel in Midtown Manhattan to acquire a Tour Guide,  a prestigious black man in his fifties, who had a delightful personality,  proclaiming that he was an actor performing in Off-Broadway Productions and had appeared in  many of the Law & Order television programs as an extra that were filmed in New York City.   Gary could sense from his character,  he was for real.

Gary at Central Park

Gary at Central Park

A view of New York from Central Park

A view of New York from Central Park

St. Patrick's Catherald

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

The forbidden picture

The forbidden picture

The first touring stop,  Central Park, the bus stopping on the Central Parkway and W 72nd, across from the Dakota Hotel where John Lennon meant his demise at the hands of Mark David Chapman.   The tourist group conducted to the 22 acres of The Central Park Lake,  a small portion of 845 acres of Central Park.   The Guide giving notice of the extensive walking and bridle paths,  a zoo,  two ice skating areas,  an amphitheater,  the six miles of circular drives and the many conservative gardens,  plus a 106 acre reservoir maintaining a hundred billion gallons of water named after Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy,  the fresh water reservoir decommissioned as a water source was no longer needed.   Gary having realization that this was more than a park,  but represented the privileged city pride of New Yorker’s.   The refreshing experience concluded, boarding the tour bus once again for a stop at St Patrick’s Cathedral,  the group embarking on an “on your own tour”.   Gary entering the structure alone,  Fran not interested in the catholic structure deciding not to accompany him,  the historic landmark awe-inspiring Cathedral capturing his attention.   The structure started in 1858,  but not completed until 1879,  the civil war and its aftermath causing a delay.   The visitor experiencing a historical presence walking in this prominent house of worship,  over 5 million people per year entering this realm.   Gary,  camera in hand  taking pictures,  walking towards the sanctuary,  a feeling of deity,  the dimmed lighting,  the ornamental and august pillars giving a reflection of holiness.   Stopped in the sanctuary,  being told that pictures were forbidden in this area,  the epistle was given to late,  Gary having already snapped his picture.

Rockfeller Center

Rockefeller Center

The Bitter End - Greenwich Villiage

The Bitter End – Greenwich Village

Embarking the tour bus again,  the next stop was Rockefeller Center,  a 19 building complex started in 1930,s in Midtown Manhattan between 5th and 6th Avenue and 48th and 51st street,  the complex composing 22 acre of Midtown,  the Radio City Music Hall being constructed in 1932 on 50th street,  the 70 storied Rockefeller Plaza Building,  its Art Deco appearance being erected.  Gary having witness the skating rink at Rockefeller Center in many movies,  remembering how capacious it looked, a remembrance from the admirable movie Love Story with Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw but discovering the skating rink just a pittance in size of what was proclaimed on the big screen.   Again the tour continued, a journey thru New York City Chinatown,  the guide host pointing out points of interest.   Entering the infamous Greenwich Village, Gary recalling the names of some of those musician whom found their beginnings there, a road to fame,  Bob Dylan,  Barbara Streisand,  Peter, Paul and Mary,  the Serendipity Singers,  Simon and Garfunkel,  the Kingston Trio,  all with frequent appearances at the Bitter End,  the Café Au Go Go,  the Gaslight Café and the Café Wha?   The heritage of this part of New York City, The Village,  an Icon and a chronicle of music history

Ellis Island Terminal sometimes noted as the Communipaw Terminal

Ellis Island Terminal sometimes noted as the Communipaw Terminal

The abandon Tracks from the past

The abandon Tracks from the past

The tour continuing,  Ground Zero,  Gary somewhat disappointed,  no temporary memorials dedicated to those whom had lost their lives, just a chain link fence to stare down at the bleak concrete resolving the once below ground plaza’s and terminals,  the construction site a cold ambitious scene to those from afar that had never witnessed the Twin Towers standing, unlike Fran who had worked in the tower at one time.  Traversing the  final journey aboard the New York City Tour Bus,  an excursion to Liberty Park and the Ellis Island Terminal,  a magnificent station from the past.  The monumental Victorian terminal built in 1889,  a train station terminal consisting of 20 tracks and 16 boarding station, where upwards of 9 to 12 million immigrants from Ellis Island finally discovered their destiny,  the station discontinued in 1969.   Gary observing the boarding platforms and tracks now overgrown with weeds,  many of the 20 railroad tracks no longer presence,  a 1920 scene resonating with him,  his mind picturing the past,  the station bustling with activity,  filled with those from abroad looking for an american opportunity to find a new life.   Outside the Victorian terminal,  the once used docking area for many the ferry boats applied during that earlier era now sitting empty today,  but for the two used for Ellis and Liberty Island Circle Line Tour Cruise.

Ellis Islands Gateway entrance for millions

Ellis Islands Gateway entrance for millions

Boarding a tourist Circle Line passenger ferry,  Ellis Island its first destination,  the wind cascading up the Hudson River from the Atlantic giving them the feeling of nature’s presence,  the appearance of Ellis Island,  the sight a presence of promise to the many that had come before them.   Disembarking,  no tour guide,  but left to sunder and explore this relic from the past on their own.   The luncheon hour having past,  finding within this monument of the past a continence of fast food cuisine,  the couple partaking of its opportunity.  Gary impressed with the displays and pictures from this landmark of American History,  walking the halls,  absorbing renaissance of a hundred years, observing and reading the trials of the many who had converged,  the inscriptions of the past generations,  finding enlightenment passing thru this wondrous building that was structured in 1892,  it’s demise in 1954.   The building vacated left unattended and deteriorating for eleven years,  when au courant people took notice and pursued a national museum endeavor,  a gift to America.

Approaching Lady Liberty

Approaching Lady Liberty

Lady Liberty

Lady Liberty

New York City from the deck of the boat

The continuance of adventure,  the couple once again claiming passage on the tourist passenger ferry,  soon approaching Liberty Island,  a scant ¾ of a mile from the departed Ellis Island.   A majestic panoramic scene from their floating endeavor,  the symbol of American freedom beginning to loom in the foreground,  The Statue of Liberty,  its 305 foot shadowing presence beholding,  cascading an overwhelming feeling of patriotism and awe for all to see.   The docking embarkation,  the couple journeying to the Liberty Island Museum,  absorbing its history,  the 14 ½ acre island once proclaimed as Oyster Island in the 1600,  because of the perfusion oysters found by the early settlers.   Gary aware of the fishing endeavors of the 1600‘s,  a Willson arriving in Massachusetts Bay in 1628 with other Scottish conscripts aboard a British sailing vessel.   An added name to the future Liberty Island landmark was Bedloe’s Island,  a private summer residence of Archibald Kennedy,  the Earl of Cassilis in the 1700’s and later during the Revolutionary and War 1812 it becoming a military bastion named Fort Wood,  its relic finally being dismantled in 1944.  Gary and Fran circling the icon statue,  but because of renovation work were unable to traverse the stairway upward within the celebrated monument.   Standing before the Lady of Liberty instilled an everlasting remembrance, acknowledging the sight of it was an inspiration not only to those who stood in its presence today but to the millions who traveled here with a hope for a new beginning.   Once again boarding the Circle Line ferry  to return to the illustrious Victorian Terminal,  the boat docking at one of its many no longer used ferry slips.  The Willson’s awaiting their New York City tour bus and a return to the Holland Hotel,  a conclusion of their one day tour of New York City, the purpose of their journey to continue.

Concluding our journey aboard the New Jersey

A Celebrated Trip East…#265..( 2006)

February 10, 2012
United Airlines Embraer 120

United Airlines Embraer 120

It was Fran’s 40th high school class reunion in Hoboken New Jersey and the  celebrated journey was about to begin,  Gary much prompted about the venture having never been to the east coast with the exception of his flight to Orlando.  Arriving at an early morning hour at the Modesto Airport  a SkyWest United Airlines Embraer 120 airliner awaiting,  the prop driving aircraft prepared to transport the couple to the San Francisco International Airport,  the flight from San Francisco to Denver  the first leg of their easterly journey.   Gary still finding an adventure in flying  even though his  introduction to commercial aviation was 47 years earlier  as an 18-year-old soldier on his way to Oklahoma.   It always astonished him how matter of fact  passengers took air travel today, often finding himself the only person on board an aircraft with an interest in the scenic wonder thru the window, the earth seemingly to flow beneath him,  a painted exhibition captured on a wondrous canvas known as mother-earth.

Remembering Denvers Stapleton Airport

Remembering Denver’s Stapleton Airport

The new Denver Airport from a distance resembling a desert tent city

The new Denver Airport – from a distance resembling a desert tent city

Arriving at the new Denver International Airport,  having addressed the old Stapleton Airport in past years,  recalling how the planes would be lined up because of weather,  the snow falling, on an over-pass constructed  to access a runway.  A brief layover enabling lunch before boarding the United flight to Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport in Baltimore Maryland.  The Boeing 757 flight from Denver to BWI was without incident,  Gary enjoying the extended air time  abiding at a window seat with the contouring earth passing beneath him an entity of breath-taking wonder from  37,000 feet.  An overhead announcement of the  arrival, the 757  swooping down from aloft,  aligning it’s approach, gently touching down at the Baltimore Airport.  The couple embarking from the secure upper level,  waiting at the foot of the  escalator  was Fran’s eldest brother Ray.    An introduction to the patriarch of the Harriot family,  the elder Harriot taking the day off from his employment  with  (NSA),  the  National Security Agency for the United State Department of Defense.   Exiting the aerodrome complex,  a 30 minute drive from the airport to the Harriot’s residence an impressive home in Laurel Maryland,  the Willson’s invited  to spend two nights with their host.   Ray and his wife Jan proffering an excursion to Washington DC in the morning, Gary enthused at the prospect of  touring the nation’s capital,

Fran and Brother Ray

Fran and Brother Ray

Washington Monument

WW II Monument

Korean War Monument

The dawning of the new day, the two couples journeying to Washington DC,  the Capital and the National Mall.  Ray having spent a beneficial part of his life working in and around the  Capital having no difficulty acquiring an indoor parking area within walking distance of their objective.  The group able to see the White House,   cordoned off since the 9-11, the couples starting their tour just west of the presidential residence,  a 1.9 mile walk to encompass all the reaches of the Mall grounds.   The visitors discovering many other Mall visitors, a diversified group,  tourist,  joggers, employees on a lunch break and organized groups playing football.   Ray as tour guide  approaching the Washington Monument,  the 555 foot obelisk built of granite, marble and blue stone gneiss,  the construction of the memorial starting in 1848 and the cap stone crowning finally being placed some forty years later in 1884. Continuing their journey on the Mall,  coming upon the World War II reflections pool  with its cascading fountains,  all stopping to read the inscriptions.  On to the newest Memorial addition canonizing those veterans of the Korean War, again taking a temporal length of time to view the presence of their enshrinement.   Standing in grove of trees,  another memorial,  its rotunda endowed pillars giving tribute to the 2 million Americans having spanned the ocean during the first world war.

WW I Memorial

Lincoln Memorial Building

Lincoln still presiding

Lincoln still presiding

Vietnam Wall

The far reaches of the National Mall found the prestigious Memorial whom Gary had envisioned throughout his life,  the Lincoln Memorial.   Gary singularly venturing up the steps to the monument,  the others of his coalition observing from below,  the presence of Abraham Lincoln,  his ingrained stone effigy sitting in a chair not just a monument,  but a signature representing the stature of America.   Gary resonating on the works and words that this great president had spoken,  standing alone within the privilege of Lincoln’s presence,  no one to distract his thoughts,  a rumination of history prevailing,  Abraham Lincoln’s life long dedication to our country and to the ascendancy that stands before his memorial today.   Joining the other, a retention from the Lincoln Memorial,  a return journey towards the Capital Building,  the south side of the National Mall encompassed a tribute to those who contributed in the Vietnam Conflict.   Once again Gary,  journeying down a black marble structured pathway with the names of those who had fallen in battle during the Vietnam conflict.   Fran excluding herself,  not wanting to partake of the wall, having graduated from High School in 1966,  many of her friends having been drafted for the war in Vietnam,  her acquaintances names being engraved on the wall desiring to remember them as they were.

Smithsonian Air & Space Museum complex

Smithsonian Air & Space Museum complex

Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

A walk back to the parking garage,  a visit to the Smithsonian remaining on the agenda.   The Smithsonian composed of 19 complex’s, Gary realizing they could spend days exploring the depth of its realm,  a decision being made to choose a single complex.   The late afternoon to be spent at the Air and Space pavilion,  it’s premise displaying everything from Charles W Lindbergh’s “the Spirit of St. Louis “ tethered from the ceiling ,  to the Mercury,  Gemini,  Apollo and Space Shuttle missions and an array of aircraft thru the generations.  The many exhibits capturing a substantial amount of time,  Gary ready to exit the touring cortège,  Ray and the others all in agreement.   With the  wondrous day coming to a conclusion,  a return to Maryland was incurred.   Once returning to the Harriot’s residence,  the evening hour finding a visit from Fran’s brother Bob whom she hadn’t seen in years,  Bob hosting a lady friend named Sarah.   Gary now having the opportunity to meet both of Fran’s older brothers,  recognizing the congeniality that resided within the family.

Gettysburg

Gettysburg

Union Army Memorial

Jan Harriot

Jan Harriot

Another dawning of a Maryland morning,  Fran’s sister-in-law Jan preparing a commendable breakfast,  fuel for an adventurous day, the foursome journeying to Gettysburg Pennsylvania.    The highway beckoned, Gary noticing the difference between the major highways in the east and those in California.   The area bordering the roadway traversing to Pennsylvania were manicured,  mowed, free from trash,   a far cry from the major highways in the State of California  his birthright home.    California the Welfare State a populace haven for many of the misfits of the world,  those that protest the teachings of morality,  religion and the rule of law,  the unkempt trash laden highways of the state’s visual testimonial to some of its citizenry.    An arrival at the Gettysburg National park,  the two couples entering the Battlefield National Museum.  The nine room museum exhibiting artifacts from the Civil War,  the uniforms,  armament, and photo excerpts from the era,  but most impressive to Gary was the Battlefield Auditorium.   The auditorium, a large room with benches raised above and looking down upon a large tabled epitome of the battle of Gettysburg,  the two opposing army’s,  their positions highlighted with different colored light.   As the simulated battle progressed, the lights would give action to their battlefield positions,  a representation of what transpired in 1863.  Gettysburg being the bloodiest  battle ground of the Civil War.   The quarter where Union Major General George Meade’s Army of the Potomac engaged Confederate General Robert E Lee’s Army of Virginia.   The three-day battle commencing on July 1, 1863,  resulting in 57,225 casualties,  North and South divided, but all Americans.  The iconic Gettysburg Address by Lincoln given 4 1/2 months after the battle for a dedication of The Soldiers National Cemetery in Gettysburg.

Gettysburg Park Guide

Gettysburg Park Guide

The Willson’s, Harriot’s and a tourist group all accompanying a park guide,  enjoying his commentary,  sundering up the gentle raises of the terrain,  acquainting the cemetery,  standing before the many monuments and overlooking the historic Gettysburg battleground.  Gary finding an acquiesce of solitude,  realizing the chronicles of significance that had transpired on this hallowed ground, the ora of what transpired still remaining.   The afternoon sun beginning to twain, the return from this accolade of American History was enhanced,  a return to Harriot residence in Maryland.   The evening spent in anticipation of the morrow,  Ray and Jan to provide Gary and Fran with transportation to Vineland New Jersey, a distance of 130 miles for a paramount visit with Fran’s Cousin Rhoda.  The long drive finding Ray and Jan staying at Rhoda’s just long enough to convey their greeting having 2 ½ hour of apprehensive road travel for their return.
Gary and Fran taking pleasure in their visit to Rhoda’s fashionable trailer park abode,  Gary impressed with her Willie Nelson Wall, a portrait of the acclaimed musician, and other tributes,  Rhoda a proclaimed fan having met Willie at a concert in Jackson New Jersey and of course Gary mentioned that he had performed with Willie in Wichita Falls Texas in the sixties.   Willie performing at the Wichita Falls Auditorium,  he and several other well-known  western musicians  cavalcade to the club where Gary and The Untouchables were playing.  Willie, a clean-shaven and suite and tie attired musician sitting in,  Jerry Willis the guitar player with the Untouchables commenting that the young Willie had worst timing for a musician that he had ever worked with, a trait that would soon become his trademark.   Rho’s was a perfect hostess,  preparing a meal,  Fran recalling remembrance from the prior years,  Rhoda’s Brother Tate making an unexpected appearance,  another cousin presenting a prevalence.   Fran discovering that Rhoda’s sister Dottie was within walking distance,  another visit to someone from her past.

Willie and Rhoada

Willie and Rhoada

Vineland New Jersey - not the best accomendations

Vineland New Jersey – not the best accommodations

The evening starting to dawn, Gary and Fran aware that their journey for the reunion had to continue.   Rho driving them to downtown Vineland to the  Days Inn Motel within walking distance of the Bus Station to fulfill their journey to New York City and Hoboken.   The evening at the motel, Gary discovering after the first knock at the door something wasn’t right,  a black man asking for a person.   The second knock at eleven o’clock, another person asking for someone.   Gary walking down to the motel office, approaching the night clerk, curious of why these unknown people were knocking at his door,  suspecting that this motel and the room He and Fran were staying in may have something to do with drugs.  Gary requesting a room change but the night clerk declining,  saying he would inform the Police and request  drive-by’s for the rest of that night.  Upon Gary’s return to the room giving his wife reassurance for her concern, Fran laughing with an announcement  “Welcome to New Jersey”.