A Bereaved Farewell….#240 (the 90’s)

Not a home, but a benefactor

The monolithic expanse empty of activity,  its progeny having departed,  a silence prevailing within the ramparts of 602 N. Springfield in Anthony Kansas, Gary absorbing the solitude, Jan calling once again from her place of employment,  Share Medical Center in Alva Oklahoma,  60 miles distance,  stating that she would be working late and in all probability would not be returning home that night.   In his solitude concluding  a probability she was experiencing what is commonly referred to as  “the empty nest syndrome”,  finding it difficult to endure the saturnine of the once bestirring residence, enveloping herself in work to alleviate the acumen of her discernment.   Gary detected a new assertive  vicissitude in his wife’s predilection, no longer depositing her payroll check in the couple of joint account at the First National Bank of Anthony,  but opening an account in her name only at the Community Nation Bank in Alva.  Her given rationalization being to establish a Oklahoma financial validity,  giving an explanation,  the 60 mile two-hour round-trip drive  was getting burdensome, proposing a move.  Gary was somewhat adverse to the overture,  as he clearly adulated living in Anthony,  his acquaintances,  the lake,  its proximity to Wichita and it’s host of offerings.  Reluctantly agreeing that the move would be in his wife’s best interest,  especially with her demanding work as Assistant Administrator in charge of all Patient Care Services,  OB,   being a licensed First Assistant Surgery Nurse and the ever-present responsibility to attend evening hospital meetings.  Gary solemnly  knowing the move was inevitable,  his driving distance to work would remain the same as Anthony to  Kiowa,  Alva to Kiowa both a 30 minute  journey.

It will be surely missed

Anthony Lake – It will be surely missed


The relocating decision having been acknowledged,  Jan finding a two bedroom rental house at 804 Noble St. with a small additional structured dwelling on it,  the rental agreement also included an option to buy.   The Noble house a behemoth contrary to their 6000 square ft.  Anthony home,  if one included the 1500 square ft. basement.   Gary sensing a feeling of entrapment, the  small house and residing in an inundating college community, not the laid back rural lake, farming  endowed surroundings of Anthony.  The moving experience beginning,  the depositions of the family’s three cats, Muffins,  Mario  and Mitten,  a possible placement a concern, Sandra desiring her feline companion Mittens get a college education and  accompany her to Winfield.   Robert unable to provide for Mario,  Gary approaching Glenda Holdaway  an associate at the Kiowa Hospital about a home for him,  leaving the third acquired member Muffins to venture to Oklahoma with the couple.   Exudation of the accumulation that filled  a three-story,  six bedroom,  full basement house was challenging,  Gary’s brother-in-law Shawn Johnson providing an immediate storage redemption.  Shawn having inherited his mother’s vacant home in Kiowa,  its rental status having been nil for over a year,  offering it’s presence to deposit the many rooms of furniture,  sundry items and dozens and dozens of boxes and accumulated paraphernalia still remaining after furnishing the recently rental in Alva.   Shawn’s storage offer being garnished,  his mother’s old two bedroom home soon being filled to capacity.

804 Noble St. Alva Oklahoma.

Gary was thankful for the abundant amount of family help, Bud and Helen Murrow,  Lynn and Shawn giving raise to the extracting occasion,  asking nothing in return,  although Gary did present Shawn with his treasured Satellite Dish and Receiver.  The only remaining article in the now vacant Anthony house was the pool table stationed in the ballroom on the third floor.  Gary first thought about its deposition was to leave it as is just as they had discovered it, allowing the new owners of the house responsible for its removal.   An alternative arising, Michael Palmer, the son of Sandy whom he had worked with at John Deere had heard about it and  was interested, the teenage boy and his friends accomplishing the move.  The Alva migration fulfilled,  leaving  with two remaining faction,  a once over cleaning endeavor and a final disposition of the Springfield Ave. property.   Gary making two trips back to Anthony  to abstergent the premises and  entertaining a serious consideration to list the residence in the rental market.

Kiowa Hospital Lab Supervisor Carol Steinbock

Gary discovering Alva a town seemingly without substance except for the University,  finding himself allocated to the confines of what seemed like a closet of a home in comparison to the double corner lot three-storied abode for the past seven years.  His wife still maintaining late hours at Share Medical Center and when returning home only to  journey across town to spend time with her RN friend most nights.   Gary’s home life and relationship  mirroring a sense of solitude he first experienced in Anthony,  but then able to occupy his time with his ongoing oil painting projects, his visits with his good friend Jim White, evenings at the lake and the weekend ventures to the many wondrous offerings of Wichita.   It was recognizable,  Alva having undergone a change from his remembrance of twenty years ago with the band performing at the Elks Club,  Moose Lodge  and Veldon Wolley’s  renown  Vel’s NiteLite Club.     The era for live entertaining dance bands performing on a regular basis in small communities having passed.  The town’s primary source for ongoing entertainment was Northwestern Oklahoma State University,  Gary having taken notice and waited in anticipation for their proclaimed  concert season to start.   It was at work that  Carol Steinbock, the Kiowa Hospital Lab Supervisor whom resided in Alva approached Gary about  the college Music Department presenting a Schubert Fest as a preview before the coming concert attractions.   Gary entreating Jan to attend with him,  but her propensity for entertainment didn’t include classical music,  as expected she declined.   Attending the event, the  acquainting ushers all dressed in period clothes,  a presentation of some of Schubert’s string quartets, vocals and piano sonata’s,  concluding with several tables of snack treats, the food prepared as it was in the 1820 period.   Gary familiar with the era, always marveled at the life style  of all the Vienna born composers,  Franz Schubert was paramount,  having written over 1000 compositions,  and  like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  passing on at young age of 31 years.  Other renown composers, Liszt,  Schumann,  Brahms and Mendelssohn all later contemporaries of Franz Schubert.

Mom and Tom Fleming

An unexpected phone call from Gary’s mother serving notice that her and her companion Tom Fleming were on the road and would be traveling thru Oklahoma on Interstate 40 and would detour north to Alva for a brief visit,  the couple journeying to Atlanta to attend the 1996 Paralympics.  The voyaging couple arriving in the evening at the Noble St. address, visiting with an invitation for to meet for breakfast, Gary accepting, Jan declining,  relating that her presence at work was a priority.  Gary discovering Tom’s son Andy was the President and CEO of the Paralympics Committee, in charge of the international exposition, Andy also a paraplegic, having lost his legs in a train accident in 1977.  Tom and Gary’s mother were an ideal couple, Tom like Gary’s father was a teamster,  but unlike his father who was strictly a chauffeur of the trucks and earth moving equipment, Tom progressed from driver to  owner of a large California trucking transport company.  The couple’s visit was brief,  Gary joining his Mother and Tom for an early morning breakfast, their visit providing a brief but needed uplifting, life in Alva settling back into a doldrums.  Gary reflecting with an open mind but there remained a lingering doubt,  questioning the syllogism of the move to Alva, when  playing  the cards from the deck of life, one should make every attempt to avail the hand dealt.

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