It took our Congressman, John Ashbrook, to help Paul be readmitted to the V.A. Hospital in Cincinnati and he was there for one month IN 1971. This time he had a more thorough examination than in 1959, the first time he was in the Cincinnati VA Hospital. It was more than 12 years after we had returned to Ohio before the V.A. finally awarded Paul a 90% disability, which was paid at the rate of 100%.
The year I don't recall, but we were active in Park United Methodist Church. Paul had been asked to speak on Layman's Sunday. I don't recall the nature of his speech, but I remember he seemed confident about it. He started out fine, but somewhere he became very sentimental and began to cry. This embarassed him. One of his illnesses was narcolepsy and any sort of emotional excitement sometimes triggered catoleptic seizures. He thought he might have a seizure right there in front of the congregation and so he just walked off the platform. I just thought he was going to a back room someplace, so I didn't go after him. He usually did not want me to call attention to his illness and I thought I was doing the correct thing by just leaving him alone. After church was over, I began to look for him and when I couldn't locate him, I solicited others to look. After much searching, we became worried and notified the Sheriff's Office. I started home, which at that time was near Wills Creek. At least three miles on Route 83 South, I spotted him walking along. He was over half way home. When I stopped to pick him up, he couldn't understand why I hadn't come for him sooner. It was all a misunderstanding and I felt sad that I had not been sensitive to the situation.
In the summer of 1971, E. J. and David came to live with Paul and me. I was working at the time in West Lafayette at Penn Michigan Manufacturing Corp. E.J. had a job with Drs. Warren, Potts and Secrest as a medical secretary. David was two and one-half years old. E.J. worked in the afternoon and would look after David until she left for work. She would take him with her and leave him at her friend's house in West Lafayette and I would pick him up when I got off work at 4 o'clock.
This particular day E.J. was putting on her makeup in her room getting ready to go to work around 2 o'clock. We were short of water and were having to haul it from other places and dump it into our reservoir behind the house. Paul had just pulled the tractor up to the reservoir in preparation of dumping some water when something snapped and the tractor backed down over the bank and headed toward the house only a few feet away.
Later E. J. related to me that she looked into the mirror and saw this tractor coming toward the window of her room. She immediately ran across the hall as she had no idea how far it would come into the house.
It did do a good bit of damage to the siding of the house but stopped short in the middle of the room. Paul was so worried about where David was because he often followed Paul around. Paul was very relieved to see him sitting on the steps playing with his little truck. It was so traumatic for Paul that it brought on a seizure and E. J. had to call me to come home from work for the rest of the day.
In time the damage was repaired but tarps had to be put up to keep the weather out until the repair could be made. Additional damage was to the clothes line that Paul had put up for me. It pulled the post right out of the ground.
Three years before Paul's death, he was hospitalized in Cleveland Clinic and had time on his hands. He wrote me a letter with instructions that it was not to be opened until after he died. He said, "That will be a long time yet (I hope)." I did not open it until the appointed time. I feel I am very fortunate to have had his thoughts and desires for his memorial service spelled out for me. Not everyone thinks ahead, or do not wish to discuss death, but it made things easier for me.
It is time for my children to know what their Dad said in that letter. Parts of that letter to me, dated June 5, 1978, are as follows:
"I have been doing a lot of thinking, sitting here in the Cleveland Clinic Hospital. No, I'm not down in the 'dumps, but my thoughts are about death and how I wish my thoughts could be conveyed to those that I have loved so much and for so long, and will some day have to leave behind. ... As for music, my first choice would be to have Linda play the piano or organ, and Ellajean, Carol and Tim play their flutes and trumpet. That is asking an awful lot, just too much, so don't force them. As you know, I've always thought they were the best not just in music, but in all of life. Perhaps by the time the Lord calls me, it will be the grandchildren who will be doing the playing. If you wish to have 'formal' music, have Tennessee Ernie Ford, or George Beverly Shay sing 'Ivory Palaces' or "I Come to the Garden..' It would be nice to have De Bussy's 'Clair de Lune' and the 'William Tell 1812 Overture' like on that record I like so well. And maybe the 'Battle Hymn of the Republic' (Mine eyes have seen the Glory of the Coming of the Lord). Maybe this is a lot of nonsense to you -- if so, just have whatever music you want. I would have also asked for Bugler's Holiday and Stars and Stripes Forever (The world isn't ready to accept this anyway), but it would probably be an embarrassment to you. Just don't have sad music. A great part of my emotional problems, when attending a funeral, were brought on by the mournful music. Music stirs my emotions very deeply. I wish it were possible for any services you may have for me to be a happy occasion. Does this sound stupid? I don't mean it to be a comedy or a farce, but to have as little sadness as possible. Look at it this way -- we've had nearly 33 years of happiness, wonderful children and grandchildren. We've done pretty much what we wanted, lived where we wanted, have tried to serve others and not to be ungrateful for our blessings. We know the Lord and love Him, and so do our children. We have loved our country and served it to the best of our ability. We've had wonderful neighbors and made many friends everywhere we have lived. The Lord has more than amply supplied our needs -- and continues to do so. What more can one ask of life? I have been a bit uncomfortable these last few years and complained about my aches and pains too much, but God has not turned His back on me and has either eased the pain or stiffened my back to accept and endure it. And now when you read this you will know that I am suffering no more and the time when we meet again will be like the twinkling of an eye. No honey, I have no fear of dying and God knows I've been prepared since I first got sick. I'm glad he hasn't called me yet because there is so much to live for in this world.
Thinking back over my life there are a few changes I would have wished for. I was so jealous; I wasn't a good provider when I could work and then had to turn the entire job over to you, not just the provider, but discipline of the children, running the house, the whole bit. That part I wish could have been changed. Perhaps God saved you just for me, knowing that I'd need help to keep up my spiritual life. You probably could see that I would have wondered away from the Lord on more than one occasion, but you were there to bring me back. You have provided the steadines in my life, which I lacked. You are the best thing to ever happen in my life, other than my finding Christ as my Savior. It is difficult not to say the children were the most important. I hope you and they all understand there is so little difference that I can't make myself clear. I just love you all so very much that words won't describe it, and that goes for the sons-in-law and daughter-in-law, as well as the grandchildren.
Among the things I wish I could have accomplished during my life --- I never lost my desire to want to serve the Lord, but He had other plans or knew I wasn't worthy. I wish I could have been a farmer -- a real farmer -- but perhaps I gave up too easily, for I did have the opportunity. And lastly, I wish I had been the husband and father that my father was. He was someone that everyone looked up to and whom I was so proud to be his son. If I had been more like him, I'm sure all of our lives would have been better. God was also so good to me in my younger life -- he provided me with a wonderful stepmother who devoted her life to raising me and being a real mother to all four of us boys. My brothers were always good to me and I'm sure we loved one another in our own individual ways, rejoicing in one another's good fortune, sympathizing in each other's sorrows. What more could one ask of life, than the blessings I've already received. Undoubtedly the Lord has more for us, until the final call 'home' and the supreme gift of being with Jesus.
In bringing this to a close, I have one more thing on my mind. Honey, please don't feel you are chained to a dead person or a memory. After I'm gone you will probably have many years before we meet again, and if you find someone you want to share your life with, I enourage you to do so. I do not wish you to be sad and lonely because of a memory. You deserve better than that. I love you, Oh so very much!!! Always yours in all ways, Paul. "
In reflecting on the above letter, I feel sad that Paul did not think he was a good provider. I always thought he worked hard and did the best he knew how in every position he held. I was able to be just a housewife and mother for thirteen years after we were married. I considered that a privilege. Then when it became necessay for me to go back to work, I was happy that I had the education to get back into the work force. My children were cooperative, helped with the household chores and never seemed to complain about not having enough. We weren't rich, but we surely weren't poor and always had enough to eat and a roof over our head. There were some days when all our meal consisted of was tomato soup and toasted cheese sandwiches when it was close to payday, but we still had a day or so to go before we could buy groceries. Hey, what's wrong with soup and sandwiches! We replayed our 1951 Thanksgiving day meal many times over the years.