My, How The Time’s Flown By

Another March 22 has come and gone, marking the 44th anniversary of the marriage of Sally and me, with today, March 23, marking the Anniversary of the day we met 45 years ago. So many times in this life together we’ve asked each other the question, “Where did the time go?”

Greg Peterson, Jamestown’s “Edward R. Murrow,” once sat me down and interviewed me about the Young Readers Program at the Robert H. Jackson Center, which I chaired for a few years shortly after I retired from full time teaching. In his editorial genius manner, he edited the video using my first statement which was along the lines of, “It is said that the measurement of a life can be based on how many stories a person has to tell.” I was having a pretty good life those first 27 years of my life, and have many stories from that part of my existence, but the percentage of those in 27 years, won’t even come close to the percentage of stories I have from the last 43 years spent with the love of my life, Sally.

There are many times, especially lately, when I get up from my living room chair and go to the kitchen, and can’t remember why when I get there. There are times I think of something, like a possible future article topic, or something I need to do tomorrow, but don’t write it down, then have to rack my brain to remember what it was. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes not. (I think I should invest in Post-it Notes stock, because I’m often using them as I grow older – but not up.) That being said, my short-term memory is shaky at times, but my long-term memory works just fine. I can recall many stories from my life, as evidenced in the many I’ve told these past 14 and a half years of penning this column.

Jimmy Buffett once did a song titled, Useless but Important Information. I think that may describe my long-term memory. I have a lot of useless (to many, but important to me) information I love sharing, especially in reminiscing with the people involved in said stories at gatherings of one sort or another. In situations where I’m sharing stories with people not participants in them, I love my stories and want to share them with others, for entertainment, or for teaching purposes. For those who were involved with many of them, I need them to know how special they are to me, so special that I can remember our relationships, some going way back to my childhood.

The first part of my 43 years of married life with Sally centered around a couple things. One was our kids. I became a parent on our wedding day, and boy was that like participating in a Polar Plunge in Chautauqua Lake on a snowy January day. I’d worked with kids before, but not any that were mine. I couldn’t send my own kids to the principal’s office when they did something against our rules. We were the principals, so we had to establish rules and consequences.

We did, but much of it was trial and error (lots of those) on my end. Also, I had to get used to having girls, and planning activities that they would enjoy. We tried to get them involved in things they might like to do. As time went on, they started Girl Scouting, Chasy did midget football cheerleading, and started playing the violin. Both girls did swimming, Chrissy did gymnastics, tried playing the clarinet, and loved doing art. They both were Altar Servers, and as time passed on, we did some camping at Allegany State Park, took a trip to Florida too, but I feel the girls were cheated in my early parental tenure, which brings me to the second thing that life was centered around back then.

When we got married, I was a relatively new teacher, making just over ten thousand dollars and I tried to supplement that with extra-curricular activities that paid to add to our family coffers. I coached two school sports back then, one being Modified Football at Washington, the other Varsity Baseball at Panama before getting the JV, and later Varsity Baseball team at JHS before moving to Cassadaga Valley to coach Varsity Baseball. I was also umpiring baseball in the area to make a little more money too, so I was gone a lot. I missed many bedtime stories, meals, and “What did you do today” conversations when the girls were young. We made it through those days, though, and when the girls were older (teens) Jon made his appearance in our world.

When Jon was old enough (5), he started many activities (multiple sports, later Altar Server, later mowing at our parish cemetery, eventually a job at McD’s.) By that time though, the girls were gone, so we basically started over and became parents all over again. This time we had a bit more experience, there was only one child, and he and I both loved sports, so it was a little easier.

So, for about 20 years after the “I do(s),” our time was spent working, coaching (me), and parenting. During that time, I managed to coach some of Jon’s youth teams, and organize some travel teams from when Jon was 10 until 18. We did a lot of travel baseball which included trips to Cooperstown, Reading, Scranton, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Dunkirk. We also, as fans, saw a number of Cleveland Indians games too. We also did some camping and visited The Field of Dreams, California, and Florida too.

Stay tuned for next weekend’s narrative to read, what Paul Harvey so eloquently described as, The Rest of the Story.


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