Thursday, February 26, 2009

Family emergency, charmed life

2-26-09 grateful brain

I usually have blog postings done a few days in advance and they are then scheduled to post in the early morning hours.
Today my blog is posted in real time, since I need to catch up to what has happened since Monday morning.

I received that dreaded cell phone message…. Just as my cell phone battery was dying……. (One lesson, always have a full battery, or carry your cell phone charger)…..Long story short, my mother was calling with news that my father was in the hospital and she needed my help! Her voice had an urgent tone.

I dropped everything and drove 2 hours north to my hometown with the worst case scenario playing my head…… preparing myself for the funeral. I have always felt very blessed to be in my 50’s and have both parents still alive in their 80’s. They have both been fairly healthy all their lives and are living a good quality of life in their own home….. But I knew the day would come, when they would require more of my attention and care.

OK back to “long story short”….. my Dad was helicoptered to University Hospitals in Iowa City. I picked up my Mom and we drove the 2.5 hour trip there to meet up with Dad. (PS: he enjoyed the helicopter ride)….I won’t go into the details here at this time. I will tell you we were very blessed in many ways. Dad is doing pretty well as of Thursday evening and might be headed home Friday.

Dad really has had a rather “charmed” life from my view point. At age 17 he join the Marines to fight in WWII. This picture is on top of Mount Suribachi at Iwo Jima. Dad was an amphibian recon Marine and spent time swimming to islands in the Pacific mapping out the territory and was one of the first Americans on the island of Iwo Jima in 1945. Everyone probably is familiar with the historic photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal on February 23, 1945 which depicts five U.S. Marines raising the flag on top of Mount Suribachi. Dad was in the first group of Marines that did reconnaissance and made the path up to the top of Mount Suribachi. He was standing around when the flag raising picture was taken. This is a picture also taken by Joe Rosenthal at that time. You will see Dad on the left with his gun in the air.

Brief history lesson: At Iwo Jima, the Allied forces suffered 27,909 casualties, with 6,825 killed in action. The number of American casualties was greater than the total Allied casualties on D-Day (Wikipedia), also Iwo Jima was also the only U.S. Marine battle where the American casualties exceeded the Japanese.

I always have believed it was a miracle that Dad survived all his WWII experiences and was able to lead a rather normal life as a teacher and coach, raising a family and being married for nearly 60 years to my one women, my Mom.

Dad is still in pretty good shape at age 83 (soon to be 84 in April), in spite of smoking for nearing 50 years (he quit at age 70)….. must be good genes and the fact he was a fit athlete into his 50’s . Today he still has his wits about him, his toughness, and his sense of humor and he has been riding his exercise bike for 10 year since he received new knees. I know he won’t live forever, but for the time being he is still living a charmed life.

It was a bit of irony that Dad’s initial passing out spell happened on Monday….. February 23, and as he told Mother that morning in the hospital it was 64 years ago he was on Iwo Jima. Unfortunately, he still remembers that day all too well. (We were glad just to see he had no brain impairment)

My postings may be limited for the next few days as our lives hopefully will slowly, but eventually, settle back to a more normal schedule.


  1. Wow! Now THAT is a story! Thinking of you and your family.

  2. Judy, good to see you back on the blog and your dad is on the mends. Thanks for the history lessen and how do you have all these pictures at your fingertips?

    Well as for 2-23...I am looking for the work that describes two unrelated events with the same date. Roberts says it's not really coincidence or serendipity. He's says it's a German word. Long story short, good news for your family. Here's the other significance, you always said one reason not to move is because of your parents. So buying the second home in KC did work for you that is allowed you to keep the DM home. up.