Tag Archives: Dr Dorothy Greiner Kockelmans

Remembering my mother, Dr. Dorothy G. Kockelmans

Greetings, readers. Tomorrow marks the fourteenth anniversary of my mom’s passing. I was going to do a blog entry to mark the occasion, but realized we did this last year. That entry turned out so well, there was no need to do another one, and it is definitely worth a repeat post. That is something I hardly ever do, though WordPress has a handy feature to copy an entire post, tags and all. It will be linked to Twitter, Facebook, and the Bear Spring Camps Facebook page. Mom, this is for you.

Thirteen years ago today my mom went to her eternal resting place

Greetings, readers. This is an emotional day for me. I lost my mom thirteen years ago this afternoon, June 15, 2003. It was Father’s Day, and Pop was having an unusually happy Father’s Day. He liked the gift I got him, and we were looking forward to a special dinner. Mom had sent me to the store to pick up an item that she had forgotten. I got the item, had a quick cup of coffee at the coffee stand, and when I got back she was gone. My mom was my dad’s primary caregiver, and after discovering her, I had to go and wreck his world.

My mother and I were joined at the hip. After years upon years of having things done for me and having my life made easy, I was now the one who had to help Pop and take over other responsibilities in the house. I was only 37 years old, relatively young to lose my mother, and I faced more years without her than with her.

I was indeed able to grow up that summer and I got a lot done, including helping Dad arrange home care and getting myself to Maine for the annual vacation at Bear Spring Camps. I was able to keep the same cabin and do all the same things that Mom and I would do. There was also a touching porch party in her honor which everyone who was in camp came to; only two people had prior commitments.

My mom was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1923. We moved from Pittsburgh to State College, Pennsylvania when I was three years old. Mom, a psychologist, had her private practice downtown in an office over a bank. Many a summer afternoon I spent in our car listening to the radio waiting for her to come down from work at 3:00. It quickly became a ritual. Sometimes on a Friday afternoon we would go to Burger King for milkshakes. I would usually get strawberry and she would get vanilla, her favorite flavor.

My mom was extremely independent and organized almost to a fault. Every evening she would have the preparations laid for the morning breakfast, so that all she had to do was turn on the tea kettle and oatmeal would be ready in minutes.

One thing I didn’t like about my mom was that she despised doctors and would never go to them. She died of congestive heart failure from smoking. If she had been on medication and under a doctor’s care there is a chance that she could have lived a few more years. But she did things her way and she chose how she lived her life.

One of my fondest memories of my mom was the song we shared from Percy Faith called “Theme from A Summer Place.” Back in the 1970s there was an easy listening radio station in Waterville, Maine. Every summer going back to camp for the evening, Mom would turn on that station and at least two or three times during those two weeks we would hear that beloved song. I currently have that song on a Spotify music playlist, and I listened to it this afternoon in her honor. I know, I know, I am just sentimental that way.

Mom, I said it the day you died and I’ll say it again. Thank you for being the best mom in the world.

Here is a picture of my Mom, which we photographed in the frame, since we could not get it out without risking damage to the picture. It might be a little grainy, but you can certainly see her.

Picture of a picture of Mom from the 1990s, as far as I can guess on the year.
Picture of a picture of Mom from the 1990s, as far as I can guess on the year.

June 14, 2017 Rebecca will have a blog entry up sometime tomorrow. I am still having computer issues. There is a slight chance I will be purchasing a new computer tomorrow, and if so I might chime in myself with a small entry giving you details. Wow, perhaps a double entry day. Until soonest, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

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Thank you for making yesterday’s post the second highest day of views ever

Greetings, readers. Last night around 10:30 I turned on the computer to check the blog stat numbers as I usually do and I was pleasantly surprised. My average daily views range below 40. When I saw the number 112 on the screen I just about fell off my chair. I thought my mom’s tribute piece would resonate and it did. I wrote from my heart about a day that was difficult for me and you responded with love and kindness.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, my readers, not only on WordPress but also from Twitter and Facebook. The love I felt this morning, reading all the Facebook comments from folks I went to school and to camp with really made me feel comforted. And then I saw the comments from a few of you on my blog and I felt even more blessed. Mom was loved by many people and her loss has effected each one of us.

Again, thank you so much for leaving your kind words and comments and for your support.

Tomorrow I have a personal day due to a doctor’s appointment during work time, so until next Wednesday, have a good weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Thirteen years ago today my mom went to her eternal resting place

Greetings, readers. This is an emotional day for me. I lost my mom thirteen years ago this afternoon, June 15, 2003. It was Father’s Day, and Pop was having an unusually happy Father’s Day. He liked the gift I got him, and we were looking forward to a special dinner. Mom had sent me to the store to pick up an item that she had forgotten. I got the item, had a quick cup of coffee at the coffee stand, and when I got back she was gone. My mom was my dad’s primary caregiver, and after discovering her, I had to go and wreck his world.

My mother and I were joined at the hip. After years upon years of having things done for me and having my life made easy, I was now the one who had to help Pop and take over other responsibilities in the house. I was only 37 years old, relatively young to lose my mother, and I faced more years without her than with her.

I was indeed able to grow up that summer and I got a lot done, including helping Dad arrange home care and getting myself to Maine for the annual vacation at Bear Spring Camps. I was able to keep the same cabin and do all the same things that Mom and I would do. There was also a touching porch party in her honor which everyone who was in camp came to; only two people had prior commitments.

My mom was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1923. We moved from Pittsburgh to State College, Pennsylvania when I was three years old. Mom, a psychologist, had her private practice downtown in an office over a bank. Many a summer afternoon I spent in our car listening to the radio waiting for her to come down from work at 3:00. It quickly became a ritual. Sometimes on a Friday afternoon we would go to Burger King for milkshakes. I would usually get strawberry and she would get vanilla, her favorite flavor.

My mom was extremely independent and organized almost to a fault. Every evening she would have the preparations laid for the morning breakfast, so that all she had to do was turn on the tea kettle and oatmeal would be ready in minutes.

One thing I didn’t like about my mom was that she despised doctors and would never go to them. She died of congestive heart failure from smoking. If she had been on medication and under a doctor’s care there is a chance that she could have lived a few more years. But she did things her way and she chose how she lived her life.

One of my fondest memories of my mom was the song we shared from Percy Faith called “Theme from A Summer Place.” Back in the 1970s there was an easy listening radio station in Waterville, Maine. Every summer going back to camp for the evening, Mom would turn on that station and at least two or three times during those two weeks we would hear that beloved song. I currently have that song on a Spotify music playlist, and I listened to it this afternoon in her honor. I know, I know, I am just sentimental that way.

Mom, I said it the day you died and I’ll say it again. Thank you for being the best mom in the world.

Here is a picture of my Mom, which we photographed in the frame, since we could not get it out without risking damage to the picture. It might be a little grainy, but you can certainly see her.

Picture of a picture of Mom from the 1990s, as far as I can guess on the year.
Picture of a picture of Mom from the 1990s, as far as I can guess on the year.

Another short week for us, so if there is no blog entry tomorrow, I’ll try to put one up on the weekend. Until soonest, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

No, I am not prepared for life

Greetings, readers. After spending three days working with healthcare.gov, two with Rebecca and one on my own, I have come to the horrible conclusion that I am ill-equipped to handle real life challenges. I’m just fine listening to music, perusing Facebook, and playing video games. When it comes to real life situations that require me to use my brain, I am a cross between Herman Munster and the Swamp Thing. Today when my accountant was looking over the health plan I chose and saw a couple of problems, I actually caught myself feeling the same way when Herman “goofs it again.”

This all stems from – and Mom, I love you to death – me not being prepared for real life. As far back as I can remember, everything was done for me. My parents were fairly well to do and I was physically challenged, so I really wasn’t encouraged to get a job early in life. I know I’ve blogged about certain topics like this before, but this recent phone call and possible health care blunder, has brought these feelings back to the surface. Luckily, it doesn’t last very long. Much to talk about with my therapist on Monday.

Let me explain what happened with the healthcare phone call. First of all, the 40 minute hold time did not put me in a good mood. Second, once we got going, of course, there were many questions to verify that I am who I said I was. After that was taken care of, we got down to business. I explained that I didn’t want my current plan to roll over and wanted to choose another one. Looking at my new plan in more depth today, however, I realize I probably made a mistake. Yes the premiums are a bit cheaper, but my out-of-pocket money for drugs per month will be more. Ouch!

Since the new policy doesn’t begin until January 1st, I might still have time to change it. But I’ll have to talk to them tonight. I’m going to take a piece of paper and jot down specific questions to be answered.

My problem is that I’m not thorough. I don’t think things through. My health care policy is a perfect example. I saw a $30 a month in savings in the premiums, with the next choice higher, and said I’ll take that one, without asking exactly what the plan does and does not cover. Before we began this blog today, I must admit I was angry with myself and Rebecca knew it. She’s a good friend not to give me any I told you so’s or you should have done this or that. The reason I was angry was because my mother would never have allowed this to happen. She was the queen of organization and not leaving any stone unturned. Every question would have been answered to her satisfaction or she would not have taken the policy. Oh, mother, how I wish you were with me now. Since that’s not possible, the only thing for me to do is to accept the encouragement of my friends and say I will do better next time, learning from my mistakes.

Until Friday, take care, throw good thoughts my way to be strong, and happy reading.

Top ten list of things I wish I had kept from my parents’ house

Greetings, readers. It pains me to have to say this, but when I moved into my new apartment, I simply didn’t have enough room to take everything I wanted from my parents’ house. I chose paintings, small knickknacks, and small family pictures. The two most important items I did take were the credenza which sat in the front hallway and my mom’s desk which was in her home office. I knew right away that I wasn’t going to part with those. When loved ones pass away, or are forced to sell a house, sometimes your judgement is clouded by emotions. This is what happened to me. Here’s a top ten list of items I wish I had taken before the house was cleared out. These are in no particular order except #1, and whose to say if I would have had room for them or not.

#10. My double bed. [I took Pop’s single bed instead and though it is comfortable, I quickly learned that I toss and turn way too much, and enjoyed the extra room the double bed gave me.]

#9. The marble coffee table. [My mom and dad’s house had two living rooms. The actual living room, a fancier room used for Dad’s parties for colleagues. And the family room where we sat and enjoyed life everyday. The marble coffee table was in the living room. It was my favorite room in the house.]

#8. My organ. [Although it was 8/10ths dead already, the organ my parents purchased for me held special memories; the nicest of which was me learning to play Christmas carols to perform at the holiday time. My favorite was “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.]

#7. The big screen TV. [This model was not one that hung on a wall and it would have taken up all of this apartment’s living room. Ha ha. For sports watching it was gorgeous.]

#6. The fancy clock in the living room which worked under its own power. [It was stylish, gorgeous and would have looked great on the credenza.]

#5. My grandmother’s teacup and saucer set. [I took the tea service but was dumb enough to forget the dainty cups and saucers that went along with it. Having fancy 4:00 tea with guests just doesn’t seem right when the tea has to be served in coffee mugs.]

#4. My grandmother’s chest of drawers. [Yes, it was fancy and maybe a little girlie, but I loved it and certainly could have put it to good use. The small bureau I took turned out to not have enough room for everything I needed it to hold.]

#3. My thick black winter coat. [I had a fancy thick black coat from New York, very stylish and warm in the winter, and in my sorrow and confusion, left it behind. It was something I could have easily had room for.]

#2. My Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins knit winter caps. [I had them from a very early age and they probably wouldn’t have fit anymore, but again, they would have been mementos I could easily store in my walk-in closet.]

#1. The house itself. [It goes without saying that I would have loved to keep the family home. I doubt very seriously whether I would have had the monetary means to pull it off for many years, but I didn’t even get a chance to try. On a side note, my eye doctor and her family now own our house. It’s not very often that you know the owners of your former home. Since Pop’s passing, I have been inside the old homestead once. It was very nicely remodeled but there was not much left that I could say I remembered as being from my house. It’s their place and I have no qualms with them making it theirs. I’m just going to remember it the way it was.]

There’s the list. Hope you enjoy. If you have questions or comments you can contact me either here or on my Facebook page.

I’m going out of town for Thanksgiving, so there will be no blog entries Wednesday or Friday. We do have one set up on a schedule to automatically post on Thursday. This is the first time we have tried this feature on WordPress, let’s hope it works. We will be back to our normal schedule the week after Thanksgiving.

Have a great holiday, take care, and happy reading. Gobble-gobble.

A birthday wish and settling into my new routine

Greetings, readers. Today would have been my mom’s 92nd birthday. I miss her tremendously and think about her everyday. This morning I turned on Spotify music and played one of her favorite songs, “Theme from A Summer Place, by Percy Faith. I must admit, a tear came down my face, which usually happens in the opening moments of the song as I remember my mother. So today, on August 21st, I say happy birthday to my Mom.

As far as my new routine goes, it’s not quite set in stone but I’m making strides to find a morning time to be creative. Whether that means writing, taking notes, reading, or studying, it is the time for me to get to work and save my games and simulations for evening time. You know the old expression, work before pleasure.

A part of my evening routine is an attempt to have a very quiet evening after 9:00. Instead of watching 10 episodes of Reba on YouTube, or an old classic football game, I turn off the TV and put on some soothing music, just like I would do in my cabin at Bear Spring Camps. Last night, it worked perfectly. I was sleepy, and ready for light’s out at 10 p.m. That’s probably why I woke up at 4:30. Kitty cat Keekee raised her head as if to say, ‘what the heck are you doing, it’s dark outside,’ put her head back down and closed her eyes. I, too, clicked off the light, flipped over, and went back to sleep.

The big thing I am going to work on this year is my diet. I don’t get enough vegetables, I eat way too much ice cream and sweets, and as most people know, that is an invitation to walk down the road to diabetes. That ran in my family, so I do have to be careful. A few weeks before camp I already took the first step, by having a friend with a car take me grocery shopping, so I could stock up on healthy things to eat. If that could become a pattern every two or three weeks, it would certainly help. Point blank, I’m tired of eating junk food.

Rebecca got a small surprise the first day back to work. On my computer, I created a daily things-to-do list. This will help keep me organized, motivated, and allow me to get more things done each day. Although I’ve only used it for a few days, it seems to be working already. Yay for organization!

Before we go, our heat and humidity wave was washed away by a doozy of a heavy rain storm yesterday, which caused local flooding in some areas. Today is beautiful and much cooler. I hope the weather is, at the very least, bearable where you are.

Next week, either Wednesday or Friday, you can look forward to a new top ten list. I bid you a good weekend, take care, and as always, happy reading.

Top ten list of the best things I’ve ever done

Greetings, readers. Here is a top ten list of highlights from my life, plus one honorable mention. They are eleven things or events which I’ve done, that every time I look back on them they bring a smile to my face. Only #1 and #2 are in definitive order. So I hope you enjoy.

#10. Taking a cross-country trip from Pennsylvania to California with my Aunt Marilyn. [Circa the late 70s or early 80s.]

#9. My transatlantic crossing on the Queen Elizabeth 2. [1973. Mom, Dad, Grandma, and I sat at the captain’s table. I have a photo of Dad and me in white hats, on board the ship, most likely on the way to dinner.]

#8. While married to Georgia Barnhart, we took a cross-country trip, via the southern states, to visit my mother-in-law in California, and the subsequent trip to Disneyland.

#7. As a child, learning to play Christmas Carols on my organ. [Ordinarily I’m not good with instruments, but the chords were one finger touch for my weak left hand, so I was able to learn some songs to play for my parents.]

#6. Becoming the Godfather to David and Geri’s older daughter Ashley. I also treasure becoming part of my best friend’s wife’s family as their uncle figure. [Extremely rewarding.]

#5. Meeting and remaining good friends over many years with David Trost, Rebecca Taylor, Georgia Barnhart & Jim Sneeringer.

#4. Wrote my three books and had them published through CreateSpace.com. [I am also proud of my play which got a staged reading at a nearby playhouse, and is currently being turned into a novel by Darren. I also wrote a screenplay for a Charlie’s Angels TV movie back in the day.]

#3. Started my blog in December 2011.

#2. My various trips to Europe with my parents. [Especially Rome, Italy and Amsterdam, Holland.]

#1. Going to Bear Spring Camps in central Maine.

Honorable Mention: Giving several performances of my lip-sync air-guitar show in my apartment building, including a tribute concert to a late friend, Erin Beish.

Well, there you have it. As most of my steady readers will note, Bear Spring Camps is #1. No big shock there folks. Until next week, have a great weekend, take care and happy reading.

My parents’ habits

Greetings, readers. During a writing exercise late last week, both Rebecca and I came to the conclusion that the work would be a good blog entry. We just now read over it and it reads a little choppy. This is the first time that I can recall that we have used a writing exercise as a blog entry. It has some good details that I want to share with you about my parents. I hope you enjoy it.

My mother was a creature of habit. I remember in her final years that she would always get up at precisely 7:00. She must have set an alarm. After getting dressed I would hear her walk down the steps and then the morning ritual would begin. First, she would unlatch the front door, then she would turn and switch on the lamp which was on the credenza. Making her way into the kitchen, she would activate the fluorescent light on our old stove.

Shortly thereafter, I would walk downstairs and join her. I was amazed at the preparation that mom took to make her morning as simple as possible. All the coffee mugs would be laid out. My oatmeal packets would be sitting in the bowl ready to be opened. This was to cut down on as much extra activity as possible. I think my mom was just like me; not a morning person.

One of us would flick on the button to begin the water boiling in the kettle. The other would turn on the coffee maker. As the coffee began brewing, Mom would open up the packets of the instant oatmeal. My two favorite flavors were peaches and cream and strawberries and cream.

Even though I was still in school, I was allowed to have coffee. I began drinking it at age ten. Half coffee, half milk. That is how I liked it. Mom would then continue with her ritualistic ways. I have dreamt of being more like her but I just can’t seem to do it. Many of my problems might be solved if I could develop more good habits.

One of the habits I need to work on is set up days to do specific tasks. For instance, laundry on Wednesdays, shopping on Mondays, and house cleaning on Saturdays. Mom had the right idea though I think she went overboard with it at some points.

Dad was kind of the same way. He never slept in. Pop was always up between 6:45 and 7:00. Got himself dressed and shaved and was down to breakfast by 8:00. In the earlier years, I believe this was because he had to teach a 9:00 class at Penn State, so he was already in the early morning mode. If I’m at Panera café by 11:00 in the morning it is a miracle. I am not a morning person.

When I go to Maine every August, I enjoy getting up early. I want to have a nice long day to do all the sundry activities that Bear Spring Camps has to offer; 9:00 fishing, lunch at 12:30, afternoon swimming and boat rides, and still the occasional happy hour. Every year I tell myself I am going to keep to this schedule when I get home. LOL. That schedule lasts about a week and then I am right back to Mr. Lazybones.

Rebecca has told me that doing something 21 times tends to make it a habit. I think in July, right before I go to camp, I will force myself to get up early and have that long day. That way when I get back from camp, I’ll already be in my new habit. Wish me luck all.

Take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

Top ten list of things we take for granted

Greetings, readers. Unlike the list of modern conveniences, this top ten list will be on a more personal note. Although, I’m sure it will apply to many of my readers. So here we go.

#10. Our home. [Whether it be from childhood or at the present moment, be thankful if you have a roof over your head. Home is where the heart is.]

#9. A working vehicle. [I, like many in State College, rely on our bus system. Although it is a good one, I do miss the convenience of my old car.]

#8. Family pets. [Over the years I have lost dogs and a cat and I know I shall be devastated when it is Keekee’s turn to go.]

#7. Good health. [As we tend to get older, health problems usually arise; that is normal for life. Be thankful for your health while you have it.]

#6. A good mind. [I am witnessing first-hand, probably due to lack of stimulation, what I call the oatmeal brain syndrome. Like the old TV commercial said, a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Don’t forget to use yours.]

#5. Mother Earth. [There’s one we take for granted. One of these days, hopefully not in our lifetime, I think this poor planet is just going to explode.]

#4. For me, Bear Spring Camps. [A lifetime of happy memories, certainly not to be forgotten.]

#3. Numerous trips around the country, some voyages to other parts of the world. [Yes, I was a lucky lad.]

#2. Friends. [I have had more than my share of good friends over my lifetime. I was reminded of that so sweetly this past Wednesday when a dear friend of mine left a wonderful comment on my entry called Parallels.]

#1. Family. [Love them while you have them, you only have them for so long.]

Ok, there you have them; chime in with yours if you wish to. As always, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Mixed feeling day – sad anniversary and exciting book news

Greetings, readers. As the title implies, I have mixed feelings about this day, June 15, 2012. On this date in 2003 I lost my dear mother, Dr. Dorothy Greiner Kockelmans. It was one of the saddest days in my life and changed my life forever. I was what you call a momma’s boy and we were joined at the hip. She was over protective of me because of my cerebral palsy, and I was used to it since that was all I knew from my early childhood days.

When I came home one day and found that she had passed away, the follower had to become the leader. Two things happened within moments of each other. First, to make absolutely certain, I lifted her left eyelid and saw no one looking back at me. Second, I had to go and tell me dear father that his wife had died. To make matters worse, that particular June 15th was Father’s Day. Time has marched on and day by day my routine without mother gets stronger. Though still every mid-June is still difficult for me. Love you Mom.

Now on to happier news. Rebecca and I were at a local bookstore today where my first book is for sale and learned that someone did indeed purchase a copy. Whoo-hoot. The store owner is interested in my new book, due to come out next week or so and wants six copies. Big thumbs up. To all my readers, I know sometimes I post links here on my page which may or may not be of interest. However, when the second book is for sale, I shall put the two easy links for both books.

On a sports note, congratulations to the LA Kings for winning the Stanley Cup. Also the NBA finals are in full swing. As I am not a big basketball fan, I shall just say good luck to both teams. I believe it is Miami and Oklahoma City.

On a quirky note, I won my very first full length baseball game on PS3 the other night. I was the Baltimore Orioles and the computer was the Washington Nationals. I hit three home runs. Yay me. I do not remember the final score because this game took place at 6:30 in the morning while I was suffering one of my frequent insomnia nights.

Lastly, for next week I hope to have at least two new blog entries go up. I don’t really want to talk about the Jerry Sandusky case, but I might. Or politics, but I might. You get the idea. I know I had promised a blog about Romney vs. Obama. I still hope to have that come out one day very soon. I guess I am just afraid of any hate mail I might receive. Rush Limbaugh or Chris Matthews, I am not. Until next week, have a good weekend and happy reading.