About once a week either my boys call from California or Doug and I call them. It’s the best way we have of keeping in touch. Doug and I are not into the email or “Smart phone” thing. So it’s back to good old Ma Bell.
Oldest son Don Jr. and his wife Earlene are both retired. A lot of time has passed since the days when both of them had jobs in New York City. Earlene was with an import export company that handled those containers you see on docks – that is if you watch television shows that feature ships and ports. I was surprised to realize that most of what we receive from overseas comes in those huge containers.
When my husband Van passed away here, Don came to the funeral. Afterward, I went back with him to New York, attending yet another funeral in Van’s family. Don and Earlene took me to see her office in the Twin Towers. We had dinner at the restaurant on the top. While dining, they both talked about moving back west. They discussed in detail the differences between life in the east and the west.
It was just few months later that they both got transfers and came back to what they called their home, California. They did something really nice; they bought a house with a small cottage in the back for me to live in. Back then I had a good job in Reno. I visited and stayed in that cottage every so often. They now use it as a rental, turning it into an excellent investment.
These two are the oldest in their own families, Don, the oldest of five and Earlene the oldest of eight. They decided early on not to have children. It wasn’t long after they had settled back in California that they acquired a sweet little puppy. Now, after all of the passing years, they have rescued a couple dozen dogs and have what they call their own personal pack.
I’ll skip talking about son number two, Doug. You’ve heard enough about him. Next in line is David “the comedian.” He’s the son who when first hired at some kind of electronic business – because his grades in school had been almost perfect in all subjects – did something unusual. The company was having a problem with a new product, which for some unknown reason simply wouldn’t work.
They had even sent one of their men to England asking for help. Finally, David being David asked if he could take a look. He told me how they all rolled their eyes at him, this kid with long hair and Coors beer sweatshirt. However, they gave him a chance. Five minutes later he came out and announced it was fixed, and it had been. He got a huge promotion.
David and wife Wendy have two daughters and six grandchildren. They’ll be retiring soon to either their home in Irvine or the cottage they own in the mountains. They recently celebrated their 40th. Wedding anniversary. Now we come to Dean, second youngest in line. He married Wendy’s sister Tara. We’ve always had fun trying to figure out their assorted legal relationship – sister-in-law, while being sisters. Tara and Dean have a daughter with two young ones.
Dean’s the son who was driving in his brand new car when a drunk driver in an SUV ran a red light and slammed into his car, nearly killing Dean. His internal injuries were so bad they’ve left him on pain medications and his inability to ever work again. Like always, the lawsuit is taking forever. Finally, there’s youngest, Dan, who’ll soon retire. He’s currently a warehouse supervisor at a prison near the California coast.
His wife Danielle has been in a wheelchair for many years now, paralyzed from the waist down. It’s a daily struggle for both of them. The prison folks have been wonderful to them, allowing Dan to take time off when he is called unexpectedly to come home. He’s free to do so and then come back to work. Danielle keeps busy hand making beautiful jewelry.
Whenever there’s some kind of trade show, they head out to sell her items. Her work is just beautiful and sells quickly. It keeps her busy and happy. In spite of their problems, these two are happy and an inspiration to all those around them. I’m a very proud mother, blessed with five wonderful sons. Can you blame me?
Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and columnist. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org