An act of concern |

An act of concern

Something unusual happened to me yesterday. My son Doug had an appointment at a local surgeon’s office — everything was just fine, thank goodness — but in case he had to have minor surgery I went along to drive him home if needed. That didn’t happen.

Of course I sat there in the waiting room reading a magazine when a couple came in and sat down across from me. She was a gentle looking woman dressed in shorts. He was a thin man with, I think, a mustache. I wasn’t staring; I just noticed them when they sat down like we all do in doctors’ offices. Then I did see something that caught my attention. They were holding hands.

Now they weren’t just “holding hands”; they were clinging to each other via that handclasp. It was very evident that whatever the problem may or may not have been, it was serious to them. It was difficult for me not to notice, and if they’re reading this I hope you’ll understand my concern and admiration. Elsewhere, the television set on one of those “Judge” programs while I and the other waiting patients sat there.

Some were either reading magazines scattered about or watching some terrible television program. Not that couple. They didn’t move a muscle. They sat together holding hands with somber looks on their faces. Doug was finished just about the time I was looking for yet another magazine to read, but we left. I simply wanted to say, “Thank you” to those very nice people and that whatever the problem my prayers are with them.

There’s was a show of love during that short time in that doctor’s office. I was very appreciative to have been lucky enough to see those two people proving that caring about another person is very, very important. Now on a lighter note on my series about homes or places I’ve lived in and which one would be my chose if I had a ton of money, which of course I don’t!

The first home I ever owned, that had my name on the title and not incidentally the mortgage, was that little two bedroom, one bath home in Roslyn, PA. Can you possibly imagine buying a nice little bungalow with hardwood floors, a brick fireplace and a nice landscaped yard for $9,950? You can’t even buy a car for that today. I remember how wonderful it was to get out of a terrible apartment.

It was in the Germantown section of Philly where we’d lived after World War II for four years at $40 per month rent. A trolley car ran up and down out front. When one of those cars would stop at the next corner, the screeching sound of brakes would wake the dead. At that corner was a not so clean butcher shop. We had a bug problem you cannot believe.

Along came the opportunity to buy a nice little, clean, new home in a local suburb with payments just over $50 a month. We had two boys then, but seven years later David arrived, and then Dean. When number five Danny was due, we knew we must move. This decision wasn’t easy. In the meantime I found part time work in our new home’s local drugstore. It began one Christmas and I worked the soda fountain.

This type fountain was one we rarely find anymore, anywhere, which breaks my heart. Gene, the owner, and his wife finally had me working after the holiday evenings and some weekends at that fountain and all over the store where needed. My husband took care of the boys and the extra money came in handy. In our new home, we of course had problems. People in such close proximity to neighbors always do.

The neighbor to our left who wouldn’t allow her little girls to even walk in the grass in their back yard. The neighbor to the right wanted to get into our car the moment I was headed out to the store. However, what sent us over the edge were two things. We needed more space for our growing family and some hate letters that three or four of our neighbors and Don, Sr and I had received.

That last scared the be jeepers out of us. We found the big house in Ambler and were on our way. Now living in a house that was 150 years old had a lot of its own problems. More on that later.

Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and columnist. She may be reached at