My Blog


One might read this premise and wonder about the author’s sanity or sincerity, and I might ask that myself. The premise of this blog came to mind recently while I was watching the movie “Forest Gump”. What is this movie about other than a tale of an extraordinary life throughout history? I decided the movie was a love story of how Forest stays with Jenny despite her faults as if to compensate for his own.

It is difficult to look at one’s life as a love story without doing an in-depth self-inspection. My life could hardly be considered a love story depending on the perspective and time period. My parents were abusive alcoholics who fought nightly. Their relationship could never be considered a love story during that stage of their marriage, but one which was typical of the auto executive lifestyle in the 1960s. It wasn’t difficult to comprehend their attitudes when studying their upbringings.

My maternal grandmother was equally abusive to her child and grandchildren. My paternal grandfather was the silent hate-filled type who’d never recovered from fighting in the horrors of the World War One trenches. Nowadays, we’d say he suffered from PTSD. If a veteran raised his son with loveless beatings, that might have been considered natural for that time period. On the positive side, I learned being beaten was no way to raise my son, so he benefitted from a loving childhood which turned him into a boy who constantly laughed and giggled. He was a joy to raise with the strong support from his compassionate mother. He grew up to be a decent, caring, hard-working human being.

My maternal grandfather was a proving point of this blog. I’ve written about his love before. Orval Cathcart gave up his life’s dream as a professional pitcher with the Chicago White Sox during the depression of the 1930s so he could marry his love and raise a family. He gave up his passion in life, and became a humble commercial bus driver to raise two daughters. It’s because of Orval that I exist. He never acted as if he regretted his decision to forsake his passion for baseball. Nor did he ever treat his descendants as if we were mistakes. He was the kind of grandfather who’d laughingly chase you around with his false teeth or electric razor to see you giggle in fright. Orval was a gentle, fun-loving man who taught me the love for life and others, Orval also gave he a gift which blessed me throughout my life. On the day I was born he brought home, Siggy, a German Shepard puppy who taught me the value and love of dogs. Siggy also helped me learn to walk by holding my arm in her mouth to maintain my balance. My love of the eight dogs who’ve shared their lives with me are the second greatest love story of my life, and one of the reason I can say my happy life has been a love story.

The true love of my life began my sophomore year at Purdue University. I was living off campus in a fraternity, mostly for the parties with free beer. It was during one of these parties that I noticed a tall brunette. I’d seen her before. At 5’10” she was a rarity. The fact that she was attractive made her a gemstone among Big Ten females. I might have asked her to dance. I don’t recall. I saw her a few more times during parties that year. We might have exchanged pleasantries in the beer lines. Her name was Monica, but I was dating someone else. That was when fate planted its seed. It turned out that Monica lived in the same dorm as the girl I was dating. This gave me many chance encounters with Monica until later that year when I broke up with this old girlfriend.

It was following my relationship with that girl that I called Monica for our first date. The 40th anniversary of that date was this month. The longevity of our relationship is some proof that it’s a love story, but not the strongest. Monica’s compassionate love is what has held us together. I didn’t grow up free from my parent’s faults. Monica claims I have anger management problems, although I have never touched her or my son in anger .. My anger normally results from the stupidity I see of others. The frustrations of my business career as a low-paid financial branch manager before becoming a published author, led me to drink excessively. Monica stuck with me through it all. It was her voicing that she’d lost respect for me which gave me the courage to finally lead me to get help.

This wasn’t the only test of Monica’s compassionate love. The real test came seven years ago when I suffered a “significant” stroke, paralyzing my left foot and hand. Monica to gave up her brilliant thirty-year career as female executive at Ford Motor Company to become my full-time care-giver. The real proof of her love is that I also inherited my father’s lack of patience. Being sidelined from an active lifestyle did little for my mood. She’s had to endure my foul moods and anger while I learned to walk again. She’s been forced to drive and wait through endless therapy appointments while acting as my patient advocate. Monica has suffered through it all. The fact that Monica remains with me this thirty-seventh anniversary of our wedding despite all my faults proves my life is a love story, and that I married an exceptional woman