Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Halloween Memory...from Dad

When I was visiting Dad last month, he reminded me of a story about Mike that seems appropriate to post now--around Halloween.

Dad recalled when we all went to a haunted house. All of us kids were pretty young--Mike was probably about 7 years old. (Hey, aren't haunted houses meant for teenagers and adults?)

Dad said that all of us kids were pretty quiet through the whole thing. (Just to let you know, Dad, it was because we were all terrified!) Then, as we were all quietly walking through the parking lot to leave, Dad asked what our favorite part of the haunted house was. Apparently, only one of us kids offered anything positive. It was Mike.

Mike said, "I liked the lady who let me out the best."

Well said, my brother!

My personal recollection of the haunted house:
I was terrified--especially since my parents were seemingly unaware of some of the happenings to me. For instance, I remember walking up a set of open stairs and having someone reach through and grab my leg...and hang on to it. The only comfort I had while having gouls and zombies jump out at me at every turn was that I was holding onto my mom's hand. But when my ankle was grabbed and I couldn't walk anymore, my mom said something like, "Come on, Laura, you've gotta keep up." I thought to myself, "Easy for you to say." and "Some comfort YOU are, Mom!" Then I was hushed when I tried to explain what happened. I figured I wouldn't get out of there with my family anyway.

Anyone notice that in the picture of all of us kids, Mike dressed up as a soldier?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A gift from Mike

Today, my children found a bag filled with foreign money. It was Mike's bag of money from all (most?) of the countries he visited. What fun our kids had examining it, discovering what countries the coins and bills were from, sorting it all out, and trying to figure its worth, and even weighing the coins. I remember going through this bag a couple of times, but getting it with all of Mike's other belongings, I really hadn't taken a close look at what he had. Here's most of what was in the bag.

There's money from England, Germany, Switzerland, Greece, Netherlands, France, Italy, Mexico, and Canada. There's even a U.S.A. penny from 1916. Cool! (It's also the time period we're currently studying!)

I can't say enough about how much our kids enjoyed Mike's foreign money.

Here are some of their comments as they went through the money:

"He has a very interesting collection of money. The only other coins that I've seen with printing on the edges, like his coins from Greece, France and Germany, are my U.S.A. Presidential $1 coins that I've gotten from the tooth fairy!"

"I wonder if he ever knew how much all this money was worth."

"I've never seen anything like this!"
--Mary Kate

"How did he even get all of this money going to all the different places?"

Dear Mike,

Thank you for your gift to your nieces and nephews! The bag of coins has been very interesting for them to examine, sort through, play with, weigh, and imagine all your interesting travels!

It was a wonderful gift for them at this age--when they're all very interested in money, counting, and learning about all the countries. Now they're interested in figuring out how much it's worth, so we'll have to do some investigating and converting today. I'll let you know what we come up with!

Thanks again for such a timely gift to the kids. How did you know it would be such a perfect gift for them?

Much love,

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

21st Anniversary of Mike's Death

Boot Camp Journal Entry from 25 years ago

Today, October 7, is the 21st anniversary of Mike's death. It's difficult to believe it has been that long. In fact, the first birthday I had after Mike's death was my 21st birthday. Then again, there has been so much that has happened since that date, October 7, 1987, that it really shouldn't surprise me that it has indeed been as long.

I'm posting an entry from Mike's boot camp journal that he wrote almost exactly 25 years ago. It's another example of what he was doing, thinking, and going through at this point in his life--when he was just 18 years old.

I've read this entry numerous times, and it always gets to me when I read the part when he mentions his Judgment Day and the Pearly Gates.

11 OCT 83 (Tuesday)

Today was alright I guess. We started out testing ourselves on different things to prepare ourselves for soldier's stakes. I was one of the testers because I am an assistant squad leader. That was alright. I gave 4 NO GO's and I didn't want to. It was funny watching their expression on their face change when I said, "NO GO."

Then we ate chow and pretty much (messed around) the rest of the day.

I started an allotment (donation) to Catholic Relief Services (ISA). I'm donating $5/month, $60/year. I feel good about it. Maybe it'll help me on judgment day!? It also helped when I heard we get it back in tax returns. I had my mind made up before he said that though. So it makes me feel better. Like I didn't do it just for the BIG DAY at the PEARLY GATES. I hope the Lord knows that.

Tonight I've got phone guard at 2200 until 2300. Wake up is at 0330. We start Tactical BIOVAC tomorrow with a 22-mile march to range 59. I heard it was the shits. I guess I have to wait and find out, huh?....