Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Saturday, July 22, 2017

A Peaceful Year, except perhaps, the Murder Next Door

Wilmington Trust would regularly do health screenings as a free service to we employees. I don't know if it was because they really cared about our health or to see if we were still alive. Usually these were conducted by the Visiting Nurses Association of Delaware. It was probably through them because John Behringer, a Section Manager and Assistant Vice-President, the man everyone suspected would eventually replace Walt Whittaker as the head o Deposit Services, was on the organization's board. On September 22 they were giving blood pressure screenings
I routinely went to these. It was cheaper than a doctor appointment and in my position I was expected to set an example for the troops. It was no biggie. I knew I had hypertension and was on a medication for it. And the test was simple, no needles involved. The nurse just slapped a cuff about the arm and listened to your pulse while the thing grew tighter around you.
Thus I sat there as the cuff squeezed. I looked at the nurse and her face had turned ashen. She appeared actually about to faint. She told me my blood pressure was somewhere over 200 and my pulse was a mere 20 beats a minute. She also commented my skin was clammy. To see the fright in her eyes I thought maybe I should lie down on the floor; I must be dead.
She told me I needed to see my doctor at once, and Walt my boss, agreed. He told me to call my physician and to go home.
I did both. My doctor told me to come right in. He did a general examination and sent me off for blood work. Now there would be a needle involved. Apparently, I wasn’t going to drop dead right away. I reluctantly obeyed, for I have a phobic fear of needles.  I had studiously avoid as much as possible having any of those things stuck into me.
One night a few days later my doctor called me at home. He had just gotten the results of my blood tests and wanted me to come to his office right away. He sounded as shook up as that Visiting Nurse. Maybe I was getting to such a state myself. It's a scary thing to hear a doctor say drop everything and come see me. So I drove in to see him.
He slapped a copy of my test results in my hand as if those lines and ranges would mean something to me. He pointed to one result.
“See that?” he asked. “It shouldn’t be that high.” He looked at me briefly.” And look at this one.” He pointed down the page to another line with numbers on it. “If that first one is high, this one should be low. But it isn’t. It is too high as well. It doesn’t make sense”
He sat down in his chair behind his desk waving the test results in the air. “None of this make sense,” he said. “I have no idea what’s going on except I can’t make heads or tails of these results.” He calmed down and paused, taking out a card he wrote something down and handed it to me. “I want you to see a kidney specialist,” he said. “Call the number on the card to make an appointment.”
I called the nyber and the next available apointment was in October.

While waiting to see the kidney specialist in October, I went through a seminar at Online
Consulting in Wilmington. This course lasted three days and got me certified on Office Writer Inform. It really fascinates me how many word processing programs I went through until M/S Office’s Word sort of become the standard.

I finally saw the kidney specialist and he did nothing except send me to Christiana Care for further tests, such as un ultra-scan of my kidneys. Oh, and bill me for the visit, of course. The result of these tests was my kidneys were alledgedly loafing on the job; working only 50% of the time. This was scary stuff. I had nightmares I would end up on dialysis spending hours watching my blood going through tubes to be washed.  On October 20 I visited the Kidney Doctor, a Nephrologist, in his office. I went in with a little dread, but he quickly told me my kidneys weren’t the problem. They were fine, but my thyroid wasn’t working, at least, not working hard enough. I had hypothyroidism. The thyroid is like the body’s thermostat. It controls your metabolism among other things. My thyroid was not injecting enough hormone into my system when needed. It was no big deal, he assured me, unless I ignored it. He gave me a prescription. All I need do was take this one little pill every day for the rest of my life.

In the middle of November my dad came down to our house to rake the leaves. He said my mother was driving him crazy and he just had to get away. Both parents came down for Grandparent’s Day at my kids school. We went up to Bucktown for Thanksgiving and this year instead of cooking a big meal, my parents took us all out to the Dinner Bell Restaurant for supper.
On December 3 my mom went out to feed her cat, which lived in the garage/basement, but
she fell down the stone steps hurting her right foot and skinning her leg, arm and head. Dad took her to the Phoenixville Hospital. Her foot wasn’t broken, just badly sprained, but they put a cast on anyway. Of the 15, Misty the dog, fell over her water dish and spilled the water on the floor. My mom slipped on the spillage and fell on her bottom. She was more embarrassed than hurt. The doctor took her cast off on the 19th.
We had Christmas at our place.

I went to my doctor in the middle of January 1989 and my blood pressure was good. The daily thyroid pill was doing the job. I was feeling well, except on February 18 when I came down with the flu. Everybody in our house was sick. I was still in bed on the 23rd. Other than that hiccup both Lois and I were getting along without incident. So it went pacefully and normally through spring.

In June I went to Washington DC for a seminar at the AMA called, “Measuring and Managing Products Profitability. My mom came and stayed with the kids while Lois joined me in Washington.

On July 4 we went to the Fireworks Picnic in Rockford Park. Rockford, not to be confused with Rockwood, is located in Wilmington, not far from Immanuel Highlands where we were still attending church. It was quite an event, including food naturally, and a concert  before the fireworks display that featured the singer Mel Torme, (left) the Velvet Fog as he was called.
We had spread a blanket on the ground like most around us. Pictured are Darryl, myself and Noelle before Hell broke loose. We got a good close up view of
the fireworks. Oh did we ever, too close a view. It was like finding yourself in the middle of an arial war raid. Little fires fell from the sky around us as the bombs burst in air. My kids were terrified, and I was, too. I was very relieved to escape the park in one piece, even though we had the fear of the car overheating as we poked through city street with the rest of the exiting crowd.

Wilmington Trust decided to photograph all their employees for the 1989 Annual Report. We were ordered to report to the Delaware Stadium for the picture taking. (Delaware Stadium did not become Tubby Raymond Field until 2002.) This was scheduled for late afternoon on a sun-blistering mid-July day. The temperature was blazing and they had to line up around 2,000 plus people with no shade or shelter from the sun, which was in our face. The photographer was in the press box on the opposite side of the football field and needed the sun at his back for the light. It took over an hour to get everyone situated. By some miracle no one passed out.
After several takes they got the picture they wanted and we were dismissed. Food had been catered and was being served beneath the stands. It was the usual picnic style dishes, hamburgers and hot dogs, but there was also potato and macaroni salad and other things. Some of these items were not the best to have standing about in 90 plus degree heat for a couple hours. A number of the partakers ended up with food poisoning.
The photograph wrapped around the cover of the annual report. Somehow I ended up on the front not too far left of the logo. I called this my “Where’s Waldo” moment. 
So, where is Larry? Can you find me?

Okay, if you look left of the bottom curve of the logo I am about four people over. I’m the one in gray hair.
My moment of fame!

On August 17, we went to my mom’s and then she drove us all up to the Land of Little
Horses Miniature Horse Farm in Gettysburg. It is an interesting attraction. They have a lot of miniature animals beside the horses. There is a tent show with a parade and different acts, kind of like a circus. There was a sulky race. We all took a carriage ride, then Laurel and Darryl took pony rides. Afterwards, we drove through some of the Battlefield. We had dinner at the Family Time Restaurant in York.
On the 27th we went to the Wilson family Reunion, held now at my cousin Horace’s farm
near Phoenixville instead of Bob Wilson’s place. Bob and his family had moved to Maryland where he started a horse farm. There was no pool at Cousin Horace’s and it was still hot even late in August. Horace was one of my Grand Uncle Heber’s sons; the other was Everett. My cousin Bob had been Heber’s brother Evans' son. We explored the barn and a little museum Horace kept, played the games, but all of us were very wore out and I think we left early. Our weariness shows in the photo. We went home, but Laurel stayed behind and went to her grandparents for a couple days.

Darryl’s birthday was August 24, but like many of our family events, we didn’t celebrate it on the actual day. We were celebrating it on August 30. My mother came down and Lois had baked a cake that was waiting on the dining room table.  Mom and Laurel arrived around 3:30 and I got home from work at 4:30. Darryl searched for his presents, which were hidden about the house and then opened them. I then went back to the bedroom to change from my suit to something cooler. Lois went to the kitchen to prepare our dinner.
It was a little after 5:00 by then. There was a knock on the front door and Noelle answered it. Standing there was a policeman. He asked her if her mother was there, but didn’t wait for an answer. He simply walked in, up the steps to the living area and then down the hall toward the bedrooms. Just then I stepped out of the bedroom and here was this cop standing in my hallway where he had no business being. The only thing he said was, “Sir, I want you to take your family immediately, leave the house and go up to the top of the street.” We hurriedly filed out. My fear was a gas leak. Once outside I asked the officer what was wrong. He said, “We’re having a little trouble with a neighbor.” That was all he told us. We followed orders and went up the block to the next intersection at Wentworth, the street behind our home that intersected with our street where it curved higher up the hill.
There were a number of people milling about the intersection, rousted from their homes along both Olympia and Wentworth. There  were a group of cops huddled about halfway down Wentworth, about opposite where a home there bordered on my backyard. Suddenly a young black man came from where the crowd had gathered and began running down the middle of Wentworth. Police yelled at him to stop, but he ignored them until one cop grabbed him. It took three police to finally halt his progress and they slammed him down to the ground. They handcuffed him and took him away down the street.
“That’s the son,” somebody said and we finally heard what had happened from some of the bystanders. The people who lived behind me were named Newell. They had moved in less than a year ago and had two small children who lived there. The children had sometimes played with my own. The youngBlack the cops had tackled was also a son, but he was in his late teens or early twenties and didn’t live in the same house. Mrs. Newell had a restraining order against her husband. He wasn’t supposed to come anywhere near her, but those restraining orders are only paper and little protection. Newell had showed up at the house and pushed his way in.
The cops weren’t certain of the situation. They knew he and his wife were in the house and they knew he had a gun. They were treating this as a hostage situation and trying to coax Newell out without any harm to anyone. At this point they didn’t realize his wife lay in the garage already dead.
It was getting late in the evening. This may have been a hot August day, but with darkness came a chill. Other people drifted off to stay with relatives or to book a motel room. We were stuck. When the cop told us to leave immediately I did just that. I didn’t grab my wallet, only my keys. My mother had left her pocketbook in the house. Neither of us was being allowed to go down the street and get our cars. We had no transportation nor any money. We were stuck.
It was getting later and colder. I was only dressed in a thin pair of shorts and a T-shirt. The kids were no better dressed. I looked down and saw Darryl had left without his shoes. Then a man I didn’t know came up to us. He identified himself as fire police and said he would take us to the firehouse to spend the night.
Several firemen greeted us when he dropped us at the firehouse in Claymont. They led us
upstairs to their lounge. Some of them went out and came back with pizza and sodas for us. They gave us blankets and we bunked down best we could right there. None of us slept very well. Police and fire calls kept coming in over the radio all night. The fire whistle blew at 3:00 AM.
In the morning the firemen brought us donuts and coffee, milk and juice for the kids. I called into work and told them I wouldn’t be in today. They had heard reports on the news. Afterward, I walked back to our street, going to the lower end. I had hoped I could go up and into my house, pick up my wallet and get Darryl’s shoes. When I got there I found a patrol car blocking the street. I asked the officer if I go to my house, but he said I couldn’t. “It’s right in the line of fire,” he said. Newell was still holed up. He had an automatic weapon and had threatened to blow the house up.
I walked down Glenrock between my street and Wentworth. I could see up to my back yard and there was a swat team on my back porch with rifles aimed toward Newell’s. Wentworth had a barrier across it, but you could see the action up the street. A crowd of people were already there watching. I counted 21 cop cars along the street. Police were up in the trees. A negotiator was on a bullhorn. They had fetched Newell’s mother to the scene and she was pleading with him to come out. He wouldn’t budge.
They whisked his mother away and I heard a couple pops from the backyard and glass breaking. They had begun lobbing teargas into the house. Suddenly there was a pop nearby followed by a loud explosion and I could see a large hole had been blasted through the garage door. Still he wouldn’t come out.
I walked back to the firehouse. The firemen brought us subs for lunch. Newell finally surrendered at 3:00 PM. They rushed in and found his wife’s body in the garage. Their two young children had been away with someone so no harm came to them.
The firemen drove us home at 4:45. There were paw prints from a cat across Darryl’s birthday cake. My mother finally left at 10:30 that night. She took Darryl and Noelle with her, even though Noelle protested about going with her.
Noelle protested all of September 1. On the second my parents took them to Rax for lunch. Darryl’s was free because it was his birthday. Then they took the kids to an antique car museum in Boyertown. My mom made supper, but both kids really wanted to come home by then. Lois, Laurel and I came to dinner and then took them home.

In October we attended the 30th Reunion of Owen J. Roberts Class of 1959. It was here I learned my close high school friend, Richard Ray Miller was dead. He was only 47 when he passed, but when we try and drown our disappointments in alcohol, it sometimes removes us from the scene early.

Richard Ray Miller and Ray Ayres and I had written some little plays for our high school. We were constantly together in those days.

(Right, Richard Ray held over the edge by Ray Ayres. Miller and Ayres were my closest friends at Owen J. Both are deceased.)

We had Thanksgiving dinner at our place and also Christmas. The year sort of quietly ended with a visit to my parents and another dinner on New Year’s Eve. 1989 ended rather peacefully, perhaps a good sign as we entered the 1990s.

Or maybe not.

No comments: