What We Didn’t Have in 1950

1954 Admiral Television

I was 10 years old in 1954, when we bought our first television. We didn’t even buy the television to watch television. If I remember correctly my sister had a lazy eye, and prescribed a television (talk about an expensive prescription) so she would use her lazy eye more. We fixed a screen on one side that fit over half the screen, that made her use her lazy eye. If it wasn’t for her eye problem we probably wouldn’t have bought a television so soon.

The first thing I remember watching on the television was the movie Buck Privates (1941) with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. Howdy Doody would come on at about 3:30 in the afternoon, then was followed by Pinky Lee, then usually a western movie with Bob Maynard, Kit Carson, Gene Autry and many others would come on till it was time for the Camel Caravan news program with John Cameron “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking” Swayze doing a 15 minute news program. He was later well-known for being the spokesman for Timex watches, as he demonstrated how much abuse the watches could take and keep on ticking.

We only had one channel at first, so we had no problem working the controls. It became more complicated, when cable television companies began to go into business. We then had the old wired remote controls, which later went the way of the do-do bird and gave way to remote controls with batteries. Now we could not only change the channels, but could also turn the volume up and down, adjust the picture, record programs to watch later and best of all could zap through the commercials. Sponsors of the television programs were not too hep on the idea, since you record a show, then watch it about 20 minutes later and zap through the commercials and cut an hour-long show into about 40 minutes minus the commercials. After the show we would wonder who was sponsoring the show.

We got along fine without cell phones, since there was no such thing in 1950. I only had a cell phone when I needed one for working as a caregiver, since I had to call the office all night, so they knew I wasn’t dozing off at work. I haven’t had a cell phone since 2011, since I never did learn to text on the contraptions.

We didn’t Google it in 1950. We would just go to the library and would usually find the information there. It would be 48 years later, before we could Google it and find information in seconds, that used to involve riding to library and digging through index cards, or going through the reference books section to find the same information, that we can find in seconds today.

I don’t remember having a microwave oven, while growing up so got along well without one. I did find out later, that after buying one years later, that it was easy to ruin popcorn, by cooking it too long. Now I never cook it as long as recommended, to prevent having to throw out charcoal popcorn. My favorite use for microwave ovens is to melt ice cream in it. I am not a fan of ice cream right out of the freezer, so would put it in microwave and leave it on for about 2 hours….just kidding….about 35 seconds later the ice cream would be good and creamy but still cold.

It was about 1966 or 1967 when we got our first air conditioner. I was about 21 at the time and had just came back from Vietnam, and was thinking it would have been nice to have an air conditioner over there. I didn’t know how to act with an air conditioner, since I had lived 21 years without one, so it took awhile to get used to putting on a jacket when the air conditioner was running. I didn’t have to worry about putting on a jacket from 1992 to 1998, since I was in bankruptcy and had to choose between eating and staying cool and eating won out. I bought a 10 inch box fan and had it blowing on my face, and I was able to sleep at night with no problem during those six years. I couldn’t wait to get to work at Town Talk, since air conditioning usually worked there.

I remember when we were growing up that we bought ice in blocks and put the blocks in the refrigerator. About 60 years later we bought our first icemaker, since my wife liked to have crushed ice. It was nice having crushed ice, till the icemaker went on the blink. Best of all it saved paying $2 or more for a bag of crushed ice.

The only personal computer we owned back in 1950 was our brain that computed what we learned in school, and solved math problems before Common Core made it all complicated. My mother bought us our first computer, a Commodore 64 which was very rudimentary compared to the computers of today. It was mostly a machine to play games on, and we sometimes would type the code for games out of magazines published for Commodore 64 users. Later on we bought more advanced computers, but they were still too complicated for me. It took me a year to figure out how to send emails. I have never been a computer whiz. I know how to do the basics like copy and paste, but don’t ask me how to hook up a router or modem, or the computer may cease to function.

Before we bought our television in 1954 the only entertainment we had been listening to was old-time radio shows on our table radio, and playing records on our phonograph player. Then cassettes became popular, but were a real headache if the tape got tangled up inside the tape player. 8 track players were also around about this time, but I completely missed the boat on 8 track players, since I never owned a 8 track player or a 8 track tape.

The compact disc became the most popular way to listen to music, since the CD players let you pick a certain track if you wanted to play it, unlike cassette players where you had to more or less play the whole tape to hear a song from the starting point.

It was 2004 when I bought my first MP3 player and I was surprised to learn that you could carry thousands of songs, in one device and the Creative Nomad Zen Xtra Jukebox (pictured above) was my first MP3 player. It was 40 GB and I had 3,000 songs on it the last time I checked. You could go directly to any of the 3,000 songs in a matter of seconds.

One of my favorite uses for the MP3 player was to listen to old-time radio shows from the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. I found out I could buy 800 Jack Benny shows for $12 on a MP3 CD. Sam’s at about that time was selling about 10 shows for $20, so I bought the MP3 CD’s exclusively from old-time radio retailers and ebay sellers and it was possible to build up my collection fast. I currently own 17,000 episodes of many old-time radio shows of all genres. Best thing all 17,000 episodes fit inside one binder manufactured for CD’s.

All I had to do was place the MP3 CD’s into the computer and copy the files into the computer, then transfer them from computer to the MP3 player, and it works the same way with regular music CD’s.

Whoever invented the GPS probably had me in mind, since I hated folding and unfolding paper maps, to find out if I was going the right direction, to arrive at my destination. I don’t know how many times I had taken wrong roads, before the GPS was invented. It still is scary when the GPS tells you that you have arrived at your destination, when you are in the middle of nowhere with no houses in sight.

It is amazing to me that this lady telling me directions is flying around up in space, with nothing better to do, than to keep an eye on my vehicle, and if I miss a turn she is nice enough to say recalculating and letting me know we will still arrive even if it is a 20 mile detour to get to the destination.

One of the handiest inventions is the automated teller machine, that gives people money at all hours of the day and night. It used to be if they locked up the bank on Saturday afternoon, then the customer would have to wait till Monday morning to make a transaction. Now they can drain their bank accounts down to nothing in just minutes, instead of draining it a little bit at a time, while waiting in line at the bank.

Sometimes criminals have to call for assistance even with automated banking, if the bank card they stole won’t work, or even worse the automated teller machine takes the card and won’t return it to the bank card thief. The bank will send someone to the bank and tell them the pin number for the card and apologize for the inconvenience.

My mom was very slow when using the automated tellers, and more than once someone would walk in the building housing the ATM machine and get aggravated about the long wait, then finally go back to their car, drive off with wheels squealing in search of a ATM machine with someone faster using the machine.

Sometimes I wonder how we got by back in 1950 with no television, no cell phone, no Google, no icemaker, no GPS, no MP3 player, no ATM machine, no personal computer and no microwave oven. We managed to get by without all of these inventions, because most of them hadn’t been invented in 1950.

Netflix Junkie For Three Hours A Day

Our DISH satellite was suspended for nine months recently, so are spending only $5 a month on DISH to keep the account open. We get to watch mostly infomercials for the $5, so we signed up for Netflix, which is much less than DISH was before the suspension. In fact one On Demand movie on DISH costs almost as much as the $7.99 a month charge for unlimited watching on Netflix. Not that we planned on watching any On Demand movies.

However, we can only use Netflix from 2AM to 8AM, because that is only time our DISH internet service allows us, to watch videos or listen to any music. So I now wake up at 5AM and watch Netflix till 8AM. I have found myself drawn to some shows more often than others.

The two shows that really stand out for me are The Rockford Files and Columbo. I will list those two shows, plus others that I have made a habit of watching.

The Rockford Files

I have watched 25 episodes of The Rockford Files. Have already seen all of Season 1 and have watched the first episode of Season 2. Netflix has 123 shows available to watch of the show, which was first seen in 1974.

It amazes me how much punishment James Garner as Rockford sustains in the show. He reportedly did his own stunts for the show, so that makes me respect him even more. One of my favorite parts of the show is when the telephone answering machine can be heard, with the caller leaving a very funny message at the opening.

Another highlight for me is the interplay between Dennis Becker a policeman portrayed by Joe Santos and Rockford. Becker is not a happy camper, when Rockford asks for a favor like running down a license number for Rockford. The show for me is a perfect mix of drama and comedy. This show has a lot of chase scenes, where it is usually Rockford trying to shake the bad guys, who are tailing him and he often maneuvers his way through the traffic, to lose the bad guys.

Imdb.com readers rate The Rockford Files 8.0 on a scale of 10.

Columbo

There are 43 episodes available on Netflix and am already into Season 4 with episode 2 next to be seen, for a total 27 episodes seen. Columbo shared its time slot, with some other shows, so that is why there were only 7 or 8 shows made a season. The first episode aired in 1968 and by the time the show left the air in 2003 Peter Falk had gray hair.

Falk was perfectly cast as Columbo. The crime was shown at the first of the show, so this was no mystery. It was more a case of watching Columbo catch the criminals, who always seemed to think they had committed the perfect crime. Columbo may have looked a little scruffy in his rumpled raincoat, but he was a very intelligent detective, who picked up on any clue in short order. It was fun watching the criminals squirm, whenever Columbo came around and they sometimes became very agitated, because of Columbo popping up unannounced so often.

Columbo may have been portrayed as a buffoon, but when it came down to solving a crime he always got his man or woman, depending on who was the guilty culprit, in a particular episode.

Imdb.com readers gave Columbo a 8.1 rating.

Dragnet 1967

I had preferred watching the 50’s version of Dragnet, but the more I watched this later version the more I liked it. So far, have watched 11 episodes of Dragnet and have come, to appreciate the comedic exchanges between Sgt. Friday played by Jack Webb and Officer Bill Gannon, who is portrayed by Harry Morgan. Sometimes you will see a familiar face on this show, as Friday and Gannon make their investigation. Dragnet 67 pulls down a respectable 7.8 rating at imdb.com.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents

This show is another one that draws me back to it, since all of the 16 episodes I have seen have been outstanding. It is rated 8.7 by the readers of imdb.com, which is the best rating I have seen so far. It is amusing to see Hitchcock open and close the shows. Be prepared for a surprise turn of events at the end of the episodes. Just when you think you have it figured out Hitchcock throws his viewers a curve.

Alfred Hitchcock has 74 episodes on Netflix and skips Season 1 and I have watched 16 episodes. The show is in black and white, but that only makes the show more realistic for me.

Adam 12

Some have called Adam 12 the most realistic cop show on television. I have seen nine episodes of the show, with 174 episodes available on Netflix. The first show aired in 1968.

The first episode shows Officer Malloy portrayed by Martin Milner showing rookie Reed played by Kent McCord the ropes and the proper way to do things. The ninth episode in Season 1 features a man who is very upset, because someone stole his front lawn.

Adam 12 receives a 7.3 from imdb.com readers.

Twilight Zone

Netflix has only 65 shows available of Twilight Zone which started in 1959 and is rated an amazing 8.9 at imdb.com. I have watched nine episodes so far. One of my favorite episodes is about a man, who is always being told that he can’t read books by his wife and his boss. When a nuclear catastrophe occurs he is the only man left on earth. He happens to find the ruins of a library and sorts out books in piles to read in different months. However, he breaks his glasses and is unable to read any of the books. This is one of the most popular television shows ever.

Magnum PI, McMillan and Wife

Am having problems being interested in either of these shows. Have nothing against Magnum PI, ….just no interest in it. McMillan and Wife is a good show, but not the kind of show I would want to invest an hour and a half into. Matt McMillan portrayed by Rock Hudson is not realistic as a police commissioner. Seems unrealistic to me, that the commissioner of police is fighting thugs in warehouses, while realistically a real life commissioner is not likely to leave his office, except for a news conference.

Have not watched enough of either show to even count.

Law and Order – Criminal Intent

This show starts with Season 6 on Netflix and it runs through Season 10, with 83 episodes available to watch. The episodes have kept my interest so far. Season 11 for some reason is not available on Netflix, even though the show ended its run in 2011. Law and Order – Criminal Intent received a 7.2 rating from imdb.com readers.

Leave It To Beaver

I remember watching Leave It To Beaver at my grandpa’s farm in Missouri in 1959, which was two years after the show debuted in 1957. Interesting sidenote about this show is that Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, who created Leave It To Beaver had been writers for the Amos N’ Andy show earlier in the 50’s.

This show is rated 7.6 by the readers at imdb.com. Netflix has 234 episodes of Leave It To Beaver available for watching. So far have only seen 15 shows, so still have 219 shows left to watch. This show to me is television comedy at its best. It was smart of the producers to make Eddie Haskell a regular in the series after being a guest star. Ken Osmond, who played Eddie later became a Los Angeles policeman and was shot in the line of duty. Jerry Mathers who played the Beaver and Wally Dow and Osmond found little work in movies and television after the show left the air in 1963. It has been 21 years since Osmond has appeared in any production that didn’t have a connection to Leave It To Beaver.

Documentaries

I have watched part or all of several documentaries. Since there are multiple parts to some documentaries have watched a little at a time. Watched Hitler’s Children about children related to Nazi war criminals, who were in Hitler’s inner circle. One relative was shown as he visited Auschwitz many years after the holocaust. He was moved to tears, when a survivor of Auschwitz came up to him and shook hands with him telling him, that he didn’t blame the son for what his father did.

One of my favorites to watch was the 30-30 documentary from ESPN that told the story behind Michael Jordan playing minor league baseball in 1994, because he dad who had been murdered had wanted him to play baseball.

The Ken Burns documentary about World War II is particularly interesting, since I was only alive for the last two years of World War II. The episode I am watching now tells about soldiers from three American towns who joined the Army and about how the war affected the soldiers and those left at home. This is a seven part series, so will be watching this for a long time.

I also watched a documentary about Marilyn Monroe living in New York and another Ken Burns documentary about the history of jazz. Really enjoyed the part about pianist Art Tatum, who was almost blind, but was a piano virtuoso, who added a lot of notes to the basic melody.

Netflix Movies

Netflix also has movies, but I am interested mainly in the television shows and documentaries. I have heard that a lot of good movies never are shown on Netflix. One negative about Netflix is that a movie or television show may be available one day, but then gone the next day. That can be attributed to companies switching to other vendors, after fulfilling their contract with Netflix.

Technology – Yesterday and Today

My grandpa who lived on a farm in Allendale, Missouri had a radio similar to this one and I listened to some Kansas City Athletics games on his radio console and will never forget how good the sound was, that emanated from that radio.
Phonograph records have never really went away completely. Now many manufacturers are building modern versions of the record players we grew up. Those being built today play records, CD’s, cassettes and even have an input, for MP3 players to play their music over the phonograph system.  Some record companies are still making vinyl records. Just went to eBay and found that there are 1,328,915 records for sale, so there will be a need for record players for years to come. Surprisingly, over 489,000 of those albums are new.  I was fortunate about three or four years ago, to find a bookstore in Knoxville, Tennessee selling record albums for 25 cents each. You can build up a collection fast at those prices since $10 buys 40 record albums.
Eight track players technology went right on by me, since I went straight from vinyl to cassettes. I never owned an eight track player or eight track tape. Not sure if eight track players are still being made today. If they are I have not heard about it.
Compact disc players can be found in portable CD players, CD boomboxes, CD shelf systems and some CD players today can be found in phonograph combos, that play CD’s, cassettes, records and have a AM-FM radio, plus either have a dock for an I-pod or a line in for a MP3 player. Some even have the capability of recording from a record, cassette or radio to a CD.
This Ipod Classic 160 GB player is the ultimate player, for those who like to record music, videos and store photos. This player can record 40,000 songs, which is equivalent to having 4,000 albums, with 10 songs each stored in this player. However, if you want to store videos and photos, then that would reduce the storage place for music. Who has 4,000 albums anyway? This player may not have all the bells and whistles, of an iPod Touch, but an iPod Touch is not going to have near the capacity of this player. One drawback to the 160 GB version is that the screen is only 2.5 inches, which is small, compared to the newest IPod Touch, which has a 4 inch screen.
Technology has come a long way from the phonographs of the early days, to machines that can hold 40,000 songs and play any song, almost instantaneously, after going through the folders to find the song you want to play or you can watch videos of movies and TV shows.
This is a Maytag ringer washing machine. There may be still be people using these machines, but they have to be few and far between, with the technology today, that lets the operator turn the machine on and put some soap in the machine and leave it to wash the clothes and come back an hour later or so and put those clothes into a dryer.
When is the last time you have seen bottles of milk, on your porch when door to door delivery of milk was popular? I remember when our milkman had only a four number telephone number on his truck.
When is the last time you saw someone actually typing on a typewriter like this Underwood Typewriter? There are probably some holdouts still using typewriters like this, but there can’t be a whole lot of them.
I can still remember the days of the nickel coke. The bottles may have been only 6 ounces, but today you spend at least $1.50 most places for 20 ounces of Coca-Cola. Back in the old days you could buy 24 ounces for only 20 cents. A $1.50 back then would buy 30 bottles of 6 ounce Cokes. So if I am figuring right, then that comes out to 180 ounces of Coca-Cola, which would be equivalent to about three 2 liter Coca-Colas today. Not many stores today sell three liters of original Coca-Cola for $1.50. Today it is usually cheaper to buy a 2 liter bottle of Coca-Cola for a $1-$1.25 or more, than to spend $1.50 or more on a 20 ounce Coca-Cola.

MP3 Players Popularity Waning

Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen Xtra 40 GB MP3 Player.

 

It was 2004, when I bought my first powerful MP3 player. It was a Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen Xtra 40 GB MP3 player that held 10,000 songs. It was much clunkier, than the lighter MP3 players of today.

Have never had a smart phone and don’t have any kind of cell phone today. I would rather use my MP3 players for music, than a cell phone. I doubt that they can hold much music, since smart phones also have cameras to take photos and some phones are capable of taking video.

The best thing about the Creative Nomad MP3 player is that it is used exclusively to play music and in my case, also able to play back old-time radio shows of the past. I even have a 1934 baseball game, between the Yankees and Tigers in the player.

That player no longer works, but may only need a new battery, which when I last checked was about $12. Best thing is that it has a removable battery, unlike most MP3 players, which have built-in batteries.

Another feature is that I could delete radio shows, after listening them from the player itself and not have to remove them using a computer.

Sony NWZ 545 16 GB MP3 Player.

 

The above photo is of my next MP3 player bought about four years ago. It is a Sony NWZ 545 16 GB player that can hold far less music, than the Creative Nomad Jukebox could hold. Unlike the Creative player, I have to be careful to pick and choose what songs to download to it, since it would fill up much faster.

It too lets me listen to old-time radio shows. I usually download a few shows at a time. Then I have to go to the computer to delete shows, that I have already heard.

The best thing about the MP3 players is that they don’t have to have a wi-fi connection to play the music. We have made a lot of trips to VA hospitals in Alexandria, LA and Houston, TX and listening to old-time radio shows and music make the long trips a little more bearable.

Apple iPod Nano 8 GB 6th Generation

 

While recuperating at home from cancer surgery my sister from Colorado sent me a gift of a Apple iPod Nano, which only weighs a pound  and is 5×5 inches. The earphones that come with the Nano have a great sound and you really can hear the stereo affect from the song being played.

My sister also sent a speaker that doesn’t come with the Nano. It is not a huge speaker, but it pumps out a lot of sound, without being overly loud.

Not Much Mention of MP3 Players

I have noticed that you don’t hear much mention of MP3 players online. If you go to the tech section of an online sight there will be little or no mention of MP3 players. Most of the articles are about the latest cell phones coming out.

Apple has had two huge events announcing new products, but no mention was made of new iPods being released in the near future.

Personally, I hope there will be a market for MP3 players for years to come. Not everyone wants a MP3 player in their cell phone. I like MP3 players better as standalone products, rather than incorporating them into other electronic devices.

Another thing I have noticed is that most of the MP3 players being released today are 8 GB and 16 GB players, while the players with 32 GB and 64 GB are less common, than they were in the past.

The Apple iPod Classic 160 GB

 

The Apple iPod Classic 160 GB player is the Cadillac of MP3 players, for those who like to record a lot of music. The player has the capacity to store 40,000 songs, 25,000 photos and 200 hours of video.

The player has 1,133 five-star reviews at amazon.com, while only 141 reviewers give it a one star rating. A selling point for the player is that the battery can play for up to 36 hours.

Most users of the Classic will be hard pressed to fill up this player with 40,000 songs, which is equivalent to having 4,000 albums with 10 songs each. Of course the capacity depends on how many photos and videos are downloaded into the Classic.

There are rumors that the Classic may be discontinued in the near future. I think it should remain in production, for those fans who could store only a fraction of 40,000 songs in a cell phone.

We could see the popularity of MP3 players continue to decrease in 2014. The fact that MP3 players are seldom even being mentioned today tells me, that someday they could become another extinct electronic device that disappears from the landscape like reel to reel tape players and eight track players. Very few new cassette players are being made today, except with phonographs and we should have vinyl records for a long time, since we have seen a resurgence in their popularity.

 

Internet Headaches

My No.1 complaint about the internet is to be reading an article, then a pop-up ad covers up the article, which makes you have to X out the ad, so you can finish reading the article. Guess you can call this kind of pop-up a pop-over since it covers up an article. If the advertiser thinks pop-up ads will make me want to look at their ad, then they are dead wrong, since I will never buy a product, from a company that intrudes on my time on the computer.

Another culprit is the spammer who reads your blog and likes it and posting a phony message, about how much they like your blog, then you see it is a business trying to use your blog to advertise their business.

You Tube videos are another headache, when you expect to see a music video, but instead an advertisement starts playing for 30 minutes or 60 minutes. You are a prisoner to the advertiser, since you have no choice, but to watch their ad if you want to see the music video. I hate inserting a link in my blog, to a You Tube video that first shows an ad, since some viewers won’t want to sit there for 60 minutes watching an ad, before seeing the video.

Some websites are interminably slow to open a page, so eventually I will avoid those websites. For instance I have seen some websites take forever to open, but then go to ESPN which opens almost immediately, despite being graphic intensive website.

Then there are the websites, that require you to sign in with your email address and a password, just to view the content of that website. Another pet peeve of mine is going to a website that lets you read only part of an article, then says you have to pay to read the complete article.

There is nothing more aggravating, than to go to a website and start reading, then the page becomes unresponsive and you have to wait till the page lets you start scrolling again.

One thing that often happens on the internet is to go to a website and you get a message saying you need to download a program, before you can view that website. If you have problems downloading the program, then you have wasted several minutes for nothing.

Bloggers like me have another problem, by posting a photo found in a Google search, then go back to that page later and the photo is gone. Copyrighted photos should not show up in a Google search. I have about 925 posts in my blog, so it is impossible to go through each blog to see which photos or videos have been removed by someone.

Charging to view a website tells me it is time to forget about that website. That is why Facebook will not charge to use Facebook, because Facebookers will leave the site in droves, if they start charging. Facebook doesn’t want to tell their advertisers, that millions have closed out their Facebook accounts, so the advertiser will ask Facebook to reduce their advertising rates and Facebook surely doesn’t want to lose revenue.

The only internet service that I would ever consider paying for is if all the email services begin charging, for using their email service. Email is almost certainly the most widely used service on the internet, especially those that don’t use the social media for one reason or the other.

Note: Readers are welcome to list their complaints about the internet in the comments section. Any comments are appreciated.

Memories of a Lifetime: 2011-2013

2011 – We were living in Sulphur, Louisiana, a city of about 20,000 at the start of 2011. We were living on Live Oak Street in Sulphur and we found a home church in Calvary Baptist Church on Lewis Street. We were impressed by the pastor Rev. W.D. Darnell, who lived what he preached and only used the King James Version of the Holy Bible. We made many friends, among the members of the church. Rhonda was very involved with the activities at the church and I often sang special music on Sunday and Wednesday nights. Rhonda and me sang duets a couple of times and she sang On The Wings Of A Dove with another lady one time.

Rhonda liked living in Sulphur, since she had a sister and her mom living there. We lived close to the neighborhood, where my daughter and family had lived before moving to Groves, Texas.

I would return to working as a caregiver again in November of 2011. I worked with a disabled man with diabetes and lost the job at the end of the year, when his family changed to another caregiving company.

An international news story was when an earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan took 15,840 lives.

President Obama announces the death of Osama bin Laden on May 1.

Casey Anthony was acquitted of the murder of her daughter Calee Marie Anthony, in a controversial verdict by the jury.

Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Computers dies on October 5 of cancer.

House were renting at $955 a month in 2011.

A gallon of gas cost $2.89.

Movie tickets were selling for $8.20.

 

2012 – I worked as a crossing guard at a school in Sulphur for a few weeks, toward the end of the school year. It was interesting work and enjoyed the job. The job could turn out to be the last job I will ever work, since I haven’t worked since becoming sick a couple of months later.

We moved to DeRidder, Louisiana in July and are living in a trailer, that is about halfway between Merryville, Louisiana and DeRidder. We are living in the country and liking it so far.

Knew something was wrong when I began vomiting up blood and lost about 35 pounds in less than two months during the summer. Found out in October in Houston VA Hospital, that I had duodenal cancer. It was a very disease to diagnose, since it mimics acid reflux and duodenal ulcers. It is very rare disease with only two percent of gastrointestinal diseases being duodenal cancer.

Surgeons in Houston performed a resection surgery on Oct. 16 to remove a blockage, which was cancerous and was successful. However I found out in November, that duodenal cancer has a history of returning and has a relatively low survival rate.

Chemotherapy started at the VA hospital in Pineville, Louisiana on Dec.13 and have had three chemo IV’s since that date, with five more to go. Have finished six of a 24 week program of chemotherapy. It seems like the side effects have been worse with each chemo IV. Had difficulty walking in a straight line after the last IV and sort of lurch from side to side.

2012 was a life changing year for us, with us being evicted, moving to a new city and finding out that I had cancer and had surgery a few days later. Spent a total of 32 days in hospital in Houston.

July 20 would be the first of two mass shootings in the United States, when a gunman killed 12 and injured 58 in an Aurora, Colorado theater.

December 14 would bring the second mass shootings of 2012, when a man kills 20 children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, along with six adults, before killing himself.

A gallon of gas would rise to $3.89 during 2012. It is about 64 cents a gallon cheaper now in 2013.

House rent average goes over the $1,000 mark for the first time, as it rose to $1,045 a month.

A pound of bacon which was $2.96 in 2008 had risen to $4.48 in 2012.

 

2013 – This year should be a very interesting year, as the chemotherapy continues through May and it will be interesting to learn the results of the bloodwork after the last week of chemotherapy. May 21 will be another important date for us as we return to Houston for another C-scan, which will show if the cancer is completely gone or has returned.

We don’t know what this year holds, but we plan to remain positive, even if the news is bad and I don’t plan on being negative, regardless of what happens in 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memories of a Lifetime: 2006-2010

2006 – I would return to my job at Louisiana Community Care, after losing my job with Coastal Culvert. I primarily worked in a group home with seven guys at the time. It was a very demanding job as I had to assist them with their hygiene and washed and dried all their clothes. I would walk in the door at the group home at 4:30 PM and wouldn’t sit down for the first time till about 11 PM, when I had to write down the events of the day for each individual client.

One time a client who ate too fast threw up and I was mopping up the mess and he came up to me and hit me in the head and stomach with a 1-2 punch. Needless to say I was more wary around that client from then on. Another time he woke up during the night wanting chips and when I didn’t give him any he overturned a table and dumped a pitcher of Kool-Aid on the kitchen floor.

I made a point of having all the clothes washed and put away and the floors all swept and mopped, by the time the 12:30 AM relief worker came in. I worked there till around Christmas and retired, since I was now 62 and eligible for Social Security.

Andrew and Rhonda in 2006 at Matthew’s baseball game.

Wikipedia lists very few newsworthy events during 2006 in the United States, with Twitter being launched that year, which turned out to be the most newsworthy event of the year.

Gasoline was selling for $3.03 on August 11, but had dipped to $2.21 by November 17.

 

2007 – We moved to Knoxville, Tennessee in August of 2007, as we followed my daughter, son-in-law, when he was named manager of a Knoxville Domino’s store. About three weeks later, when things didn’t work out well with the job they moved back to Pineville, Louisiana.

Since we had used our savings to make the move we remained in Knoxville till December of 2010.

We had a traumatic event that August, when Rhonda was driving down a Knoxville street and was hit by a car turning out into traffic, from an apartment parking lot. Rhonda sustained a broken foot in the accident and was unable to go for a job interview, that was scheduled the next week. We moved to another apartment in the same apartment complex in September and Justin and me moved everything by ourselves, which was a day long job, since Rhonda was unable to help.

Then I went to work for Luxottica, a company that makes lenses for eyeglasses in Knoxville. It was another typical manufacturing job, with pressure to produce the most lenses in the least time. I was operating four machines at once in the fining department. After finishing the fining, we would take the lenses to the next department the polishing department, which made the lenses look even better. This was another temporary Westaff job, so the job played out soon and was without work again. We were given an eviction notice from the apartment on Thanksgiving Eve, but managed to stay there till I found work the next month.

I went to work as a caregiver with Evergreen Ministries in Knoxville, whose headquarters are located in Haughton, Louisiana in December of 2007. The job went well and I remained there till August of 2008. I was required to take a test, to be allowed to administer meds to the clients and scored 91 on the test. I wasn’t allowed to give meds, till I had passed the test, but it made it easier to work in homes, that needed a certified meds person, since some workers never were certified to give meds.

This was the year that the Va. Tech student killed 30 people. My brother lived next to the campus and was driving on campus toward work, when he saw several police cars speeding toward the site of the shootings.

The big news in technology was the introduction of the iPhone and the Nintendo Wii.

Average income was over $50,000 but doubt many of those people worked at the Alexandria Town Talk.

Price of a gallon of gas was $3.38, which is more than it is now six years later, with it being in the $3.25 range in DeRidder, Louisiana area.

An ounce of gold is $630, compared to when I was growing up, when it was $35 an ounce. Someone that had bought 100 ounces of gold at $35 an ounce for $3500 would have seen their gold raise in value to $63,000 for that 100 ounces in 2007.

 

2008 – Would continue to work for Evergreen Ministries till August of 2008, when Rhonda found a better paying job at Comcast working in their call center. We only had one vehicle, since our Ford Contour had been totaled in the wreck in August of 2007, so only one of us could work.

Would move into this house in Knoxville in 2008:

Our home in Knoxville, Tennessee from August 2008 till December 2010.

 

We joined Piney Grove Baptist Church in Knoxville and would sing special music there many times and would sometimes be a replacement song leader. The prayers of the congregation had a lot to do, with Rhonda surviving a life or death surgery in 2010.

The average income dipped $10,000 during the year to $40,000.

Gasoline had risen one cent to $3.39 in 2008, while a barrel of crude oil was selling for a record $147.

The average rent for a house was now $800 and the housing market totally collapsed as the value of houses declined precipitously.

 

2009 – Rhonda drove me to Groves, Texas to spend time with my daughter’s family in June and attended a Astros-Cubs game on June 9. Rhonda drove back to Knoxville, while to boarded a plane to Knoxville from Houston later. While I was gone a tornado hit our home in Knoxville, but luckily the only real damage was to the deck as a tree fell on it.

A tornado hit our deck in June of 2009 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

 

Rhonda would experience the first signs of having a serious health problem about November of 2009, when she was sent home from work being very sick. The next year would see Rhonda have her large intestines removed and will have more on that in the 2010 post.

Monthly rent fell to $675 in 2009, while a gallon of gasoline dropped to $2.73, which is about 52 cents cheaper, than it is in 2013. A barrel of oil which had peaked at $147 in 2008 was now only $53 a barrel.

 

2010 – Westaff found me a temporary job working at a call center, which involved taking orders for Talbots a clothing company, which had an office in Knoxville. Temp job is an apt description for this job, since it lasted for about two hours. I completed one transaction and then heard the customer telling someone “If this order comes out right it will be a miracle”. My career as a call center employee came to a screeching halt about two minutes later.

March 1, 2010 was a monumental day for Rhonda, as she had her large intestines removed that day and she also smoked her last cigarette that day and hasn’t smoked since. The surgeon found out she had colon cancer that day, but the colon had already been removed and he also found out that Rhonda had diabetes.

The surgery was on Monday and it was on the Thursday night before Rhonda was to go home, that everything went terribly wrong. She went into septic shock and was moved into intensive care. The doctors were at a loss of what to do, before deciding the next day to perform an ileostomy on Rhonda. Her organs were shutting down and was having problems breathing when the surgery started. The surgery went well, but the surgeon told us, that he didn’t expect Rhonda to be alive the next Monday, after the Friday surgery was performed, but was shocked to see that she was still alive.

Rhonda and me after her second surgery in four days, while she was in a six day coma at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in March,2010.

 

Rhonda was in a coma for six days and didn’t wake up till March 11 on the 16th birthday of Justin. Her sisters had driven from Louisiana to Tennessee, but Rhonda was in the coma the whole time they were there. I did all the housework till Rhonda was feeling able to do it that next summer.

I would return to work at Evergreen Ministries in July of 2010 and would remain there till a couple of days, before we moved to Sulphur, Louisiana. I enjoyed the work and didn’t miss any days of work. Had one close call, when driving the clients home and the brakes failed. I managed to get up on the sidewalk, to avoid hitting a car and drove into a parking lot and stopped the company van.

After the hospitalization and recovery we were ready to return home to Louisiana and left Knoxville. It was 16 the morning we left Knoxville, but when we arrived in Sulphur it was 78 degrees, which is even warm for Sulphur late in December.

Our relatives helped us unload the truck in about a half hour or so. It had taken us three days to load the truck in Knoxville, so it was good to unload it fast.

2010 was a slow news year, with no major story listed at the Wikipedia site.

The Apple iPad is released in 2010.

A gallon of gasoline cost $2.73 and a barrel of crude oil was selling for $73.00 a barrel, which was $20 more than the 2009 price.

Price of gold had skyrocketed to $1237 an ounce, which was $1202 more than the price I remembered as a youngster.