A Small Town, More Than a Dozen Stories or Less
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Supposedly, an American Male Caucasian of European descent will live 76.61 years. With a December 14, 1944 date of birth, the magic date is July 26, 2021. July 26th? Viva Fidel? I already crushed the New York State Retirement System who informed me in 2002 when going over pension options that my Drop Dead Date (very sensitive representative) was October 16, 2016. They are losing money on me. As with everything else, there are winners and losers.
I have already passed my parents, brother, aunts and uncles and grandfathers. I doubt the reasons can be attributed to clean living, sobriety, and prayer at all times. I am inclined to credit Timothy 5:23 – “”Drink no longer water. Take a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine own infirmities” and being a horseplayer. Did you ever notice horse trainers live forever? Every day is a new day to look forward to. “A bad day at the track is better than a good day anywhere else.” We tell ourselves that.
Once I get past July 26th (do I dare leave the house?), I go after the grandmothers. Grandma Stockwell who lived to be 77 is in my crosshairs. Grandma Fab will be a challenge as she lived to be 91. She died like Vito Corleone. She was out in her tomato garden and grape vineyard and the dog came into the house after dark to break the news. But, just when I thought I had the bases covered, I had to go deep on family genealogy and discover a Niles Stockwell in Central NY who lived to be 103 in the 1850’s. His 3rd wife was 30 when he married her at age 88. It didn’t turn out too well for the gold digger. Like the other wives, he buried her. I wonder if he had life insurance policies on his wives. Fuhgeddaboudit. I don’t need 103.
You recall how depressing it was upon arriving in Vietnam when someone asked “How many days?” and you had to say “364.” You could ask that question to any soldier at any time and they didn’t have to think about it. They knew exactly how many days “and a wakeup” were left.
They will think I am Cuban the way I will carry on, on July 26, 2021. However, I am thinking of the line from the “The Quiet Man.” Red Will Danaher: “He will regret it until his dying day, if he ever lives so long.”
Ithaca: A Wreck
Read all about it! Click HERE.
Dancing with the Stars!
Can a small town girl make it BIG in the big city? Click on the DIANE link and be entertained by one of our more celebrated class members...Diane Bower!
Vandalism of symbolic tree at IHS forces its removal
By Topher Sanders
ITHACA — The pine tree in the middle of Ithaca High School's quad area likely witnessed many first kisses in its 40 years there.
The tree was cut down on Sunday after vandals gouged a large portion out of its truck with a chainsaw. The gouge made the tree unsafe because it could have fallen at any time, said Karen Rachetta, assistant principal at Ithaca High School.
The tree was planted in 1966 by the senior class and has graced the cover of numerous IHS yearbooks, said Rachetta, a former student at the high school. “It just really symbolized Ithaca High,” she said. “Every time I walked by that tree it was a connection to past students and teachers.” Superintendent Judith Pastel called the incident “senseless” and “heartbreaking.”
The vandalism was discovered on Sunday by custodial staff. The tree was cut down several hours later. The Ithaca Police Department is investigating the matter. The school provided police with surveillance images of the incident, Rachetta said. Rachetta wouldn't give details about any possible video footage of the vandalism. One school official did video the tree's last moments as it was being chopped down, Rachetta said. The military funeral song, “Taps,” can be heard as the video plays.
Rachetta said feelings about the incident are mixed among the student body with some students being upset and others showing indifference. Two students even attempted to boost the school's spirits about the incident by nailing a smaller pine tree to the stump of the former pine. Other students kicked the smaller tree down sometime during the day. “Some of our freshmen haven't been here long enough to understand the meaning of the tree,” Rachetta said. The school plans to place a tribute to the tree on their bulletin board and a blog has even been created in honor of the tree.
Originally published January 10, 2007