The commendation for his service in the Vietnam War

Sir, would you like a stuffed animal? I am visiting today and I have a little present for everybody. Well, you are a guy so you may not want a stuffed animal, right?

Nope, I have no use for that, Patricia. I don’t have any little kids to give things to. But, thank you anyway.

Bob, where are you from? Do you live here or just here for rehab?

I live here. I am only 69 but, well, let’s just say I need care and I do not have anybody on the outside who can do that for me?

I saw a framed certificate on his nightstand – a commendation from the United States Marine Corps recognizing his service in the Vietnam War and during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Bob, I do not remember much about the Cuban Missile Crisis except that we had air raid drills in our school and my father built a bomb shelter in our basement stocked with clean water, canned goods, blankets and lots of provisions.

You see, Patricia, Khrushchev had intercontinental missiles pointing toward the United States. The Russians were in cahoots with Fidel Castro. I was in a ship that formed a blockade around Cuba. In a way, it was a show of United States force with so many battleships surrounding their island. What Kennedy negotiated was that Russia remove the missiles from Cuba and the USA would remove the missiles in Turkey.

Was the Marine Boot Camp hard for you?

No, I grew up in a very strict home. I knew how to follow orders. I did what I was told without questioning authority so I had no problems. Then I worked for a long time with the phone company.

Oh, so did I. Wasn’t that the best job?

We chatted a little bit about the good old days – the 1970’s, working for Bell of PA.

I said my goodbyes to Robert and decided that I needed to learn a little more about United States history. Thank you, Bob, I am going to You Tube that subject right now.

Oh, how I love to learn……from the wonderful people that I visit at the nursing homes! Even the ones who do not need a stuffed Teddy Bear….but need a friendly visit more than what I had in the big plastic bag.

I think a lot of people have the post-holiday blues or the not in good health blues, or so sad that I am no longer living in my own home blues….your little gifts seem to chase away the dreariest doldrums.

A million thanks from me, the residents and their families for those oh so perfect lap blankets, stuffed animals, new blouses and shirts, socks, tissue paper flowers, sugarless candy and body lotions…and so much more.

Thank you to everyone who has donated things for me to take on my visits – your items are a dose of happy medicine. Your gifts say Yes to Hope and bring that old country comfort to people who need their spirits lifted!

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