Reviewing a Lifetime
(A Psychotherapist's Nightmare)
by John D. Sedory

Copyright©2014 by Daniel B. Sedory, Editor. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 28
Catching Up and Backing Up

[Where possible, the Editor has rearranged these sections chronologically.]


Howard (1923)

    Going way, way back, Eleanor had a brother, Howard, who was born on November 8, 1923. He lived about 19 months and developed what the doctor called "inward measles[1]". He prescribed aspirins which were supposed to help the measles "break out."

    Rather than this helping Howard, he got worse, and on June 27th, 1925, after failing badly, Erana was holding him in her arms when Howard said, "Gone; all gone; all...." And he passed away.

    The doctor who had prescribed the aspirins, as the story goes, was a womanizer who ... never [allowed] proper time to care for his patients, and this was a perfect example of his negligence! I wouldn't want to be in his shoes when he [gives an] account of his life to the Lord![2]

Tom Vagasky and Family

    I'm going to spare you the names and dates of birth of the children of these nephews and nieces' kids. But since my Uncle Tom Vagasky was sort of a favorite over the years as we kids were growing up, I do want to cover his family (not that Aunt Anna or Aunt Betty weren't important to our lives!)

    Tom married Nellie Rhodes on August 10, 1940, and I remember Uncle Tom bringing Nellie out to see us in our Stickney home.

    They had three children. Tom Jr. was born [in] 1941. Then came Ruth Lyn who was born [in] 1943. Betty Jean's birth date I don't have listed, though I'd guess it was in 1945. Many were the times over the years we visited Streator, never failing to make the stop at Uncle Tom and Aunt Nellie's place where we felt so welcomed and comfortable. As I think of that, I'll have to send them a check when my boat comes in to cover some of those expenses! That boat presently is tied up on dry land or bogged down in some bureaucratic department of the government, evidently!

    Tom/Nellie built their own home on the acreage where we used to walk the cows for grazing when on the summer vacations [609 Fuller Av, RR1, Streator, IL 61364; if you traveled east on Broadway St. across the railroad tracks, it would stop just a bit south of Tom's house], the place about a mile from Dzedo and Baba's [at 816 Jackson St.]. Tom was handy at almost everything to do with tools and equipment, and he did most of the work himself. He'd been left the land by Dzedo and Baba.

My Siblings' Marriages and Families

    I told of my wedding date and Marie and John's (sister and brother-in-law; married on May 8, 1948), but I never mentioned a thing about my brothers Phil and Ed. So I'm going to try condensing and listing that data right now.

Edward (1948-1981)

    Ed married Eve Kellman on May 29th, 1948. They moved from Stickney and built an attic apartment above Eve's relatives. I know Ed loved Eve, but there was a problem with her about having kids. She feared the idea, as I recall.
    That marriage lasted for what I recall was nearly six years, Eve having called the marriage off. In later years Eve, who wanted no kids, married a man who had kids older than she was, and she had a child by him. That's life, huh?

    Ed, in the mean time, broken hearted at Eve's divorce, got caught up in a marriage which never should have taken place. He was on the "rebound" and went for a girl whose father was active in the Elevator Mechanic's Union, I believe getting Ed into the business. She had a son and a daughter who were spoiled and ill treated, and Joan (that wife) had some hang-up where she was something near to the equivalent of a man who'd be called "impotent." She took Ed for whatever he had in that divorce. Illinois law favored women in divorces, and even a lawyer paid by the man sometimes helped the woman. That same sequence followed in all of Ed's divorces, and it took its toll on his hard-earned savings.

    Ed had three marriages after that, one of which lasted almost no time to speak of at all [Note: The author didn't even mention her name here!]. The next one was to Barbara Reinecke in April of 1962. She was a divorced woman who had two daughters. They took the Sedory name eventually. That marriage, after having two sons, lasted until about 1973 or so. That's one where Ed was really hit hard with lawyers, and cost almost everything he had.
    The next marriage was the "quickie" where the woman had a son who wanted to run everyone and everything. He would not take Ed's instructions, and his mother took her son's side in squabbles. So that ended in a short period of time.

    In 1979 Ed corresponded with a girl in the Philippines, Mily. He made one or two trips there. There seemed to be some formality of government which made it difficult to get Mily into the U.S. They married on April 1, 1980, in her country, but she wasn't able to come to the U.S. until about July of 1980.
    Mily is a wonderful woman who looks after Ed (she's quite a few years younger) and is the best thing that has ever happened to him. They had a son, Edward, [in] 1981. We have come to know "EJ" (as he's called) and Mily well over the years and love them very much.

Philip (1950-1954)

    Phil married Charlene Wenzl on July 22, 1950. They lived in Cicero for a time, later moving to the west suburbs of Chicago. They had a son Denis Richard on August 27, 1951, and a daughter Deanna [in] 1954.

Marie (1952-1956)

    To conclude the family members' data, John and Marie (my sister) had their first born [in] April, 1952. That was David. Then Linda was born [in] October, 1953, followed by their last child, Debra, who was born [in] October, 1956.


    Tom's father, Grandpa Vagasky, died on June 20, 1959, at 79, the same year Eleanor's father and Grandmother Kaske died. Dzedo (as we called him) was a soft-spoken, gentle and kind person. I remember that while I was taking courses at Concordia Teacher's College, he and I discussed various aspects of Scripture. One which interested him greatly was the mystery[3] of the "waters above" separated from the "waters below" spoken of in the Creation account in the Book of Genesis [See "Day Two" in this Introduction to Genesis].

    When my father-in-law passed away so suddenly, I felt pity on my mother-in-law, and I befriended her and tried to help in every way I could. She took this to mean I was interested in her personally, and she told Eleanor about it. That caused another split in [the] relationship [with my mother-in-law] which lasted for a number of years—I'd left the store and went to Grebel Auto by then.

    One thing I did was to teach her to drive, for the car her husband left was no good to her without knowing how to drive it. One hair-raising experience came from those lessons:

    We'd been out for some time doing ordinary maneuvers new drivers should know about, and we were on our way back to her house. She pulled into the alley (they lived in the middle of the block) and headed for her garage. But there were utility posts which protruded outward somewhat.

    Instead of putting her foot on the brake pedal to slow down, she inadvertently pushed the accelerator pedal. We began taking off as if in an aircraft!

    I yelled for her to hit the brake pedal and not the accelerator, but it was of no avail. So I tried to get my foot on the brake pedal while also trying to get her foot off the accelerator pedal. And all this while the car was swerving from side to side errantly, the posts barely being missed. While doing all those other things to gain control of the car, I also tried grabbing the steering wheel from her grasp. Eventually I slowed and stopped the car.

    Erana was a nervous wreck. She'd become nearly numb when she hit the accelerator instead of the brake pedal, and from that point on she was frozen in a position of being unable to listen to commands.

    She vowed to never get behind the wheel again after it was all over. But I related my flying experience to her and how Dick and Ivan reminded me that if I didn't get back into that airplane and fly it, I'd be a basket case for the rest of my life. I guess it worked, as she eventually did get her driver's license and some use out of the car.

The Corvair

    When my folks moved to Riverside, Dad's hearing had deteriorated. They'd purchased a Corvair automobile, one which was called the first of "compacts" and which was designated by Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate, as one of the world's most unsafe cars. How, I don't know, but due to Dad's inability to hear horns or whistles (railroad's) Mom learned how to drive. I went along with her once or twice at the most. The one time I recall she was on Cermak Road shopping. She was on one side of the street and needed to make a "U" turn to go in the opposite direction. So she just wheeled the car around in the midst of all the traffic and made her turn. I must have put on ten years of age! I think the reason she survived was due to the fact anyone who saw her coming stayed as far from her as they could. And to think I used to criticize "women drivers!"

    Dad did occasionally drive, but he got a couple citations for different things, and it was all because he couldn't hear well. But driving with Mom was probably more hazardous—bless her soul!


    All this while my sister Dorothy lived with my folks, fitting in quite well as a companion and helper to Mom and Dad. I remember that Mom used to shop for the bargains as they were advertised, and Dorothy got pretty experienced at finding the ads in the newspapers for her. There was always extra of everything stored in their pantry and on the back porch shelving.

    In case you've forgotten, Dorothy had suffered a setback mentally when she got the high fevers and infected glands on her neck way back while I was assigned to my ship in Boston in 1943. But the handicap wasn't easily detected until getting into extensive conversation with Dorothy. She was always jolly and outgoing when we visited my folks from Hoffman Estates, a distance of about 33 miles.

A Car Accident - After 1962

    We were out driving leisurely through the outskirts of town [on Higgins Road as I recall], when a traffic light changed, and I applied my brakes. I was watching the car behind us which didn't seem to be ready to do the same. As he got closer and closer, I realized he wasn't going to stop soon enough to avoid hitting us. I couldn't move forward because of the cross traffic which had the green light, so all I could do was to reach toward Eleanor and Jack who she was holding in her lap.

    I may have yelled to Daniel and Timothy in the back seat, but I'm not sure. And in those days seat belts weren't used as they are today, so Daniel and Timothy came flying over the front seat as the impact occurred. We were shaking from fright for a minute before we collected our thoughts.

    Opening my door and getting out of the car, I walked toward the guy who hit us to see if he was OK. He was fine as far as I could tell, but his English left a lot to be desired, so I couldn't be certain.

    He was a Hispanic who had no insurance or driver's license. The police took a report but gave me little hope I'd ever be reimbursed for my damages. But the guy seemed to be saying he'd take care of it.

    I got his address and a written I.O.U. stating he'd pay for my costs involved, though that had little real value.

    As it turned out, sometime later I did get a check to cover most of my costs, and I was thankful for even that.

    I can't tell you how many times over the years many similar accidents took place where the ones who banged into the rear of my cars didn't have insurance coverage. [Curiously,] this accident was almost identical to another one we had in Elgin, Illinois.

    The car I was driving was a 1962 Chevrolet we bought after we were in Hoffman Estates for a short while, a nice four door with all the convenient accessories.


    On January 13, 1964, our second son Timothy had his tonsils removed. He was about 9½ at the time, but Eleanor and I again faced the hospital struggle of having to leave him there as we'd done with Jack for his hernia operation. For some reason, and I don't recall what it was, we disliked this even more than we did Jack's ordeal. Tim, too, came out of the surgery in good shape!


    Some short reports: Rebecca Joy Edgren was born to Betty and Bob Edgren [in] May, 1964 (my brother-in-law). She was the fourth and last child in that family. In October of 1964 Eleanor transferred to Accounts Payable at Union Oil (from the billing department). In January of 1965 we had an ice storm in Hoffman Estates (and all over the western suburbs of Chicago) which pulled down power lines, trees, etc., even causing some roofs to collapse. Our heat source in the house was our natural gas stove, and that lasted for several days!

Mother-In-Law Married Again

    On July 17, 1965, my mother-in-law, Erana, married another Clarence, Clarence Lind. He was a man who Erana and her husband Clarence Edgren had known years earlier. Clarence Lind and his wife visited with Erana's sister and husband, Caroline and Jim Delwey, and oftentimes my in-laws would be there at the same time. Mrs. Lind died, and shortly after he began dating Erana who had kept in touch with Clarence while his wife was ill. They dated a couple of years.

    Clarence Lind had retired from the moving business and had adequate retirement benefits which kept them going financially. That was one thing Erana most sought when she lost her first husband. They ate out a lot and traveled here and there, though Mr. Lind didn't like to take long trips.

    The story goes that as far as romanticism is concerned, he wasn't that interested, and he really did become more of a companion and supporter than anything else. They even slept in separate beds, I'm told, in order not to bump into Erana's varicose veins (supposedly). She really had legs which resembled a crowded highway map with interchanges all over the place, this in spite of the fact she'd had her veins "stripped" in earlier years.


    Grandma Vagasky became ill in June or July of 1965, the diagnosis being that she had "restriction of the bowels." The doctors wanted her permission to operate and remove the restriction. But Baba, having her old fashioned ideas about removing anything from one's body, refused. The family couldn't convince her, either, and she died on August 5, 1966, just seven days short of her 83rd birthday. I really felt bad about that!

Eleanor and Mono

    In January of 1967 Eleanor developed high fevers and headaches, leading to mononucleosis. She was hospitalized in Elgin, Illinois, a town approximately 13 miles [west of] Hoffman Estates[4]. She was put into an isolation area while there. My life at home with the kids and my job was something else!


    One of the first purchases Eleanor and I made took place in September of 1947. It was one of the least likely needed things we could have bought, but I guess the salesman was more experienced than we were. The item bought (on terms) was a plot of four cemetery lots in Chapel Hills Gardens West in Elmhurst, Illinois. We made payments on that purchase until January of 1951.

    In 1967 Eleanor and I purchased a lot in Florida from General Development Corporation. It was to be paid for on the "pay as you go plan." It surely was that, for we didn't complete the payment until 1975.

    The way we got hooked that time was through one of those dinners where high pressure salesmen do nothing but sell, sell, sell, all the while you're at the dinner. One sales person was assigned to each table.

    We paid on that lot until 1975 after which time we began paying taxes each year. Not a wise investment—not that the cemetery lots were any better!


    Up until 1968 (having been married nearly 22 years) we had no family pets to speak of, other than some the kids had in their room which I was unaware of (a pet garter snake and maybe a hamster or some such animal). But that year a litter of puppies was found by neighborhood kids (two of ours were part of them) in a barn on a deserted farm off Higgins Road. No mother was found to be around tending to her litter, so the kids took two or three of the dogs and brought them home. One kid's folks wouldn't let him keep the dog he took home, and that one was given to a neighbor. The other one the kids finally persuaded us to allow them to keep. If there was a third, I don't recall what happened to it.

    The one we kept was a pretty buff colored tan and white. She was very small, but it was quite noticeable that she had fairly large paws for a small dog. So we guessed she might turn out to be a medium to large size dog in later years.

    Princess, as the kids named her, would not quit squawking. We tried everything to calm her down: a heated iron in a box alongside the bed, an alarm clock ticking in the box, etc. Only one thing finally worked.

    I had to sleep with my arm hanging over the side of the bed and touch her all night long in that box! That worked. I guess she needed a "motherly touch."

    Princess' sister lived a couple houses to the west of us, and when they visited each other, one thing became obvious to us. All dogs are not like-mannered. Princess was a sweet, gentle, playful dog, while her sister was kind of harsh and unaffectionate. Maybe it was the way that older couple raised her, or perhaps it's just that dogs also have different personalities. We were glad we got the gentle one! I could fill a chapter of things we (especially the kids) did with Princess, her playing with Frisbees and balls, and her love for the snow as the kids made igloos and played in it with her. She was with us fifteen years after that.


    In 1969 Eleanor and I and my brother Ed and his wife [at that time being] Barbra, took a trip to Florida to look into another land deal with another company. It was down in Naples, Florida. The air fare and stay was to be mostly covered, and it looked to be a good deal to take the trip. As I think of it, the entire cost to us was nil on that trip. Our friends and neighbors the Schuster's also came along.

    The same high pressure approach was used there as in our other Florida lot purchase a couple years earlier. So Eleanor and I backed down on that one; but I think Ed ended up buying a lot or two from them. We had a lot of fun and entertainment. My mother-in-law [who may have brought grandson Paul Edgren with her] watched our kids while we were away.


Chapter 27


Chapter 29


1[Return to Text]   As odd as it may seem to us today, some people did use the phrase 'inward measles' at that time to refer to a condition where most of the symptoms of measles were present, but without the usual skin rashes (which could still appear later on). But if Howard never had any rashes, even though it's now believed that about 25% of measles cases are wtihout them, it's also possible he may have had some other type of virus. (Regarding what happened, we couldn't help but first wonder if Howard may have had ended up with Reye's (Ryes) syndrome; which although rare {not even described until 1956}, may somehow be realated to a child with a virus being given aspirin. [It's often said, "Children with measles should never be given aspirin, as this has caused the fatal disease Reye's syndrome in the past."] But without a list of all his symptoms, we'll never know if that was even a possibilty.)

2[Return to Text]   Our author originally had this in the past tense, as if everyone must account for their lives as soon as they die. But according to Scripture (in the Revelation of Jesus Christ; Chapter 20, verses 11 ff), the time when everyone will be judged is definitely still in the future. That is the 'Great White Throne Judgment' which occurs near the end of the earth. Only then, will those who rejected Christ be judged "according to their deeds" and many will finally understand that only by having trusted in Jesus as their Savior, could anyone be with God in heaven. For no sinner can ever be made righteous by their own works; not even one! (see Romans 3:10, 23 ff; 6:23 ff). We are only "justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24). All Believers, however, go immediately into the presence of the LORD when they die (see Second Corinthians 5:6-8, where Paul wrote that "to be absent from the body" is the same as being "present with the Lord.") There are also the words of Jesus Himself (in Luke 23:43): "today [not at the end of the world] you will be with Me in Paradise". Believers do not, however, receive their glorified bodies until the second coming of Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:16) when He will raise and transform them (1 John 3:2). Paul wrote of that time when our spirit will be united with a glorified body throughout eternity (see 1 Corinthians 15:40 ff).

3[Return to Text]   What is often labeled as a 'mystery' (in the modern sense of something that remains unexplained or unknown) in Scripture, turns out to be quite clear when read in the context of the whole paragraph or chapter! Of course, if one is not familiar with Biblical Hebrew (or Koinē Greek for Scripture written after the Messiah came to die for our sins), it's important to have a very good translation in your own language; or 2 or 3 or more good translations when studying difficult passages. After examining the Genesis 1 verses in context, and realizing this was written to the Israelites of Moses' time; not as a scientific report describing things in a way that would be impossible for them to understand, it's quite clear the "waters above" (in Genesis 1:7-8) must refer to clouds in the sky (with heavy concentrations of water), not some kind of liquid sea above the earth! Yes, it could have been written in a more literal, yet simple, way (e.g., 'the waters in the clouds'). But the Hebrew writers had a propensity for using imagery and poetry even when discussing history. It's not very helpful (in our opinion) that some (even current) English translations use words such as 'vault' (or 'Heaven') here instead of 'sky' (NET Bible). For more about this book, see our Introduction to Genesis.

4[Return to Text]  Your Editor still has fond memories of taking a leisurely, though very tiring, all-day bicycle trip, with his brother Tim and friend, all the way to Elgin and back (30 miles or more total for us) I believe in the summer of 1966. I used a short (maybe only 20-inch wheels), beat-up, single-speed bike at that time! We stopped at corn fields, some abandoned farm houses and the train bridge (over Golf Road - Hwy. 58) along the way, but definitely enjoyed finding a MacDonald's on the way into town (the burgers being about 25 cents back then!). We went as far as the Fox River and ended up at the Elgin Watch Company. I recently read that the main plant was closed in 1965, and demolished the next year. (I need to find out exactly when that occurred.) So we had seen 'the end of an era' in watches and clocks without even realizing it. Today, you'll find a public library at the same spot I had been way back then: Gail Borden Public Library.