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

Copyright©2014, 2022 by Daniel B. Sedory, Editor. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 33
The Gypsies Settle Back in California


April 5, 1980: Having met the stringent requirements of our landlord, we moved into our Sepulveda home.


This was the home we rented at 9350 Odessa Ave, Sepulveda, CA, after moving back from Florida.

    In time Daniel moved in with us to help share expenses and to fill some of the vacant space in the place. Our landlord was a Chinese couple who were most cautious about who they'd allow into their home, and their application was one similar to what one might expect when trying to get a job.

    April 14th: I had been ill just before we moved from Florida. I'd gone for months having a queasy stomach, and just a few days before we moved I got violently ill. I was vomiting a green, chemical-like substance which tasted like bile or gall (whatever that tastes like!). And here I was again feeling the way I had felt while in Florida. I'd eat, but I never had my heart in it. I just did it to keep alive, as food never tasted good to me. This was how I felt when I got the job at Senderex Air Cargo near the L.A International Airport.

    They agreed to allow me to work on a commission basis, though I don't recall if any expenses were provided or not. I know I worked at it very hard and spent a lot of my own money to take potential accounts out to dine. I was with them until July 23, 1980, at which time the expenses were more than I could continue to bear on my own. The V.P. told me they'd like to put me on as a salaried employee, but they didn't have it in the budget right then.

    May 2nd: I went to the V.A. Hospital at Sepulveda because of the terrible pain I was experiencing, and they sort of "pooh-poohed" it away. That night at home I began having such pain I couldn't stand it. Eleanor phoned the V.A. Hospital, but the person who answered told her to bring me in the next morning. The way I felt there wasn't going to be a "next morning." I was rolling over on the floor trying to find a position I could rest in, but there simply was none. The pain was on my left side, so we ruled out the appendix. And we couldn't think of anything which would be located there on the left side.

    Soon the pain became so severe Eleanor took me to the Granada Hills Community Hospital where I'd had bypass heart surgery three years earlier. We were going to the hospital not knowing if I had insurance coverage or not. The policy I had while at South County Realty could easily have expired by now.

    I was given some kind of pain killer which helped a lot. And then the search for my problem began.

    First ultra sound equipment was used to zero in on anything unusual on the "innards." But that revealed nothing. Then a few other tests followed, all of which showed nothing. I was beginning to think I'd die before my ailment was found.

    A team of doctors conferred and decided it had to be my gall bladder, even though they couldn't as much as see it on the ultra sound. And surgery was scheduled.

    May 12th: The operation over, here's what I learned. My gall bladder was found to be on its side rather than flat or parallel to the outer surface of the body. Thus it escaped viewing from the ultra sound. It was said to be one of the most diseased that team of surgeons had ever seen, having green growths all over the outside of it, and being in a state of readiness to burst at any moment.

    I remember this one doctor who I thought of as being less than a veterinarian for the way he handled the tubes he was pulling out of my stomach. They were drain tubes which allowed blood and other liquids to flow out of the surgical area and they were folded over like tubing to take less space inside. He pulled on them from the foot of the bed as though he were on a tug-of-war team. Each yank gave me the sensation of having my guts pulled out!

    When I complained, he said, "It has to be done this way, just hold on!" I could have smacked him with my catheter bag which was quite full at the time.

    I know that doctor never had the experience of having a drain tube pulled from his stomach, or he'd have eased up on the way he pulled. When I think of the sensation that pulling gave, I think it was worse than having heart surgery!

    May 19th: Seventeen days in the hospital for a gall bladder operation! Well, the surgery and recovery didn't take that long, just the location of the source of my problem. And after much finagling, the insurance company did handle the costs involved—thanks to the agent who had signed me into the plan.

    I can't properly express how relieved I was to be home once again and under the care of my full time nurse, my wife!

    June 9th: Eleanor's mother visits with us until June 30th.

    Our first grandchild, Kevin T. Sedory, was born around this time.

    July 24th: I obtained a mobile home license and got a commission job with Homestyle Mobile Homes in, I think, Reseda. I was with this company until September 14, 1980, and leaving there presents a little story.

    The owner of the firm was Jewish (as are many business owners). He was loud, insensitive, and a braggadocio. When I began working there I told him I didn't want to work any Sundays unless absolutely necessary. He had agreed to that.

    But this particular Saturday he had run some big adds for the next day and told me I'd be working that day. I had just worked the last Sunday and had made a commitment for the next day. I said, "If you're saying I must work tomorrow, I'll just call it the end of our relationship."

    His office desk was at the far back end of the room, while my desk was near the entry into the building. Instead of coming to my desk or calling me to his, he just blurted out across the entire room so everyone present could take it all in. That angered me, along with his demands.

    I could see he was giving no leeway, so I began packing my belongings into my briefcase. He stared at me with his mouth open and said something which amounted to an insult regarding my temperament.

    I walked over and handed him what belonged to the firm, and I said, "It hasn't been nice knowing you. Goodbye!" And that was the end of that job. All the running around and getting listings I'd done had gone for naught.

    But to see the expression on that guy's face was worth the lost effort of what I'd put into the job, and maybe in the future he thought at least once before getting so loud and unprofessional when talking to others.

    September 15th: Good Guys Mobile Home on Sepulveda Boulevard became my next place of employment (all those jobs were strictly commission, so they didn't pay anything to have a person around), They had new homes on the grounds and also dabbled in used ones located in parks. I couldn't have been there for over a few weeks when I decided there was too much cut throat going on, and I left on my own with no hard feelings. This and the other company had their "favorites" (women), and I wondered if they were being fed leads and paid for them in another way. I came to that conclusion by listening to some of the conversation around the places.

    September 18th: We took a trip to Paradise, California, to visit with the Beaton's who had moved there earlier that year. They were their usual "wonderful selves," and they dined and entertained us as though we were honored guests.

    Eleanor's Aunt Marie Douglass and her husband Morris lived there, too (and I think they're still there in 1991). They had us and the Beaton's over for a great dinner. Marie was married to Eleanor's Uncle Wesley Edgren, and when he passed away she met and married Morris after some time. He's a great guy!

    I was so impressed with the area I wanted to move there and activate my real estate and mobile home licenses. A broker in a firm there offered me a job and a mobile home to rent at low cost to boot.

    But Eleanor was her usual sensible self and talked me out of the idea, saying it was too distant from where our kids were (it is about 500 miles from the San Fernando Valley as I recall).

    There's a sign as you approach the hill leading to Paradise. It reads: "You are now ascending into Paradise!" How appropriate! It is a beautiful area with tall pine trees, streams, a water reservoir, and a baby Grand Canyon right off the town area itself. I recall peering over the rim of the canyon. There's no sort of protective fencing or railing, and it seems to me to be quite dangerous for adults and especially for kids who might visit there. Yet, I saw many lean way over as if to test the edge's firmness. Not for me!

    September 27th: I was awaiting my real estate license, having passed the test, and it came on this date. But the real estate market's bottom just about dropped out, and I never really associated myself with a broker.

    There was a long dry spell of unemployment right about here, and I finally decided that if I couldn't get a decent job in sales, I'd do what supposedly all older men do who aren't too talented. I'd try to get a job in some sort of security work.

Working for Purolator Armored

    I took tests and got my guard and gun permit card and went out to find an armed job of some sort. I'd heard Purolator Armored was in need of help down in the City of Commerce, so I applied and got a job as a driver-guard-messenger.

    Those trucks usually have the small windows all around, and they have the double wheels in the back. They're also quite tank-like in structure. So it was a new experience to drive them.

    Also new was the handling of hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes millions (most often, actually). It was an awesome responsibility to make sure everything you signed for at stops had good, solidly secured bags and that the counts were exact.

    When checking in after a day's run, we'd have to get in line to have our pickups counted and balanced against paperwork. Even slightly opened bags were a "no-no." That's why it was so important to make sure they were properly sealed when picking them up. The seals also had numbers on them.

    My territory when I became sort of a regular was Southgate, Compton, Carson, and Torrance, sometimes going over into Bell Gardens and Pico Rivera and out that way. The old timer on the route was a black guy whose name I've forgotten. He wanted to drive all the time, and I finally told him other crews alternated and that I wanted to do the same—that is, being the messenger who went in to the various places for pickups as the other alternative.

    We picked up the Thrifty Stores and the Save On Drug Stores as regulars. We also had the MacDonald (hamburger joint) account at that time. Each place had its own procedures to follow, though we were supposed to give them a maximum of five minutes to have their stuff ready.

    We had keys to every stop where safes were involved. Our key and the key the company had both were needed to open a safe. A number of times the messenger would forget his keys and not be aware of it until he'd reach for them at the next stop—which sometimes was a long way off. It was embarrassing and time consuming to make the run back to the prior stop, but it happened now and then.

    When stopping at Thrifty's and Save On Drug stores in the solidly black populated areas, we'd almost always find a line of guys at the entry way. They'd make cracks about wanting the money we had, sometimes sounding quite serious. I learned from the pros that the only way to treat those guys was to come back with something like, "Sure, you can have it. But first I'll have to give you a taste of this lead. Would you like that?"

    As I entered those long, narrow hallways with those guys along the side, I knew it wasn't possible to watch what was in front of me and behind me at the same time. That's why an additional guard is essential to that job, but few companies can afford the added expense of having them. We had to try relying on our hearing for those behind us, once in a while quickly turning our heads to see if anything was going on that looked suspicious.

    Sometimes I'd get on the Los Alamitos Race Track run. HORSE BETTORS PLEASE READ THIS! As I recall we'd go there around 5:00 to 5:30 p.m. with three million dollars in cash. We'd have a man who carried a shotgun on that run, though he always stayed in the back of the truck.

    When the pickup was made later that evening (I think it was around midnight or just before that), the take was usually about twelve million dollars. What does that say? It says they used the three million for making change to bettors, and then they cleared (gross) about nine million dollars—$12,000,000.00 minus $3,000,000.00 equals $9,000,000.00. Not bad for a night's "work," huh?

    I can't say the take was always around that much, but it seemed at the time to be pretty regular. Sue me if I'm wrong on the figures, as that's as I remember it.

    Then there were the banks which always wanted boxes of coin: pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Sometimes we'd haul (on a hand truck) as much as seven to eight hundred pounds of coins at a crack. When banks had plush carpeting, it was an awful task to keep that hand cart moving forward with that kind of weight on it. I know when I worked for Brinks, Inc., for a few months, we really handled a lot of coin, lots more than Purolator did. For that matter I had been in the back of Brinks trucks when we'd picked up at the Federal Reserve Banks (I think that's what they were called), and the pile of bags of money was so high we'd be looking down to look out of the side windows. Our heads would be at the top of the ceiling.

    Some of those bags contained just twenty to a hundred thousand dollars in them, but many had over three hundred thousand in them. So I couldn't venture a guess of what the total amount picked up would have been, but I know it was more than enough for many to retire comfortably.

    I made one run with a crew of four, two of us who had shotguns. It was to some banks in the Ventura area as I recall. So you can be sure that load was plenty hefty.

    We had one run which ran daily to San Diego at Brinks (I'm telling you all about Brinks, and I still haven't gotten the job there in time sequence!), and I was assigned to it pretty often in those three months. It was what was called the "ten wheeler" truck run. When it was full of weight the ride was OK in the back, but coming back with a lot less, it rode pretty hard.


    March 30, 1981: President Ronald Reagan was shot, the round piercing one of his lungs. One of his cabinet members was shot in the head (forgot his name), and though he lived (and is still living at this writing), he lost part of his speaking ability, and he also may have been partially paralyzed. It certainly ruined his life!

Started Working for Brinks, Inc.

    In May, Purolator employees went on strike, and I wasn't about to cross over the picket lines as maybe seven or eight had done. I was technically still an employee awaiting recall to duty when the strike broke, the employees losing out. But I was out in the mean time looking for other work when I got the Brinks job.

    It was the same week I was accepted at Brinks that Purolator phoned asking if I wanted to return to work. I told them I'd already been hired by Brinks, but that, too, is another story.

    First I had to take a shooting test at Brinks' basement range. The fact one had his license didn't matter to them. I was nervous that day with everyone staring as I shot. And they didn't allow us to use our own weapons as they did at Purolator. So they gave me an old, long barreled forty-four (caliber). At first I was putting the shots right around the bull's eye, but then as the crowed began commenting on my shooting, I got worse.

    And the trucks Brinks had were all stick shifts, while at Purolator we had mostly automatics. So when the guy testing me said, "Can you drive a stick?" I said I could if it was anything like the stick on an auto. But it wasn't. It was a five speed which really worked better if double clutched, and I wasn't up on those. As I drove I ground the gears a few times, and I could see the guy who was testing me wasn't too pleased.

    After the driving, written, and shooting tests were over, I was told "We'll call you." I knew that meant I wasn't being hired.

    Not hearing from Brinks, I called back and spoke to Leo Tartamella the facility manager. I told him why I'd had trouble with the shooting and driving tests and that I could do as well as anyone else they were going to hire, so he said he'd give me a chance to work for them. They were constantly on the lookout for part timers, even though at part time one could work sixty hours a week sometimes.

    I don't know how they determined who they'd keep and who they'd let go, but I noticed many were let go at the end of their 90 day probationary period, and I worried about that—especially since I didn't like to drive those old tanks. The guys on the San Diego run told me I shouldn't have to worry about that, but I was still leery.

    On one run in the downtown area of L.A. I had a crew leader (the messenger who handled all the paperwork) who was not exactly to my liking. He always talked down to me I thought. When I drove for him on my first time out, we had one of the bigger tank-type jobs. The hearing situation between the driver's compartment and those in the back of the truck was terrible. This guy would yell out instructions to turn somewhere (I didn't know the route yet) after I was right at the intersection, and this one time I was on the inside lane when he wanted me to turn right.

    I took a quick look to the right in the rear view mirror, and I saw nothing. I figured if he wanted me to turn right he could see it was all clear, as he had his head right by a window on that side. But it wasn't so.

    The blind spot was just enough to hide a smaller compact auto which was between us and the curb, and he also was going to turn right. I squeezed him between the curb and the truck, grazing his side a bit.

    Pulling over to the curb around the corner, I heard the messenger get on his walkie-talkie radio saying he'd take over outside. He would take no responsibility for having me make a later turn without clearing me through his side window, and I wondered after that if he did it on purpose to try getting rid of me.

    Anyway, that incident ended up where the other driver was a Latino with no insurance or driver's license. I don't think the company had to pay a dime out to him, as he didn't want to stir things up. But I was called to the office upstairs and given a letter of warning whereby it stated something like, "On this date you had an accident which was ruled avoidable. This is a warning that should such an incident occur again, you could be discharged from the company."

    That made me hate the trucks even more than I'd disliked them before, especially when I felt I wasn't fully to blame because of that messenger's yelling at the last minute to turn and then to not clear the side of the truck when I did turn.

    Another run I was on fairly often was the RTD coin pickup a few miles to the southeast of the facility (we were located at something like the ten or eleven hundred block of W. Florence Avenue).

    There were just two doors at which we'd enter, and there was a waiting time to get in once cleared to enter. I didn't mind that run when I was a guard in the back with the messenger, but I didn't like driving it.

    All three of us took turns handling loaded bags of coin which were being sent up a conveyor at a steady pace. Inside the back of the truck you had to continually pile the bags in a workmanlike fashion to keep them from sagging over. And they would be piled to the ceiling usually. After about fifty bags or so, we'd change off to the next man, and we'd go to the conveyor and place the bags on it. Bags did split open now and then, too!

    When I drove out of there the first time, I couldn't get the truck to move—a lot of weight on it! The guy yelled back that I had to use the lowest gear to get the truck moving, which I did, and I soon got the knack of it.

    But from there we had to go to a bank which may have been a Federal Reserve Bank, but I'm not sure. And that was on the north side of the busy part of L.A. In any case, the lead-in drive to the vault area was a tunnel and curving drive which required careful handling of that tank loaded with coin. I didn't exactly enjoy that part of the trip at all.

    Two things happened while at Brinks which I felt was sort of like testing events. The first happened when I was on the San Diego run.

    Inside the facility each day the crew would get its coin and bags of cash signed out of the cage. It'd be placed on large carts. Being the new comer to that crew, I figured I'd handle the heavy work for the guys.

    I was wheeling this loaded cart out one day and trying to get out of the doorway leading to the truck area. A guy in front of me let the door bang into my cart knocking some of the boxes of coin in the side. A couple cartons of quarters began flying out and spreading (not a lot of them) around the doorway. I quickly tried to find all of them and to try sticking them back in the cartons. Maybe some of them stayed in the facility, I don't know (there was coin laying all over the place which no one would touch).

    But it seems some bank which got one of those cartons may have reported a shortage, and maybe they thought I'd taken the coins. I can't be certain.

    Then on one run to San Diego the driver and the messenger (I rode in the back with him) stopped at a rest stop to get a drink and to use the bathroom. They asked me to go into the cab while they were gone.

    While waiting for them to return, I noticed there was a wallet (on the floor, I think), and I picked it up and looked for I.D. Finding none, I put the wallet down between the seats, only later realizing this was probably a "plant" to see what I'd do. The fact I picked it up may have meant to them that I was dishonest, as something had to be the cause of my release from the company on the 91st day I was there. They could see the wallet had been moved.

    A guy I had worked with at Purolator, and who also got a job at Brinks even before I had (he was a couple years older than I was), also did a lot of driving for various crews. He had two accidents right in the truck/office parking lot, one time hitting an office employee's car. Yet he wasn't let go!

    As I thought about it later, something—which some will call an excuse I'm trying to make—came to my mind. Most of the crews at Brinks were what the worldly would call "horny." They told dirty jokes which got into real filth, and I just couldn't be a part of that and let my feelings about Christianity show forth. That made some crews uneasy to have me along, I'd say, and that may have attributed to my being released after three months.

    Others told me it had to be that I'd had heart bypass surgery, and they just used me to fill in vacancies while I was still under my 90 day probationary period, never intending to use me as a full timer. I don't know what the real answer was.

    Many of the crews I worked with liked the way I always worked hard at loading and unloading the trucks, often carrying the loads into banks. Younger guys just goofed off a lot, and they stayed on and I was let go!

    Just like a friend of mine from Purolator (a Mexican guy) was let go, it happened the same way to me. He was on the San Diego run, and when he returned he was placed in the tower job—letting trucks and personnel in and out of the facility by controlling panels of buttons. Right after that he was dismissed without reason.

Being Let Go from Brinks

    I'd just been on the San Diego run all week and then found my name on the tower duty. I was most suspicious; but I remembered what the two guys on that run told me about not having anything to worry about, and I tried to comfort myself with that.

    But just as with my Mexican friend from Purolator, my name was then not listed for the following week. I questioned the guys in the dispatcher's office about that, and I didn't get any straight answers. I was pretty sure the die was set!

    When finishing my last day in the tower, I was led to the offices upstairs and told that Leo Tartamella wanted to see me. Know what? I actually figured I was being sent up there to receive commendation for my eagerness to work with the various crews. I couldn't believe it when I was told I was being let go.

    I questioned Leo about why I was being let go several times without getting an answer. He finally said, "Well, if you have to have a reason, you're just not able to do the job!" I told him that was unadulterated hogwash as many crew guys had told me they liked having me along, as I always did more than my share when working with them. But my arguments meant nothing.

    Imagine this if you can. All the while I was being led up to the office by this dispatcher, and all the while when in Leo's office, I was in possession of my loaded, holstered 38. If I'd been one of those nuts who loses his cool in such situations, I could easily have killed both guys in that office out of rage. Not too smart, I didn't think!

    I'd made very good money while at Brinks, and I was even getting ahead. My pay scale for being a guard was $8.19 an hour, and $8.23 an hour when driving. When I'd hit those sixty hour weeks (or so), I'd earned some pretty decent wages! All the way home I was thinking about what happened.

    The distance from Brinks to home had to be about thirty miles, and I got home without remembering having driven even a mile of it. I was in a trance of disbelief, anger and dismay. I related everything to Eleanor about what transpired and about how I sort of thought this might happen, yet having the idea I might also be called upstairs to be commended for good work—mixed feelings.

    One story which had circulated around the guys at Brinks was about a young fellow who needed heart surgery which cost the company a pretty penny. I don't know how that could have been the case, as he was well over the 90 day probationary period and should have been covered with a union insurance policy. But that's what was being said.

    Since I was known to have had heart bypass surgery, and since I was already 58 years old, I think it was more for that reason I was let go after the probationary period than anything else.

    I forgot to tell you that when in Leo Tartamella's office to be released from duty (fired!), and when I'd asked why I was being let go several times, Leo didn't just say it was because I couldn't do the work, he said "Well, if you have to have a reason, let's just say 'you can't do the work.'" Quite a difference! If I was being let go for age and/or having had heart surgery, that'd be discrimination; and that wouldn't set well, would it?

    My next job and the one which followed found me trying to get those employers to find out what Brinks told them about why they'd let me go; yet they never did say why. Whether it was because they didn't want to hurt my feelings or just that they wouldn't tell them, I don't know to this day. I have always hoped the reason was that I was "too religious" and spoiled some of those crews' fun with their dirty language and stories and orgies discussed. That would have given honor to the Lord, and it'd have been worth it all! There were some nice, straight guys there, but the majority were of the horny type. I would have to say that of all the places I worked in my lifetime, this was far and away the most obscene and low grade bunch of them all. The second worst would be in a job that's coming up pretty soon. I can honestly say I tried to be a witness for the Lord while there.

    My last day with Brinks, Inc. was September 11, 1981.


It would have been a good idea to have listed dates I left Purolator and began working at Brinks, but I noticed I left that out a few pages back.

    June 10th: This is where I'm backing up to give the date I began working at Brinks, Inc.

    June 11th: Remember my brother Ed marrying Mily, the girl from the Philippines? Well, on this date they had a son, Edward (what else!) James Sedory. He, however, has always gone under a very short derivative of that name—EJ.

    June 22nd: Eleanor's girl friend of many years, Ann Buer, and her husband Bob visit with us. Bob seemed to be in a hurry to get going on this trip, as they'd already traveled quite a distance before reaching our place.

    October: Don't know the date, but this was the month we first met a girl our son Tim was dating. We met at a church service at Grace Community in the San Fernando Valley. Her name was Ronda Robbins.

Working for Curtin Security

October 8th: My first job after leaving Brinks. I was hired to be an armed bank guard at various banks in the San Fernando and Simi Valleys. The company was Curtin Security in Los Angeles.

    When I was sent to a bank in Simi Valley, I learned they'd never before had a bank guard. I asked what brought about the sudden change in policy.

    I soon learned they'd been held up a couple times in the previous two weeks and I was there to merely act as a deterrent. The bank heads required me to sign a four page statement which basically said I'd not use my weapon in the bank (no matter what). Though I signed it, I can guarantee you that had one or more armed guys come in to hold up the bank, the first thing they'd do is blow away the guard—and that guard, in this case, would have used his weapon, agreement or not!

    Curtin Security wasn't able to provide me with a forty hour work week, and I needed more income, so I began looking around again. I read a newspaper ad that the Broadway stores in North Los Angeles was looking for security personnel, and I applied.

    The interview sounded positive (and that didn't come until a few days later after filling out the application), so I felt good about applying there at the personnel department.

    Then the call came for an interview with the assistant security manager. Everything went well, except for the wage offered. This guy was starting me at $5.50 an hour, and here I was working for $6.50 an hour. Yet they offered benefits at the Broadway which Curtin Security did not. So I went for it.

    When I advised Curtin Security I was leaving, and why, I left my uniforms with them. They were supposed to refund my deposits upon leaving their employee. I waited for some time and never got my refund back, so I wrote to them. They wouldn't even answer my letter. Real nice people!

Working for Broadway

    The facility was the main offices and warehouse for the Broadway Stores, located at 3880 N. Mission Road, Los Angeles. Nearly 2,000,000 square feet of warehouse and office space, and approximately 3,500 employees made this a very large facility. The security crew numbered something like 30 to 35 men and women at that time (later the number was reduced for security personnel as well as for overall personnel—for economic reasons).

    It must have taken me at least a couple months to know my way around real well in that place. I really enjoyed my job for the first couple years, that's when Tom Schwabe was the security manager. But Tom was squeezed out by new upper management (heads of security for not only our facility, but for that and all the stores, too). Each time newcomers would take over, changes were made which made our job less and less a fun thing. And in time I asked about the possibility of being transferred to a store security manager's job. It actually took 2½ years from the time I began with the company before that finally happened.

    December 25th: I have to wonder if I got this date right! But it's listed as the date Tim and Ronda (not married yet then) took Eleanor and I out to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. We went to the Tavern On The Green in Orange County. It was quite expensive and the dinner was great. Our anniversary is actually the 27th, but they took us out before that date it seems.


    May 9, 1982: Eleanor's brother Robert ("Bob") Edgren died at age 50. He had gone to the hospital because he wasn't feeling well. They admitted him and checked him over. They figured from EKG and other tests he may have had a mild heart attack, but they found nothing seriously wrong and told him he'd be going home on Monday, which must have been the 10th.

    However, they found him dead in the bathroom that same day. His death was attributed to a "stuck valve" in his heart, causing it to literally burst as the blood was being pumped in but had no escape because of the closed valve. Tragic and sad! This was especially so because all his family was up in Wisconsin except for his son David. His wife Betty had divorced him and moved up there with the three kids. I'm not commenting on who was to blame for the parting, as I really don't know what caused it, frankly. Nor do I know how it was decided to have the three kids go up there. The divorce didn't take place until some time after that.

    May 10th: Eleanor left for Chicago in order to attend the funeral for Bob and to help her mother through that painful time. Betty and the kids all came down to the funeral, too. It had to be most shocking and sad for everyone!

    Clarence Lind, the husband of Eleanor's mother Erana, was ill in bed having just come home from the hospital after having a prostate operation. So he wasn't able to attend the funeral, and that made Eleanor's presence all the more apropos. She stayed in Illinois at her mother's until May 15th. I didn't attend because of my job and expenses involved. I still find Bob's passing hard to accept to this day.

    July 31st: Our son Tim and Ronda Robbins were married at Ronda's church, a Nazarene church just west of Santa Ana—Community Church of the Nazarene in the city of Westminster, California.

Heart Problems Again

    September 23rd: I had gone to work at the Broadway early that a.m., starting at something like 5:00 a.m. My job was to unlock dock doors way out on the northeast corner of the building (the farthest from the front entrance of the building) and to then unlock trailers parked at those doors. One also recorded all the seal numbers attached to the locks. I've forgotten the number of doors on that post, but it was considerable.

    While on the way to work (this is important and should have preceded the above), a distance of 25 miles, I began having sharp pains in my chest and shortness of breath and a flushed feeling. This condition became so severe I was thinking it might be my last day on earth.

    Arriving at the parking lot early, I dashed off a farewell note to Eleanor, "just in case." As I sat there, I felt I didn't want to turn in a false alarm about my condition, and I felt better after a while. So I went in to begin my day's work.

    Before I finished all the doors I began feeling ill again, and with this came weakness. I didn't want to go back to the front desk until I at least finished all the dock doors and trailers, so I kept going—foolishly.

    Soon I'd completed the goal I'd set, and I called in (don't recall if I used a phone nearby or my walkie-talkie radio) to report that I was getting real weak and that I thought I might be experiencing a heart attack. The man at the front desk post—he's the one who handled all the security matters in the whole building while the day crew and managers were not yet there—asked if he should send our security electric cart to pick me up and bring me there. I reasoned that by the time they got to me, I'd be better off trying to make it on my own to save time.

    The long walk back to the front desk seemed like it was taking hours, but I finally made it. I was asked if someone should walk me to my car, but I said it wasn't necessary. This was like checking out to go home making it a "sick day."

    Thinking I was just driving home, as I drove along, I began feeling terrible again. At that point the only thing I could think of was to try making it to the hospital in the San Fernando Valley where I'd had my heart surgery performed a few years earlier. The hospital was located about two miles or so north of our house, so the total distance from work was about 27 to 28 miles, but by driving freeways just about all the way there, it made the drive easier.

    When I was admitted, a phone call was placed to my wife. She couldn't believe I was in the hospital, and after she heard the story, she thought I was at least nine cents short of a dime in common sense by driving all that way as I had.

    In the hospital for six days, it was determined I was suffering from angina pain which was brought on by additional plaque buildup in the bypassed arteries. I was put on medication for the first time since my bypass heart surgery in 1977.

Wrongfully Jailed

    September 30th: Our son Jack and his family had moved to Sepulveda on the east side of the 405 freeway (not too nice an area). This particular Friday Jack had come home from work and was waiting for Terri to come home. He heard a ruckus taking place in front of his apartment building and went out to investigate. He had no shirt on as it was a hot day.

    A crowd had gathered along the curb where policemen were questioning a woman. The woman had either been robbed or mugged or someone had been beaten or stabbed (it was that kind of neighborhood). As Jack stood there in the crowd, the woman shouted, "That's him!" She was pointing to Jack.

    The police handcuffed Jack and took him to the Van Nuys Police lockup (no shirt on, mind you). They wouldn't allow Jack to go back into the house to put on a shirt or to say anything in his defense. He was shocked at the accusation, having no idea what the woman was talking about when she said he was the one who had done whatever the crime was.

    Eleanor and I were being visited by our friends, the Schuster's, who now lived in Florida (they were one of our neighbors in Illinois). Terri had come to our house to pick up their son Kevin whom Eleanor babysat. Terri couldn't reach Jack at home and was concerned.

    About that time the phone rang and Eleanor answered. It was Jack on the phone, having been allowed one phone call from the lockup. He explained what had taken place. He also said he had been booked on aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (supposedly a hammer or ax or some such thing). We all were in utter disbelief—but I must admit we wondered if there was any possibility Jack had done something wrong (sorry about that, Jack!).

    As I recall either a very high bail bond had been set or there was no bail bond offered. So Terri and her mother Carole Hedrick went to the lockup to take a shirt to Jack.

    But when they reached the station, they were told Jack wouldn't be allowed to see them or to receive anything from outsiders. Imagine that? He was cold in the lockup, he could see no one, and he couldn't even be given a shirt to wear!

    He was questioned by two detectives on the following Monday (this was Friday evening) a couple times. They even called us and said it looked bad for him, which was what had given us the idea maybe Jack had done something in the first place. We couldn't conceive those detectives would make such a statement unless they had some evidence we knew nothing about.

    As it later turned out, the fellow who had actually committed the crime was already in that same lockup having been booked on some other charge. He had not yet been identified as being the perpetrator of the crime for which Jack was in jail. I don't know how that ultimately came about, either.

    About all the detectives said to Jack in releasing him was that he strongly resembled the fellow who confessed, and they said "that happens now and then!"

    So you think you are innocent until proven guilty of something? Try that story on for size. All it takes is a person to say "That's him/her!" And then you can sit in jail while the law tries to right their wrong! And don't expect the law to go overboard when you are found to be innocent, either.



    March 29th: It's my birthday, but I don't think that's why my mother-in-law came to vacation with us on this day. She was there until April 12th. You'll notice she didn't miss a year (maybe one somewhere) of coming out to stay with us (remember, she lived in Illinois).

    May 24th: Eleanor's mother was operated on for lymph cancer less than two months after coming to see us.

    June 1st: Jack and Terri moved to Anaheim. Jack had worked for his father-in-law Terry—not to be confused with his wife, Terri—at his service station in Tustin first. Then Terry bought a huge Chevron station on Ventura Boulevard and Winnetka (northeast corner) and Jack worked for him there. Now Terry bought a battery franchise in Orange County after selling the station in the San Fernando Valley, and Jack was going to work for him down there—thus the move to Anaheim.

    August 5th: Our beloved pet Princess (dog) was ailing, and we did notice she had small tumors or cysts on her breast.

House Broken Into and Robbed

    August 19th: Eleanor had just come home after being out that morning and early afternoon. It was only about 3:30 p.m. when she turned the key in the door lock. She noticed the two dogs were quiet which was unusual in itself, as Peanut at least would have greeted her and barked.

    She looked down the hallway toward the bedrooms and saw Daniel's bedroom light on and his bed in total disarray. His chest of drawers was open, hanging out, and various items were on the bed and floor. "There has to be something wrong, and maybe someone has broken in and is still in one of the other bedrooms," she thought. So she took Peanut (a little poodle) into her arms and headed across the street to inquire if anyone there had seen anything going on at our place as she called the police.

    Daniel was living with us at that time and was at work as I also was. But Daniel got home while the police were still there taking information and making their report. I didn't get home until much later.

    The burglar had broken in through our bathroom window, forcing the window up and snapping the window latch. That window was approximately five feet off the ground at the sill level. So the intruder must have [either] been rather tall to have crawled into it, [or as I suspect, two or more teens simply helped one of them inside!]. There was a fence between our place and the one next door, and perhaps those people weren't home anyway to take notice of anything going on.

    The police indicated from what Eleanor had told them that it was very likely the burglar was still in the house when she opened the front door and that it was a good thing she didn't go in and investigate. The reasoning was that since there were high fences on the side of the house and the back as well, the guy would have to come out of the front of the house to exit with his loot, the bathroom window being too small for that. And my loaded 38 caliber pistol had been taken which the crook probably would have used or threatened her with had she found him there.

    It was thought the crook made his getaway as soon as Eleanor went into the house across the street to make the phone call.

    As to the dogs not barking, Eleanor was told the guy may have beat them and scared them badly, thus the sheepishness on part of both the dogs.

    It wasn't bad enough that my fairly new gun worth about $350.00 was taken, but he also took most of Eleanor's jewelry she'd gotten from her grandmother, her aunt and her mother. It was beautiful jewelry, some having antique value, and Eleanor treasured it. The only thing she saved was whatever she'd worn that day.

    Almost all drawers in all three bedrooms were pulled out and dumped on beds and on the floors. The sight was sickening, and a creepy feeling was left in that house for months afterward, knowing someone had violated our privacy and invaded our domain.

    Other than some coin collections and loose change and some smaller denominations of cash, the big things taken were the jewelry and the gun. Credit cards on top of my chest of drawers were not touched.

    [John failed to mention here that a number of coins and bills that had either collector or sentimental value (such as where/whom he'd gotten it from or being minted in his birth year) to his son Daniel, such as Silver Dollars, a WWII Zinc Penny and an older $5 RED Seal Federal Reserve Note, were all taken from his room as well.]



    September 7th: We took Princess to a veterinarian and had her tumors removed, tumors which had gotten quite large by now and rather quickly. The doctor told us if they were benign there was no problem; and if they were malignant, testing them to find out wouldn't help any. We were just to wait to see how the healing progressed.

    September 30th: Princess' tumors grew back, and we feared for her life. She began being unable to make it outside to take care of bodily functions, and she moved very slowly. It was heart breaking to watch what was taking place.

    October 15th: We had a combined celebration for Daniel and Jack's birthdays. All the kids and their families were there that day. Princess reacted very strangely as the party was taking place, so much so that it seemed she was having a heart attack or some such thing. She then indicated she had need to have a bowel movement. We took her out to the back yard, finding she either was too weak or too sick to perform it. It was pitiful, and tears were flowing freely from everyone present. Princess had been with us fifteen years and was as wonderful a pet as one could wish for, so gentle and sweet.

    The family expressed various opinions of what had to be done, and the consensus was that she should not be allowed to continue suffering as she had been. As much as we all loved her, it was not fair to her to keep her alive as she was. So Eleanor, Tim and Jack drove her to the Holiday Humane Society office in North Hollywood, the place where her operation had taken place.

    As they were leaving the house with the two kids and Princess in the back seat (Eleanor drove), Princess suddenly perked up and put her ears straight up, looking like her old self again. Her big brown eyes stared at me from the back window as if to say, "Aren't you coming along for the ride?" By then I was sobbing so badly I couldn't stay to watch them drive away! But I wasn't the only one around who was doing that! Eleanor related what happened after she got home.

    When she arrived at the Humane Society office, Tim and Jack wouldn't go in with her. She, being the strong person she is, went in alone.

    While waiting in the lobby to be called into an office, Eleanor said Princess perked up to the point she sniffed around the waiting room as though there wasn't a thing wrong with her. But soon she was called into an office for the deadly purpose of the visit!

    The doctor assured Eleanor Princess would feel no pain and that she should stay to see that what he was telling her was so. As Eleanor comforted Princess (no dogs I knew of ever enjoyed going to a vet's office) while on the table, the doctor told her the procedure.

    He then inserted an injection between Princess' toes, and as Eleanor held her, she said Princess' head fell and her tongue came out of her mouth—and it was over just like that! The living soul (not eternal) of that beautiful creature had now "gone down to the earth" and "was no more!"

    I'm afraid that celebration of two birthdays was the saddest we'd ever witnessed or ever again wanted to. That dog has never left our memories, as we have pictures which accumulated for 15 years around the house to remind us of her.

    Now, don't get the idea I feel a dog lives on beyond this world nor that we thought of Princess more highly than we did or do of friends or relatives. That isn't so. She was just a "gift from God" for the years we had been privileged to have her in our family—truly one of "man's best friends!"

    November 21st: Clarence Lind, my mother-in-law's husband (2nd one), you may recall had just come home from the hospital having had prostate surgery when Eleanor's brother Bob died, and he was unable to attend the funeral—a dying man.

    Well on this date he died, the cancer having taken its toll. There had been almost a year where it looked as though he had fully recovered, but then the reappearance of the cancer took his life.


Chapter 32


Chapter 34