Monday, April 16, 2012


Dear friends,

Our mother's memorial service will be on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 5pm at Wedgwood Presbyterian Church in Seattle (8008 35th Ave NE). Please feel more than welcome to join us as we remember such a beautiful, courageous, intelligent and loving woman. And know that even if the distances prove to great, we know that you will very much be with us spirit. Your love and support during this time have been invaluable, and such a source of strength for us all. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to mom's beloved alma mater, Macalester College.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Grey Havens

Our brave, beautiful mother passed quietly in to her next adventure early this morning while surrounded by her loving family. She was sleeping comfortably, and was not in any pain. We are in awe of her fighting spirit, her courage, and the greatness of her love. One of her final requests was for everyone to know that she considered her friends to be her greatest riches, and that she considered herself wealthy beyond compare. We love her, and miss her deeply. Thank you so much for all of your kind words, love, and support during this difficult time. She was truly an amazing and inspiring woman, and our world was a better place for knowing her.

With love,
Matthew, Seth, and Sarah

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Hello dear friends,
My mother is comfortably sleeping right now, as she has been for the past few days. Each day, she is a little more tired, and a little weaker. Her blog post yesterday will likely be one of the last she makes, but I will continue to give you updates as I know many of you are interested in how she is doing. I want to thank you all for your love and support in the form of visits, phone calls, texts, blog comments, and warm thoughts and prayers. They truly mean the world to my mother, my brothers, and me. We are blessed to have such loving friends and family.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012


It's been a few quiet weeks, so I thought I would let you know how things are going.

Not so good.  We have finally settled on a good pain cocktail combination. Which means I will always be looking for a designated driver. MS Contin and short acting morphine.  I was expecting something like this:

Instead, the pleasant operation of pain medications is more like this:

So I am pleased to be able to walk and sit and talk without being overwhelmed with pain.  Wishing you all pain free evenings tonight.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Leptomeningeal cancer

Well, it looks like things are worse than originally thought.  Although it did not show up on the MRI (generally just big things show up), it appears that I have a 'dusting of cancer cells at the base of my spine on the cauda equina, where all the nerve endings that deal with the legs come out.

And, it appears, based upon observational symptoms alone, that the  cancer has invaded my cerebrospinal fluid. This is a very difficult thing to treat because chemotherapy to the CSF would have a significant impact on my quality of life.  So no more chemo, but I am receiving 5 rounds of radiation in the saddle back area to try to relieve symptoms such as pain.  I now wear a pain patch and use additional pain drugs when there is break through pain.  Wish I had better news.

Sunday, April 01, 2012


Fort Lauderdale was wonderful.  Weather, friends, food, doggies.  But the seven hours sitting  each way on the plane seems to have caused some problems.  In FL I found I was having trouble not only with neuropathy on the soles of my feet but numbness and pain continued to expand down from my butt through the backs of my legs.  When I returned to Seattle, the pain was even worse, so I spent Wednesday at the University of Washington's ER having an MRI done of my lower spine.  Then Friday I went back for an MRI of the upper spine.

The good news is that the disk bulging (which include all the lumbar disks) is not caused by tumor growth pressing on the lumbar spine.  The bad news is that they don't know what causes it and it is extremely rare. 

Here is the preliminary MRI report and the final MRI report, which differ significantly:

INDICATION: Cauda equina symptoms with NSCLC.
TECHNIQUE: Sagittal T1, T2, STIR. Axial T1, T2. Postcontrast sagittal and axial T1.
COMPARISON: CT chest, abdomen and pelvis, 10/17/2011. Lumbar spine, 2 views, 3/28/2012.
Mild (grade 1) anterolisthesis of L5 on S1. Bone marrow signal is normal. No evidence of acute fracture or focal bony lesion.
No abnormal enhancement within the spine or cord. No epidural mass. Paravertebral soft tissues are normal.
Conus ends at L1 and the conus and nerve roots are normal in appearance.
Multilevel disc dessication. L1-L2 diffuse disc bulge with superimposed left lateral recess / far lateral disc protrusion resulting in
mild narrowing of the left lateral recess and neural foramen. Diffuse L2-L3 disc bulge resulting in mild narrowing of the left neural foramen.
Diffuse L3-L4 disc bulge resulting in mild bilateral neural foraminal narrowing. Diffuse L4-L5 disc bulge resulting in mild right neural foraminal narrowing.
Diffuse L5-S1 disc bulge without significant cental canal or neural foraminal narrowing. Multilevel ligamentum flavum and bilateral facet DJD.
Large cystic structure in the pelvis is incompletely visualized and better demonstrated on prior CT.

No evidence of metastatic disease to the lumbar spine or cord compression.
This is a preliminary report by DG.


Final Findings:
The final report differs from the preliminary report, as discussed below. Findings were conveyed by Dr G to Dr S at time of final dictation.

No central canal stenosis is seen at any level. No paraspinal or epidural mass is seen. The intrathecal and exiting nerve roots from L3-S1 are slightly enlarged in caliber and demonstrate clumping, as well as abnormal enhancement. Findings are consistent with arachnoiditis. No other abnormal enhancement is seen.

Final Impression:

1. No paraspinal/epidural mass or central canal stenosis at any level.

2. Findings consistent with arachnoiditis in the lower lumbar spine.
3. Multilevel degenerative changes of the lumbar spine, as described.
So there we have it.  I will go in this week for a lumbar puncture to see if the spinal fluid can reveal any hints as to what is going on.  I am the proud possessor of a 4 prong cane.  I guess the one Jay gave me in college for shin splints won't do the trick anymore.  It's really hard to sit, so I am lounging a lot, rather like Madame Recamier, only not so gracefully or in such nice clothes:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Made it to Fort Lauderdale yesterday.  It was a red eye nonstop flight but unfortunately could not sleep despite the comfy chair and inflatable donut pillow for the bum bums.  So I pulled an all nighter for perhaps the first time in 25 years.  But made it without further incident and dear friend and bro outlaw,  John, was at the Miami airport to pick me up.  Walked on the beach barefoot and it seemed to help the neuropathy. on the soles.  So will do lots more of that. 

 Posting will be light this week but I promise to add pictures when I return to Seattle.  It's cloudy today but the windows are open and the breeze is warm.  Just perfect.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


But first some Captain Beefheart:

The last of the radiation treatments was Thursday March 8th.  The radiation crew gave me a bell on a purple ribbon to commemorate our time together.  And of course my mask:

My friend Anne suggested decorating with feathers and mardi gras beads, which I thought was a great idea! I had purchased the peacock feathers late last year because they reminded me of some real peacock feathers I had kept for years in an empty bottle of Gallo Sauterne that was featured in the only party I attended in Kirk 5, during college years, where my dear friend, Kim, got tipsy (hi, Kim!).  So the bottle was worth saving for the memory.

At any rate, the side effects from the radiation are mainly fatigue and a metallic taste in my mouth.  The weight loss seems to have stabilized a bit, but I am down to my college weight.  And that, I think, is causing one of my problems.  I can't sit for a long time because my butt is numb and it hurts.  I attribute this to losing a lot of padding back there and perhaps as a radiation side effect.  But my oncologist says it could also indicate metastases into the lumbro/sacral area of my spine.  I mentioned this to Dr Halasz when I saw her last week and she examined the area but said that the numbness was not consistent with the dermatomal pattern (the way the nerves in the spine affect various areas of the body--it's sometimes counterintuitive).   I meet with Dr. Martins on Friday and we will see what the next steps will be.  Fingers crossed I can still go to Fort Lauderdale.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Radiation update

The gamma knife radiation went without a hitch at Harborview on February 28th.  Here I am, styling in my headgear, prior to the radiation:

You will note the ITouch in my hand--I am playing Words with Friends like a fiend these days. 

Before they did the gamma knife, they did additional brain MRIs.  Luckily they gave me good anti-anxiety drugs so it was bearable this time.  What they found was there were two or three more metastases in the cerebellum (you have to remember these were  good drugs which  lasted a while, so my memory of what Dr. Halasz told me after the procedure is somewhat sketchy here) but the metastases they thought was in the right parietal lobe (I had said left parietal earlier, but that was wrong) was not a metastases.  Here's on of the MRIs:

Since last Tuesday, I've had radiation to my left shoulder and chest each weekday at the Univ. of WA.  Once they get me on to the bed and strapped in, it takes 10 minutes to zap me.  But things can get backed up and we've waited as long as an hour and a half.  This is where Words with Friends really comes in handy.  Of course my dear friends Anne, Diane, Barbara, Jolene, Shelley, Kathy, Melanie, Terry and my two sons usually beat me.  But I just blame it on the radiation!

Last Wednesday I also went back to the GI doctor who did another endoscopy under anesthetic to see if he could insert the stent into my esophagus to help with my problems swallowing.  But, again, when Dr. Saunders went in, he determined that that if heput one in it would probably not stay in place.  As I understand it in layman's terms, the stent has to catch on something but the lining of my esophagus, although pinched from the outside, by the growing tumor, is still smooth interiorly  so there would be really nothing for the stent to latch on to.  So the doctor again dilated my esophagus, this time to a french 60, and swallowing seems to come easier.

My radiation regimen ends this Thursday.  The main side effect is fatigue and that may continue for a bit, but I am looking forward to a return of energy and an enjoyment of spring!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

In memory of Stephanie Spar

Stephanie Spar was a Seattle architect.  We met via as she and I both had lung cancer.  She attended the cancer grace fundraiser we threw a year and a half ago and met several times thereafter.

She died recently.  I am so sad, because she was a great comfort, but I am all the better for having known her.  One of her friends read the following poem at her memorial service/dinner (she was a great gourmand), and I felt it worth posting:


That time
I thought I could not
go any closer to grief
without dying

I went closer,
and I did not die,
Surely God
had His hand in this,

as well as friends.
Still, I was bent,
and my laughter,
as the poet said,

was nowhere to be found.
Then said my friend Daniel
(brave even among lions),
"It's not the weight you carry

but how you carry it -
books, bricks, grief -
it's all in the way
you embrace it, balance it, carry it

when you cannot, and would not,
put it down."
So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?

Have you heard
the laughter
that comes, now and again,
out of my startled mouth?

How I linger
to admire, admire, admire
the things of this world
that are kind, and maybe

also troubled-
roses in the wind,
the sea geese on the steep waves,
a love

to which there is no reply?

~~ Mary Oliver

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Funny

My radiation treatment was set for 4:30 today with an appointment with my radiation oncologist, Dr. Halasz (I swear I will spell her name right one of these days).  My big days will be Tuesday, all day with gamma knife radiation at Harborview. And on Wednesday they may finally install a stent in my esophagus but that may be too much too soon as they will also be continuing the 2 weeks of radiation to my shoulder and chest then.

Again, the appointment was over an hour late.  We whiled the time away, reading and playing Words with Friends.  Luckily, once I was strapped in and properly positioned, it took ten minutes.  Far less claustrophobic!  Afterwards, we went out to dinner at Gaudi, a wonderful tapas restaurant (for all you Seattle residents) on 55th NE  Highly recommend.  Then home to a quiet evening.


Got home, and the cover to the mocha that my friend Anne had brought me was on the living room rug. I had placed it on the coffee table.  Then further investigation showed that the cup was on its side on the rug completely empty.  It seems that Truffle, again the chocolate addict, and undoubetedly aided and abetted by big boy Scooter, had lifted it off the low slung  coffee table and neatly, ever so neatly had licked it all up.  I can't find a drop on the carpet.

I expect it might be a long night tonight.....

The culprits looking all innocent.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

One of my tattoos

It will actually be just the dot in the middle after the permanent markers wear off.  I have three others, one on each side, and I think one directly below this one.

It was a very long day.  They promise the procedure will be only ten minutes tomorrow.  It was considerably longer on the radiation table today.

Childhood pictures

Thought I'd simply post some photos from the wayback machine.

My mother and grandmother in Salt Lake City, Utah, where my father did his internship.

At our home on Kearney Avenue in Denver with my sister and younger brother right before we moved back to Ohio in 1956.  Dad did his pediatric residency at Denver General Hospital.

On the porch of our new house on North Clinton Street  in Defiance, OH, 1957.

Christmas, 1957.  Note I did not get a Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock, but something more "ladylike."  I was wearing a brand new Christmas outfit too, until my baby brother Mark erped on me.  I was rather upset at the time, as I recall.

A  birthday party for me at our house on North Clinton Street in Defiance.  I remember we played pin the tail on the donkey and dropped clothes pins into glass milk bottles as party games.  I lost both, badly.

My sister and I playing dress up.  We're in the house my folks built on Elliott Lane in 1959-60.  It was a two story house, which went against the style of the day.

Fishing either at Coldwater Lake in Michigan or Clear Lake in Indiana.  For a while, our family vacation was to rent a cottage at a lake for a week in the summer.  Never had a speed boat though, so never water skied.

Two of my siblings and Alan Busteed with our puppy, Duchess.  Alan used to come over to our house and ask if he could go 'pee-pee in the potty,' which upset my mother because she considered that very bad language.  I think Alan plays for the Puerto Rican National symphony these days.

Winter dance freshman year in high school. Really looking forward to it, aren't I?

Junior Senior prom 1967.  I was a freshman and was asked by a very shy senior, Kirk Scharmin.  I remember when he picked me up and we were going out the front door, all 4 of my younger sibilings yelled out, "Please don't squeeze the Charmin!"  I managed to spill a chocolate milk shake on my dress at the drive in burger joint north of town, bringing a tense evening to an ignominious end.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tattoos Tomorrow!

Went to the radiation oncologist at University of WA today.  Looked at the CT scan from last Friday and it's clear that there is no pleural effusion, that the shortness of breath seems to be coming from the growth of several mediastinal nodes, and boy, is the jugular vein compressed at one point along the left side of my neck!

So the schedule is this:  ten days of radiation to the neck and chest, interrupted next Tuesday by the gamma knife radiation to my brain.  Today they made a mask for my face to hold it in place properly while they run the radiation on the side of my neck.  They ran the template under hot water and then formed it to my face.  It looks like this:

Maybe I can join a fencing team later.  They also marked where they are going to put the tattoos on my chest,  to better position and direct the radiation.  So I should be quite cool after this.  The first radiation treatment, which will take a bit longer than the others, will be at 4pm tomorrow.  I have been given, shall we say, very strong pain medications to deal with the possible side effects of the radiation, but the Dr. Halazh is predicting that the worst effect will be a sore throat.  We shall see.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thinking about Postponing Death

I went to the Washington Post this morning to read my Sunday comics.  Usually the rest is crap, the paper has become an embarrassment from its heyday during the Watergate years.  But this article was in there, and I think it is something for us to consider.  If not for ourselves, then for our parents as they age.  My father died in 2002 and I was not in Kentucky for this.  But my mother is now 88 and has sold her house and is going to live with one of my sisters.  I'm sorry that I can't be of more help to her right now.

Also, for you Washington residents there is a Physicians Orders on Life Sustaining Treatment that the Washington Medical Association has put out.  My daughter clued me into it during her visit last week.  It's a two page form.  I urge you to copy it, read it, fill it out and return it to your family care doctor to be kept in your medical records.  It's far better to make these decisions now, rather than in a dire emergency.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Good news/Bad news

I went to see the radiation oncologist, Dr. Halahz, at the University of Washington today.  She showed us the brain MRI.  Two of the three brain metastases are located in the left cerebellum, the largest being  1.8 cm.  The third is located in the left parietal lobe.  None have interfered with my basic functions.  I had a choice of Whole Brain Radiation or the more directed, gamma ray knife.  Both have similar life outcome expectations.  Whole brain radiation attacks the entire brain, is done over a period of weeks, causes your hair to fall out and some studies have indicated that 4 months out, it shows interference with higher brain functioning.  The plus is that it gets the entire brain covered.  But I chose the gamma ray knife because I don't want to lose my hair again and the downturn in brain functioning was not attractive to me. Plus the gamma ray knife is a one time deal and they can also deal with the scalp tumors at the same time.

We talked about my left shoulder where the pain is so much greater these days, and the return of my swallowing problems as perhaps susceptible to radiation as well. Dr. Halazh suggested that since I had not had a CT scan in May it would be a good idea to get a more recent one so she could see what was going on.  As opposed to Group Health, where we would have had to wait several weeks, if not a month or more for the CT scan, she got me in today. 

And she called this afternoon.  News is not good.  The supraclavicular tumor on my left shoulder has grown and it appears that it has spread into my jugular vein.  Either that or it's a large blood clot.  The mediastinal tumor (which is on the front of my chest next to my heart, has also grown and has isolated a part of my esophagus in which liquid is pooling.    So I am first to go through a 5 day radiation therapy attacking the supraclavicular tumor.  This begins next Thursday and will finish the day before I go into have the gamma ray knife radiation done.  The have to fix a frame into my skull so that they can position the gamma ray precisely where the tumors are.  But I will first have to go through another brain MRI.  I have asked for sedation, which I think is not unreasonable.

The good news is that we caught it now, not when the jugular vein or the esophagus was completely blocked. But that's about it.

So this is a scary time.  Let's hope it goes well.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

3 Brain metastases

Don't know where or how large they are yet.  I have an 8:30am appointment with a radiation oncologist at the University of WA tomorrow.  And now I have an excuse when I lose my Words with Friends games.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Progression Notes

I went to see my oncologist for my monthly visit.  Blood work was fine--that was perhaps the only good news. 

I have an increase in certain symptoms, which indicate that the cancer has possibly spread to my brain.  Chief among them, frequent headaches, especially in the morning.  The symptoms are readily treated with NSAIDs  but they keep coming back (like right now).

Neuropathy on the bottom of my right foot and two more painful growths on my scalp, as well as an increase in the pain in my left upper shoulder where we suspect a cancerous lymph node lurks right above my jugular vein (which makes it inoperable).  I also now have a pleural effusion in the lining of my left lung.  That means fluid in the space between my lung and my body, which has affected my breathing capacity.

Oh, and my oncologist thinks I have an outbreak of shingles on my face.  And here I thought it was pimples.  They had to disinfect the room after I left, it's considered dangerous for those with cancer.  But  no direct connection to the cancer.  It should take another 7-10 days to clear up.  Until then it's back to the lovely appearance I sported when taking Tarceva.  Damn.

So, I am scheduled for a brain MRI first thing this Thursday morning.  My daughter is home visiting for a few days, and she will accompany me, but then must fly back to Minneapolis where she is finishing the first of her four year residency in internal medicine and pediatrics. 

Finally, it seems that folks did not see my post about the fact that the surgeons did not install an esophageal stent a month ago.  At first the widening that they did seemed to work, but I am back to having a hard time keeping food down.  It's a wonderful weight loss regimen.  I am down two sizes and back at a weight I haven't seen since pre-kid days.  I would not recommend it, however.

Thank goodness for friends, kids and Downton Abbey.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Johann Brandl Found!

I received some great news this morning:

Dear Regina,

We found him! Johann Brandl survived the war. He died in 1972 and he is buried in the family-grave in Untermettenbach.

During the war he was wounded in St. Mihiel/France. His brother Xaver was killed in action in Poland.

I amended my article:

Attached a foto of Johann Brandls grave.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen
Fritz Kirchmeier
Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge e. V.
Werner-Hilpert-Str. 2
34112 Kassel

Tel.: 05 61 - 70 09 - 1 39
Fax: 05 61 - 70 09 - 2 85

This absolutely  made my week.  St. Mihiel is in northeastern France near Metz and Nancy in France and Saarbrucken in Germany.

Here is the full text of the original article:

Kann jemand helfen?

Ein Foto aus Newcastle und eine Erkennungsmarke aus den USA geben Rätsel auf

Das Foto von Alfred Wagner, gefunden in NewcastleKassel, 10. Januar 2012 - Die Dachböden aller Länder bewahren seit jeher geheimnisvolle Fundstücke, die von längst vergangenen Zeiten erzählen. Und überall in der Welt räumen die Menschen auf. Die Hinterlassenschaften der vormaligen Generationen aber geben den Erben mitunter Rätsel auf. Manche wenden sich an den Volksbund, wenn es darum geht, die Mitbringsel der Groß- und Urgroßväter aus den Kriegen zu entschlüsseln oder womöglich den rechtmäßigen Besitzern zurückzugeben.

Aus Newcastle in England erreichte uns vor einigen Wochen ein Foto per E-Mail. Es zeigt einen jungen Soldaten in Uniform. Auf der Rückseite ist handschriftlich vermerkt: „Herzlichen Gruß, Alfred Wagner“. Der Vater des Einsenders hat vor Jahren eine Brieftasche mit diesem Foto aus einem Müllcontainer geborgen. Sein Sohn würde nun am liebsten dafür sorgen, dass die Familie des Alfred Wagner beides zurück erhält.

Kann jemand helfen? Wie Foto und Brieftasche in den Müll nach Newcastle gelangt sind, wird wohl für immer ein Rätsel bleiben. In unserer Datenbank kommen wir jedenfalls nicht weiter. Dort sind 190 Gefallene gleichen Namens registriert. Müssen wir nach einem Soldaten suchen, der in England umgekommen ist? Oder ist Alfred Wagner irgendwo anders gefallen? Vielleicht hat er ja den Krieg überlebt. Die Klärung dieses Falles wird wohl reiner Zufall sein.

Nachtrag vom 12. Januar: Der Einsender Paul aus Newcastle berichtet, dass die Brieftasche noch weitere Fotos von Alfreds Einheit und seiner Familie enthält.

Etwas leichter erscheint auf den ersten Blick die Antwort auf eine E-Mail aus den USA. Regina C. hat zwischen ihren Pullovern eine alte mit Strickwerk verzierte Handtasche ihrer Großmutter wiederentdeckt.

Sie enthält zwei Erkennungsmarken aus dem Ersten Weltkrieg: die ihres Großvaters, der in der US-Armee diente und die Tasche aus Frankreich nach Hause schickte, und die eines deutschen Soldaten. (s. zweites Foto). Deren Inschrift lautet:

Joh. Brandl
Genes.Kp. No.355
BAY.P.I.R 15. G.V.KP1.
1.K. 1211.NR.39

Auch hier bedeutet die gefundene Marke noch nicht, dass ihr Besitzer tatsächlich gefallen ist. Unsere Datenbank kennt 18 Gefallene des Ersten Weltkrieges mit diesem Namen. 17 davon sind auf Kriegsgräberstätten in Frankreich beerdigt. Bei allen fehlen Geburtsdatum und -ort.
Wir würden Regina gern mitteilen, wo der gesuchte Johann Brandl begraben ist. Aber das wird, sofern es uns überhaupt gelingt, einige Zeit dauern.

(siehe auch:

And here is the followup:

Es konnte jemand helfen
(Nachtrag vom 2. Februar 2012)

Im Fall des gesuchten Johann Brandl nahm Werner Heinz Bauer aus dem oberbayerischen Geisenfeld die Spur auf. Brandls Geburtsort Untermettenbach ist heute ein Ortsteil von Geisenfeld, das zum Landkreis Pfaffenhofen gehört. Auf dem Kriegerdenkmal des Ortes ist Johann Brandl nicht verzeichnet, nur Xaver Brandl, wie sich später herausstellte, sein älterer Bruder, der am 24. Juli 1915 gefallen ist.

In den Kriegsstammrollen der bayerischen Armee fand Werner Heinz Bauer detaillierte Angaben zu den militärischen Lebensläufen der beiden Brüder. Xaver ist demnach bei Kulakowice gefallen, einem kleinen Ort im südöstlichen Polen. Über Johann erfahren wir zum Beispiel, dass er am 24. September 1914 in St. Mihiel (Frankreich) verwundet wurde, im März 1916 erkrankte und am 9. Juli 1917 in Heimaturlaub durfte. Seine Führung wird mit sehr gut bewertet. Vor allem aber: Johann Brandl hat den Krieg überlebt.

Werner Heinz Bauer, Oberstleutnant der Reserve und Vorsitzender der Kreisgruppe Oberbayern-Nord im Reservistenverband, ist dem Volksbund sehr verbunden. Er hat uns oft bei den Sammlungen unterstützt und auch bei zahlreichen Arbeitseinsätzen auf Kriegsgräberstätten mitgearbeitet. Seine Recherche führte ihn auch auf den Friedhof von Untermettenbach, wo er das Familiengrab der Brandls fand. Auf dem Denkmal sind die Lebensdaten der Verstorbenen zu lesen. Johann Brandl ist der erste Eintrag, er starb 1972 und wurde somit fast 80 Jahre alt.
Wie seine Erkennungsmarke während des Ersten Weltkrieges in den Besitz des amerikanischen Soldaten, des Großvaters von Regina C., gelangte, wird aber für immer ein Rätsel bleiben.

I am watching the Downton Abbey series on PBS Sunday nights and it just brings the reality a little closer to home.  I was worried that perhaps my grandfather had a hand in Herr Brandl's death, which is why he ended up with the dog tag.  More likely he simply found it somewhere near St. Mihiel where Brandl was wounded and took it home as a curiosity.  I hope that Herr Brandl's  descendants will somehow obtain his dog tag eventually.   Now if someone can translate the amended article, I would be ever so grateful.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tumor Treating Fields--a promising new treatment for many kinds of cancer.

I reviewed this presentation this morning and I have to say, if any of you out there know who is conducting the clinical trials for lung cancer using this treatment method, please let me know. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Did I mention my great grandfather, WH Cullen was a Republican?

When I was growing up in Ohio, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a name associated with infamy. The New Deal was un-American and Medicare was socialized medicine.  My parents even voted party over religion in the 1960 election, when they cast their ballots for Richard Nixon.  I remember running around the Spencer Elementary schoolyard at recess shouting, "Nixon, Nixon, he's our man.  Kennedy belongs in the garbage can!"  This familial predilection for the GOP was as much genetic as it was environmental.  Both paternal great grandfathers, Dr. John U. Fauster, and WH Cullen were strong Republicans as were my maternal grandparents, the Holsts who were from the Minnesota congressional district that now boasts Michelle Bachmann as their representative.

When my Great Aunt Bebe died in 1981, I came back for her funeral.  I spent several days at her house in Paulding and late into the evenings went through boxes of photographs, newspaper clippings, letters, postcards, and old grade cards from both Seth and Bebe that had been saved by my great grandparents but never thrown away.  I saved a fraction of them, including several Fort Wayne newspapers that were published the day after Pearl Harbor.  If I can find a way to put such large sheets into pdf and post them, I will. 

But, of the other newspaper articles I saved, one is a full page map of Ireland  from the Chicago Tribune in 1935, showing where the various Irish clans were located.  The Cullens are found frequently  in the northwestern part of Eire.  I had this page framed.  But the other newspaper articles are evidence of my great grandfather's political leanings.  I offer them without further comment:

Although, it seems he was not a supporter of a second term for Herbert Hoover:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

William Henry Cullen

One of my  two paternal great grandfathers was William Henry Cullen.

 Here is what is written about him in the Paulding County records:

History of Paulding, Ohio

(The Men who Built the Town 1880-1920)

William H. Cullen: W.H. Cullen was born Feb. 4,  1864, coming to Paulding in 1873. He ran a Dry Goods Store on the S/S of the Square as well as laid out the Cullen's Addition in the north end of town. The early nineties found him a partner in a large insurance agency on South Main Street where the police station now stands. On November 15, 1893, he was elected County Auditor for a term of three years. In June, 1898, he was appointed Village Postmaster for a term of four years, and was reappointed later for three more terms, serving in that office until August 27, 1914. It was during his term of office that we saw the beginning of rural mail service, as well as delivery of mail to the homes of the town. For years, with the aid of his son Seth, he operated the Armory Garage where he sold Dodge Automobiles. Here he also started the Paulding-Ft. Wayne Bus Line. It made two round trips a day to Ft. Wayne by the way of Payne and Antwerp. While postmaster, he built the Cullen Block at 100 E. Jackson Street as a rental investment. He died in 1955 at the ripe old age of ninety-two years.

And this fills out a bit of his early history as well:

Historical Atlas of Paulding County, Ohio 1892

W. H. Cullen. - Prominent among the businessmen of Paulding County is W. H. Cullen, of the firm of Cullen, Richards & Savercool, agents for various life and fire insurance companies. Mr. Cullen is the son of Seth and Susan (Perrin) Cullen, and was born on the 4'th of February, 1864, at Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio. The father is a native of England, and the mother of Nova Scotia. The subject of this sketch was reared in his native town, and there attended the common schools, acquiring an education. From his earliest years he developed qualities of accuracy and promptness, which inspired him to make the choice of a strictly business-like vocation. Accordingly, at the age of thirteen years, his first business experience was found in a dry goods store, where he acted as a clerk until 1888. Feeling in need of a wider scope for his business transactions Mr. Cullen embarked in the insurance business, taking as his partner Mr. James Richards. These gentlemen, who are of the energetic and progressive type, continued the business as the firm of Cullen & Richards until June 1, 1891, at which time, their business having increased to such an extent, it became necessary for them to increase their force, which they did by taking in as a partner E. M. Savercool, making the present firm of Cullen, Richards & Savercool, who represent the following companies: Home, of New York; L. & L. & G., of Liverpool; Royal, of London; Phenix, of Brooklyn; Hartford, of Hartford; Connecticut, of Hartford; AEtna, of Hartford; German American, of New York; California, of San Francisco; Springfield, of Springfield, Mass.; Queen, of Liverpool; German, of Freeport; Niagra, of New York; Traders', of Chicago; Manchester, of Liverpool; Ohio Farmers', of Leroy, Ohio; Travellers' Accident, of Hartford; Standard Accident, of Detroit; and Union Central Life, of Cincinnati, Ohio. They are businessmen of such ability, and, as a result of their integrity and enterprise, are enjoying a lucrative patronage. Mr. Cullen was happily married to Miss Lula Huston, of Paulding, in October 1890, and, with his estimable wife, enjoys a high social rank. Fraternally, our subject is a member of the K. of P., Paulding lodge, No. 270. In his political affiliations he is a republican.

I have my great grandfather's pocket calendar from 1908.  It is clear from its appearance and its numerous enclosures, that WH kept this with him for many years:

On three of the first pages of his pocket calendar, he's listed addresses of (what I presume to be) relatives still back in England and others scattered around the US.  I have no idea whether there are any English descendants.  I know that the Huston that is listed as living at the Leamington Hotel in Minneapolis, died with only a pair of diamond chip gold cuff links to his name.  My father gave those to me years ago:

I've made copies of the many newspaper clippings and various licenses that are interleaved in WH's pocket calendar.  First let's start with his driver's licenses.  He must have obtained them to drive his buses between Paulding and Fort Wayne, Indiana:

WH was a devoted Republican, as the above history attests.  His tenure as the elected Auditor of Paulding County was remembered in the local paper:

WH was  first appointed postmaster of Paulding, OH in 1898, when William McKinley was president, and the appointments were quite political.  He was quite proud that he was reappointed by Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft, losing the job only after Woodrow Wilson, Democrat, was elected president. 

WH Cullen, Postmaster, Paulding, OH June 1, 1913
with his assistants Guy Michael, Jim Burtch, Ed Burtch

Jim Burtch is probably the same fellow who corresponded with my Aunt Bebe from France during World War I that I referenced in an  earlier post.

Did I mention he was a staunch Republican?

He seemed to have followed the market in 1928 with alarm:

He was also not a fan of Prohibition:

He was quite fond of poetry, some good, but most dreadful, by today's standards:

I was married in Lexington, Kentucky in 1980.  To get the marriage license both my fiance and I had to take the Wasserman test, which was a test for syphilis.  As we were going into the courthouse with our test results to obtain our marriage license, my father, WH's grandson, quoted Dorothy Parker to us:   "I'd rather flunk the Wasserman test than read the poems of Edgar Guest!"  I didn't realize that my dad may have grown up listening to his grandfather recite Guest's poetry because there were quite a number of his poems in the pocket calendar:

He held memberships in various organizations:

And (just like me) he got behind in his church contributions!

He also had a photograph of his oldest child, my grandfather, Seth (note the Little Lord Fauntleroy blonde curls!),  and two pictures of what must have been favorite automobiles from his time of owning the Dodge dealership:

He also idealized the feminine sex to a degree perhaps because he was surrounded by seven sisters growing up:

He had concerns about death:

He had business cards from several gentlemen he considered important enough to save:

He also paid a visit to a doctor:

His philosophy ran to living the best life you could and honoring your word.  One story that was told about him was that he had guaranteed a loan taken out by a business associate early in his career.  It was for a large amount of money at the time:  $10,000.  When his associate defaulted on the loan, WH paid it back, but it took a long time.  He  even went so far as to put the family into a small apartment and rent out the family home in an effort to save up the money to pay the loan back.

Hoever,  he did pay off the loan and the family lived comfortably but not in wealth.  At some point (probably in the 1920's given the date on the bill of sale), WH made a handwritten assessment of his assets:

For the times, this was not too shabby for a net worth, although WH was ever frugal.  According to my grandmother, he didn't pay Seth (his son and my grandfather) a salary for working at the auto dealership and for the bus lines, until Seth and Helen's oldest, Caralou, was in college.

Seth Cullen, WH Cullen, and unidentified man.

WH Cullen in the garage.

WH and Lulu Cullen in their backyard, outside the garage.

WH and Lulu Cullen in the back yard.

He was concerned about his basement leaking.  Which I can attest had a moldy limestone smell to it:

And, finally, he was certain that our country never get involved in a war again after World War II.