My Journey through Breast Cancer

On October 11, 2013, I was diagnosed with Stage II Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) ... or as we like to call it, extreme measures for a nap (EMFN). For a while, this blog will be my cancer journal. Enter at your own risk.

22 February 2008

Gpa's beginning .... cont'd

My grandfather was born in the small town of Alva, Oklahoma on December 9, 1924. The Great War, the war to end all wars, had recently ended, and the U.S. was getting its feet back under itself. Vladimir Lenin died that year, leaving Joseph Stalin an open door to begin taking over Russia. The first Winter Olympics were held that year, and the IBM Corporation was founded. J. Edgar Hoover was appointed head of the FBI, and Calvin Coolidge was re-elected President. In New York, the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade was held. Doris Day and Marlon Brando were born that year, as were Jimmy Carter and George Herbert Walker Bush, future Presidents of the United States. The Depression would hit hard in a few years, but at the time, in Oklahoma, things were good.

He was born the oldest of three brothers to Buford and Pauline Lindley. His father was a farmer, his mother a school teacher. Six years later his brother Bob was born, and ten years later brother Bill was born. (How a boy named Verl ended up with brothers named Bill and Bob I've never been able to figure out.)

The extended Lindley family was a close one, and Grandpa and his brothers were blessed by a close-knit family of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and myriad cousins. The family was often getting together for things, at least once a month for a potluck on the farm. Grandpa and his brothers would play hide-and-seek and other games with all the kids.

They lived on a farm, raised horses, herded cattle, and for at least a couple of years, helped milk the cows. Young Verl was responsible for bottling it up in glass bottles. His dad was in partnership with the police chief, whose wife sold the milk from an ice box on her porch for five cents a quart.

Once when Grandpa was about 10 years old, he was sent out to bring the mules in. Well, as everyone knows, every mule has a mind of its own. As young Verl herded these mules across the river, and before they got to the pasture, every mule ran off in a different direction. Verl was so frustrated he galloped back to the house and promptly told his dad, “If you want those dumb mules you’re going to have to get them yourself!” My great-grandfather just looked at his son with a look well-understood by children far and wide, and said firmly, “Son, get back on your horse and go get those mules.” Grandpa remembers turning right around and doing what he was told, knowing full well it was the safest course of action.

He spent the first 12 years of his life in Alva, a town of just 7,000 residents. The town was separated by one main street, and there was an elementary school on each side. In those 12 years, his family lived in 26 different houses, on both sides of town. So by the time he was 12, Verl had skipped back and forth between the two sides of Main Street, and consequently the two schools, so many times that he knew all the kids in town. All that moving around and changing of schools helped developed his friendliness and comfortability in every situation. Today every person in every restaurant within a 20-mile radius of my grandparents' home seems to know them.

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