“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – NO. 46 & 47 – MEMORIES
If you read the front of this bulletin, you know my brother, Richard “Doc” Wagner, died after a short bout with cancer.
I don’t want to take you down a road that has no personal interest to you but I am going to make some observations.
All of my older brothers and an older sister were born while the effects of the Great Depression were still being experienced. For about nine years or so they lived on a farm near the little southwestern town of Salt Air, Ohio, about thirty or so miles outside Cincinnati. The farmhouse had no indoor plumbing, and, as I’ve been told, was four rooms. When I arrived in 1939, that made six people. I know to some that may sound really tough, but remember, there were people in the cities who had it much worse.
The farm, which my mother’s father owned, was about a hundred acres. The “Old farm” as we called it, offered a place to grow food, raise chickens and a cow for milking. I can even remember, mostly because of the smell, a slaughtered hog hanging for butchering.
On this farm was a small creek, or “crick” as we rural Ohioans called it. Along the edge of the creek was a large rock, which was known as “the big rock.” There was also the lespedeza hill, whose significance I do not know. We moved into Cincinnati (Norwood) before I was old enough to experience the old farm, but my older siblings did and it had a special place in their memories. My brother Richard probably loved the farm more than the rest. He loved to get out and wander and explore. I can almost see him, with that string of freckles across his nose, sitting on the big rock with his bare feet in the water.
When World War II broke out, the need to feed the war machine brought jobs and a way out of the hard times that lingered after the depression. So we left the farm behind and moved to Norwood.
Rich had a nerve problem that caused his hands to tremble. That and some other non-issues caused a teacher at the Allison Street School to feel he needed to go to the Williams Ave. School where they had a remedial program. Since I was starting kindergarten and my older brother and sister were in High School, I was sent with Rich. It was there a wise teacher saw that he just needed some kind of physical therapy. He suggested jigsaw puzzles, and they became a nearly constant part of our evening life. It worked. Rich improved almost over night. The condition was always there, and in his older age it was more noticeable. But it rarely inhibited anything he did or wanted to do.
I’ve heard at least two stories about how he got the name “Doc”. At the funeral I heard what I seem to remember, fits the circumstances. He had a paper route. And as I heard the story told, I remembered that his route manager was a nice guy who treated his boys right. It seems he had three delivery boys named Richard. So he told one he would be “Richard” the other he would be “Dick”, and for reasons unknown, he told my brother he would be “Doc”, and it stuck.
As he was graduating from high school, the Korean War (it was called a “police action”) broke out. Knowing if he were drafted he would be in for three years, he joined, which meant just two. I can still see the wrecker taking his old 36 Chevy away. It kind of broke my heart. I wanted him to give it to me, which was out of the question for ten or eleven year old to have a car.
At that age I knew about the dangers of war, but there was also a sense of pride in what my brother had done. For a little kid there is some romance about being a soldier. That romance grew when he finished his basic training in the Third Army at Fort Knox. When he was sent to Fort Carson, Colo., he was in the Fifth Army. So he collected all the Third Army patches he could and sent them to me. As you may know, the Third Army has a triangle patch with a tank on it. My mother sowed them together as a circle on the back of one of my jackets and I proudly wore it to school. When he was sent to Alaska, he was part of the Alaskan Command. Their logo was a circle with a blue background and a polar bear’s head in the middle. Now I had a Fifth Army patch on my shoulder, as well. From the Alaska Command patch he sent, I got an old sheet, drew a large circle and made an Alaskan Command flag and attached it to a bamboo pole. It was waved whenever Bill Randle and I charged into battle.
I had a dog a friend had to give up named Pete. They said he was a Fox terrier, but he looked like a Jack Russell or a Manchester. He was mine, but his heart and soul belonged to Doc. When Doc returned home from Alaska, we only knew he was coming. The night he arrived, Pete knew before he reached the seventeen steps coming up from the street. When the door opened, Pete landed on Doc’s shoulder.
As I remember, his first post-war job was at GMAC as a “skip tracer” the early version of repo man. It was there, at a GM dealership in Mason, Ohio, he met Shirley, his wife of 58 years. He then became a salesman, the last thing you would think if you knew him. Doc was quiet, and a man of few words, but his honesty and tenacity made him popular with his clients. He took a new area in Kentucky and made it such a plumb that when a higher-up in the company wanted a place for his son, Doc’s territory was it. Leaving that company, they then lived for a while in Huntsville, Ala. And finally in Nashville. There they both worked to educate their four children, and all of them who wanted, attended, and graduated from Tennessee Tech. Two engineers and a teacher.
Doc was 81 when he died. He worked until about five months before his death when Wal-Mart decided they didn’t need greeters any more. He was not one to sit around. That would have killed him long before the cancer. He loved to cook and bake, and did it often to help raise money for something at his church. He at least once drove the nearly 100 miles to Cookville, where Tenn. Tech is located, to make his chili to be sold by his daughter’s sorority as a fund raiser.
There is always more that can be said, but I couldn’t have asked for a better brother. On his grave marker it says “Husband Father Friend”. That he was in every way. To that I would add, Doc Solid.
CONCERNS: Rich Crites will have out-patient surgery on Thursday to repair a few vertebra in his back. Judy McWhorter’s sister, Joyce, has a leakage in her heart. They are pursuing a course of action to repair it. Joyce and her husband live in Missouri. We have several folks who are dealing with congestion and throat problems, or other issues. Among them are Martha Albert and T. J. Hall. Those being treated for cancer are: Deana McRoy, Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick, Connie Crites’ brother, Joni Beach’s mother, Jim Hunter, Sharon and Billy, friends of Del Bolin, Martha Foy’s mother and father are recovering from illnesses. Ray Reiss is recovering in therapy from a motorcycle accident. He and Debbie live in Texarkana. Jenni Cullum will have hip replacement surgery soon. Ron Matney has not been
very well lately. Remember Alma Martin and Tim Elder.
OUR DAILY BREAD: DEC. 17-22
Monday: Jeremiah 31:23-34
Tuesday: I Corinthians 11:17-34
Wednesday: Acts 6:1-7
Thursday: Matthew 5:21-48
Friday: Psalm 119:129-152
Saturday: Psalm 67:1-7
OUR DAILY BREAD: DEC. 24-29
Monday: John 1:1-18
Tuesday: Luke 18:1-4
Wednesday: II Corinthians 1:3-11
Thursday: II Corinthians 1:23-3:11
Friday; Job 1:13-2:10
Saturday: Psalm 97:1-12
The congregation extends its love and sympathy to Keith Wagner and family in the death of his brother, Richard “Doc” Wagner, who died in Nashville, TN on December 3. The funeral was held on the 9th and a military burial took place the next day.
In our time of sorrow we were lifted by the many words of love and encouragement you gave us, as well as the lovely and thoughtful cards expressing your sympathy in the death of my brother, Richard.
The beautiful basket was special to Doc’s family and they made it one of the ones they brought to the house after the funeral.
Thank you, Keith and family.
Sunday is Super Sunday. A warm fire, a good meal and good friends; what better way to spend a few minutes on a Sunday afternoon? Plan to stay and enjoy!
RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE
The next scheduled time for us to cook the evening meal at the Ronald McDonald House is January 16th, which will be done by adults, and February 6th which will be teens with adults.
We always receive a card of appreciation from the House when we help in this way.
A SEASONAL CARD
You may remember Nancy Wright. She is the grandmother who cared for her two grandchildren which we helped as they entered Radford University. She says they are still on the honor role and doing well. She dropped by with a card, thanking us for all the help we have given her. It is posted on the downstairs bulletin board.
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE
It has been a custom for us to meet on Christmas Eve and read together the scriptures and sing the songs concerning the birth of Jesus. We will do that again on Tuesday the 24th at the building at 6:00 PM. Another enjoyable thing some have done is to go out to eat afterwards. Think about joining us this year.
YOU MAY NOT HAVE NOTICED
You may not have noticed, but there has been some acoustical testing going on to determine what the best equipment is needed for the new sound system. It’s coming along.