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grief

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We Lost D.J.

I live in a sea of estrogen.

Two dogs;  two cats.  A woman.

Then there was the other male.

Another dog named D. J.  Aka ‘the boy’, Don Juan, Boo-ba-do, Boo, Boob.

He kept the females in line. If the other dogs took to barking at miscreants outside (who had the indecency to walk down the public sidewalk in front of the our town house) he would bring up the rear, barking from under the toilet!

His other jobs were stealing others food, and inspecting hind ends for cleanliness.

He has been losing his hearing, sense of smell and sight for some time, making more like a Roomba than a dog.  And he loved falling asleep wherever you needed to be!

He just turned 16!

The past couple of days he simply refused to eat.

He left us last night.

He was a good dog…

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Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye. 

My college mate, friend, and boss (when I worked security at the closed Legend City amusement park, in the 70s) has passed away.

John Conneally

Fair Winds and Following Seas, My Friend!

We only recently reconnected on Facebook after a 30 year absence.

As Father’s day is looming, I was going to write initially something about my Father, his Father, my Grandfather, or having been a father, etc….

But, you guys have already seen this in this venue.

I was a step-child.  And my step-mother and I were not in agreement on most things.  Like how to treat me.  And my father was largely absent.  My childhood memories are largely not pleasant ones.

Here’s what John’s stepson and one of his daughters had to say about him.

For Father’s Day.

John Conneally was my step-father from my body’s age of 8 1/2 to 14 1/2 and helped Tina Poling-Conneally raise me during those years. He introduced me critical analysis, science fiction, the concepts of leadership, teamwork, discipline, tactics, strategy, deduction and showed me what being brilliant without much solid, applicable way to make it useful for one’s self and society as a whole. As invaluable as they all are the most important one for me is the latter, and it motivates me more and more each day.
John died sometime either last night or today of complications from leukemia, liver failure and lung cancer. He had exposure to horrendous chemical wastes and other environmental hazards while in the Navy which very likely caused his leukemia and the liver and lung cancer came from self-medicating with tobacco and alcohol to keep his highly sensitive and strong soul from feeling and dealing with the internal awarenesses the society he grew up in had zero ability to teach him how to handle; John would have been a capable medicine man, shaman, holistic therapist and healing artist had he been born into this part of the world in the 80’s to today.
He lived as best a life as he could and I am glad I was able to be influenced by his life, both the good and the bad. May his pathways now lead him through all the misconceptions _and_ perfection of his life he just left. May his soul reach out to the wonders he sought and may be achieve them increasingly and unceasingly.
May he be able to choose rebirth, if and when he wants to from the realms of Experience that are without sufferings, pain fear and lack. May his lives and experiences between lives be of benefit to himself and All Beings.

Fare well, John Conneally. I am praying for you and perhaps we’ll meet again someday in much better and healthier ways.

Love to you.

____________

It’s a very hard thing, to think of someone you love in the past tense. Rest in peace, Dad. You are already missed.

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My wish for all of you as parents is to be as well thought of and loved in hindsight, as John’s children have of him.

If only…

 

 

The Name Game

When I was growing up, most of my friends were named after parents or relatives. A few juniors. Common Anglo Saxon names – Thomas, Susan, George, John.
Names that were from grandparents were thought of as old fashioned. Martha, Edith, etc.  Black people had Anglo names, for the most part.
Other ethnic names were just that. Guadalupe (Lupe), Juan. Not to many other options.  There was one Jesus (Hey-soos’), which the P.E. teacher consistently mispronounced!
We were a predominantly white bread college town.
As I have often said before – the times, they are a changin’…
My nieces are named Rilyn and Karsyn. A good friend’s grand baby is Sagan Universe!
Now Thomas and Susan are the old-fashioned names!

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m all about honoring ethnic and/or family history.  I’m named for my maternal and fraternal grandfather.  German and Irish stock! (Didn’t know Guffaw was Germanic, did you?)  😛

Don’t even get me started on the ethnic names!  My favorite (oft repeated on the Internet) is the woman who named her child La-a.  Then was furious when people couldn’t spell or pronounce it correctly!  People said Luh-uh, Lay, all manner of wrong pronunciations.

Her name was pronounced LAH DASH UH!!

I miss names like Linda and Mike

Guess I’m old.

Bittersweet

It’s February 8th.

Regular readers might remember this is my daughter Molly’s birthday.  In this case her 34th.  Sadly, she only made it to her 12th.  😦

(The twenty-second anniversary of the accident that took her from us is in about five weeks.)

Molly 1986 2

I try to remember happier birthdays.

Last year, another element was added to this date.

Bob Hall, my dear friend whom I met when were worked as private investigators together, who before had attended junior high and high school with my then wife-to-be, and later managed the Legendary Gun gun store (where I worked part time, for a while) in 2016 passed into eternity.  Complications from cancer.

See, I told you this time of year sucked for me.

People we care about love, passing way before their time is a travesty!

Please take the opportunity today to hug those close to you, and tell them you love them.

You never know…

 

Mike Connors R.I.P.

 Death, obviously knows no change in calendars…
mike-connors

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mike Connors, who starred as a hard-hitting private eye on the long-running television series “Mannix,” has died. He was 91.

The actor died surrounded by family Thursday afternoon at a Los Angeles hospital from complications of leukemia that had been diagnosed a week earlier, said his son-in-law, Mike Condon.

“Mannix” ran for eight years on CBS beginning in 1967. Viewers were intrigued by the tall, smartly dressed, well-spoken detective who could mix it up with the burliest of thugs and leap on the hood of a racing car to prevent an escape. Episodes normally climaxed with a brawl that left the culprits bruised and beaten.

“Up until Mannix, most private investigators were hard-nosed, cynical guys who lived in a seedy area and had no emotions,” Connors theorized in 1997. “Mannix got emotionally involved. He was not above being taken advantage of.”

In the first season, Joe Mannix was a self-employed Los Angeles private investigator hired by a firm that used computers and high-tech equipment to uncover crime. The ratings were lukewarm. Connors feared the series would be canceled but it was produced by Lucille Ball’s Desilu studio, and CBS was reluctant to antagonize its biggest star.

In the second season, Mannix opened his own office and combatted low-lifes by himself. The ratings zoomed.

When “Mannix” was revised the office acquired a secretary, played by African-American actress Gail Fisher.

The network was concerned that affiliates in the South might object to her character but “there wasn’t any kind of backlash,” Connors recalled.

Another highlight was the theme music by legendary screen composer Lalo Schifrin.

Connors also starred in the TV series “Tightrope!” and “Today’s FBI.” Each lasted one season.

His movie and TV career stretched from the 1950s to 2007, when he had a guest role on “Two and a Half Men.”

Connors made his film debut in 1952’s “Sudden Fear,” which starred Joan Crawford. Other films included “Island in the Sky,” ”The Ten Commandments,” and a remake of “Stagecoach.”

Connors, born Krekor Ohanian in 1925, was from an Armenian community in Fresno. He served in the Air Force during World War II and played basketball at the University of California, Los Angeles.

After graduation he studied law for two years but his good looks and imposing presence attracted him to acting. In an era when film actors were given names like Tab and Rock, he appeared as Touch Connors — “Touch” being his basketball nickname. He later changed it to Michael and finally, Mike.

Connors and his wife, Mary Lou, were married in 1949 and had two children: a son, Matthew, and a daughter, Dana. Their son, beset by hallucinations starting in his teens, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and before his death lived in a small residential care facility. Connors and his wife championed efforts to erase the stigma of mental illness.

In addition to his wife, daughter and son-in-law, Connors is survived by a granddaughter, Cooper Wills.

___

The late Associated Press writer Bob Thomas contributed biographical material to this report.

We humans always seem to make the passing of time with a New Year, with the hope that Death will do the same.

But, he never stops.

There have been others, Mary Tyler Moore being the most notable.

But my high school TV years were filled with shows like Mission Impossible.

And Mannix.

For me, Mannix filled the generational gap between 77 Sunset Strip and Magnum.

This was Mike Connors image, even though he did other things.

He even did a show where he was named Ohanian – his real Armenian name – but it didn’t take.

He once quipped as Mannix he was hit on the head something like 57 times, but always came back.  Maybe PIs should be issued safety helmets?

Godspeed, Mike.  R.I.P.

Helen Rawls RIP

Tempus Fugit

Helen Rawls is a childhood memory.               Helen Rawls Obituary

Jim (about who was written here previously) is my oldest continuous friend.  I’ve known him since August 1960, when he was in First Grade and I in Third.  She was his mother.

Helen passed on Halloween at 97.

from her Arizona Republic obituary (in part):

…She spent the remaining years of her childhood in Indianapolis, graduated from Short Ridge High School, became a stenographer, and joined the Army. She was one of the first women (other than nurses), to be a member of the armed forces.

… Helen was active in the Community Christian Church, as a member of the ASU Faculty Wives and the League of Women Voters. She was also a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, tutored at local schools, and worked with various other charities. She lived the last 29 years of her life at Friendship Village Tempe.

Services are at Friendship Village Health Care Center – 2525 E. Southern Ave. Tempe, on Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 2:30 pm. Contributions can be made to a charity of your choice , in Helen’s name.

Until I read the above, I’d not known she had been in the Army.  She was my friend’s mom.  And a fine woman.  She was pre-deceased by her husband Bill, who had been a physics professor at A.S.U. in 1996.

Bill had served in the Navy.  My thanks to you both for your service.

Helen and Bill were the most functional family on the block.  (Obviously, an improvement over my dysfunctional family!)  Raised quality kids, participated in church and civic affairs, recycled before it was cool.  I knew Helen as just one of the housewives on the block.

Hardly just!

I’m glad they are together now.

 

Rose Mofford RIP

roseRose Mofford, the last ‘beloved’ politician in Arizona (per Arizona Republic columnist Ed Montini), passed yesterday at age 94.

A Democrat, she spent her life in public service.  Born in Globe, a mining town to the East of Phoenix, she was an All-American softball player in high school, and turned down an offer to play professional basketball with The All-American Red Heads.  She married (and subsequently divorced) a Phoenix Police Captain.  They remained friends.

She became a secretary to the State Treasurer, then secretary to the Secretary of State.  Ultimately, she was elected to that office, then became Governor upon impeachment of embattled Governor Evan Mecham.

She chose not to run for office at the end of her term, and retired to private life. (above via Wikipedia)

She was famous for being professional, personable, and answering her own telephone.  And that ubiquitous beehive hairdo!

I had a run-in with her one day.  Or rather she with me.  🙂

I was at the Arizona Department of Transportation (this was during my career as a private investigator) and opted to cross Jefferson St. (a very busy thoroughfare @ 19th Ave. and Jefferson), by jaywalking!

Just before I reached the other side of the street, a car turned East onto Jefferson and began accelerating.

Into me!

I clapped my hands onto the hood to get the driver’s attention (and to pretend I could actually stop the car) and looked up in fear.

The driver was Rose Mofford!  She was Arizona’s Secretary of State at the time.  She smiled broadly at me, and mouthed ‘I’m sorry’.  I mouthed back,‘that’s okay’, and she drove on.

I understand she supported reasonable gun control (whatever that is).  Being a Democrat, I’m not surprised.

She remains a symbol for a kinder, gentler time in Arizona politics.

She will be missed.

RIP, Rosie!

It’s That Day, Again

First, please pray for the innocent victims and injured, if that’s what you do…

So many people were affected by 9/11.

Not all were the first targets and responders.

Here is one story:

debralee scott

Debralee Scott

Ms. Scott is probably familiar to many of you, especially if you lived in the 70’s.  She was ubiquitous – on TV shows such as Mary Hartman Mary Hartman, Welcome Back Kotter, Ryan’s Hope, and movies like American Grafitti and Earthquake.  I remember her guesting on The Mike Douglas Show, wherein she shared she was the (uncredited) dead nude body of murder victim Anne Mary Deacon – as she was lifted from her shallow grave, in Dirty Harry!

Being (mostly) single, and in my 20’s during the 70’s, I always found her attractive.  So this part of her story saddens me.

Ironically, she died in Florida shortly after moving there from New York City to help an ailing sister. One day she collapsed and was in a coma for several days but awoke in the hospital and seemed to be fine for a spell. She was released two days later on her birthday. No explanation was given for the coma, but she seemed fine and in good spirits. Three days later she went to take a nap and never woke up. Cause of death uncertain despite an autopsy. She was cremated.

(…)

Her fiancé had been killed in the 9/11 attacks.

The mother of her fiancé said Scott developed a drinking disorder shortly after the the 9/11 atrocities. She says, “Debralee has cirrhosis of the liver from her drinking.” The actress’ sister Jerri Scott adds, “She never did get over Dennis’ death.”. (IMDB)

Slow suicide?

We got the bastard, and many of his crew for the terrorist attacks.  But, are still fighting wars police actions overseas contingency operations against the forces who are determined to topple Western Civilization and establish a caliphate, with all the fundamentalist Muslim trappings.  Including Sharia Law.

How does one fight a war against a radical philosophy hiding within a religion, with no geographic boundaries?

We owe it to The Republic, the 2996 people killed directly, those killed indirectly, the injured, and their loved ones to find a way to stop this poison once-and-for-all!

Not to do so dishonors their memories.

REMEMBER!

9-11-fade

 

Hugh O’Brian RIP

Okay, 2016, enough already!

Another one of my childhood icons, Hugh O’Brian, passed yesterday…

He was 91.

For those too young to be baby-boomers, he was Wyatt Earp in the TV series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp 1955-1961.

When the Western was King.

(Yeah, he didn’t sport a mustache, and didn’t truck with hookers on the show, I know!)

(from Wikipedia)

O’Brian first attended school at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, then the (now defunct) Kemper Military School in Booneville, Missouri. He lettered in football, basketball, wrestling, and track. O’Brian dropped out of the University of Cincinnati after one semester to enlist in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. At seventeen, he became the youngest Marine drill instructor.

(…)

Hugh O’Brian dedicated much of his life to the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY), a non-profit youth leadership development program for high school scholars. HOBY sponsors 10,000 high school sophomores annually through its over 70 leadership programs in all 50 states and 20 countries. Since its inception in 1958, over 435,000 young people have participated in HOBY-related programs.

One high school sophomore from every high school in the United States, referred to as an “ambassador,” is welcome to attend a state or regional HOBY seminar. From each of those seminars, students (number based on population) are offered the opportunity to attend the World Leadership Congress (WLC). In 2008, over 500 ambassadors attended from all 50 states and 20 countries. The concept for HOBY was inspired in 1958 by a nine-day visit O’Brian had with famed humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer in Africa. Dr. Schweitzer believed “the most important thing in education is to teach young people to think for themselves.”

O’Brian’s message to young people is “Freedom to Choose” as explained in an essay on the topic:

I do NOT believe we are all born equal. Created equal in the eyes of God, yes, but physical and emotional differences, parental guidelines, varying environments, being in the right place at the right time, all play a role in enhancing or limiting an individual’s development. But I DO believe every man and woman, if given the opportunity and encouragement to recognize their potential, regardless of background, has the freedom to choose in our world. Will an individual be a taker or a giver in life? Will that person be satisfied merely to exist or seek a meaningful purpose? Will he or she dare to dream the impossible dream? I believe every person is created as the steward of his or her own destiny with great power for a specific purpose, to share with others, through service, a reverence for life in a spirit of love.

— Hugh O’Brian, The Freedom to Choose[10]
When I get depressed, and think the Hollywood crowd consists primarily of self-centered leftist morons, I remember there are folks out there who have dedicated their lives not only to entertainment, but the betterment of others.
Hugh O’Brien is one of those folks.
And now he’s gone.
RIP, Sir!  And thank you!
hugh

Jon Polito RIP

(It’s said it comes in threes.  Guess it all depends on when one begins counting, and what the criterion are…)

You all know me and my love of character actors.  Mr. Polito first appeared on my radar in the wonderful 80’s TV show Crime Story, as a third lead mobster versus Dennis Farina and his major crimes crew.   (Any resemblance of the show’s character to Sam Giancana was purely coincidental, I’m sure…)

Later, it was Miller’s Crossing, Homicide: Life On The Street, Barton Fink, The X Files and many other shows and films.

Almost always playing some flavor of wiseguy.  Oh, he played in THAT, too!  He played cops, too (as mob-cast guys often do!)

Turned out he was distantly related to a friend of mine here locally with the same last name!  I’m sorry for your loss.

Your gruff voice and persona will certainly be missed!

jon polito

 

 

 

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…