Saturday, April 9, 2016

Artie: A Mystery, in HOME IS WHERE...

         One summer, Artie, an Army buddy of Dad's, came for a visit with his wife. They lived in Long Island. They stayed a few days, and when they left, they asked if Doreen and I wanted to go for a week. We did.

         There was a giant rock in our yard, one of many. Dad and Artie dug it up and somehow got it into the trunk of the car, but down went the back of the car! Almost to the ground. The car scraped the road all the way to Long Island.

         Let me tell you, this was one miserable week. She was mean, and their son didn't want anything to do with us. Every day he would walk us to the day program in the park and leave us on our own. We had no lunch or drinks. I remember it was so very hot, and when we would come back, his mom was drunk. We hadn’t known she was an alcoholic, nor did Mom or Dad. For us, it was eat a sandwich and off to bed. We couldn’t wait for the next Saturday to come. When we got home, they told Mom and Dad about all the fun we had. I guess they mistakenly thought we wouldn’t say anything.

         We didn't see Artie again until about 1968. He came alone. I believe his wife had died. He loved Grandma Blake, and while he was with us, there was music playing, so he got Grandma to dance, which she loved. As he spun her around and around, she had a smile all over her face, until she fell and broke her hip. This was the start of Grandma's decline, and a little more than a year later she passed away.

         As for Artie, we didn’t see or hear from him again until about a year after Grandma died. He visited with his new wife and then never again.

         We even called Artie when Dad got sick, thinking he would come, but he never came, nor even called. I don't know what happened to him. That was Dad's only close friend, a buddy from World War II. It was sad. He never got back to us. I don’t know the reason for this. Perhaps he felt guilty about Grandma’s injury.

         Something Nancy told me recently, that I didn't know, was in regard to Daddy's war buddy, Artie. I thought he had never let us know that he knew of Daddy's death, but Nancy said he came afterwards and stopped by Aunt Emily's house to find out where Dad was buried. I don't know why he went to Aunt Emily's; maybe Daddy and he stopped by there one time when Artie was up, but this makes it even more of a mystery as to why he never came while Daddy was sick or came to the funeral or the wake. Some people cannot handle such situations.


We are serializing Kathleen Blake Shields's delightful book, Home is Where the Story Begins: Memoir of a Happy Childhood, published last year by Outskirts Press and available from OP and from online booksellers like and  I am proud to have coached Kathy and edited her book. Please visit my site,

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