Twenty-Four Years Ago Today

Remembering the past here. Actually things which happened yesterday on the 24th.
I was managing a pizzeria in the backwaters of the metroplex (Okay, it was located in Grand Prairie, Tx … more correctly referred to as the armpit of the metroplex … but I digress.). And was a weekend warrior in the Naval Reserves. Owned a home, had a couple of cars, could walk to work … life was pretty good.
The wife, however, wasn’t feeling at all well that day. Indeed, she had been home from work the day before as well. But she was up and about and said she would give me a call, as I headed off to work that afternoon, if she needed anything. Got to work around 2pm (The manager didn’t have to be there for the lunch rush, but did have to close up each night, which was often past midnight.) and got busy with the prep for the evening to come. It was a Wednesday so we should have a good night, but not quite up to the madness one had to face on the weekend.
Howard, my boss and the owner of the pizzeria, was there and I let him know how my spouse was feeling. That there was a possibility I might have to address some medical concerns at home. We were good friends, he had been my supervisor while he was in the Navy, so was more then accommodating when family issues came up. And as fate would have it they did.
I was past the worst of the dinner rush, it was about 7:30, when the phone rang and I got the call to come home now!! Guess it was more then false cramping and spasms after all. This was serious. Howard told me to get my butt home and he would handle the rest of the night. I was off like a shot.
Arriving home, I was greeted by a highly agitated wife. Not being totally ignorant, it was readily apparent this was not going to be something treated by a few Tylenol and a hot soak. So off to the hospital (just a few minutes down the road) we went. The adrenals were pumping, having never seen anyone going through periods of intense pain and spasms with brief respites and the whole thing repeating. She was checked in while we were directed to a room so she could be monitored. The nurses checked her out, took her vitals and all I could do was stand by, watch and be as supportive as possible. We had been married for about four and a half years, but this … this was a first. Finally, the doctor showed up. He examined her with calm efficiency. But that was almost his undoing as he went to check on one thing or another, and must have hit a real sensitive spot. Now I am a retired Sailor, and can cuss with the best of them. But she let out with some language which caused the paint to start peeling. At that point the exam came to a speedy conclusion. It was about 9pm and the night was far from over.
The pain was getting worse, much worse. I was talking to her, trying to comfort in anyway I could. At one point because her back was hurting so bad she had me massaging it by rolling a frozen can of soda up and down her spine. That didn’t seem to help. So we dealt with her pain as best we could. The night moved on. The doc had been back a couple more times and after assessing the situation … said there wasn’t much more he could do we would just have to wait this thing out and see what happens. By this time I was getting frustrated, midnight had long since passed, as had one, two, three, four … she was not getting better. Finally, they had (the doctors) elected to give her some pain medication. There was not much else they could do. The monitors had shown elevated heart levels, respiration, but other vitals seemed ok. And still we waited.
It was now past 7am on the 25th. Things were reaching a climax. If her condition didn’t improve in the next hour radical steps were going to be taken. By 7:30 that morning it was all over …
February 25th 1982 was, if memory serves, not a terrifically cold or unpleasant day. Living in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex winter’s hold is only tenuous at best. Internationally, the world was dealing with governments going through changes. Communism, as evidenced by the goings on in Poland, was heading into the twilight of it’s hold over the nations of Eastern Europe, and ultimately Russia. There was talk about the US Navy ships “monitoring” activities off the coast of El Salvador and Nicaragua. Later in the year Great Britain would send it’s ships, planes, and men to a small group of islands and turn the attention of the world to the south Atlantic and the Falkland Islands. But as February was coming to a close the world, for the most part, was clam.
The sporting news was of little interest as well. Just a month before, the San Francisco Giants beat the Cincinnati Bengals 26-21 at the Silverdome in Michigan. And with that, we waited for the boys of summer to start their spring training.
We had seen On Golden Pond, and Stripes. Listened to Olivia Newton John, Hall & Oates, Kim Carnes.
It would never be the same, none of that would matter in the same ways it did just one day earlier. I had enough presence of mind to remember a phone call must be made. Got on the phone with my folks at sometime after 7:30 that morning, in tears.
Mom asked what was wrong … why was I calling … why was I in tears. I answered the only way I could.
“Mom, I have a son! You’re a grandma now. He’s got fingers and toes … and he is over eight pounds … and he is resting with his mother.”
Happy 24th birthday Stephen James Sochor.
You are my first born. That you have managed to survive all my mistakes, (not being half the man my father was) is much more a credit to you then it ever could be to me. May you have the wisdom to learn from the mistakes I made and take on board what ever may have been done right. May your next 24 years be full of life, and may you always rise to the top, a winner.


1 Comment

Filed under Harbor Life

One response to “Twenty-Four Years Ago Today

  1. Happy birthday, kid.
    Hey, dad… did you keep any baby pictures? My daughter turned 25 last year and I had great fun showing her off. She offered to kill me.

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