Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Events That Change Your Direction In Life

I often marvel at the events that came into my life to get me where I am today. So many things had to fall in place in order for me to have the life that I now enjoy.

I was born in Piqua, Ohio in 1934 to Leonard and Evelyn Moore. I was their second child as Ben was born in 1932. I don’t have any recollection of living with my parents. Nothing seems to have stuck in my memory of those years. Some people can remember when they were two years old and I can’t remember anything prior to six years of age. During that time we had Faye join our family in 1937, Bob in 1939 and Lenna in 1940.

Two months prior to Lenna’s birth, our dad passed away from an infection that is curable today but was not in 1940. The next two years are a blur as well. Our mother moved us a couple of times as I do remember living in a farm house but we didn’t farm the land. Just rented the home. Another house was a portable temporary housing that was available during World War Two. I believe this was in Troy, Ohio which is about 10 miles from Piqua. Our dad worked at Hobart Manufacturing in Troy. It was at this home that we were picked up by the authorities and was headed for Foster Care had our grandparents not intervened. Grandpa didn’t want any of his grandchildren in Foster Care. So he went before the judge and requested permission to place the five kids into homes of his family. Our grandparents had 12 children. One died at 6 weeks and my father died at age 31. So 10 were left to help.

Faye went to live with our Aunt Ruth Reynolds in Elkhart, Indiana and was raised as one of Ruth’s children. Robert Lee (Bob) was first sent to our Uncle Bob Moore’s home in Covington, Ohio and later to Aunt Doris Wright’s home in Los Angeles where he stayed for a short time. This didn’t work out in Bob’s life and he opted to move in with our mother in Muncie, Indiana. I don’t recall when he did this but he was living there in the summer of 1952 when I visited him and took him on a trip to Celina and Elkhart to visit our siblings and relatives.

Lenna was a baby under two years of age when she went to live with Aunt Betty Ummel near Elkhart. Lenna and Faye grew up near each other and were able to be together often. Lenna really didn’t know her father and mother. She had little contact with her mother.

Ben and I went to live with our grandparents, our dad’s mother and father. Our grandfather was the pastor of the Nazarene church in Coshocton, Ohio at this time. Shortly after that, he was asked to be the pastor of the Church of the Nazarene in Celina, Ohio. Ben was 10 years old and I was 8 when we began our lives with our grandparents.

In 1949 after completing his junior year in high school, Ben left the home to live with our mother in Muncie, Indiana. That left me alone for the first time at age 15.

Our grandmother’s health was failing in 1949 and as had been the practice of the Moore children, they came to see their parents as often as they could. One of those visits in late August was from Ray and Edith Moore with their 18 month old daughter, Kathy. They spent a few days with us and then left for home in Kansas City, Missouri. A few days later I received a letter from Ray which I still have in my Memory Box. He asked me to consider moving to Kansas City, Missouri to live with them since grandmother was having difficulty in caring for me. I showed the letter to Grandpa and he said the decision would be entirely mine. I was welcome to stay there with them if I chose or take Ray and Edith up on their offer. My choice.

The decision had to be made very quickly as September was right around the corner and I was headed back to school for my 10th grade. I would be leaving everything that I knew and friends that have been pals for several years. I also had my job at the Daily Standard delivering papers for the last six years and my janitorial duties at the newspaper to consider. I would be starting over at a new place, new family, new church, new school and hopefully new friends. I had a Whizzer Motor Bike and a Powell Motor Scooter to think about. I sold the Whizzer to a fellow newspaper friend and shipped the Powell to Kansas City.

The decision to move from Celina to Kansas City was not an easy one. But it was the right one. Grandmother passed away in 1950. I met a girl of 14 years of age just one and a half blocks from my new home who I married six years later. This July 22nd will be our 54th wedding anniversary. Ann Edwards went to the same high school and church and later to the same college in California.

This story is a great example of what Romans 8:28 says -- “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose”.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Have You Ever Re-read An Old Letter You Wrote?

Ray & Edith Moore - my "parents" in Kansas City, Missouri

Our home in Kansas City, Missouri on 67th Street

My last three years of high school were spent living in Kansas City, Missouri with Uncle Ray and Aunt Edith Moore. After graduation in 1952, I moved to California to attend Pasadena Nazarene College.

My High School graduation picture - 1952

Communication between us was through letters to each other. Postage was 3 cents and we wrote each other on occasion. My Aunt Edith passed away some 15 years ago and Uncle Ray died a couple of years ago. His second wife, Nelda, was recently going through some of Ray’s possessions and found seven letters that I had written them that he kept. The dates of the letters were January 11, 1954, February 18, 1954, October 7, 1954 ( all written in my Sophomore and Junior years of college.)

The next one was written April 13, 1959 three days before my 25th birthday and three days after our son, Ricky’s, 3rd birthday. Ann was very pregnant with Brenda who was born 11 days later on April 24, 1959. [This year she turned 50.]

I wrote a letter on October 4, 1959 that Ray kept. Ricky was 3 ½ years old and Brenda was soon to be 6 months old. Ann was enrolled in what became California State University at Fullerton taking night classes.

The sixth letter was written March 23, 1962. The next month Ricky will be 6 years old and Brenda was coming up on her 3rd birthday. I had written about the passage of time -- 10 years ago I graduated from High School, 6 years ago from Pasadena Nazarene College, and I came to live with them 13 years ago. Time was flying.

The last one I received from Nelda I want to comment on some items. I will publish most the letter and add comments to some of the items. This was written June 19, 1965 when we were living in our first home that we bought on Marty Lane in Santa Ana. That is almost 44 years ago. Comments will be in brackets [ ]. This was to Ray only as it was in a “Father’s Day” card.
Dear Ray,
This card is coming to you a little late. I bought the card early enough but wanted to write a letter to you at the same time the card came. Consequently, the card is late waiting for this letter.

I wish to say “Happy Father’s Day”, as you have been one of my fathers throughout my life and I am very glad that you were. I don’t consider myself as a kid that had bad breaks in his life. On the contrary. I feel that I had many good breaks and feel very fortunate to have been born into a family of Moore’s that are interested in helping each other out when things don’t go according to plan. [I was one of 5 children born to Ray’s brother, Leonard. Our dad died suddenly in 1940 and the family floundered for a couple of years before being split up by court order. Instead of Foster Care, we were moved to homes of our dad’s family. My brother, Ben, and I went to live with our grandparents. The other three kids went to uncles or aunts in the Moore family.] [I moved to Kansas City in September 1949.]

I am very proud of you and the family that I was associated with during my teen years. You were understanding when it was needed and also stern when it was needed. Thank you.

Dad [Ann’s dad Robert Edwards] is visiting us now and has been for a few days. He returns to Kansas City next Thursday. That is, he leaves then on the train. It sure is nice to have him here. He attended Ann’s graduation from college. She finally did it! And she did it “With Honors”. We are proud of her and her hard work that she has had to put in in order to attain this. One item of note -- Cecil Miller [who Ray knew] is registrar at the college that Ann graduated from -- California State College at Fullerton. He was in that capacity at Pasadena [Nazarene College] when I graduated 9 years ago. [Cecil signed both of our diplomas.] We got to talk with him on graduation day. I guess he was a victim of the last purge at Pasadena. He has a very good position with this college as Ann was only one of 502 that graduated. Incidentally, she was one of 18 who graduated “With Honors”. How about that?

I hear by the grapevine that you will be leaving Kansas City and have accepted a position at Olivet [Nazarene College - Kankakee, Illinois]. The way things were going in KC I imagine this is a great load off your mind and a better chance to do what you are really interested in. I also hear that you may set up a radio station at the college. When things are such that you can write about it, please let me know. I hate to see you leave KC as it is very nice to stop in one place and see all relatives on both sides. You seem to be a permanent fixture there. I know the kids and particularly Kathy are probably upset and it has been her only hometown. This will be a new experience for them [Kathy, Philip, & Harlan] and I know they will adjust. I’ve had quite a few hometowns now and find it just as easy to live in one town as another. Perhaps on those rare occasions that I may have to visit our home office, I can drop in on you at Olivet. It’s not far from Chicago and we have to go via Chicago. [State Farm Insurance home office is located in Bloomington, Illinois.]

Since you are moving and I have some items at your house yet, would you please box them and give these to the Edwards for me. I haven’t driven back that way yet and haven’t had a chance to pick them up. I believe I have my stamp collection, and memory box [still have these in the garage] plus anything else that you may find that was mine. I’m not interested in the ice skates if you still have these. Let your kids have them. It would be interesting to know just what I do have there. Even after 13 years in California I guess I’m not settled down. I expected to come back there after college but that didn’t work out. Things here are looking good for both of us work wise and unless there is something drastic, we will be here for some time to come.

We’ve been considering buying a different home and getting settled but the prices of homes now is terrible. I paid $13,250.00 for my 4 bedroom home. I can get about $16,500 for it now. But then buying a different one would run $25,000 to $30,000 and that is too much at this time. My mortgage is under $12,000 and by investing a little I could fix up my house to make it quite livable. We don’t know exactly what to do. [Can you relate to any of this? We ended up buying a new home in Westminster that cost $28,000 and I thought I‘d lost my mind!]

Ann just finished teaching the first semester of her career. She is teaching 1st grade and loves it. [She spent 30 years in 1st grade with 25 years in the same room.] She has a ten month contract for next year at $590 a month. [WOW!] Not bad for a teacher. Of course California is probably the highest paying for teachers. This next year should be easier for us financially. We will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary next month [In July 2009 it will be 54 years] and all ten years have been pretty rough. Things are looking better.

Ricky has been promoted to the 4th grade now and Brenda will start 1st grade next fall. These kids are growing up too fast. More and more people are noticing how gray I’m getting too. I guess that is part of life.

Love to all,
(signed) Dick

I mentioned in the letter that time was going by so fast. That was 44 years ago! I have no idea where it went but I can remember so many things that took place in all those years in between that letter and today. I guess this is what “getting old” is all about. I thought you’d enjoy making comparisons to today from things in this letter. Perhaps some of you can relate to this as well.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My BLOG in Vietnamese

I have a service that tells me where inquiries to my postings are coming from as far as City & State in the United States and City and Country from outside. It is called "StatCounter". I check it often to see where people are from that have found my BLOG and what posting they were reviewing. I have had "hits" from all over the world and all points in America and Canada.

Yesterday I checked the list and found one from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I clicked on the entry and it referred me to what they were looking at in the postings. Here was my item written in Vietnamese! They had translated it (through Google) into their language. I thought it might only be this one posting but all had been translated. When you move the curser over a word or phrase, it turns into English. I copied it off and send to some relatives and friends and when that happens, it is in both English and Vietnamese.

I have some Vietnamese friends that worked with me at State Farm and thought it was interesting that someone had taken the time to view my work in their own language. We also support a charity called Giving It Back To Kids that was started by a friend of ours about 6 years ago and does a great work in Vietnam.

If the person from Ho Chi Minh City comes back to this BLOG, I would like them to contact me through the "Comment" section on this blog. I would like to know what they thought of my writings and why they found it in the first place. Google had key words and Labels referring people to this BLOG and maybe they found it that way.

It is interesting that they are able to translate it so they can read it easier.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Classic Car Museum Tour

I used to work for State Farm Insurance as a Auto Supervisor. I was asked to pull together a committee called the Stated Value Committee of car enthusiasts who either worked on collectible cars or was knowledgeable in this field. I told people then that my expertise was that I owned a lot of old cars - just not classics or collectibles!

From our Claims Department I found three fellows that all had an interest in classic and antique cars and attended shows all over Southern California keeping up with the latest trends in this field. Some were in the process of rebuilding for instance a 1940 Ford. One had a 1936 Chevrolet Coupe that was modified (not original) and he showed the car in various shows. Dave, Jim and Nelson took me to some of these shows to help educate me in the fine art of assessing value to these vehicles.

This committee ran for two years and helped our underwriters establish values for insurance purposes. We gave seminars to employees and to agents to help them in this process. This interest has grown for me as time went on and anytime I can see one of these shows or museums I’m there.

My son, Rick, went to a wedding reception at a place that actually was a Classic Car Museum owned by Lew Webb, a now retired owner of many auto dealerships in Southern California. He had about 35 classic and antique cars that were kept in running condition by Ron Hitter who works for Mr. Webb. When Ron saw Rick, he mentioned that he has seen him sing with his gospel quartet, Crimson River. That got them talking about the museum and Rick stated that his dad (me) would love to see this collection of cars since he had something to do with classic cars with his former work. Ron said, ok, let’s find a time and we’ll give him a private tour.

My birthday is April 16th and this year I reach 75 years old. So Rick got in touch with Ron Hitter and they arranged a time for our family to come and see the private collection of Lew Webb which is not opened to the public. He didn’t tell me where we were going or what was there. Just the time to be at a certain place. When we arrived, a man met me at the door and gave me a bear hug wishing me a happy 75th birthday as he had just turned 75 this year also. It was the owner, Lew Webb. We got some pictures taken and then he turned the tour over to his employee, Ron Hitter. Mr. Webb left and we went inside to see these fabulous cars. Packards, Rolls Royce, Buicks, a 1948 Tucker of which only 51 were made. This one was number 29. I took a picture of a brand new 1948 Tucker that visited my small town of Celina, Ohio in 1948. I was 14 at the time and had an Ansco box camera. That picture and story can be seen here .

Center picture -- 150 years of living. Dick Moore and Lew Webb - both 75.
Main picture - our family on a private tour of the museum.

There was a Cord, an Auburn, a Deisenberg all of which are from the same car family. Several cars that had to be driven by a hired driver and the owner sat it the back. One of those was a car owned by a movie star named Joan Crawford. Here are a few of the collection that will give you an idea of what the museum contains.

Joan Crawford's car. Driver in front - star and guests in back.

Mr. Webb’s collection also had a 1919 Model T Ford. The oldest car I ever drove was a 1913 Model T Ford and the story of that event can be seen here. Lew and his wife came to California in a 1953 Chevrolet. He has one of those in his collection. One of the dealerships he had was a Toyota new car shop and he has a couple of Toyota’s on display. One is listed as a 1935 but was really made in 1995 when Toyota brought out a remake of that special model.

1919 Model T Ford. Notice the "center" door. Only model done this way.

Ron Hitter keeps all these cars in running order and he gave me his cell phone number to call when I can come over and take a ride in one of these classics. That is something I will definitely do.

This private tour was an incredible birthday gift and to actually meet the owner was special too. Thanks, Rick, for arranging this tour.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sweetie Pie - An Unexpected E-Mail

For five years I was a co-host of State Farm Insurance Retiree’s luncheons held four times a year. The first three were for the men only and the ladies held their own retiree luncheons. The one in November was a combined luncheon with the retired men and women of our company and included spouses or significant others. We would have 100 at this luncheon.

As co-host it was my job to organize the luncheons and send out email flyers announcing the details of the luncheon. I worked with the committee members of the ladies luncheons for the big combined one a few years ago. We offered a choice of two entrees and people were to email me back with their selection.

One of those e-mails was sent from an address I did not know. She made the selection and signed it “Thank You Sweetie Pie”. I searched my address book and couldn’t come up with anyone named Pat Fisher with that address and finally had to write to this person and ask how they got the information on the luncheon and who are they?

Although I didn’t see her face on the e-mail response, I could tell it was red in color. It seems she meant to send it back to her friend Fred Bruno who is one of the men retirees. She sent it to me instead. Pat finally met me when she and Fred came to the luncheon and checked in. Fred had told her that Dick won’t let this go so be prepared for anything.

I was master of ceremonies of the luncheon and after our meal, I got up and told the story of receiving an order for lunch from someone I didn’t know and this person called me “Sweetie Pie”. Everyone got a chuckle out of it especially Pat Fisher and Fred Bruno. Whenever I see them at the November luncheons, I remind them of the incident. After all, I don’t let situations like this just go away! Ask Fred.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Jasper & Jesse - An Easter Tale

My brother, Ben, and I lived with our grandparents in the little town of Celina, Ohio from 1943 to 1949. We didn’t have much of this world’s goods but what we did have were “parents” that loved us and wanted to share what little they had with us to make our lives interesting.

During this period of time living in a farming community we had available colored chicks at Easter for our amusement. They hadn’t figured out yet that this was cruel and unusual punishment of these little chickens to have them spray colored and given out as play things for Easter. Grandpa got us two of them - one red and one green. Ben chose the red one and named him Jasper. I got the green one (my favorite color) and named it after Grandpa - Jesse. Grandpa’s first name was Jesse but he never used it. Always went by J.I. Moore.

It was our job to feed and take care of these little chicks. They were fun to play with and watch grow. In time they grew up to be normal looking chickens and lost their color. Chickens are only good for one thing and I can tell you they were delicious! Grandma fixed them up for Sunday dinners. We had no trouble separating the idea of them being our pets as little chicks and our meal as grown up chickens. We lived in a small town surrounded by farms which grew animals for food. It was a natural progression.

Colored chickens for Easter is a thing of the past but they were a part of my past.