August, 1986 - Big Bone Lick
Charlotte and I went to Big Bone Lick State Park near Florence, Kentucky. The site was once a salt lick, and fossils of Pleistocene mammals such as mammoths and mastodons have been found. The park sits near the Ohio River, the southern most boundary of glaciation during the Ice Age. Coming back 42, we viewed the Ohio from Butler State Park in Carrollton. It was the third time I had been there.
Charlotte and I went to My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown. We saw the Stephen Foster Story. Foster wrote "My Old Kentucky Home" and "Oh Susanna."
My mother stood by me during the divorce. She went to the lawyer with me and to court. I always thought they wanted to keep me away from my son. She kept that from happening. My mother became my best friend. She went to the VA with me. She sat at the table with me and talked. We played scrabble, went to movies & ate in restaurants. My 12 years in the basement went quick. My parents made it possible for me to go on with Michael. We would go to Nashville or bring him to Middletown. Things were getting better by 1990. I took my parents for granted, an easy thing. But no matter how much I might have thanked them, it would never have been enough. They did that much!
January, 1986 - Texas
Chester and I made a Grand Tour of Texas during the state's Sesquicentennial. We unloaded the truck near Graceland in Memphis. It was a cold night, and Graceland was lit up. The Space Shuttle Challenger was the major news story. Following the Red River Valley, we first heard of the explosion in Burkburnette. I was sitting in the truck and as soon as it came on the radio, I knew something was wrong. It was on to Fort Worth, down I-35 to Waco, Austin & San Antonio. We took I-10 over to Houston, where there was sympathy for the Shuttle crew.
Summer, 1985 - On truck with Chester.
We circled Chicago and crossed Michigan to Detroit. A second trip took us through Harrisburg and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, into lower state New York. I was going through a divorce in what I referred to as the "summer of hell." I was gallivanting around the country when I should have been taking care of my son. I had lost control! It would be a while before I regained it and when I did, things would be different.
My dad moved me out of my house in Lebanon after the divorce. I would have been lost without him. I moved into my parents' basement, November 8, 1985. I turned 40 and 50 there. My dad let me drive his second car to go to libraries and book stores. He kept me moving! I appreciated it. I was just unable to express it. I am expressing it now. Chester made it possible for me to go on with my son. My parents went to Tennessee with me and let Michael and Karen come to their house. Chester, Michael & I watched some of the 1996 World Series. My debt to my parents is immense. It can never be paid. My grandmother was there, too. All I can do is continue to help Michael, James, Caroline & Rebecca as long as possible.