Amy’s Least Favorite Column

October 6, 1959
Topeka Daily Capital

Thinking it over, I guess that one of the bigger developments of the year, along with the beginning of the era of personal diplomacy, summit meetings and the steel strike, is Amy’s learning to go to the bathroom.

In listing major events of the year, the feeling here is that their importance should be measured in terms of how they affect people. Well, in my little corner of the world, Amy’s ascent to this level of refinement created more excitement by far than Khrushchev’s visit.

I’m not really sure how the other three made this advance. All I know is that one day they wouldn’t go, the next few days they might and they might not go, and suddenly they went. One at a time, of course.

Their mother guided each of the other three through these perilous – and often disastrous – times, and I was barely more than a casual observer. But in the case of Amy, it became a family project and seldom have I seen a group so engrossed.

As the coaches would say, the education of Amy was a team effort.

Continue reading

Courtney Joins the Tree

Topeka Capital-Journal
Feb. 10, 1988

A week ago last Monday, our daughter Amy left her home in Arlington, Texas, early. It was her first day off from work on what promise to be a lengthy vacation, if you can call it that, since she was expecting to deliver a baby the following Thursday.

She made her first stop at the mortgage company, where she made a house payment, but then she started feeling some contractions, or whatever it is that expectant mothers feel. So, she drove to her doctor’s office, and was there when he arrived at 9.

He checked her immediately, and told her to get to the hospital. She was there by 9:30, checked in, and called us in Topeka and said things were happening fast. She delivered at 10:40, and her husband, Duff Nelson, got there just in time to welcome a new daughter, their second.

We saw her briefly Tuesday night, and then on Wednesday morning we went to the hospital and picked them up. Barely 48 hours after the big event, she and the baby were home. That’s the way they do these things in this day and age.

This is the modern version of the old tale of Indian women who had to drop off the trail just long enough to have their papoose, then catch up or be left behind. Continue reading

Amy’s Friends, No Explanation Needed

Topeka Daily Capital
Oct. 23, 1960

A friend of mine named Amy, who is three years old, has as one of her best friends a man who is an inmate in the state penitentiary in Lansing. It is a friendship built on the simplest sort of foundation. It is a friendship between a man who probably needs friends and a little girl who is overwhelmed by unexpected favors.

It’s a rather long story, and it doesn’t get any shorter the way I tell it. . . . Continue reading

Manfred the Wandering Dog Finds a Home

Topeka Daily Capital
Feb. 21, 1960

It all started on Monday evening. We had finished dinner and I was going back to the office. The boys reminded me I still owed them a “surprise” for a chore they had done for me. Ann told me she still was waiting for the puzzle and “peer-fume” I had promised, and Amy made her usual pitch for candy. In other words, it started as a very normal departure. Continue reading

Once the right pictures were hung, surgery was a breeze

Topeka Capital-Journal – May 2000

When my wife, Barbara, and I learned last Thursday she would have surgery on Saturday I called our daughter, Amy, told her about it, and asked her to call the other four offspring. I called her because she lives near Dallas, and it was cheaper to phone her than any of the others, who are scattered from coast to coast. She also was the least likely to forget to make the calls.

She made them, and she also got to Topeka so fast I barely had time to dig out the pictures of her children and display them prominently around the house. We like to make whichever child is visiting think he or she is No. 1 in our hearts and in photo display space.

GrandmaBefore the Thursday decision there had been tests conducted or ordered by the renowned gastroenterologist, Dr. Robert Ricci. It would be an exaggeration to refer to him as the late Dr. Ricci, but he has been known to run, as he puts it, “on Ricci time.”

He was punctual, however, in reporting to us that the tests indicated surgery was called for, and in making an appointment for us to see the surgeon, Dr. James Hamilton, who is famous for having separated me from my gall bladder four years ago, and for writing learned letters to the editor on matters ranging from medicine to neighborhood blight.

When we went to see him we were accompanied by Michelle Meier, a close friend, a neighbor and a nurse who is administrator of the Kansas Medical Clinic. It wasn’t exactly the same as taking your lawyer to a real estate closing, but it made us feel more comfortable.

Dr. Hamilton explained in detail why the surgery was necessary, and what he would do. In layman’s language, he would remove a segment of bad colon, then sew the two loose ends together. It sounded simple enough. Continue reading