138 rue de bonheur

Everything Happens for a Reason

Archive for the month “June, 2013”


Summer has started out as Summers usually do, Hot. Kay got her Kayak just before we left for Chicago and when we returned she was hot to trot to get it in the water. Got it licensed and tagged and the stickers and numbers applied. Drove it down to the Reservoir for a test run. She loves it and it’s so easy to use. Kay spent an hour just paddling around, Molly kept trying to swim out to her and the self-stick numbers started to fall off. Now What! After trying to re-apply the numbers we gave up and took it to a professional sign maker to fix the problem. It seems that the numbers that the ODNR gave us will not stick to Polypropylene which the Hull of the Kayak is made of. So he cleaned the hull and applied a different type of numbers, which seem to be sticking so far. The Kayak carriers we ordered came yesterday so that day was spent installing them on our roof rack. The directions were terrible and also printed on toilet paper.(Not very clear and defining). But my superior mechanical skills got us through the directions and soon we had the supports mounted on the van. Getting the kayak up on top of the van was an other thing! Kay was born with too short of legs and lifting it up on to the van and placing the Kayak on the supports was proving to be a challenge for her. (She wanted to be able to do this on her own with out help from me). In the long run she’s going to need a step ladder to do what she’s trying to accomplish, or have me go with her when she goes Kayaking.

Kay and her Kayak

Kay and her Kayak

The AC went out in the Van Monday and made arrangements to have that repaired $$$$$$$$ Cachunk! Got the Van back Wednesday, took Molly to the vet for her annual shots and check-up, $$$$$$$ Cachunk! On the way back, the AC went out in the Van again. Called the Ford dealer and they came and picked it up this morning. Shouldn’t be a charge for this service. (I Hope)!

Going down to Kay’s Grand-Daughters tomorrow for her 5th. Birthday party this Sunday. It will be Sophie’s first big Birthday Bash with friends from Pre-School and Parents and Grand-parents included. No work this time for Kay and I, just enjoy the day. We are planning on stopping down in Amish Country on our way down and pick up some Cheese and fresh vegetables and take in some scenery thru Southeastern Ohio. Of course, this is all pending that we get our van back today.

Next week is grocery Shopping and the 4th. of July weekend and it looks like kay and I will be spending the Holidays home by our selves. The last several years we have spent the Holiday with the kids and this time were looking forward to a quiet 4th. of July

Dealer just called. Everything’s OK, Operator  problem (Kay).  Kay is a fanatic, impatient button pusher. Cars Computer needed to be be re-booted.



There it was, an empty room in the Basement. A perfect place to build a model railroad. I basically knew what I wanted and what railroad I would model this layout to represent. After researching different catalogs for items needed to start, I came to the conclusion that this is going to be expensive. Holy Shit Batman, I mean really expensive! I thought putting the addition and up grading Utilities in the house was costly I was in for a huge expenditure just to build the table yet alone the cost of track, switches, and the Engine and cars, But this I wanted and Kay said to do it, but it was to be a Winter Time Project.

So after the Holidays and all the traveling was over, I started. It took me one whole Winter just to build the table after going over drawings I made and laying out how all the tracks where to be positioned and countless hours going over Model railroads on YouTube and how a table structure should be built. Spring brought closure to the Project, but on Rainy days I would read books on Wiring, landscaping and tweak out just how the Model railroad was going to look. I couldn’t wait till Winter set in on us again. Well, after 5 years I think it’s almost done (Always making small adjustments and modifications). Watch me build my Model railroad at—–Right Click.



Berkshire 2 8 4 , Built 1944 operates on the Ft. Wayne Historical Railroad. #765

Berkshire 2 8 4 , Built 1944
operates on the Ft. Wayne Historical Railroad. #765

It’s hard to determine where one gets their love for a Hobby! My Dad never had it, nor my Brother, but as far back as I can remember I had this love of Trains. Where did it come from?  Was it in my Gene’s, I guess I could’ve  had a worse affliction for something less than chasing Trains. My first Memory was when I was about 5 or 6 playing with my Brothers Electric Train, an “O” Gage American Flyer, A 1938  vintage Electric Engine with passenger Cars. It was my brothers Train, but I think I was more captive by it than he was. I recieved my own Electric train set possibly  when I was 7  for Christmas one year  and I can remember  it to this date 66 years later. My Dad had it mounted on a 4X8 sheet of Plywood, and it sat under the Christmas Tree. I was so happy that I received from Santa Claus, I think.  After Christmas my dad and brother set it up down in the Basement where we proceeded to paint Streets and Sidewalks on the board, and mounted a few of the Plastic Houses I received as Christmas Gifts, but alas, It went up into the Attic for the remainder of the year only to be brought down at Christmas Time each year. It grew each year as I received Gifts related to the train Set, Switches, More Cars, Buildings. It was becoming quite a Model railroad in itself.

        Then when I was 10, I came back from serving at Church one Christmas Eve (Alter Boy) I walked into the House to see a Much Larger Train layout, 2- 4X8 panels of plywood, more track and switches and a brand new Train running around the tracks. I screamed and gave my Dad a great big hug (Mom Too)  I couldn’t wait to call my Boy friend Douglas the next Morning to tell him about what I got for Christmas. A Santa Fe Streamliner with 4 Passenger Cars. It was beautiful, Shinny  and it looked so good going around the track.

        It also went down into the Basement after Christmas to have more streets and sidewalks painted on the new board and more buildings added to it., then back up into the attic till next Christmas. So it went year after year. It wasn’t till I was about  9 or 10 that my interest in Trains changed from a  Christmas thing to actually going to see Trains. In the Summer Months my Friend Douglas and I would venture out on our Bicycles to different locations around Chicago to view  actual trains. The Chicago and Northwestern, The Milwaukee  Road, we’d read about and get Time schedules  and ride down to where we could view them. Riding the Chicago Elevated  System took us downtown to where the Stations were and gather up all the Brochures we could on the many Railroads that came into Chicago and the times they would be coming thru our neighborhood. Douglas’s Dad built model railroad cars and every once and awhile I’d see him sitting at the Kitchen Table working on them, they were beautiful.

    During my Teenage years Trains sort of took a backseat to other interesting Phenomenons that were occurring in my life, Like Girls, work, and becoming a Sailor. trains sort of took a backseat during these years although I would still be memorized by a passing train at a railroad crossing, but for now Trains were not going to be a part of my life for the next 40 some years. Buying a house, raising Daughters and working both at a job and remodeling a house took up all of my time. It wasn’t till I retired that my ambitions to getting back into trains started to grow again.


Another beautiful day here in Ohio!  Springs almost over and the weather so far has been great. Cool, weekly Showers Highs in the 70’s . But Summers just around the corner and their predicting Highs in the upper 80’s for the start.

Kay and I have been busy and our Lawn and Garden shows it.  The Flowers this year have been spectacular and a pleasure to look at. We planted several Trees around the house that will be ready to transplant down at Brians Pond later this Fall. We spent a week or so down at his house earlier this spring putting in about 500 feet of drainage tiles from the House down to the pond, Cut down lots of old dead trees and cut them into Firewood for next Winter.

IMG_2075                       IMG_2071


Still we find time to play and spend time with the grandKids. Once the Pond has proved itself and holds water,the spreading of BLack Dirt and landscaping will begin, Trees and Shrubbery will be next. We’ll be going down again in late June for Sophie’s 5Th. Birthday celebration  and possibly spend time helping around the House some more.

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Went into Chicago a couple of weeks ago for my Sisters 85Th. Birthday, She looks good. When i say Chicago, They live in Huntley Illinois and one of my Daughter lives in Winfield Illinois and thats where we stay when we visit Chicago. Read previous Blog. I’ll write again when something exciting happens, other than  that, it’s Summertime!



Oh my God!  The Food, The Beer, The Atmosphere, The German band!  Went to the “Hofbrauhous” in Chicago Saturday Night. What an experience! I’ve gone to several German Brauhouse’s in Chicago in my time, some old World style with the dark atmosphere and the Serving Benchs and with good German Oump- Pa- Pa Bands and  people dancing with the Lider-Hous slapping. But this place is outstanding for Music, Beer, and wonderful German Food. Check it out…http://www.hofbrauhauschicago.com/. While your there, check out the Menu.  I drank 3 liters of Dunkel Beer that night and Kay and I had the most wonderful time singing, eating and drinking and topped it of with some German Kasekuchen Cheese Cake with rasberry Sauce.Next time you’re in Chicago, Stop in for some excellent Food and Drink. It’s right by O’Hare Airport and a short jaunt by Cab from the terminal to A good German meal.


My Sister bless her Heart, turned 85 today. We celebrated her Birthday yesterday. It was a Surprise Party for her at her house in Hinkley Il.

That was something I wouldn’t miss for the world.  We knew it would not only be a Birthday Party but also a Family Reunion. I haven’t seen some of my Nephews and nieces for a very long time being were all scattered around and like me, a few States away. Good to catch up on what everyone’s been doing and meeting new members to the Family thru  Marriage and Births.

When I was a young boy, our Family would have every Summer a Family get-together at one of my Aunts Farm in Round Lake Il. (This was in the 40’s) and Round Lake was a fair distance from the city of Chicago and really in the Country. Today it’s a Suburb of Chicago and quickly accessible from anywhere in Chicago. It’s not in the Country anymore. (Urban Sprawl) Everyone would bring a dish and we all sat around a huge table out under an old Oak Tree. The older ones would  sit and talk the day away, We would play Baseball,  and check out the Barn and the different Animals on the Farm. But the best part was the Food and abundant Soda Pops that were down in the old stone-walled basement of the Farm house where  it was always cold. There was no Coke or Pepsi, it was Strawberry Soda, Grape Soda, Root Beer.  Being a City Boy, being on a Farm for the day was always exciting and an adventure for me.

Family get-togethers are becoming a lost tradition nowadays, Why? I don’t know. I think Communication has a large part in it as keeping up with going on in the Families now is just a call away on your Cell Phone.  A day out in the Country and a gathering of Family around a  huge table of food and communicating face to face with Aunts and Uncles, Grandma’s and  Grampa’s, Nephews and Nieces is a good thing and should be brought back again into our Society and to help strengthen the Family units. Lets do it, But please, leave your cell phone back at house.


My Sister set up a room for me in their basement to live while I got myself acclimated to Civilian Life again.  My Mom had a nice room their also. I retrieved my car   from the storage garage that they had stored it in, and made arrangements to see my old employer again. Frank belles was no longer a Plumbing and Heating contractor in a store front building in Berwyn Il. but now a very large contractor with a Michigan Ave. address in Chicago. It was Bellis-Hanley now and Stan Bellis was pleased to see me again. First thing he said when I saw him again after 4 years was,” Ready to go back to work again?” “Yes Sir” I replied.

Bellis-Hanley had several Multi Million contracts/Jobs going all over the Chicagoland region. At lunch we talked about old workers and where there at now and his plans for the company and If I would be willing to be a part of Belli-Hanley. He wanted to start-up a Refrigeration Service Dept. and new I had some refrigeration Service behind me from my earlier times with the company. I said I would like to try that and would almost do anything for him after the glowing resume he sent the Navy when I first joined. ( I finally got to read that letter when I turned in my Service Jacket at separation).

Stan said he would figure that he could have the Refrigeration Service Dept. up and operating in about a year and that would give me the opportunity to get some classes behind me in the new and upcoming Refrigeration Business, mean while I could start work tomorrow if I wanted at the new Standard Oil Building in Downtown Chicago.

Standard Oil Building 1971

Stan said the Building is only about 4 stories up at the moment and not quite ready to employ several dozen Pipefitters but maybe by March of next year. This is November. I told him I have about 60 days leave coming and was planning on not going back to work till after the first of the year.  He said “call me after the Holidays” and I’ll put you back to work, but in the mean time get some refrigeration Classes behind you and send him the bill for the schooling. I agreed.

I spent the Winter going to schools and taking corespondent courses and learning what there is to know in the up and coming refrigeration business. I kept in touch with Stan Bellis and told him about all the new tools and equipment he would have to have and asked him if he wanted to be in the large Building type service or the small door to door service business. Stan replied “Both”.

I spent a nice Winter schooling myself and going out and visiting old places, but as they say, “You can’t go back”. I looked into getting myself an apartment near by and found one right in the town of Fairview, Downers grove. I had accumulated about $1000.00 in savings and all the money I had sent home to my mom, she had saved also and she returned it to me saying that as long as she lived with Margie, and had a job, she didn’t need it. So one day I went Downtown to Chicago and walked into John M. Smyth, the Furniture Store and started looking at Furniture. A Salesperson approached me and asked if I needed help. I told him “yes” I told him i was recently separated from the service and had just rented a beautiful Apartment in Downers grove and I needed Furniture for it. He then asked what style of Furniture I wanted and I told him I wanted it to look like an Old English Home. I like a busy room full of pictures and color. He said he was an interior Decorator for John M. Smyth and worked out of the Oakbrook Store and would like to set up my apartment to my liking  I signed an agreement and got my self a line of credit although I said I would pay cash. He would come out to the Apartment on Friday and in the meantime, If I saw anything I liked, to tell him and he would put it on hold. His name was John, and he was about as queer as a Three Dollar Bill. It never bothered me and he did a wonderful job of setting up my Apartment just to my liking.

The next day or so I think, I stopped in to the IGA in Fairview for some groceries when I saw this girl. We both looked at each other and knew that we knew one another. “Glen”  she said, “I’m Bill Stocks Sister, Carol.”  God, I’ve haven’t seen her since she was about 16.  Ten years or so ago, We made plans to get us all together at a Restaurant and spend the time getting re-acquainted again.

To make along story short, we dated and eventually ended up getting Married a year later. We had two Beautiful daughters and they’ve grown up to be wonderful Women, giving us two Grand children. This story and it’s continuation can now  be told by others of my life to date.

This Blog  has been fun and the going back and trying to remember dates and events has been challenging to say the least, Please don’t hold them to me as being accurate as my memory is not as good as it used to be. I didn’t tell everything that took place as I thought it was Superfluous , Boring, and not relevant to the story. There is not a whole lot that I would have change to date, Well, maybe a few. I’m a Happy Camper with life as it has evolved and approaching 73 years of age, I’ve sure enjoyed the adventure so far and looking forward to the next one!



It was late September and my tour of duty was to end on the 23d of October. I was in a way going to miss this place and the friends I had made. Lt. Malera already told me to sit back and let my replacement do the work, Go hang out at the Acy-Ducy Club he said. Come muster in in the mornings and then take off, go take pictures. I was a Short-Timer and nobody wanted me. On October 1st. I received my packet with all the information I need to do and who I had to see before any transit papers could be issued. The Navy gave you about one to two days to do each thing and for the most part I could have this all done in 2 Hours.  There was Medical check-out, Disbursement (payroll) Records, and a host of other things I had to do but can’t remember them now. Anyway, I received my Transfer orders on the 16th. of October and my flight out and back to the States was scheduled for the 20th.  Lt. Malera got a going away party for me and the other 7 Seabees that came over with us at China beach the last Sunday before I left. We had a cook-out with real Hamburgers and Cold Beer. There was a lot back slapin and hand shaking and all in all, a good time. I ended up cooking the Hamburgers on the Grill, everyone else was more interested in drinking the Beer.

Grill time

For more pictures of my tour in Vietnam follow this link:http://kay-glen.smugmug.com/Other/My-In-Country-Time-1964-1968


When we landed in perth Australia I was so ready to see this country. As we were walking down the Gateway to the tarmac I notice all these Beautiful Girls standing in line along the route to the terminal. “Grab yourself a Women one guy shouted” “They’re here for your taking while in Perth”.  That’s not the main reason I came to Australia I said, but a cute brunette caught my eye and as I walk by her I stopped and ask,” You know your away around perth do you? I sure do Sailor, she replied, Then lets go!  We were booked at the Pacific Rim Hotel in Downtown perth and a beautiful place it was. My room was on the 10th floor and I could see the Indian Ocean from my window. her name was Diane and she came up to my room as I checked in and changed to Civilian Clothes. I told her that while I’m here I want to see everything that there is to see and I asked her what kind of arrangements we should have and I would be respectful and courteous to her while she was with me. Dinners would be on me. Diane informed me that $100.00 is usual for a weeks worth of companionship, which I thought was fair, But first, I had to go and buy some warm clothes. It was cold there, well not to the natives, but coming from a place where the average temp. was in the upper 90’s, Perths daily temp. was 65, but sunny, and I was cold.

Well, lets get on with seeing Australia. The next day we rented a car and I allowed her to drive as the steering wheel was on the wrong side for me. We stopped at her apt. for some clothes and then off we went.  She did know her way around Perth and all the trendy places to go and eat and drink. The beaches were Beautiful, White with plenty of Surfers and Swimmers, Food was different but good and I opted for Coke rather than Beer for meals. The Swan River is a wide River that runs thru Perth and plenty of places to rent a boat and see the city from the river. There’s a Desert outside of Perth about a hours drive from the city, full of different rock formations, colored sands.  The city is full of parks, gardens and lots of Nightlife. My time in Perth Australia went fast and before you know-it, it was time to head back to the War.


It was hard coming back to Vietnam after being in Hong Kong and I was already planning my next R&R.  I had 5 months to go before I finish my tour and had enough time remaining to go some place else. Perth Australia had become available for an R&R destination and that sounded great. So I started to save my money.

Danang had grown from a run down city to a Military metropolis with most of the building being done West of the Air Base. There were paved roads, Electric power plants,PX’s Movie Theaters and all kinds of Military Buildings of which supported our existence over there. A waste of money I always thought and we were aware that things weren’t going that well out in the Battle fields. Our Planning and Estimating Division was more or less becoming a Logistics Division for Material being shipped in to Danang. We were still on a 24/7 schedule but there was a lot of free time and at times daily jobs were boring. The Naval Support Activity Base in Danang was huge Navy Base that brought along with it Military Control. Gone were the fun times between enlisted men and Officers. I was glad I was leaving soon, but first I had to do some recording of my tour here. I purchased a Camera from the new PX they had built and started to photograph places around Danang. Up till now all I had was a 8mm Movie camera that I used in around the city of Danang and took with me to Hong Kong. It was a good Camera but obtaining 8mm film was hard and even harder to get it developed. I use to send my Mom extra money and have her ship me several rolls of film and I would in turn send them back for her to have developed. I never saw what I had taken movies of till I got home from the Service.

Lt. Commander Jack Malera  and I have been over here since the start and even though I respected his Rank, we would some times just sit and talk about everything that was going on.  Several times he would stop by where my desk was and invite me to go for a ride with him in his assigned Navy 1962 Dodge pick-up Truck. We’ed go out to one of the Dams we designed or out to Red Beach and park and look out over the South China Sea.  Lt. did not want to be here, he joined the navy as an Officer, did his thing at Annapolis MY and expected to be in some stateside base along with his Wife and two Kids. He had one more year in his tour over here after I left and was deciding weather to stay in the Navy or go back to Civilian Life. I often think what he decided to do and where he is now. Most of the Officers that first came over in the beginning did not want to be there. The start of the Vietnam Conflict started so fast that Line Officers were taken from their soft plush jobs stateside and thrusted into the Vietnam scene, leaving behind their Navy Officer life and social drama. It was truly a war being run by the White House, The Republicans and the Sec. of State Mcnamara.

One day out of shear bordom I decided to borrow the Division truck and drive down and visit with Tom outside of Danang just to have something to do.  The crew Tom was working with were forming a cement wall over a drainage ditch down by the Danang River. When I arrived Tom called a break and we all sat down by this sandbag emplacement for a smoke and some water. We were there about half an hour when small arms fire started hitting the emplacement we were sitting on. we all rolled over the sandbags and got behind them. Some Marines down from started to return fire and as fast as it began, it was over. Tom stood up and asked if every one was ok?  One Seabee got hit in his shoulder. I said I was OK and then Tom said “Your Bleeding” I said I fell against the metal rods sticking up from the ground behind the sandbags. He said I should go see the Marine Medic down the road. We said our goodbys and I took off to see the medic. I placed some old rags from inside the truck on the seat so I wouldn’t get blood on the seat. When I arrived at the medic, he told me to drop my pants and began to look at my wound. He gave me a shot of something and began to dig around on the side of my Butt, he pulled out a small Russian caliber bullet and handed it to me. Two stitches and I was patched up with a bandage and he said “You’re good to go”. Stop in at the Hospital on China Beach and tell them what happened. They’ll probably want to take a look at that wound too. When I got to the Hospital and checked in at the desk, the officer looked at me and said “You look pretty good for just being shot, follow me. Well the nurse re-cleaned my wound, gave me some salve to apply, took down my information and basically said “Have a good day”.  When I got back to the Division, nobody believed me that I got shot. I showed them my copy of the report, even my best friend Lt. Malera said it probably was self inflicted. I received the Purple Heart 6 months later as I was being separated from the Navy at Great Lakes Naval Training Center.

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