Family ties run deep, even scattered away from home. My mom Mary was an identical twin. She and Virginia were born in Oklahoma, but grew up in Nevada, Missouri until they were married. Virginia and her husband moved to the Tacoma area right after World War II. My mom and Dad and I, moved out here two years later. My mom and her sister, Virginia were always close. Virginia’s daughter, Lindy was two years younger than I, but only one year different in school.
We were the oldest children in our families. Lindy’s middle brother, Chuck stayed most of one summer with our family at our home and motel in Ponders Corner. He was like the little brother I never had. His brother Bobby, was the youngest brother and the closest to the ages of my two sisters. We were always close. Lindy teaches drama at Wayne State and is looking at leaving Detroit with her husband and moving home. Chuck lives in Arizona. When he visits Tacoma, he has stayed with us a few times.
Once we held a family meeting because my father was having an affair, which broke my mother’s heart. We were looking for solutions to the problem. Chuck spoke up, “I could have him killed.” We declined the offer . . . but we had to think about first.
One family Christmas party featured Chuck as Santa Claus. He had his young daughter Carlea sit on his knee. Chuck, Lindy, and I all kind of look the same: brown hair, brown eyes. Carlea fits the mold. She’s bounced around a bit and now makes Alaska her home. We only recently became Facebook friends when she asked about an article I wrote about my grandmother traveling by covered wagon from Texas to New Mexico with a stop off in Oklahoma.
Carlea Irwin wrote a post on Facebook about helping people. She said, “In Anchorage about a month ago, I noticed an elderly wheelchair bound woman about fifty feet from the crosswalk on 5th. She was making no effort to wheel herself, no doubt exhausted from the effort it took her to get to where she was. 30 . . . maybe 40 people of various ages walked by and around her careful not to make eye contact with her, lest she ask them for help. All I could see was someone’s mother, grandmother, sister, or aunt being actively ignored when she clearly needed a bit of help. I was overloaded with my own shopping bags. I was trying to figure out how I could push her and lug my items at the same time. I approached and asked if she would like help across the street. She broke down in tears and said ‘If it isn’t too much trouble.’ Too much trouble? I thought to myself. Too much trouble? I hung my bags on the handles of her chair and proceeded to push her 8 blocks in the opposite direction of where I was going. We finally arrived at her destination. She was safe.
I just don’t understand when society deemed it acceptable to ignore our elders. Why was I the only person that bothered by this? She said it was a miracle that I came along and even cried as she thanked me. I told her what I had done was no big deal and she was the real miracle. All I did was the right thing. It was nothing miraculous. When did doing nothing become socially acceptable?”
I was moved . . . and proud. I commented on her post: “Carlea, far from being unusual or a good Samaritan, I think you are just one plain good example of how human beings should act. Thank you, for being you.” She responded, “It was simply the right thing to do.”
I agree. My wife Peggy and I have long felt that we should treat friends like family, and be friends with our family. When in doubt . . . just be kind.