Losing a Dream


As we get older, some of us create a bucket list and embark on completing it, hopefully, before we expire.  Some bucket lists are completed at an early age, but many are not, as I am about to tell you.  This isn’t an article to feel sorry about myself, but to tell you to make a valiant effort to do what is important to you in the earlier part of your life.

I will be 63 shortly, and looking back at my life, though adventurous in its own right, it still lacked that one thought of fulfilling that dream.  The only way I can explain it is go back to the beginning, before I was born.

My great grandmother was Austrian, as far as my mother related it to me.  She traveled from there to Poland and back selling her wares that my mother did not reveal.  I did not know anything about my great grandfather, but the story goes on when my grandmother was born in Vienna, Austria.  She married a Polish soldier and had a daughter, but he died by means, I do not know.  She remarried later to another Polish man and had three daughters and a son, with two sons dying shortly at or after birth.  He was my grandfather.

The oldest girl, of the second marriage was my mother.  The story continues when my mother was about 10 years old in 1940, and they were living in Poland, apparently in a town called Bochnia.  My grandmother and her sister started a butcher shop and later turned it into a restaurant/café operation.  She was an amazing cook because right around the corner was the Gestapo Headquarters and they frequented the place quite often.  It also housed rooms for individuals upstairs.  Some of her recipes are in my blog list.

I won’t go into details about some of the heinous things my young mother had seen and experienced, but the Gestapo did not bother my grandmother because she was an Austrian citizen, even though my mother was born in Bochnia, Poland.

Sometime in the 1940’s the family migrated back to Austria and ended up in Trefling, in a town called, Spittal-an-der-Drau.  Drau is the river adjacent to the town.  Many folks that were there were displaced persons due to the ending of WWII, and not having any home to return to live.  The place was a “Lager” a displaced persons “Camp”.  My grandmother accumulated much money from the restaurant and they were not struggling financially.

My mother was old enough to learn the German language besides her Polish and attended school to be a nurse’s aide.  It was at that time, when my mother got pregnant by my father whom I did not know, but later saw his photograph that my mother kept.  He tried to be a part of my life, but my grandmother was a very hard woman (in today’s terms she was a bitch), and he was scared of her rebukes.  So his continuation of his visits ended.

Trefling had 4 distinct areas at that juncture, English, French, American, and Russian.  We were in the Russian district.  If it weren’t for my grandmother I would have been waiting for Glasnost before I could even think about being in the U.S.  She paid a vegetable truck driver and later in the night he drove the family to the English District and we later entered the American side.

I was born on January 17, 1951, and 10 months later, in October, we arrived in New York City by troop ship.  I was told many had motion sickness crossing the Atlantic, including my mother.  Other immigrants went to Australia, England, Canada, France, Russia, and South America.  I was lucky to be in the states.  A charitable group gathered us and took us to a city named, Meriden, in Connecticut, where I grew up until I turned nineteen and left for the Navy in August of 1970.  It was the Viet Nam Era.

I will skip all the specific details, but I was married twice, with two kids from my first, and two with my second, including her 3 from her first marriage.  Being Austrian, I now felt like the Von Trapp family with seven kids.

And so now I can begin to tell you my dream.  Throughout the years, my finances had been up and down like a yoyo.  It got worse after the divorce of my first wife, though it was amicable.  It has been a constant struggle to pay bills and still have some monies left for extras.  We weren’t in poverty, but we weren’t rich.  In my second marriage, I was terminated after 20 years, due to a hostile takeover.  I worked part time as an engineering testing consultant for USB (Universal Serial Bus) consortium.  It involved all the big boys in the electronics field.

When that ended 6 months later I worked for 2 years as a contracted Engineering Technical Writer.  It was 2002 when I was out of work for 13 months.  By 2003, I lost all my IRA money trying to save my home, and I lost my car after owing only 7 more payments.  It was a terrible year, especially after I had to file for a chapter 7, bankruptcy.

It has been a struggle all these years, and for the last 15 years, we had no vacations.  We have an autistic son who has Asperger’s Syndrome, and my wife is not in the best of health as she just quit delivering newspapers in December after 17 years.  One of the reasons we couldn’t take a vacation.  She delivered 7 days a week and if she got a substitute, it would mean more money out of our normal income.

I grew up playing all kinds of sports, including swimming, diving, gymnastics, and running sometimes up to 10 miles a day.  Yes, I played all those regular sports too, but my main sport was racket ball.  It was in the early stages of the game before it became publicly prevalent.  I even owned a Joe Sobek racket, the man who invented the game.  It is ironic that now I am plagued with physical problems after being so intensely active.

Presently, at my age today, I went on disability from the State of Pennsylvania after working there for 9 years making many friends.  I lived to work, and now I had to give it up in June of 2012.  Last year, 2013, was probably the worst year of my life.  I am also on Social Security Disability.  I am a disabled Viet Nam Era Veteran, and after 3 different hospital stays, I had died twice in the ER, on separate times while I was there.  If it wasn’t for my defibrillator implant, I would have been gone.  I have diabetes, Fibromyalgia Rheumatica, complicated by arthritis and gout.  I am a CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) patient.  But I have lost 70 pounds, by my determination since my first bout in January of 2013.  No magic pills for weight loss, just plain being careful and losing it slowly.  I am on oxygen 24/7 but it is not critical if I do not become strained.

So following all that nonsense, I am usually isolated here in my room every day, writing, emailing, and doing things I can still do before my hands and feet become too crippled to manipulate.

So the question you might ask is, “What does all this have to do with losing a dream?”  I am here to tell you to do the best you can and accomplish it as early in your life as you can.  Do not wait and put it off for retirement.  You do not know when or how things can drastically change and cause you to become cripple or your demise, before that retirement day arrives.  I have known friends who have experienced that fall as I have.

What was my lost dream?  It was to go back to Austria to see where I was born, as I have no memory of it at 10 months old.  I wanted to experience my family’s history when I got there.  It is finality, I wanted, to breathe in, touch, smell, and feel the aura of my family, something I can never mindfully resolve.  I suppose I was too naïve to think that I could achieve it, but I was not ready to deal with all these walls in my life that blocked my every opportunity to do so.

I probably can travel now, but financially, on a fixed income, it will never happen.  Don’t let your work and dedication stop you from your dreams.  Experience it while you are single or married, before you wonder where all those years have gone.



1 Comment

  1. Zizi Garcia said,

    January 14, 2014 at 21:41

    Wow! What an eye opener. That precious dream that we keep putting off, because of one reason or another and after a while, you just stop dreaming. Thank you Emery for waking me up. I will try my best to make my dream happen. I only wish I could make your dream happen too.

    Sent from my iPhone

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