Happenings in Christine's World

Short stories of life, thoughts, and feelings

Leave a comment

Honoring the Combined Action Platoon of Vietnam

When my brother left for Vietnam I was only 11 years old, but I remember his time there well.

My brother enlisted in the Marines a few weeks before graduating high school. The following September he left for Parris Island, North Carolina. After graduating from boot camp he went on to Camp Pendleton, San Diego, California. From there he was sent to Vietnam as part of Combined Action Platoon.

I remember my mom having a Vietnam map and every time the news reported where heavy fighting took place she would pull the map out, spread it across the kitchen table and see if my brother was anywhere near.

I remember helping my mom and sister-in-law pack care packages for him filled with sour balls and other non-perishable items. Sometimes he wouldn’t receive the package for weeks because of being out in the field, but when he did he and his Marine brothers appreciated it.

I remember hearing my mom talk about him moving through rice paddies in order to get to the next village to teach the natives how to fight against the Viet Cong. 

In order to honor my brother and the many others who gave service and those who are giving service today I plan to write a piece on the special unit he was a part of.

The Combined Action Platoon was part of one of the longest and bloodiest battle in Vietnam, which took place in the Imperial City of Hue (pronounced “way”). Although my brother was not part of this battle, he is the one who first told me about it.

Recently, the Military Channel did a piece on the Battle of Hue. What an intense battle it must have been. So many Marines lost their lives in the month long battle. The events of that day no doubt reflect much of what the United States military has done in Iraq and currently in Afghanistan. As a country we are very fortunate to have such brave men and women so willingly risk their lives in order to keep their homeland free.

My various articles on the Vietnam will be published by August 31 of this year on Suite 101. Until then, if you are curious about the Battle of Hue and the Combined Action Platoon please checkout the following websites:

Combined Action Platoon

The Battle of Hue



Adversity Makes a Family Stronger

My dad and his great-grandson Zachary

Where does one begin when they want to share about their family? I am so blessed to have the parents, siblings, and sister-in-laws I have. I can’t say it enough. For the past two months, we have been so challenged as a family; first, it was my dad having to have stents put in his leg and then having to have further surgery with his prostrate. Around the time of my dad’s second surgery, we got the news that my sister’s brain tumor returned. We were prepared that it would eventually come back, but not so soon after her final chemo treatment the beginning of May. As a family, after the pause we knew what we had to do, move forward and deal with whatever we’re dealt.

After my dad’s prostrate surgery, he developed great pain in his leg where the stents were implanted. The doc figured there was blockage due to the temporary stop of the Plavix. He was put back on the Plavix immediately,  but was schedule to have the issues causing the pain in his leg corrected. The surgery was scheduled about a month after his prostrate surgery. The surgery to correct the stent issue proved to be more of an issue than planned; the stents were kinked, and therefore required by-pass surgery in his leg.

Now understand, my dad just turned 80 in April and the only time he spent time in a hospital or had any major health issues was when he had cat scratch fever. It’s like as soon as he turned 80 years old, he is given the challenges (health wise) of his life.

My dad has been such a “trooper” and such a role model for his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. We are so blessed to have him as the patriarch of our family.

My sister, yes, I love her dearly and her trials are not without notice to her family and friends. She’s a strong woman and strives to stay positive through all her adversities. She is definitely her father’s daughter and the rest of us can learn a great deal from her. 

So, as a family we have hung together. Yes, we have had our differences and don’t always agree, but the wonderful thing is, we don’t hold grudges and we do have a great sense of humor. You know the saying, “when life gives you lemons, you make lemon aide” or as a friend told me you make Margaritas!! 

To all those who have taken the time to read this I want to say, enjoy those moments you have with the ones most dearest to you ~ you never know when you will end up with lots of lemons!

Leave a comment

Broadway’s Greatest Hits

Last night I had the opportunity to see my niece’s husband, David Bailey, perform in Broadway’s Greatest Hits” at Theatre Harrisburg. The cast consisted of eight people from various backgrounds.

The room, somewhat quaint, was setup cabaret style and with some row seating. Audience members brought wine to sip and snacks could be purchased at the concession area.

The show opened with the full cast performing “Lullaby of Broadway” from 42nd Street, followed by the beautiful song “Memories” from Cats  song by Sally Bowman Keaveney.
The four ladies, Trish Baillie, Sally Bowman, Keaveney, Angela Ruediger, and Cynthia Wells, took center stage and performed “Dancing Queen” from Mama Mia!
 When David took the stage to sing “Ruby, Ruby” from the Broadway hit Smokey Joe’s Cafe he sang directly to Katie, his six year old step-daughter. Katie shyly smiled, her grin reaching from ear to ear with a few giggles. The performance was upbeat and had everyone moving & grooving.
“Point of  No Return” from the The Phantom of the Opera, was beautifully performed by Angela and Michael Zorger. 
When the men, Carl Nieweld, Stuart Landon, David Bailey, and Michael Zorger took the stage to perform, “Keep it Gay”, from The Producers the audience roared with laughter as the men wore boas and a purple hat. Michael did gleeful leaps as David caught him and held him up. It was quite entertaining.
A total of twenty-eight songs were performed. Overall, for a small town local theatre and performers who do theatre because it’s what they like to do, did an excellent job.

Leave a comment

Dad Turned 80 Today

It’s hard to believe that my dad is 80 years old today. I remember when he was in he was 40 and had lots of energy, today it doesn’t take him long to be tired. He can’t do the things he use to do or as fast as he once did.

A few years back he took upon himself to rebuild a 1956 Massey-Harris tractor. He spent long days at my older brother’s farm in the shed putting each piece of the tractor where it needed to go in order for it to run the way its supposed to. Once it was the inner workings were rebuilt, he meticulously washed and repainted each piece. The tractor became his pride and joy.

Rebuilding a tractor or working on my brother’s farm is an escape for dad. As a boy he knew farming, working with this father and brothers in the field and milking cows. So, when he chose farming as a career it was no surprise.

This past Monday I sat with dad in the sunroom in the back of his house listening to his story of growing up on the farm and how he came to own the farm I grew up on with four other siblings.

The stories I’ve learned from both my parents about their life before I existed are priceless and the moments I’ve set with both my parents as they told of their life before kids I will pass down to my children and grandchildren.

Leave a comment

Friends, Love, Loss, & What I Wore

On December 13, 2009, Terri, Kathy and I were to go to New York City to see our former high school classmates Off-Broadway show, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, but a snow storm changed our minds and sadly we had to postpone the trip till February 5, 2010.

Karen standing in front of Westside Theater.
Her hand underlines her name as Director

We met up with Karen around 7 p.m. She took us to a fine French restaurant called Bistro Citron.
It was so delicious. There Karen and I split a bottle of Gigondas ($52 a bottle).

We relaxingly sat and enjoyed our meal and each other’s company. We caught up on the latest happenings in our corner of the world.

On Saturday morning Karen met us at our hotel and we walked over to Central Park. The day was chilly, but not too bad. We walked quite a ways before reaching the Central Park Beachhouse Cafe. The cafe is located by the pond. We had a wonderful brunch and then Karen needed to meet a friend to see a show and to talk to an actress about performing in her show, so we parted ways, but not without making plans to meet later.

While Karen was doing the things she had to do Kathy, Terri, Becky and I visited the American Museum of Natural History, the same place Ben Stiller filmed, Night at the Museum (I love that movie). The three of them toured the butterfly exhibit, while I toured the Silk Road. This exhibit detailed the history of the early silk trading route beginning in the Middle East to China.

We met Karen for dinner at a nice Italian restaurant off 42nd Street and afterwards went to see her show. The show was wonderful. We laughed & cried.

For a late night snack we went to the Cheesecake Factory. The weekend was wonderful and sharing it with friends made it all the more special!

Leave a comment

Winter Blast of 2010

It’s been a long while since we’ve had snow in this corner of Pennsylvania & I am one that fully welcomes it. I remember the days of my youth when snow drifts would occur between the barn and the house. Randy and I would climb on the solid mountain of snow and play of the hill.

There was another time when we had a sledding party and invited neighbors and school friends. We hauled a large oil drum, we called it a burn barrel, out to the field where the party took place. My older brothers built a fire in the barrel to warm us up after we sled down the massive hill.
Mom stayed in the house and made everyone hot chocolate. It’s a winter time memory I cherish.

So come on winter, bring the snow like that of my childhood memories and give my children and grandchildren their own memories of winter.