The Call from St Luke’s

Fargo Forum, April 1956

Fargo Forum, April 1956

Every now and then there’s a job that needs doing and you just don’t want to do it. You’ve had those. The bedroom needs paint, but there is a big crack in the wall to repair at the same time. If there’s new paint, then the carpet would look a little faded. You know the routine. Just look at the job, turn and walk quickly away. That would not be fun. Today’s letter from Lucy is one of those letters. I just don’t want to read it again, let alone comment on it.

Lucy and Ken were getting over the loss of their first-born daughter, life was getting back to normal. Lucy let herself think it was going to be good.

The events Lucy describes took place when Judy was almost four years old. The family was doing well. The newspaper article to the right describes an up and coming successful business man taking over a business. In an instant just weeks later everything changed.

It’s clear that writing this letter was difficult for Lucy, too. From the letter, it’s not at all obvious what happened to cause a phone call from St. Luke’s hospital in Fargo. It was a traffic accident, all too common in the fifties, caused by a drunk driver. That instant changed Lucy and Judy’s lives.

Cass County Implement, Fargo ND

Grand Opening of Cass County Implement. Ken and Lucy to the left.

An important change was for the two of them to value every minute of life and enjoy everything that came their way. Out of that disaster came two of the happiest people I’ve ever known. They taught me to live every day as if it was the last.

As I read that last sentence it just seems corny. Trite. Doesn’t everyone know that? Nope. Judy and I have tried to get the most out of every minute. If a disaster like the one Lucy describes below ever happens to one of us, there are no regrets. It’s been a good life. Ken’s was good, too. Just a little short.

I still don’t want to paint that bedroom, but I was able to write this post. One activity gives me energy, the other doesn’t.

Lucy writes:

I remember when Judy was four years old. I was at choir practice and Ken was at a board meeting at the church and I told Pastor Keller “I am so happy. Everything is perfect. Ken is starting in a business with Fred Eisenhard selling tractors. I have my daughter. My mom is happy in her little apartment. We are all healthy and my life is so great.” Pastor Keller said “Be happy. Some people live a whole life time and never find happiness.”

A call came from Ken the next month saying “I have to take a little boy this tractor he won as he’s been looking at it and wanting it so badly. I love my girls and would rather be with you. I can’t tell you when I’ll be back. I just have no idea.” I received a call that afternoon to come to St. Luke’s. Ken was gone, such as disaster. every friend we had ever known was at my house the next few days. Mother kept washing coffee cups and I just stayed in the middle of the living room + greeted everyone who came. Alice + Earl were there for me and Norma + Stan were there every day for the next ten days. At the end of ten days Judy cried for me so she came home. I took our clothes off and I showered with her in my arms. Crawled into bed and started our new life together. Mother always there.

Lucy Letter 034

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