Mary Norman says it is the unknown that bothers her the most right now.
She’ll be 72 in May and she and her husband John, 79, are like so many senior citizens today. The coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the country has them worried and shut inside their homes.
Mary talks about the many big news events that have unfolded during her lifetime — The Kennedy and King assassinations, the Challenger explosion, the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11 — but remarks, “I have never seen or imagined anything like this.”
It has given her a lot of time to think.
She and John have been through so much.
Cancer has been the devil that’s tested them throughout their life. It has claimed two of their four children as well as a beloved brother-in-law. John is fighting cancer today.
Mary also has medical issues. She has been using a walker the last 15 years and has had trouble walking a good portion of her life. The worst came when a 16-year-old boy ran a stop sign, slamming into the car in which she was riding.
“It happened just five months after we were married and the day before my birthday,” Mary said. “We were on our way to a garage sale in Cairo. I couldn’t walk for a year and a half after that.”
All those challenges had silver linings, she said, and she believes each challenge carried a special message.
“You learn what is important to you,” Mary said. “And you appreciate, even more, the friendships you have.”
That’s what prompted her to call The Lima News last week. She read an article about the newspaper looking for stories about good neighbors. There were two people she wanted to recognize: Gary Newby, who worked with her husband at Dana, and her own sister, Linda Lindstrom. They often stop by John and Mary’s Shawnee Township home to chat and see how they’re doing. “We enjoy those visits so much,” Mary said.
She finds it’s sad that so many people don’t know their neighbors.
“If there is good to come from this virus, it would be that people need to slow down and think about what they are, or they are not, doing. People need to take their family to church. Sit together in the pew … families sitting beside families just like the old days. Stop and take a moment to rest and enjoy each other.”
The more she spoke, the more passionate she became. She worries about today’s children.
“Why don’t families spend Sundays together? My grandfather was a German Lutheran. He worked very hard, but he never worked on Sunday. Home, family, church … that’s what he was about. People are so concerned with money, money, money that they have lost focus. Parents nowadays get into fights with other parents over their children’s sporting games. It’s supposed to be fun. What are we teaching our children? Walk away and let it go.
“Maybe there wouldn’t be so many divorces if people took time for family. Every child needs a mom and dad to come home to. They need someone to know what they were doing all day. They need parents who will give them guidance.”
For Mary, that guidance comes in reading a chapter of the Bible every day. She’s done that for so many years that she’s read the entire Bible “10, 11 … maybe 12 times,” she said. “I don’t always understand what I’m reading, but each time I pick up something new.”
That is what gets her through every day.
“I am scared about my husband with his cancer. We don’t go anywhere now, I don’t want to take a chance. I don’t want to lose my husband.
“I pray every day that God helps us. I pray every day more than once.”
ROSES AND THORNS: Plenty of feet were waltzing through the rose garden last week.
Rose: Students and their parents can log on to the Ottawa-Glandorf Local Schools’ Facebook page at 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays to watch a staff member read a story to them. Superintendent Don Horstman calls it “a way to keep our Titan family connected.”
Rose: To Jack Bevilockway, Lima. The 78-year-old man hadn’t donated blood for several years. But hearing that the COVID-19 pandemic had caused a shortage of donors, he dialed the Red Cross (1-800-435-7669) to find out when and where he could donate.
Rose: To Jack Hayzlett and his daughter Megan, of Wapakoneta. They have turned the Wapakoneta WaterPark into a display of inflatable characters, hoping the unusual gathering will bring a smile to people as they drive by.
Rose: Teachers at St. Rose Elementary School brought the Easter Bunny with them when they dropped off study materials to the homes of students.
Rose: To Audrey North, a senior at Delphos Jefferson High School, and Mahlon Haunhorst, a sophomore at Delphos St. John’s High School. Each of them wear their school’s mascot uniforms for special events. When The Lima News held a recent contest asking readers to name the area’s top mascot, the two got together, and with the help of their families, recorded a video showing the mascots cooking, cleaning, playing pool and cornhole, and taking a nap.
Rose: A procession of Lima police cruisers drove through the downtown area and past the police station last Monday in honor of K9 Grizz, which died a day earlier at a pet hospital in Fort Wayne. The police dog was paired with officer Aaron Montgomery as a puppy and they had been together six years.
Rose: To Brittany Ransom, a 2005 graduate of Lima Central Catholic. She is one of the mentors on the Disney+ television show “Shop Class.” The show challenges teams of boys and girls, ages 10 to 14, to use wood and metal to construct unique objects. Ransom is working with two 12-year-olds who are building an interactive picnic table.
Rose: Boy Scouts from Troop 777 in Lima created 300 greeting cards for local nursing home residents, hoping to bring a smile to their day.
Thorn: Shortly before 1 a.m. last Sunday, a Lima man gambled that he could plow his car through the flooded standing water under the new Elm Street underpass. So much for his decision-making. He and car had to be rescued by Lima firefighters.
Thorn: Ignoring Ohio’s stay at home order, Raymond Keeton, 20, of Lima was robbed at gunpoint of his cell phone, which he had hoped to sell to the thief.
PARTING SHOT: Millennials will be experiencing a baby boom in nine months, then in 2033, they will be dealing with the quaranteens.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.