The Grocery Checkout Lady Made Me Cry

A Moment At The Grocery Checkout Brings Tears

Today was a very emotional day from the moment I woke up. Lately I have been reflecting on my life….that happens more and more as I get older.

March 14 is an anniversary of a tragic moment in my life that happened 43 years ago when I was in college. I’m not getting into that since it’s not the reason for this blog and I really don’t want this to be a bummer and sad blog.

The reason I’m writing is to share about a person (my adopted mother) that had an incredible impact on my life. I was adopted at the age of fourteen and will be forever grateful to have had her in my life. If you’ve read my other blogs you will know what I mean.  Today at the grocery store my checkout lady looked and acted just like my mother and I started to cry. I miss her so much and miss talking to her. We lost my mother to cancer and not a day goes by that I don’t think about her.

When we are young we take are parents for granted. I want to include an article that was written about my adopted parents. This will show what awesome people they were and how they helped people.

Volume 32, Number 8
August 2002
Gasts honored for volunteerism

With over 25 years of dedicated service, it is no wonder Bob and Marge Gast from Warsaw, Ind., have been named the Territorial Volunteer Family. What they have done to serve others through The Salvation Army could fill volumes, but here’s a glance.

Marge is a past advisory board member and a long-standing women’s auxiliary member. Both she and her husband work tirelessly on fundraising projects, including the auxiliary’s annual fruit and nut sale and the soup and pie luncheon. They have been instrumental in starting an auxiliary children’s fashion show and luncheon which raises funds to buy school clothes and shoes for underprivileged children. The Gasts also regularly purchase food and prepare the meal for the youth program on Wednesday nights. During the holidays, they’re on kettle duty, help with the Angel Tree and league of mercy.

They also serve their community by helping with senior center activities, and Bob heads up organization of Mobile Meals delivery through the Rotary Club. While they’re active in their own church, they support special events at the corps and Marge regularly attends the corps’ women’s Bible study.

The Army salutes you, Bob and Marge, for your Christian witness, commitment and service!

 I thank God everyday for bringing this beautiful family into my life. The article didn’t mention that they had 4 children and then adopted three of us…..that’s because they thought of us as their children……not once did we EVER feel different because we were adopted.  The same goes for their 4 biological children. We were brothers and sisters from the day we were adopted. I am a very lucky person! Cherish your family and have a great day!

The Simple Things

The Simple Things Are The Most Memorable Memories On Vacation

My daughter Kristina is on the right and her best friend Holly.

For some reason the other day a memory came to mind of a vacation I had taken with my daughter Kristina and her friend Holly. The memory is nothing big,  but a funny moment that we  remember and laugh about.

So here it is….We were driving to Florida and I had been driving all night while she and her friend slept.  They had insisted that we drive straight through.  It was about 6:00 am and I decided to pull over and just take a quick nap.  They would never know I stopped… they were sleeping.  I pulled over at a rest stop and I had just fallen asleep.  So who decides to wake up?  Her friend Holly who had the funniest look as if saying ‘What the hell are you doing?’  I know that this memory isn’t funny perhaps to you…but every time we talk about a trip we remember that for some odd reason. (It’s one of those …you had to be there moments)

Kristina and Holly have been best friends since grade school.  We have gone on many trips, and have spent the night at each others house many many times.  I have been very fortunate to have spent many great times and created many great and funny memories. Many years have past and they are grown women now….It all went so fast and will cherish the time when they were young.

My point to this is that we need to enjoy every moment and appreciate them.  It seems to me that whenever I reminisce about something… is always about the journey in getting there and not the destination as much.  It’s the Simple Things!

Don’t be in such a rush….. as they say take time and smell the roses.

If you have a memory to share I would love to hear it… would others….

Jaden Hayes Wish To Make People Smile

Jaden Hayes at the early age of 6 lost both of his parents at a young age and was tired of everyone being sad . What he sets out to do is amazing!  Watch the video and you can’t help smile…..perhaps a tear…


How Did I Get To The Back Nine So Soon?

 Wondering…….How Did I Get To The Back Nine So Soon? life

The following is an email I received from a friend and it has a strong message. It completely articulates my feelings exactly.  I couldn’t have said any better.

Thanks Tom!

You know … Time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all. I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams.

But, here it is… The back nine of my life and it catches me by surprise…How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my youth go?

I remember well seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that I was only on the first hole and the back nine was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.

But, here it is…my friends are retired and getting gray…they move slower and I see an older person now. Some are in better and some worse shape than me…but, I see the great change…Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant…but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we’d become.

Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore… it’s mandatory! Cause if I don’t on my own free will… I just fall asleep where I sit!

And so…now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!! But, at least I know, that though I’m on the back nine, and I’m not sure how long it will last…this I know, that when it’s over on this earth…it’s over. A new adventure will begin! Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn’t done…things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I’m happy to have done. It’s all in a lifetime.

So, if you’re not on the back nine yet…let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it quickly! Don’t put things off too long!! Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether you’re on the back nine or not!

You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life…so, live for today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember…and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!!

“Life” is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one.


Remember “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.


How My Father Has Been My Inspiration

How My Father Has Been My Inspiration  dad

Where to begin in how my father has been my inspiration. I owe everything to him and my mother.  That is an understatement! Could it be that….

  • he was a foster parent to me and three of my siblings with four of his biological children
  • he was a role model to his family
  • he served the community in many ways
  • he served his country and was a Hero
  • he loved us unconditionally
  • he worked long hours to provide for us
  • he loved my mother
  • he put us through college
  • he always let me know how proud he was of us
  • he took care of my mother when she was terminally ill
  • he visited me often in college to take me to lunch
  • he always brought us gifts when he had to be out of town for work
  • he adopted me as a teenager
  • he talked me into staying in college after I wanted to quit
  • he gave me a beautiful life!

How my father has been my inspiration is hard to put into words. I was one of the lucky ones that was able to be taken in to a home filled with love.  I have so many great memories and owe him so much for all he does.  Thank you Dad!  Happy Father’s Day!  I Love You!

Things I Regret Taking For Granted When I Was Younger

My birthday is in a few days and I find myself looking back at my life. There were so many Things I Regret Taking For Granted When I Was Younger.  Perhaps someone reading this blog will take away a valuable lesson from it.

I have always loved the Beatles and felt the song ‘Blackbird’ fit well with what I was feeling as I wrote.


Things I Regret Taking For Granted When I Was Younger

When reflecting back on what I wanted to share a few of the Things I Regret Taking For Granted When I Was Younger   They were my moms.  I was fortunate to have two mothers.  I lost my biological mom in a car accident at the age of 14 and never really told her how much I loved her.  One of the last things she probably remembered was that I did not spend her birthday with her.  I preferred to be with the family that eventually adopted me, because I did not want to go back to the inner city where we lived. I was a selfish little girl.   I regret not telling her I loved her and spending time with her when I had the chance.

Another major regret is when a few years ago my adopted mother was dying of cancer I did not stay by her side and comfort her more.  I wished that when she was alive I had thanked her for taking me in and giving me a wonderful life. I always felt loved and took her love for granted.  If I wasn’t able to visit she was always understanding and would say “You have your family and I know you’re busy honey”.  I miss her calling me honey.  I miss calling her for advise.  I miss her hugs. I miss her smile. I miss her so much it hurts!

I have been emotional more than usual and wanted to share and speak to my moms.  Even though they are not physically here…..I know they are in spirit.  I feel their presence every time I see something they loved.  I love you both and miss you!

The Documentary ‘Present Perfect’ Growing Up And Growing Old

Present Perfect explores the very real experience of aging in America- both growing up, and growing old. It was filmed in a preschool housed completely within a retirement home, powerfully capturing the subtleties and complexities of the young children’s interactions with the elderly residents, while challenging us to consider what we’re doing- and what we’re not- to prepare future generations for what’s to come.  What value does a person have to others throughout their life?  Are we asking for the right contributions from each other?  How do we measure and define a successful life?  While this film doesn’t shy away from confronting some difficult realities, it is ultimately a life-affirming story of hope and human connection.

The Documentary ‘Present Perfect’ Growing Up And Growing Old

I was so inspired watching The Documentary ‘Present Perfect’ Growing Up And Growing Old. 

Please help to support my clicking the link:  Kickstarter

Erie Neighborhood House And Evelyn Lyman My Angel

Erie Neighborhood HouseErie Neighborhood House And Evelyn Lyman My Angel

Recently I was thinking about all the events that have happened in my life.  I thought of Erie Neighborhood House And Evelyn Lyman My Angel.  

I remember as a youth living with my biological mother and seven siblings in Chicago, Illinois. We would visit Erie Neighborhood House for all types of help and activities that were offered there.  It was  anything as getting food, clothing, tutoring lessons, attending church, receiving Christmas gifts, selling cookies to be able to go on  a vacation in Michigan, lessons in ballet and piano to visiting families in other states that helped under privileged children.

The person I remember that gave so much to all who visited was Evelyn Lyman.  She dedicated her life to helping people in the neighborhood.  I was nine years old when she introduced us to the family in Warsaw, Indiana. Evelyn Lyman wanted children to see that there was a better way of life and in turn, the families that cared for the children also learned valuable lessons.

Evelyn dedicated every single moment to help families. She brought children into her own home.  She NEVER clocked out.  She is one of the most amazing women I had the pleasure of having in my life  If it wouldn’t have been for her my life would have been so different.

She arranged many children to visit many homes throughout different states. I had the pleasure of visiting several different families in South Dakota and Indiana. I would not have been able to see what life was like outside of my inner city home in Chicago, Illinois. That’s why Erie Neighborhood House And Evelyn Lyman My Angel means so much to me.

Eventually I started visiting the family in Warsaw, Indiana every vacation break we had.  Easter, Thanksgiving and the entire summer.  I did that for several years and the summer of my 13th birthday they ask my biological mother if I could attend school in Warsaw.  Reluctantly she said ‘yes’.  I was the oldest and helped a lot at home.  My mother realized that this would be a better way of life for me, so she put her needs aside for me.  I was a teenager and of course didn’t realize what a great sacrifice that was. Needless to say that it must have hurt her deeply that I was so happy to go.

Evelyn Lyman would visit and make sure everything was working out.  Since I was from the inner city and struggling in school my foster parents would be easy on me.  Evelyn would tell them to treat me as one of their own and not use that as an excuse.  As soon as that happened my grades went up.  That goes to show us that children rise to your expectations.

The next summer my foster mother asked if I wanted to go visit my mother for her birthday.  I didn’t want to go because I thought I might not be able to come back.  I said I’d go later that summer.  The very next week two days before my fourteenth birthday she was killed in a car accident.  I have always felt so guilty that I had not gone to see her.  I was so selfish!

All because of Erie Neighborhood House And Evelyn Lyman My Angel

Since we didn’t have a father in the home Evelyn made sure we were all put in loving homes.  My foster parents took three of us girls and the rest of the siblings went to other homes in the area.  My foster parents already had four children and did not hesitate.  We were all adopted and all have college degrees.

I am so ashamed to say that after I was adopted I lost touch with Erie Neighborhood House And Evelyn Lyman My Angel.  I was so selfish and involved with my own life and would give anything to hug her and thank her for her selflessness.  I guess I wanted to forget that part of my life.

I’m writing this blog to give thanks to a woman that meant the world and made a difference to so many people. So Evelyn, I’m sorry and thank you with all my heart! God Blessed so many families with you!

Robert W. Gast One Of First To Reach Seigfried Line

This article was written about my father in 2004 in the Warsaw Times Union in Warsaw, Indiana.  I was adopted in 1968 and I never knew about his story and how he was awarded the ‘Silver Star’.  I found this article several years ago by accident.  He never spoke about the war and is a very humble man.  The best father and loving human being.  I never want to forget what he did for our country.  Especially what we did for me as a loving and caring father. A tribute to my hero on Veteran’s Day! 


Seigfried LineRobert W. Gast One Of First To Reach Seigfried Line

~By November 1943, as a desperate Adolf Hitler launched the Ardennes Offensive against the oncoming Allies, 21-year-old Army 2nd Lt. Bob Gast of Warsaw had endured two months of combat.

Surviving in foxholes, constantly wet, existing on K rations and ducking the German Army’s ruthless soldiers and artillery, Gast was present during one of the bloodiest land battles fought in World War II prior to the Battle of the Bulge.

By August 1943, the German Army had lost 3,360,000 men who were either killed, wounded or missing. One month later, the Allies had pushed into France, Belgium and Luxembourg and rolled toward the Seigfried Line on the highly defended German border.

The HŸertgen territory was a rolling forested area southeast of Aachen, Germany, cut with deep gorges, steep hills and icy streams. the Germans still held the area in fall 1943, installing mines, bunkers and artillery positions throughout the 20-mile-long woods.

Gast, a fledgling second lieutenant with the Army’s Fourth Infantry Division (12th Infantry Regiment, Co. B, 2nd Rifle Platoon), arrived at the Seigfried Line in mid-September.

As soon as the platoon arrived, he took one of the first U.S. patrols into enemy territory.

Gast, a 1940 Warsaw High School graduate, was enrolled in the enlisted reserve corps as a result of being in the ROTC program at Indiana University. In May 1943, he was called to active duty, having just completed his junior year in college.

That summer through April 1944 he completed training at various Infantry Replacement Centers and attended Officers Candidate School, receiving overseas orders as a second lieutenant. He arrived in England on July 8 and went to France as a replacement officer one week later.

Initially, Gast and his platoon were part of a combat team appointed by Gen. Eisenhower to further the liberation of Paris.

“We entered Paris Aug. 25. We were the first American troops there. The Free French had it pretty well under control.”

He and his men went into a part of Paris that hadn’t been entered by U.S. troops.

“I was riding in a jeep and most of my platoon was in a 2-1/2 ton truck, in a personnel carrier. As we got into the area, the windows were all boarded up. All of a sudden word got out that American troops were coming into this part of their city.

“And people just came from everywhere. Hundreds, just hundreds of them surrounded our vehicles and cheered. It was really something. They even brought their babies out for me to kiss. Here I was a second lieutenant.”

With Paris freed from German occupation, the platoon was ordered out three days later. They went on foot, like infantrymen do, hitching rides on trucks and tanks as they could, all the way to Germany.

Around the 15th or 16th of September, they arrived at the Seigfried Line to relieve the beleaguered 28th Division.

Gast took one of the first U.S. patrols into the Seigfried Line, into Germany.

“We suffered quite a few casualties, of course,” Gast said in an understated way.

“The 28th Infantry Division were being decimated by the Germans in the HŸertgen Forest,” he said. “They moved the 12th Infantry Regiment on Nov. 6 into that section to relieve the 28th.

“My platoon was at full strength.” Gast said, hesitating, and beginning again. “In 14 days É I don’t know how to explain it.”

The HŸertgen Forest was populated by 100-foot-tall pines. German artillery launched “88” shells shrieking into the treetops. The giant conifers exploded into thousands of deadly splinters and shrapnel.

“If I could hear it coming, and wasn’t in a hole, I would lean up against a trunk, they were that big around,” he said, holding his hands two feet apart. “The tree bursts are what killed so many people. There were dead bodies everywhere.

“The battle of HŸertgen Forest was really bad, worse than the battle for the Seigfried Line. The casualties were so bad they really couldn’t get replacements up to us.

“In two weeks I’d lost my whole platoon. At one point there were only two line officers left in our battalion. Our battalion was down to zilch.”

Gast and Company B pulled back and dug in.

“You had to be in a hole, always had to be dug in. You dug a hole every night, sometimes three or four a day. And you had to try to put something over the top of you because of the tree bursts.”

Gast was dug in with three or four enlisted men when a runner approached his position.

Messages were sent to and from headquarters by runners because the issue walkie-talkies were inefficient. Gast always had a runner by his side.

This particular runner carried orders for Gast to round up as many troops as he could and come to the aid of two companies surrounded by Germans. He found 50 men, 50 men remaining from three companies, and took off. The squad cleared a path to the others.

Gast was wounded during the charge. He was hit in the right arm by a German Lancer armed with a “burp” gun. The automatic weapons were so named because of the sound they made firing 750 rounds per minute – b-r-r-r-p.

Among his injuries were two broken bones near his right wrist. His carbine was blown to bits and he came away from the encounter with a couple holes in his gas mask.

“I was pretty lucky because the guy who shot me was about 15 feet away.”

In short order the rescuers discovered they were trapped, too.

At around 4 a.m., about 14 wounded, Gast among them, began to move out. They went single file, retracing their path in. The GIs walked straight into a German patrol “and all heck broke out.”

Instead of running, Gast tucked himself into heavy brush. He could hear the Germans walking around. When it quieted down, he ran back to where he came from.

The battalion did go out that way again, single file. During their flight there were two more casualties. Somebody stepped on a mine. From there, he went to an aid station, was put on a jeep with four other guys and was sent to a hospital filled with wounded soldiers in LiŽge, Belgium.

One ward housed men with “trench foot,” a rotting condition caused by constant moisture on the skin. The men there would be removed to France or England for more aggressive treatment, Gast learned.

“Trench foot was one of the worst casualties of the war,” he said. “Your feet were wet all the time. You never got any dry socks. You never got any dry clothes. I saw guys whose feet were black. A doctor told me they would have to have their feet amputated. A lot of people don’t know that. It was one of the worst problems. Our division had 3,400 casualties. I don’t know how many were killed or how many were wounded.”

It took 10 days to reach another hospital in Normandy, where he stayed for a month. He was the flown to England until he was discharged Jan. 30, 1945, and rejoined the 4th’s 12th Infantry regiment, this time with the 3rd Battalion. He stayed with that battalion until the end of the war.

Gast tells of days when U.S. aircraft filled the skies.

One time his battalion was strafed by a German jet, the first he had ever seen. He said the German air force was not a factor, though. It was the superiority of their tanks and soldiers that made the Germans such a threat.

His battalion returned to North Carolina to train for battle in the Pacific. While home on leave, the war with Japan ended.

Gast stayed in the reserves as a first lieutenant for eight years “until the Korean War came along. I chickened out and resigned my commission.

“It wasn’t all bad. There were funny, silly things that happened.”

When he went overseas, his footlocker and duffel bag held every item of clothing he owned. His contingent of 20 men, and their gear, were separated from the main group. By the time they reached the main battalion, the footlocker was gone.

“After I was discharged and at home, that footlocker came to me in the mail. It was completely empty except for a note that said, ‘Nothing has been removed.’”

Another mystery remains from Gast’s active service.

He was awarded the Silver Star – a medal given “for gallantry in action against an opposing armed force” – and his recommendation is unsigned. To this day, he does not know who recommended him.

Gast and his wife, Marge, were married in December 1946. The couple have seven children. After the war, he joined his father, uncle and brother in the Gast Construction Co., retiring from Gast Fuel and Service. He also served on the Warsaw City Council.

He marked his 94th birthday March 28, 2015.