Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Story of A Life

Have you ever sat in a CVS Pharmacy and sobbed?  Up until today, I had not either.   But listen..... you would have been right there with me!

I have a sore throat.  Had it for the last week.  No fever, no  congestion, no nothing, but some overly large tonsils.  With tonsils, you get either bacterial or viral tonsillitis.  With bacterial they give you antibiotics and with viral they don't because the medications will not work on viral stuff.

So if you are not in too much distress, wait it out.  After a week and two days, I got tired of being cautious when I ate, choosing soft foods that would not scratch on the way down..  So the doc gave me a prescription just because.  Of course the insurance for some reason decided that I didn't need it.  I spent the last two days  between the pharmacy and the insurance people totally exasperated just trying to get my prescription.  Well I won, and went to the drug store to pick it up after lunch.

I met this gentleman that made all this frustration totally worth what I went through so I could be at the same place he was today.  He was an amazing person and his story overwhelming.

He said that even Hollywood would not believe it.  He may have been right, but I would like to see them try to make it as moving as he told it to me.

His father was born in Germany, his mother in France.  They came to America and met and married.  He was accepted into medical school when he was 16.  They did that in those days.  He  was fluent in both French and German and of course American.

As World War II continued in Europe, and America opened its eyes and joined in, he had a deferment because of medical school.  But at some point the government cancelled all deferments and he was drafted and he left his childhood sweetheart to fight.  He served in General Patton's 3rd Army Command.  It was during this time he met a beautiful blonde German girl who brought eggs and pastries to the American men.  He, like all the men, was enamored by her. 

The war raged on and then came time to return to medical school and his love.  They married.  He found after being in the horrors of war, he had seen too much blood and death and he no longer wanted to have a life in it.  So he applied to engineering school.  After graduation he was hired by Kaiser and spent his career and marriage having children in the beautiful cities of Europe --  Paris, London, Stuttgart, Amsterdam, Moscow and into the capitals of Africa-- Cairo, Johannesburg, Kampala, Nairobi.  He retired and  they all moved to Baton Rouge.  There used to be a large Kaiser plant here, 30 years ago. 

But in Stuttgart he ran into the beautiful blonde German girl from the war.  He knew her instantly.  Paul and his wife socialized with Freda and her beaus all over Europe.  They were all good friends, but only good friends.  He knew he could not have taken it further; he was after all, just a man.

He retired and brought his family home to the US and the settled in Baton Rouge.  There used to be a huge Kaiser plant here 30 years ago.  The children married, had families of their own and had  grandchildren even.

There was never a day, he says, that the beautiful blonde German girl didn't walk across his mind.  He is quick to add, he was never unfaithful to his wife.  Ever.  

His wife had been diagnosed with lupus 20 years ago.  A the disease progressed she lost function in both of her kidneys and eventually her eyes.  He would carry her in his arms to dialysis, and carry her back to the car and in the house.   He sat with her and read her books from the greats of literature. He would gently put grandchildren, then great grandchildren into the bed next to her.   Three years ago she lost the will to fight. His wife of 64 years whispered to him, I am dying.  I want to go to hospice.

He took her. 

He sat with her for a week, holding her hand and reading to her so she could hear his voice.  then she  tells him, I will be gone in two days.  We need to talk.

She says, you are young and healthy still.  You must promise me to remarry.

Astounded, he says, but I am 90 years old.  Who would I marry?

Rita, she says.  You must find Rita again.  He is speechless.  How could she have know, he wonders.  But she knew.  She told him that every day he stayed with her, it was a gift to her.  And she knew the depth of his love for her.  But now he must go find the beautiful blonde German girl.

A month later, his sister called him to say that Rita was flying into the Baton Rouge Airport.  Did he want to pick her up or should she send a grandson.  Oh, he was shocked, but he was there when her plane landed at 9 PM. 

He told me that was the only he has ever lied to a woman.  He told her that the headlights on his car were not working well enough to drive to Mandeville to his sisters home.  They would have to stay in a hotel!  And they did1

Rita still lives in Germany, Paul in Baton Rouge.  They meet four times a year for 6 weeks.  They travel, they live and they love. 

It was such a joy to meet this man today.

Have you ever sat there in CVS Pharmacy and sobbed?  I spent half the time wiping tears from my eyes and the other half amazed at his words.  He really does need to tell his story to Hollywood.  It would not have fast action, wild effects or scary monsters devouring the earth.  But it would be the amazing story of one man's love, two women's love and the world of their lives.


  1. Wow, what a story. It reminds me of the movie, 'Same Time, Next Year' but better!

  2. (Sigh) that is beautiful - what a precious man - thank you for sharing . They don't make men like that anymore

  3. Thank you for sharing his story -- hope you feel better soon!!!!


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