Happy Birthday, John – Farewell to a friend

It was going to be my friend John Schaeffer’s birthday on June 21. What was so great about it was that it was going to be John’s 100th birthday. John died on June 5 missing his birthday by 16 days.

John and I had the old-fashioned way of writing letters, instead of using the computer. We would correspond with handwritten letters to each other three or four times throughout the year. One of his last letters was rather depressing because he wrote, “My legs are getting much weaker and my daughter wants me to use my walker, but as you know, I am ’bull-headed’, and want to be on my own as long as I can.” In another letter, “I know there are things I used to do 6 months ago that I can’t do now, or find it difficult to establish. We understand our situation, but I hope we can continue to be able to mention our Beardstown memories and shared experiences. None of my generation of WWII friends, except you, are around anymore. Yet, that is our experience of 70 years ago, but as you mentioned, you did not know that ‘river-rats’ would live so long.”

It was another time that he wrote, “I was so glad to hear from you; my connections in “Whiskerville” are almost Kaput. My generation and yours is limited. Even Time has his own way, and we have to go along with him. I am still trying to remember when we gradually slowed down, both mentally and physically. I just say, “Been there, and done that”. I am fully aware of memories when we were physical and very active. Never entertaining any thoughts of where we are now, and the way it was then. After all, we have had a lot of miles during our lifetime. It is tough at times remembering the way we were once--West End ball games, High School, the war years, raising our families, etc. It was simple like Bing Crosby’s song, “That’s Life”. When Judy and I lived in Virginia before moving to Springfield, I was the Mayor for 12 years. It has been 7 years since Judy died, and I still cannot adjust to that. Regardless to the negative we are still able to function with our memories.” &nbsp;&nbsp;<ahref="http://etypeservices.com/Cass%20County%20Star%20GazetteID497/"><spanstyl... 13px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">To view more, please log in or subscribe to the digital edition.</span></a></p>