There’s Nothing I Can’t Do
I have written and rewritten this. Now I throw that away and type it like it is.
Sad words: It might have been.
Misery: It shouldn’t have happened.
Tear out a heart: I have lost my child.
The Memorial Service for my son, Fred Duane Cheshire, took place on September 30th at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Glendale. If I had not been numbed, I would have considered it a beautiful Service.
Pastor Peter, a friend of Fred’s, spoke loud and clear. He called Fred “a Bridge Builder.” He said: “Fred looked around and saw gaps that needed bridging. . . . computer know-how . . . social activities . . . language skills . . . tutoring . . . cultural togetherness . . . citizenship . . . He brought people together with what interested them and excited them and he shared those passions.”
Dan, as one of his caretakers, gave us stories that came about due to Fred’s needs as a quadriplegic. Fred pushed the envelope and Dan rescued him in ways that sounded funny when told after the disaster was over.
I kept my tears away long enough to tell about Fred’s life growing up: his eagerness to learn about everything including rocks, stamps, chess, science fiction, Spanish and people. He earned his degrees from Phoenix College and A.S.U., married Sue and took to teaching like a duck to water at Royal Palm Jr. High.
To our way of thinking, his death should not have happened. A routine sinus procedure to help him breath better and all appeared to be O.K. Suddenly the paddles were called for. One-two-three-four-five-six-seven and his heart began beating once more. The doctor said it was not a heart attack.
I had been strolling around St. Louis ready to take off on a seven day boat trip on the Cumberland River to Nashville. When I called the hospital to check on the results of his procedure, the nurse said, “If he were my son, I would be on the next plane home.”
When I came in early the next morning, Fred opened his blue eyes and knew I was there. That was the last time I would have communication with my kid. From December 22, 1945, when someone plopped a 5 pound scrawny, red, wrinkled, crying baby in my waiting arms until that fatal date of September 9, 2017 adds up to 26,194 days or 71 years, 8 months, 18 days. I thank you, God, for every hour of that special merry-go-round loving time.
Many people stayed around after the Service to tell me how Fred had impacted their life: Citizenship stories, foreign students with tutoring help, a young woman who had scuba-dived with him, and a lady who had been in Fred’s 8th grade and remembered when he walked, taking giant steps across the room, always eager to reach his goal.
I have much to do now. Messages await. Where we have addresses from the email and the beautiful cards and the signed Guest book, we want to keep in touch. Magaly, his special Magy, and I want to thank the people who have donated to the Scholarship fund.
My second book -- “The Lifes and Loves of MYRT-TY-KY-LY, Dragaan Princess” -- will be published this month on Amazon. I begin to tell Fred’s story when “GranMyrt placed a safety net around the baby heart of Fritz.“ (not a children’s story)
Next: I will begin, “There’s Nothing I Can’t Do, the Biography of Fred Duane Heiny Cheshire.” In the back of my closet I found three golden files with Fred’s early letters, newspaper stories about his accident and even a rough draft of a book started back in 1977. I will be looking for people who participated in Fred’s life and ask for their stories. Don’t be concerned with sentence structure or commas, just write to: MIMAR102@COX.NET.
Top-top priority will be the growth of Fred’s Endowment Scholarship fund at Glendale Community College. We celebrate Fred’s life with that which he loved best -- helping his students over a bump in the road, helping his students when lack of English held them back.
AN ANONYMOUS DONOR WILL MATCH DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR
For every dollar you contribute to Fred’s Scholarship fund, it will be matched until this person has contributed five thousand dollars. In order to have an Endowment fund, where the original donations stay intact and scholarships are awarded with the earned monies, $10,000.00 is required. How long will it take for those who know Fred and/or want to help his students to reach our goal?
Checks may be mailed to:
Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation, 2419 West 14th St., Tempe, AZ 85281
Please indicate Fred’s name and 5629 or . . . . .
https://mcccdf.org/Cheshire for credit card
I will send you a letter or email to give you my thanks.
Thank you for listening to my story. Hugs and blessings, Mariam