HAPPY STORIES

           As I mentioned on the main page, I seem to have a hang-up about    
       happiness, but I really can't think of anything better to be hung-up on. 
           Through the ages, famous people have had a lot to say about the 
       meaning of life and the purpose of life, and they all say something 
       different. But the list of things they give as the meaning and purpose 
       of life are really just a list of things that make them happy. Of course 
       it's different things that make different people happy, But why can't we 
       just admit that the meaning and purpose of life is to seek happiness? 
           As for me, I finally figured out that every move I make and every 
       word I say is somehow directed toward making me happy.

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       In the good old days, when Helen and I were in our sixties we 
used to go camping in our RV with a group of friends  I remember one 
time in particular. We were gathered around the campfire relaxing and 
enjoying the beautiful evening.  Not much conversation..... so Max 
Pence came up with an idea. He suggested that each of us tell the 
story of when we first realized that the one who later became our life 
long partner cared for us. 
          Max started it off, telling about the time he first realized that 
Glenis cared for him as much as he cared for her. Then each of us in 
the circle told our stories and  what wonderful love stories they were. 
Sometimes very emotional, especially when my Helen told her story. 
After hearing these very personal stories it seemed like our group 
shared a closeness as never before. And what a great gift Max threw 
upon us.  I went to sleep that night with very happy dreams. 
       Thinking about it, I believe it was the happiest time in my life 
when I realized  that Helen loved me as much as I loved her. So now 
I want to share that story with  my friends and family. 
       Here it is.....

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            THE HAPPIEST TIME OF MY LIFE  

         The year was 1945. Still in the army. Just back from overseas. Stationed at  
Camp Pinedale, Fresno. I was 23 years old and had never really had a girlfriend. 
I had always been kind of  bashful around girls. My army buddie, Don Cook, had  
made arrangements for me to meet his girlfriend's 18 year old sister.  
      On meeting her, I was immediately overwhelmed by her exuberance and beauty.  
She was so  cheerful and happy and best of all she seemed to like me. But I knew 
she was very popular  and had several boy friends. (Read the Harry Morehead story 
on the HELEN STORIES page). The next day, Don asked me when I was going to see  
her again  and I told him I didn't know. Well, Don called me a dummy and gave me 
a little lecture about  dating girls, but he set up another date and told me from now on, 
you're on your own. So I  got another chance and I was in heaven. From then on,  
Helen was on my mind constantly. I was  so happy.  
    On the second date I was waiting for her out in front of the telephone company 
where she  worked as an operator. There were girls coming out and I was not sure  
which one was Helen. One girl came out that looked like Helen but she just looked at  
me and didn't say anything. I didn't know what to do but I started following her down  
the street. Then I heard someone yell "Hey George"....Of course it was Helen who  
had just come out and fortunately saw me walking down the street. Wow.... I was so 
relieved. 
       After the third date, something terrible ended it all. I awoke at the army base with  
a  high fever and a pain in my right knee. I knew immediately that it was a reoccurrence  
of  osteomyelitis which had plagued me several times since my high school days. I also 
knew, from  my previous experiences with it, that I would be confined to a hospital for 
many months,  being treated with drugs, before I would be cured. And worst of all, 
I knew that I would  never see Helen again.  
    They put me in a place called the infirmary, to be transferred to the hospital at  
Hammer Field the next day. I had told Don to give Helen the bad news. The pain in my 
leg, together  with the high fever was bad, but the pain in my heart over losing Helen  
was all I could   think about.   It was about six o'clock in the evening and I was just 
lying there in the infirmary,  feeling so bad, when this soldier came to my bed and  
asked if I was Sgt. Streit. He told me  that he worked at the base message center,  
and there was a telephone operator at the Fresno  switchboard who made him promise  
to write and hand deliver a little note to a Sgt. Streit at the base infirmary. He handed  
me the little note and said "Here it is.,,, I had to walk all the way down here from 
headquarters, but I kept my promise".  
    I remembered then that Helen did work for the telephone co. as a switchboard  
operator, and as I read the little note, the tears came to my eyes..... They still do..... 
      That little note changed my life forever, and I have kept it close to me all these  
years.  This is what it read. "Miss you very much. Hope you get well soon. My fingers  
are crossed   for you. With all my love Helen"   
    That was it.....The happiest time of my life..... 
      I think I should mention that on my third date with my Dear Helen, when I said  
goodbye to   her, she told me that I could give her a kiss if I liked. So I did. Then she  
said (and I  remember her exact words) "Do you call that a kiss?"......I explained to 
her that I  had never kissed anyone before. We did not kiss in our family. It was my  
very first Kiss.  Which makes it all the more remarkable that she would stay with me  
for two and a half  months while I was in the hospital. Visiting every day, even tho I  
was such a terrible  kisser. This helps to explain why I loved her so much.  
      Can you blame me?  .... Below is a picture of the little note which I have kept close 
to me all these years,  And a picture of us on our third date. 
 

      Now ...... After reading this story ........ I'm thinking about that soldier who wrote 
the little note and walked all the way from headquarters to keep the promise he made 
to an unknown voice on the telephone. Did he realize the happiness he created ? 
I wonder who he was and where he is today. I wish so much that I could somehow 
thank him.

     This is really getting to be a long story, But I think I should give you the happy  
ending.  When I was still in the hospital and using a wheel chair.  I wheeled myself 
down the hallway to the PX store because I wanted to get my dear Helen a nice gift,  
but instead of a gift, I bought an engagement ring for 150 dollars.  I realized that it  
was a crazy thing to do but I just couldn't help it.  I was dreaming of the time when  
I would eventually give it to her. 

     It didn't take long for that to happen.  It was the second tine I saw her after getting 
out of the hospital. We were sitting downtown on a street bench late at night. I was  
 waiting for the bus to take me back to the army base and she was waiting for the bus  
to take her home and I lust couldn't think of anything but that ring.  I told her that I 
had to get rid of something that was burning a hole in my pocket and I pulled out the 
little box with the ring in it. 

    As she opened it, we both got emotionally chocked up and I didn't know what to do  
but my bus came by and I was forced to leave her sitting alone on the little bench.  
What a dummy I turned out to be.  Her dad said to me later..... "George ..... don't you  
know that you're supposed to ask the fathers permission to marry his daughter?" 
    Two long weeks went by and we were married .........   

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                 WHAT IS HAPPINESS ??? 
        70 years ago, just married, Helen 18, me 23. She was shopping in a Fresno shopping 
mall, and I was just wandering around... A couple guys with a microphone and a movie  
camera came up to me and asked me this question. "What is happiness?".....They were  
evidently making a presentation for a show or movie. 
....Well, I stuttered and stammered around and don't remember what I said, but I  
followed them around to hear what other people were saying. I found out that everybody  
had a different idea of happiness. I heard "Wining the lottery" "Good health", "IN love", 
"Family", "Living in America", "Living a christian life". ect. So I went home and looked it  
up in the dictionary, but found nothing but synonyms. 
...That little experience started me on a life long search. Exactly "What makes a person 
happy".There must be an answer that covers everything.....I've seen unhappy people  
living in ultimate splendor, and happy people living in the worst situations imaginable.  
What is it? How can I have it if I don't know what it is?  
....Over the years, I've thought about it and changed my mind about it a few times but it  
finally came to me loud and clear. Of course I can't speak for everyone, but for me, it's 
just one simple thing ....HAVING A GOOD OPINION  OF MYSELF ....... SELF  ESTEME ! 
 .........Thinking I'm a GOOD person .......So now the question is WHAT MAKES ME THINK  
I'M A GOOD PERSON ?   
.....In order to think I'm a good person, I have to do good things......For  family, friends,  
strangers, animals or any of God's creatures.  Even the little lizard that fell into the pool. 
He was so happy when I fished him out and it made me happy to see him happy. 
That's what happiness is for me and I think that's what makes anyone happy and at 
94 years old, I've thought about it a lot 
......Added recently .....I just reread the first story on this page "The Happiest Time of 
my Life", And now I'm wondering....Did knowing that Helen cared for me make me think 
I'm a good person ?  ..... It sure did.

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         AFTER THE PASSING   Feb.2013 
      My Dear Helen started showing the first signs of dementia in the year 
2004 and progressed as usual with vascular dementia until the end 
on Sept.4,2012. But looking back on that eight year journey, I would  
have to say that there were happy times throughout the whole trip except 
for the last ten days when she was clearly dying. Although as the disease 
progressed, the happy times became more rare, and as they became fewer, 
they became more happy and more meaningful. The slightest smile on her 
face meant the world to me. 
...For Dear Helen's last eight months I had to place her in a local rest home 
(Hillcrest, Woods, in La Verne Calif.) Only a ten minute drive from our 
home. I spent a lot of time there, visiting three and a half hours every 
day, and I became friends with the nurses and staff who were a wonderful, 
caring group. I also became friends with some of the patients (some with 
dementia, and some who were perfectly alert) 
...Now, four and a half months after Dear Helen's passing. It seems like 
I'm afraid to go back there. My daughter still visits and the staff will 
ask her about me. So, two days ago I decided I wasn't going to be a big 
chicken any longer and I gathered up all my courage and went to visit. 
...I brought with me a box of Abazabas and a box of Uno bars, My favorite  
candy. All the staff wanted to give me a hug. They are a great bunch of  
huggers. I went around saying hello to some of the dementia patients. One  
of the ladies cried when she saw me. I also spent a couple hours visiting 
with the alert clients. 
...I came away from there a very happy person and feeling like I had done 
something good in the world, and I realize now that if I don't put myself 
out there, life can be very dull and boring. I now intend to visit there 
often. 
...After years of searching for the all encompassing meaning of HAPPINESS, 
This little experience confirms my belief that it's all about seeing  
happiness in another being. Especially if I had something to do with  
creating that happiness. 
...One more little example. Dear Helen left me with her little twelve year old 
Pomeranian . Ozzy is my constant and only companion, day and night, he's  
always at my side. He loves to go for a ride in our car. Now, there's no 
lapp for him to sit on and he can't see out the window. So I recently used 
my "do it myself" skills to construct a nice raised seat so he could see 
out the window and bark at all the things that need to be barked at. Now 
He's so happy and I'm happy to see him happy. 
...I'm also happy that I have a place to ramble on where someone else may 
possibly read it and be happy. 

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            FROM LONG TIME AGO

                           Probably the 1940's...Still in my twenties 
                          I found this little note buried in an old photo album. 
                          I realize that my thinking has not changed much over the years 

       I believe in reality. That is my religion. I do not believe in magic 
   or miracles or anything proclaimed by others to be holy or sacred. 
      I believe the church has great social value in bringing people together 
   to make the world a better place, however, most religions are based upon    
   some  ancient writings that someone found in a cave and because they 
   were so old, they were deemed to be the holy word of god. And sadly, 
   these  religions conflict with each other causing hatred between the 
   believers of different religions. 
      I believe that the purpose of life is to seek happiness. That's all 
   I've ever done. It's impossible for me to do anything else. Every move I 
   make and every word I speak, is somehow directed toward that goal. 
      I believe that happiness is the result of doing what my conscience 
   tells me is right. My conscience is the voice inside of me, my own personal 
   god. The only god I know. He is my confidant, my adviser, my teacher, my  
   counselor, and  my inspiration.  He has great power over me. 
      When I do right, as he gives me to under-stand what is right, he likes 
   me, and I like myself. That for me, is the greatest gift life has to offer.

  That is what makes me Happy.

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                    MY  92nd  BIRTHDAY 
     I feel like I need to thank everyone for the Happy-Birthday wishes. I really did  
have a happy, happy-birthday although I was not looking forward to it or expecting it  
to be  happy. I was still grieving after loosing my dear Helen. 
     My big sister told all of her family that she did not want any party for her 93rd  
birthday because it was too much for her to handle. She is living alone in a big house  
just like me . I felt the same as she, I didn't want them all pilling in on me. 
     But my son had notified me two months ago that He was coming from Singapore 
for my birthday and was notifying all the family and friends, And since he was making  
such a big deal about it, and some friends coming from far away, I didn't want to 
disappoint him with anything negative, But I still was quite apprehensive and fearful of it. 
     As it turned out, I found out that I still had something to learn, even at 92 years.  
What makes a Happy-Birthday happy is not the cards and gifts and cake and dinning  
and seeing family and old friends. What made it so happy for me, was seeing my old  
friends and loved ones so very HAPPY. Everybody was having such a great time and  
happiness was everywhere, and I just could not keep myself from being HAPPY along  
with them. 
     Actually, it kind of confirms my long time thinking about happiness which I have  
thought and written so much about......

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          HAPPINESS.... and  SAMMY  RANDAZZO 

      From my old school days......1st grade and on up. I remember Sammy Randazzo  
Everybody liked Sammy. He was a little guy.... not very bright but he was always so  
happy and playful and full of mischief, giving the teacher a fit, but bringing a lot of fun  
into the classroom. 
     The teachers would usually send him to the cloak room for his misbehavior. ( The  
cloak room was where we all kept our lunches, sweaters, ect.) One time while confined  
to the cloak room. Sammy went through all the lunches and ate up all the goodies.  
After that, when he was naughty, he would have to stand in the corner and face the wall. 
The girls would love to tease him on the playground, but everything was fun for Sammy  
Randazzo. 
     Now why am I thinking about Sammy Randazzo at this time of my life?......I've met 
others similar to him, but he was the perfect example of someone who never let anything  
stand in the way of his happiness.  
     While going through the sad experience of being a caregiver for my Helen as she went 
through the stages of vascular dementia, I thought that for me, happiness would be  
impossible But maybe not.......What would this be like for Sammy Randazzo? I can't  
imagine Sammy being unhappy. 
     Well.......I read a little story about attitude and It finally came to me.........It's all  
about ATITUDE.............I made friends with caregivers on the internet who had it much  
worse than me.  And I thought about all the poor people in far away countries who  
were suffering and dying for lack of things that I was just taking for granted. And I  
realized that I still had a lot to be thankful for.  So I counted up all the good things I  
had and quit dwelling on the bad. I changed my attitude. I found what I was searching for. 
 HAPPINESS  and thank you Sammy for teaching me this. 
     I found these two little poems that seem to illustrate what attitude can do. 
     The first one was written by Richard Lovelace. He was a political prisoner,  under  
      the worst conditions,  where he wrote many beautiful poems. 
     The second poem is about someone who had everything going for him............ 
  
Stone walls do not a prison make,  
Nor iron bars a cage; 
Minds innocent and quiet take 
That for an hermitage; 
If I have freedom in my love, 
And in my soul am free, 
Angels alone that soar above 
Enjoy such liberty.  
       By Richard Lovelace 1618-1657 
  
Whenever Richard Cory went downtown, 
We people on the pavement looked at him. 
He was a gentleman from sole to crown. 
Clean favored and imperially slim. 
And he was always quietly arrayed. 
And he was always human when he talked, 
But still he fluttered pulses when he said, 
"Good morning," and he glittered when he walked. 
And he was rich - yes richer than a king, 
And admirably schooled in every grace. 
In fine, we thought that he was everything 
To make us wish that we were in his place. 
So on we toiled and waited for the light. 
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread. 
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night, 
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

       By    Richard Arlington Robenson

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MAIN PAGE 

HAPPY STORIES 

HELEN STORIES   

DEMENTIA STORIES 

JUST STORIES 

MORE STORIES 

EVEN MORE 

OTHER STORIES

HILLCREST 1 

HILLCREST 2 

HILLCREST 3 

HILLCREST 4 

HILLCREST 5 

SONGS AUDIO 

THOUGHTS

QUOTES  

MY  VIDEOS 

HELEN SINGS       

PHOTOS 

UNCLE ARTHUR

OLD MAN'S OPINION

INDEX

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               End of page …… Aren't you glad?