HELEN STORIES

 

   These stories are about DEAR HELEN when she was the real HELEN ....(before dementia) 

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                   HELL ON WHEELS

      All of our friends were familiar with the "Yellin Helin" song that
I wrote. , My friend, Larry, told me that once when he phoned me,
Helen answered the phone and he asked her, "Is this Yellin Helen?"
She replied........"Hell no.....This is Hell on Wheels".
      I told Larry that Helen was never given a middle name but she
would sometimes tell people that her middle name was "Wheels".
She was "Helen Wheels Streit" ....truly ..... "Hell on Wheels".

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                  HARRY  MOREHEAD

      The year was 1945, in the army, stationed at Camp Pinedale,
Fresno. My buddy, Don Cook, had a car and he had offered me
and my friend Moe a ride back to the base after we had all been
to the Rainbow Ballroom Saturday night dance. But first, he was
taking his girlfriend Frieda home and as he pulled up in front of
her house we all noticed some activity on the front porch.
       Don just happened to have a spotlight on his car, and he wasted
no time in focusing it on the front porch and we all could see a
couple on the porch bench. The girl was lying on her back with
her head on a solder boy's lap and they were embracing, kissing,
and having a great time. The amazing thing was that even with that
bright spotlight on them, they just kept right on having their
fun. So we dropped Frieda off and went on our way. But these
lovers on the bench never paused in their activity and completely
ignored us and the bright light.
      I later found out that the solder's name was Harry Morehead,
and his girlfriend was Frieda's sister, Helen......Yes, the same
Helen that I later married and spent my life with. I think Harry
was just one of several boyfriends Helen had at that time. I
never met him and only heard his name a couple times, but why do
I remember it after seventy years?  
 If you liked this story, you may like to read a related story on
the HAPPY STORIES page titled  "The happiest time of my life" 

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                  HAIR UP                      

   The year was 1960. I had been a member of the Lions club for
 about six months and the occasion was our annual anniversary
 dinner dance. It was mainly a night for the ladies. Fairly formal
and everybody was dressed nice for the occasion. It was the first
 time Helen had met most of the wives. 
   Helen was wearing her hair up, as she usually did when she got
 dressed up and I thought she looked very nice. After dinner we
 all went into the dance hall where a band was playing and we
 were dancing and socializing. Helen seemed to be getting along
 with everyone very well, especially the men, and I wasn't paying
 much attention to her but she came to me very upset, almost 
crying, and wanted to go home. She told me that two of the wives
 got her aside and thought they should help her blend in with the
 club so she would feel more at ease and be more popular.
   After fifty years, I still remember their names...Berta Morris and 
Helen Colburn.  They suggested to her that she shouldn't try to 
look so sexy by wearing her hair up and wearing such tight 
clothes. They emphasized that they were only trying to help her
 adjust to the conservative nature of the club. 
   Well, with the help of some of the other ladies, We got Helen
 back to her usual self and we enjoyed the rest of the evening, but
 I don't think she ever forgot that little incident, Nor did I........
   Now it's been two years since that anniversary dinner dance 
and the Lions club is having another one. Helen seems to have
 fit in very well in spite of wearing her hair up but strangely,
 Berta Morris and Helen Colburn are not there.
   Berta Morris commited suicide by tying a plastic bag over her
 head and turning the gas on. Her husband Ernie was having an
 affair. Helen Colburn had shot herself in the head with a 45
 caliber. Her husband, Bill, was getting a divorce. It's really sad
 when you think about it. They were the only ladies in the club
 who tried to help Helen adjust by offering her some advise.

 Hair Up 

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                  THE EXECUTIVE DECISION MAKER 

       In a dresser drawer, in the spare bedroom, I found a little
 electronic toy that brought back memories of this event.
      Everybody was having a great time at Tom Brown's birthday
 party. It was like a cocktail party at Tom's house. Helen had
 brought along a little electronic toy called THE EXECUTIVE
 DECISION MAKER. She would ask it a question which could
 be answered yes or no and press a button, and it would beep and
 flash it's lights for a few seconds and then show the answer. The
 answers were like "Never" or "Possibly" or "forget it". It had
 about six different answers. Helen was going around showing
how smart it was and everyone was having a good time laughing
 at the answers it came up with when it answered a question. 
She came up to Louie who was sitting at a little bar with a few
 others.
       Louie was a close family friend. Our families did everything
 together, and although Louie was a super nice guy, and C.E.O,
 of a big company, he had a rather exalted opinion of himself
 however and he would frequently say "The party doesn't start
 till Louie gets there".
       So....naturally Helen had to ask "Is Louie the life of the party?" 
Well, the little toy did it's thing and came up with It's answer.....
 "Never". Of course, Louie's friends at the bar couldn't quit
 laughing, but Louie was furious. He told Helen "If that little thing
is so great, why don't you just shove it up your ass?"....
        Helen said "Pardon me Louie but I don't think I heard that
 quite right. Would you care to repeat it?" So Louie did. loud and
 clear. Then Whack...the sound of someone getting a slap in the
 face. Then, "Would you like to say it again Louie?" So Louie said
it again, loud and clear. Then another big Whack.....Then, "Would
 you like to say it again Louie?" There was a pause, then Louie
 said "I guess not. There's no percentage in this". Then Helen said
 "I'm going to ask it another question".... "Is Louie learning how
 to speak to a lady?"......Answer, "Possibly"........
        So Helen went on having fun with her little toy, and Louie
 went back to his drinking, but he was noticeably very quiet the
 rest of the evening. I need to say that I did not witness this. Other
 friends told me about it.....

             

            To see what this little thing does  ....... Click  HERE

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                  GEORGE  THREW DIRT 

    The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on. 

    The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on. 
     Nor all thy piety and wit, can lure it back to cancel half a lime. 
    Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.........
                from the Rubaiyat by  Omar Khayyam .... Iranian   

         How true.....and how sad.......If I happen to do something
 good and helpful for someone. I may  forget about it overnight.
 But if I happen to do or say something mean or hurtful to
 someone, its in my memory forever.......Cast in stone.
       Helen and I were so happy. Had been married about six months
 and had just moved into our new house. We were both working in
 the yard all day, planting shrubs and flowers. Late in the afternoon 
Helen quit and went into the house and returned all dressed up
 while I was still shirtless, dirty, hot and sweaty. She picked up the
 hose and was watering the plants when just for fun, she playfully
 flipped the water at me, and the shock of the cold water must have
 caused me to flip out, because I immediately reached down and
 grabbed a handful of dirt and threw it at her.
        She dropped the hose and ran crying into the house. I could
 not believe what I had just done. I ran after her, trying to console
 her, but there was no way I could undo the hurt I had caused.  
 Why, after 66 years, do I still remember that incident in great
 detail when other memories seem to fade away.? 
       After a slow decline of eight years with vascular dementia, 
Helen left me and with not much else to do, I've been going
 through a lot of old letters, photos, videos and
family records. Yesterday I found a diary that Helen had faithfully
 kept for the first year of our marriage. It was like reading old love
 letters. She would mostly write several paragraphs, sometimes a
 whole page describing each happy day. But I found one entry
 that was only nine words, which shook me to the core, and
 brought back the pain from long ago.
..........Apr.11,1946..."George threw dirt at me today and I cried"

 

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                       DR.  WOO

      About ten years ago (several years before Helen was diagnosed
 With vascular dementia, My doctor sent me to see a specialist and
 my Dear Helen insisted on going with me. We waited about ten
 minutes for him in his office and when he came in he introduced
himself and shook both of our hands. He happened to be a rather
 small oriental man and the first words that came out of Helen's
 mouth was, "Are you sure you're a doctor? You look like a little
 kid"... Naturally I was embarrassed, but as it turned out, it was no
big deal to Dr. Woo. He just smiled and said "I AM... a little kid,
 a thirty-two year old little kid". Of course that is just a sample
 of early dementia, but why do I remember it word for word after
twelve  years ?

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                 OH MY GOD

     Helen loved to dance, and since I was not very good at it, she
 loved to dance with other guys. I remember one time at a Lions
 club social event when I was dancing with Jean Popma, and
 Helen was having a good time dancing nearby with Jim Else,
I heard Jim exclaim, rather loud, "Oh my God", and Helen was
 laughing. Other dancers also heard it and we all wondered what
 was going on.  Later, I asked Helen,  What that was all about and
 she told me "Oh that was nothing. Jim had his hand on my butt
 so I flexed my muscles for him".
      About 25 years later.......After Dear Helen was diagnosed
 with Vascular Dementia and we were noticing some quite
 uninhibited behavior. She was playing around and dancing
 with her grand-son while he had the video camera set up to
 record the action. I recently came upon the little video of this
 and was amazed at what I saw.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    To see this little video ........  Click  HERE

      I think she had found out about Kegel exercis  by reading 
VanDeVeld's, Ideal Marriage, and must have practiced them
 diligently through the years. So maybe this explains
what Jim experienced.   

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                   HOW ABOUT ME ?    

    This also happened about ten years ago. Every Tuesday evening
 we would meet at Los Jaritos Mexican restaurant with a group of
 friends from our Lions Club for a nice meal and social. We had
 been doing this for years and were good friends with everyone
there. One of the waiters, Aristeo, was his name, was always quite
 friendly with Helen and he would sometimes sing to her. This
 particular night he was singing "Bessame Mucho" to her and 
inserting the word "ajhora" into the song. One of our friends, 
 Richard Gonzales, explained to Helen that the words he was
 singing meant "Give me a big kiss" and that Ajhora meant
 "Right now" .......So Helen said OK and gave Aristeo a nice
 Kiss.... Then Richard said "How about me?"  so she gave
 him a kiss. Then all the guys at our table were  saying
 "How about me?" so she went around the table and
kissed each one. And then that wasn't the end of it. Some
 fellow at a nearby table said "How about me", so of course
 she went over and gave him a kiss. The only guy who didn't
 get a kiss was me.........I forgot to say "How about me?" 
     At that time we all thought that it was just Helen's
 way of having fun, but now as I look back on it, I think it
 was another sign of early dementia.

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                        WICKED  HELEN

One time when we were visiting Helen's sister who lived in Northern
California......Her sister introduced Helen to some friends as....
"This is my wicked sister from L.A"....... Helen then gave us all her
definition of the word.... wicked. "Having as much fun as I can
possibly have ..... But Never .... Ever .... hurting anyone".........

         Take a look ay the "PARTY GIRL" video on the VIDEOS page.

     

  To see this party girl  having fun... click  HERE

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                          ABOUT HELEN 

      On the MAIN PAGE I said that I really couldn't explain why I
 needed to have this website. But after looking it over now, 
There is no doubt in my mind as to why I needed to have it. 
      It's all about my Dear Helen.....Almost all the stories and
 ramblings seem to be about her. I can't quit writing stories about
 her and I guess I was looking for someplace to put them.  .Also I
 notice that I've written quite a lot about myself, and my life with
 her. So now I would like to write a little history of this wonderful
 little Russian girl from Fresno that I fell in love with.
      Her parents, Phlip and Amollia Herzog, came to this country
 from a little town in Russia Named   Kukus ...... a little town 
 along the Volga river where everybody spoke the German language.
 It was during the Russian revolution and  her dad would have to
 hide under the bed when the  revolutionary soldiers came around
 looking for conscripts which they would take away, never to be
 seen again.
        Her parents fled Russia on foot along with many others
 during the winter of 1920-21. Conditions were very harsh and
 many didn't make it. Her parents had three little boys who died
 along the way. They would have been Helen's brothers.
    I remember Helen's dad telling of times when army tanks and
 trucks would run over the refugees who were on foot or with
 donkey carts traveling along icy roads with high snow banks
 on each side of the road making it impossible for anyone to get
 out of their way. 
      They eventually made it to a refugee camp in Germany and
 from there to the United States in the year 1922. They were sent
 to and settled in Fresno Ca. along with other German speaking
 Russians. There they started another family of three little girls. 
The Russian German community in Fresno is quite large, having 
their own schools and churches. Most of them including Helen's
parents  worked in the fruit packing houses. 
    So that's where Helen grew up, along with two sisters, Frieda
 and Ester and some aunts, uncles, and cousins, all from Russia.
 There was never an automobile in the family. Not even a bicycle. 
Everyone rode the bus.  Helen used to love to ride her cousin's
 bike. They had a small house in the German community and
 everything they needed. They were involved in all the church
 and German community activities. Helen made friends
easily and had a lot of them.
      In the summer time a large truck would tour the
 neighborhood early in the morning, and Helen and all the other
 teenage kids would climb on and spend the day picking grapes
 in the vineyards under the hot Fresno sun. Helen hated it and
 used to hide from the foreman under the vines.
    Helen graduated from high school at 17yo and worked as a
 waitress for a few months, then got a job as a switchboard
 operator with the telephone co. Then along came George.
             Here is a photo of us with Helen's Mom and Dad

            

 

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                   HOW  BIG  WERE  THOSE  CHECKS ?  

       When our son Barney was going through his divorce, Helen
 and I went with him to the court proceedings to show our
 support.  His wife's attorney, Mr. Tuckerman,  had found out
 that Barney had set up a checking account in Helen's name.
 He put Helen on the witness stand and asked her, "Now Mrs.
 Streit. How big were those checks you were writing?"   Helen put
 her hands up with her fingers out to show the size and said. 
 "They were about like this"... Well...Everyone had a good laugh,
even the judge, but Tuckerman was furious. He told Helen,
 "Now Mrs. Streit, this is not a comedy show where we try to be
 funny. This is ...." Bang...Bang...Bang...went the judge's gavel,
 and the judge said.  "Mr. Tuckerman......I will not have anyone
 intimidating a witness in my court". 
      So poor Mr. Tuckerman had to rephrase the question and
 Helen told him she never looked at the amount.  She just
 signed her name........  
     Helen was not trying to be funny. She was serious, and I
 think a little frightened after being called as a witness.   .

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                     THE  FUR  COAT

        We were attending a Christmas party and the host was taking
everyone's pictures they came in the front door. Helen was so happy
with her new fur coat.  While we were greeting all our friends,  Bill Gilmore
told her, "OK, Helen, you can take it off now,
everybody's seen it."
      Well,..... after she finished telling him off,  She went into the kitchen
and got a little cup and went around asking everyone to make a
contribution to buy Bill a fur coat because he was so jealous and unhappy
that he didn't have one. She actually collected a little over ten dollars
which she dumped on Bill's lap, telling him she had done her best to
alleviate his misery.  After that, others were kidding and teasing Bill 
about his lack of a fur coat.
 
         
            The host was taking everyone's  photo
             as they arrived at the front door.
 

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                JOYCE'S  TAKE  ON  HELEN   

               Joyce Reeves was a great Lions Club friend who moved
               away. But after ten years, I found her email address and
                sent one to her.  This was her reply.                      
      Hi George ....Joyce here. I want to thank you for the pictures
(so many great memories) and catch up on what's going on in your
 febrile brain these days.  I visited your web page and thought it
 just wonderful.  Your songs are, as always, great fun and I loved
 the pictures of your life progression with Helen. I do think she
 got prettier as the years went on.  You two always seemed like a
 perfect match to me, both a little bit outside the norm, free
 spirited and full of life.  I didn't realize she had passed when
 she did...... So belatedly, please accept my sincere condolences
 on your loss.  She was a pip and could sure fill a room!  I think
 it's grand that you have found this outlet for all your creativity
 and to express your happiness at your interesting life.  Best
 wishes for many more productive years....xoxox

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                        ASHES

        I never did like the thought of putting my Dear Helen's body
 in a box and burying it six feet under the ground.  I wanted to
 spread her ashes up Lytle Creek canyon, which was our favorite
 campsite.
      I also did not want to go through any sad ritual such as a
 funeral, And my family agreed with me, so we had a Celebration
 of Life luncheon in her memory and played back all our happy
movies and photos during the event.
       I placed her ashes on the kitchen sink in front of the big
 corner window where she used to spend so much time looking
 out into the rose garden and the  front yard. She knew
 everything that was happening on our  street.  She had a little
 silver rose bud vase which she kept right there and I try to
 keep a rose in it just like she did.
       As I'm writing this, she's been right there on the kitchen
 sink for almost 4 years and I plan on keeping her there until
 we can both be together again in Lytle  Creek canyon     

                

                             Her box of  ashes on the kitchen sink.       

     I've been here at Hillcrest for 3 years now and I don't know
 what happened to Helen's ashes. She's not in them and I'm not
 going to inquire about them. 

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                      HELEN  GIVES  HELL

                 In the old days, I used to like to carry around a tiny tape
 recorder in my shirt pocket when we went to a party or a
 gathering just to see what it would pick up. I found this little clip
on one of those tapes. The tape was an hour long and mostly
 nothing on it.  I must not have known it was turned on at the
 time. Evidently Helen and I were getting ready to go to some
event, Me in the bedroom getting dressed, and Helen in the
 nearby bathroom putting on make up. This is the real Helen
 at her best.   ......... To hear it , just click the little triangle.

                     

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           HELEN  SAVES  TWO  MARiRIAGES

    I guess it's only natural for a husband to think his wife is the
 greatest. I can't help but think so myself.  Everyone in our Lions
 club, both the guys and the girls, seemed to like Helen and look
 up to her and some of the women seemed to look upon her as a
 big sister and would confide their very personal problems with her.
     I know of two cases that occurred a few years apart, where the
 husband had found a new little sweetheart and decided to leave
 his wife and teen age kids and get a friendly divorce. In both
 cases the husband put on a big show, being very nice and
 accommodating while trying to convince his wife that it would
 be best for both of them. All she had to do was sign some papers.
     In both cases, Helen was very upset and reacted like it was
 happening to her and told her friends in no uncertain terms,
 "Don't sign anything whatsoever". Then she got in touch with
 the husbands while they were at work and I think she acted like
 a marriage councilor to convince them that they were fortunate
 to have such a nice wife and family. But if they still wanted a
divorce they would have to hire an expensive attorney because
 their wives would be getting a good one.
      Of course that was the end of the divorce thing in both
 cases. It's amazing how similar these two cases were. As it
 turned out. Both couples took Helen's advice and got some
 marriage counseling and both would still be married to this
 day except one husband passed away a few years ago. The
 best part of this story is that both of these husbands ended
 up thanking Helen for her intervention

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       MARIA  REMEMBERS  DEAR  HELEN

      In the good old days, Helen and I became attached to a little 
Mexican restaurant named Los Jarritos that Pedro Lopez had
 recently opened. As it grew in size and popularity over the years, 
 we became good friends with the happy family that worked there.
      After Helen started her sad dementia journey I very seldom
 went there anymore but recently .... four years after Dear Helen
 had passed and I had moved into Hillcrest, my daughter took me
 back there and Maria came up to me and gave me a big hug.
     Maria, along with her two sons worked there as a waitress
 from the start, and she was one of Helen's favorites. Maria told
 me of how Helen used to bring her fresh peaches, apricots and
plums that I had grown and how once Helen had insisted on
 celebrating Maria's birthday.
     I well remember the birthday thing as it was Helen at her best.
 She had found out that it was Maria's birthday and insisted that
 we all sing Happy Birthday to her.  Then Helen took off the
string of beads she was wearing and fastened them around 
Maria's neck as a birthday gift.
       Then tears came into Maria's eyes.     

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               DEAR  HELEN'S  OBITUARY 

     Helen Streit came into this world Aug.27,1926 and passed from it Sept.4,2012.
After several years of uncertainty she was diagnosed with vascular dementia in
Feb.2008 and from then on she progressed in the usual manor of that disease.
During these years of downhill progression her friends and family With love and
compassion did what they could to accomodate her mood swings and desires at home,
but on Jan.6,2012, placed her into Hillcrest, Woods nursing home` where she
continued to decline.
     She is survived by her husband of 67 years; three children; Barney Streit,
Terri Streit, and Wendy Weiser; one grandson; Todd Weiser; and a sister, Frieda
Cook; and many nieces and nephews and their families.
     Helen was born to Philip and Mollie Herzog in Fresno, Ca. and graduated from
Fresno Central High School. At 18 yrs. she met and married George, a soldier boy
just back from overseas. It was love at first sight and forever.
     They started life together in Pomona, where George had family and could find
work, and later moved to nearby La Verne. Aside from being a great wife, mother,
grandmother, and all that, she had a special talent for having fun and bringing
fun to others. She loved train traveling and RV camping with friends and family.
She always had a cheerful and lively attitude and will leave a deep void where
her laughter and joy once prevailed.
     A celebration of life lunchen will be held Thursday, Sept.13.-- 12 noon to 3PM
at her family home.-----3917 Williams Ave. La Verne.

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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