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Sunday, September 11, 2022

Friday, August 19, 2022

Lorelei, the Book of Fours

"By the time you read this my precious Lorelei will be gone. Her health has been steadily declining and I did not want to put her through a traumtatic move to Florida. "I am dedicating a coming short story to her. It will take a while to finish. I guarantee tears will be shed."

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Saturday, June 22, 2019

Julie Ann Hammond - Rest In Peace

JULIE ANN HAMMOND (BLANSETT), age 70, of Richmond, Virginia passed away suddenly by accident, on Saturday, April 6, 2019, due to asphyxiation.

Julie was born on October 28, 1948 in Ft. Collins, Colorado to Dorothy (Digby) and George A. Blansett, Jr. She was an only child.

Her family moved to Kansas City, Missouri in 1951. She attended Center School District No. 58, graduating sixth in her class from Center Senior High School in 1966 as a member of the National Honor Society. While attending high school she was the school newspaper (Searchlight) editor. Further honors include MO feature writer of the year in 1965 and 1966, as well as, MO poetry awards in the same years. She enjoyed being part of the musical cast, singing in the choir, 100 Girls Club, Quill & Scroll and Spanish Club.

She married Dale E. Roberts, also from Center Sr. High School, Class of 1966, in 1968. Their daughter, Rebecca Rae was born that same year. They later divorced. He preceded her in death in 2010. Julie later married Murray Richter. They had a son, Jason Murray, born in 1972. Julie met her current husband, Paul Hammond, in 1979. They had a long term relationship and married in 1992.

Julie furthered her education by attending University of Missouri Kansas City, in 1966, majoring in English Literature, Journalism and Spanish. She also attended Pierre Adult Education in Pierre, South Dakota, in 1977, where she studied Shorthand.

She was a Dance Masters Academy Certified Teacher at Flaugh-Lewis Dance School in Kansas City, MO from 1964 to 1970. She instructed tap, ballet, jazz, acrobatics and baton.

Most of her professional career was in the secretarial field. She worked as a clerk typist for the federal government, a transcriptionist for University of Kansas Medical Center in the Radiology Department, and for the Kansas City School District in data processing. However, her favorite job was working as Executive Secretary for the National Historical Society in Pierre, South Dakota. Later activities included freelance writing and forum host on chat room discussions.

Julie was a member of the Bahai' Faith. She frequently blogged and communicated the message of One Planet, One People.

Her younger years were spent growing up in the Santa Fe Hills neighborhood of South Kansas City, Missouri. She moved to South Dakota in 1975. She lived in Tampa, Florida from 1992 to 2002, then on to Richmond, Virginia, where she lived at the time of her death.

Julie enjoyed reading, writing, music and dance. She had a sarcastic wit, sharp mind and kind heart. She loved her children and her pets, and spoiled both incessantly.

She is survived by her husband, Paul Hammond of Richmond, Virginia, daughter, Rebecca Ethridge and husband, Paul Ethridge of Palmer Lake, Colorado and son, Jason Richter, of Mammoth Lake, California. She is also survived by her close cousin, Chuck Digby, of Leawood, Kansas, friend Gladys Pineda, of Richmond, Virginia and many Facebook friends that she communicated with regularly. She leaves behind her beloved doggies, Arnold and Lorelei.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Dorothy W. Blansett (Digby), in 1992 and her father, George A. Blansett, Jr. in 2002.

Graveside services will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. in the Park Cemetery in Carthage, Missouri.

Lunch will follow the service at her favorite Mexican restaurant, El Charros in Carthage, Missouri, immediately following the ceremony.

Please contact her daughter, Rebecca Ethridge, for further information at rebeccarae68@gmail.com.

Thank you to all the people that enriched her life, as I am sure she enriched yours.

"Free thyself from the fetters of this world, and loose thy soul from the prison of self."

- The Hidden Words of Baha'u'lla'h

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Friday, August 19, 2016

A Wounded Heart

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Me and Andy

Originally published November 7, 2011

I know, I know, it should be Andy and I, but as the Andy might have said, “If I wanted to say Paul and I, I would have said Paul and I. I know the rule and I broke it because it suited me, so sue me”. Best practices are to know the rules before breaking them. In this case I do. Mostly I don’t. Last time I diagramed a sentence was in junior high. Now they don’t even have junior high. Now they probably teach texting or even sexting. I’ve done the former, but not the latter.

I’m one of those that still believes phones are for talking and real phones have a cord attached to them. An exciting day for me was when I got my first cordless phone. I took a walk into the backyard and kept talking. What’s more I kept listening. I was actually able to hold a conversation without being attached to the rest of the world.

Cell phones, on the other hand are a different matter. For a long time I considered them a passing fad and an unnecessary luxury. Do you remember that they were originally called “car phones” and were the personal province of stock brokers and lawyers? Probably not. They used to mount on dashboards and were about the size of a home phone, they even had a cord! They were the essence of status. The next installment came with a should strap and was about the size of a WWII walkie-talkie. I’m guessing this was 1980-something and the digital revolution was still picking up steam. The Sony Walkman was cutting edge and joggers everywhere were thrilled. If you still have one, I’ll gladly take it off your hands. I have an anti-skip CD player I’ll trade for it. Deal? No?

OK back to the telephone. It was patented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. There is a apocryphal story of its invention. Bell was in his laboratory when he spilled some acid. In his panic, he shouted into his prototype invention, “Watson, come here! I need you!” And sure enough his assistant in the next room came to his aid. This is probably not true, but I like it. Every great invention should have an apocryphal story. Even Archimedes jumped from his bath tub shouting “Eureka!” when he invented the wheel or one of those ancient Greek things, like algebra or hummus. Thanks to Archimedes, miners now have something to shout when they discover gold.

But I digress, again. What was I talking about? I think it was Andy Rooney , who passed this weekend. It is not my idea of a good Sunday to wake up to the headline, “Andy Is Dead”. There was no mistaking it: it could only be Andy Rooney, a curmudgeon’s curmudgeon and longtime commentator on 60 Minutes. Rooney lampooned the English language and the minutia of daily life like no other. He knew the value of a word misplaced, and he knew that an archaic term spoke to some viewers and perplexed others. Either way he had their attention.

He was a professional complainer and a hero of mine. Once in awhile he would wander too far from the reservation. A commentary on race offended the guardians of political speech, and as the usual suspects raised hell, Rooney saw the writing on the wall. More than one public citizen has had his career torpedoed by repeating publicly what is often said privately. While not retracting his words, he expressed regret. I was disappointed. I wanted him to make a noble stand against political correctness, but Rooney saw the wisdom of bending before breaking and lived to complain another day–many other days.

Andy Rooney had been a fixture on CBS’s 60 Minutes for decades. He could create a story from thin air. Nothing was too mundane. He could talk about paper clips and make it seem funny. I could tell you a few more facts about his landing on Omaha Beach and his first hand accounts of World War II, but they just wouldn’t capture the man. As it turns out, Rooney is a YouTube star. There are scores of Andy Rooney and psuedo-Andy videos online.

So here’s to the memory of Andy Rooney and all the wry smiles he gave me. He is one of my personal heroes, and I feel his loss like some felt the loss of Steve Jobs. We are all the less for it. I’ll remember him each time I whine about matters large and small and hope in some way he will look down and approve.

Andy Rooney died this past Friday at the age of 92. He worked for seven decades as a journalist in print and on television. His last broadcast was October 2nd. He leaves behind four children, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

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