As this month comes to a close, the insurance actuaries who keep track of such things will record by my name, 85 years of age, and if I am still here, I will be pleased to join in the celebration on that day.
For that reason and, that reason alone, I am changing the content of this blog to reveal what I had intended from the start. I know for a fact, my opinions will probably disappear by sundown. My life, however, will continue far beyond any grave marker as what I have to offer now was born in the years of my life. This I know, above all, I am obligated to offer thanks for the many who have helped along the way.
Interestingly, the following came to my desk this very morning. The words of an English Quaker by the name of William Littleboy. “It is in the common facts and circumstances of life that God draws near to us. He teaches us in the routines of life’s trifles, gently and unnoticed. His guidance comes to us through the channels of “reason and judgment”. We will realize we have been taught by Him when we least expected it, we have been guided, through His guiding hand rested upon us so lightly that we were unaware of its touch.”
Nothing could have been more fitting than these words as I open the doors of my life to reveal the “routines” of daily living.
For most people living in Detroit, MI, on August 28, 1929, the “news” of the day centered on the flight of the German dirigible, the Graf Zeppelin, as it flew by. In the maternity ward of Henry Ford hospital, however, William and Blanche McRae, were eagerly awaiting the arrival of their daughter, Shirley Lou, named of course in honor of the child star in those days, Shirley Temple. There appeared to be a problem. The baby was not a girl, but a boy, and in those anxious moments for others, I was born. What to do about the name, that was the question. Somehow, some one recalled a banker who lived in St; Clair, MI, where they had met and married, by the name of Sherwood Recor and so it would be Sherwood. Shirley Lou would come later.
Those were happy days for my parents, but then came the stock market “crash” a few weeks later, a harbinger of the hard times that would follow.
“We” would move to Toledo, OH, and then on to Cleveland, actually Lakewood, OH, where - in 1932, their Shirley Lou would enter our lives. These were tough times, financially, and when our Mother’s Mother came to help, she offered to take young Sherwood home with her, to Yale, MI, where there was lots of room to play and plenty to eat. We never knew her motives but she had suffered the loss of a son - to be named, Keith, who was still born. The way she loved on me and treated me has always made me believe that God had replaced her grief with a first grand son.
Times got worse, the family moved back to Detroit and then, our Father who had been in a minor auto accident in Ohio, was incapacitated by a cyst that was pressuring on his brain - as a result of an earlier accident, and things went from bad to worse. I had come home to Detroit, but with this burden on our Mother, I was welcomed back to the farm where I would live until I joined the Army Air Corps in 1946. Somewhere along the line, our Father passed away. I know the date but it would be years before anyone wanted to share with me, the circumstances that ended his life.
No one seemed to notice that I should have known as I seemed to be a happy youngster, had close friends in neighboring farms, a wonderful grade school teacher and a high school where it seemed to others, I was accepted by one and all. Except for the fact, it often seemed to me, I had no Father and only an “occasional” Mother who would come home to Yale from her busy life, working and caring for my sister.
Hope I haven't bored you with these facts. I'll be back tomorrow with an explanation.