• What Would be Your Story, Morning Glory?

    by Cathy Speck

    The Speck Family

    Photo by Linda Duval: The Speck family includes (front row) Cathy Speck, our Dad, Gene Speck; (back row, Barb Speck Salonius, Mary Speck, Peg Speck Grady, Jim Speck and Paul Speck, who passed away on May 16, 2011

    June? June! Did we have the month of May this year? Well, yes we did, and May was ALS Awareness Month. Every day in the month of May, I brainstormed about what I could do to get ALS in the headlines. And once again, I was humbly reminded that I am not the Queen of… well, anything.

    ALS indeed made the headlines. My brother Paul, a well-known attorney in Bend, Oregon, died of ALS on May16. We had a huge celebration of his life in Bend, and we’ll have a TreeDavis dedication and smaller celerbation for Paul in Davis (time and date to be announced).

    A few days after we returned from the Oregon trip, we drove up to Redding again to be with Dad and sister Barb, who was already with Dad. My wife Linda, Mazie, our goat-ear squirrel monkey, our pug/poodle/terrier Princess, and Angela (Blanchie, my best friend) were chillin’ with my dad. (He would say it wasn’t cold at all!) He’s holding up, but he is so sad — losing his children to ALS one by one. And Paul was their first child, so they had a special bond. (Mom died of ALS in 1972.)

    My dad and I have a special bond too, because I was so messed up when I was in my 20’s. My dad, who was 60-something back then, thought psychology and therapy were a “bunch of baloney.” But because he was, and still is, a loving, generous, dedicated father, he went to therapy with me for several years. Now we’re both perfect.

    Ha ha.

    And speaking of “ha ha,” my oldest sister Barb (Baba Loo) has quite the goofy sense of humor, and I love it! She also has special bond with Pop ’cause she was the firstborn daughter.

    We were outside with Dad earlier today enjoying the still green grassy fields (he and his wife live in the country — no neighbors.) Mazie was having a blast sniffing around, trying to catch the teasing country varmints. I stopped for a moment to catch my breath. (Who threw it, anyway?) I glanced at each of us, and pondered upon our lifelong “stories.”

    Would you like to share yours? Think about it. If you died tomorrow or over the next weekend, would you have a journal, an unofficial autobiography, or anything that would preserve your essence? Would you like people to know? Something whimsical, profound or perhaps devastating?

    I’m sharing with you the story of my brother Paul, which is actually a short version of the obituary I wrote for him.

    Paul John Speck
    Dec 16, 1945 – May 16, 2011


    Walking to Defeat ALS

    • What a beautiful family tribute. I am so happy to be able to share your family by way of your warm and honest writing. You are an inspiration to me and I am sure many others. Your brother Paul chose his own route and apparently it worked for him. So sorry for your loss.

    • Cathy, I’m so glad that you’re able to keep telling your story. It’s definitely NOT over yet! 🙂

      • Dave Webb

      • June 5, 2011 at 11:33 am
      • Reply

      Thank you. You are a ray of light.

    • Cathy,
      I have a vision of you and your brother butting heads and it is to the credit of your brother that, in his own way, he would not surrender to his health problems. It is appearant to me that, in your own way, you have no intention of surrender either.
      The character of your family stands tall in the community of man. With that said, I will shut my face.

      • Jesse

      • June 9, 2011 at 9:15 am
      • Reply

      I really am glad to hear more and more of your story and your family’s story. Jesse

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