Richard Lingwall part 4
Posted By: Nathan Lingwall (email)
Date: 8/2/2013 at 12:12:32
Marching Band was beginning to be very tiring and it took a lot of time and energy. I began to think of retirement. After checking on how much the Arizona Retirement System
would pay and what I would get from Social Security, I finally made the decision to retire, and have never regretted it. That last year was such a joy as I could check off each event and
think that I would never have to do that again. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching and looked forward to going to school each morning, but the thought of retirement was also very appealing. At my final concert, we closed the curtain at the conclusion, and they called me out in front for a presentation. Really, they were just stalling time, and when the curtain opened again, there was a stage filled with former students. What a pleasant surprise, and we played a selection that they had practiced, all without my knowledge.
We had stopped working in the Presbyterian Church, and were driving to Tempe, 45 miles away, for choir practice and church at King of Glory Lutheran Church. The volunteer choir numbered between fifty and seventy, and traveled a bit. Two weeks after my retirement we went with the church choir on a two-week tour of New Zealand and Australia. What an adventure! After a fourteen hour all night plane ride we arrived in Auckland, New Zealand. In the morning we did jumping jacks in the back of the plane to wake up and limber up. Choir tours are interesting in that we sing in churches, then stay in private homes and get to know the people. At our first church we had a luncheon with pumpkin soup. It was delicious. We also had a chance to do some sightseeing between churches, and went into a cave with glow worms. There’s the song “Glow Little Glow Worm”. Well, we saw the real thing. They created a dim blue light. It was winter down there, and we actually had to reroute our bus journey south because a blizzard had closed the pass over the mountains. We sang in Rotorua, a town built on thermo land. Steam was rising out of the ground and the street sewer openings. We stayed with a retired military couple who lived in a Japanese style home: mats on the floor and sliding paper doors. They had a deck in back which stepped down to their lake and black swans. In Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, we sang in a Catholic cathedral. Remember, this is winter and they do not believe in central heating. There were pipes with hot water running through them for the congregation to put their feet on, but nothing for the choir. It was so cold we could see our breath when we sang.
From Wellington we flew to Sydney, Australia, then on to Melbourne. Remember, this is winter and no one has central heating. There might be a fireplace in the living room, but the doors to the bedroom area were closed, so we had some very chilly nights. Their solution was going to bed with a nice hot water bottle. In the morning you wanted to stay in the shower just to keep warm. We sang in several churches, mostly one night stands, but in Adelaide we actually stayed with the same family three nights. This gave us a chance to do laundry and get to know them a little better. We saw the native wildlife, kangaroos, and the Southern Cross in the sky, only visible in the southern hemisphere. We saw the South Sea and went walking on the beach. Adelaide was our last performance city, so when we flew to Sydney we had two days for sightseeing. This was in June, and they were hosting the Olympics in August, so everything was bright and shining and ready for visitors. Marilyn
and I went to the zoo and had our picture taken with the koalas. Used it on our Christmas card that year. This was a marvelous trip, but as usual, no matter how much time you have, there are always more things to see and do.
Now, back home, I had the serious business of retirement. What would I do? I didn’t have to wonder for long. Marilyn was still teaching elementary band, so I helped her almost full time. However, I didn’t have to be at school as early as she did, I didn’t have to plan, I didn’t have to worry about their progress, and when I walked out the door at the end of the
day I could leave it there, meaning that I didn’t think about school until the next day. How great a job is that? I enjoyed this thoroughly, however the pay was not great as I
volunteered all of my time. The next year she was at the Jr. High school, and I again helped her full time. Still fun.
Our sons had been progressing with good jobs, and now had fiancees. Nathan and Kendra were married on June 16, 2001 at King of Glory with the reception in a downtown Mesa reception hall. What fun! Marilyn’s dad and friend Oceania Fischer, and brother Bob flew out as did Marj and Brad Bell from Coon Rapids. Kendra had relatives from the east coast, and everyone had a good time. Marilyn and I planned the music and had a string quartet, the organ, and a vocal soloist. We thought it was perfect.
Stephen waited four months, then he and Lynn were married on October 27, 2001 at the Dobson Country Club in an outdoor ceremony. One would think that by the end of October it would cool down, but it was a hot day. Comfortable by ceremony time. The 9/11 attack had put the fear of flying into our Iowa relatives and friends, so no out of towners for us, but it was a beautiful ceremony and we had a good time. Marilyn did all of the flowers, so we rented a U-Haul truck to transport them to Mesa. Stephen not only got a wife, but also a step son, Chal, a cute little eight year old.
Marilyn had been debating about retirement, but the school began talking about “block scheduling” and some other things that were not good for the music department, so a quick decision was made. Retire! We had bought a house in Mesa in 1999 and the boys had been living in it. Then they got married and moved out. Shortly thereafter our new renters decided to move, so another quick decision. Remodel and move. We got the help of a decorator friend, chose a contractor, and started tearing out walls and redoing the interior. What a mess! We helped with some of the demolition, the removal of the popcorn ceilings, and all of the painting. It was a five-month project, but we were very happy with the completed house. We moved in the end of July, again picking a very hot day, but had good help from the boys and several of their friends. We had lived in the house in Casa Grande longer than any other house, sixteen years. On August first, my birthday, they put in the new kitchen counter top, making cooking impossible. We had the whole family over for dinner that evening, and Marilyn cooked dinned in the bathroom with a slow cooker. We had a delicious dinner and a good time in spite of the kitchen.
Now that we were both officially retired and citizens of Mesa, we could begin doing the things that retired people do, volunteer. We still sang in church choir and rang in the adult hand bell choir, but now I also rang in the Thursday morning bell choir, Joy Ringers. This choir played easier music, and after two years I got bored with it and cut back to just playing with the adult bell ringers. We also began helping with the Children’s Choir, grades 1-3, and teaching classes of Music Learning. This was an eleven level, six year, course in music theory and singing. I taught the two levels next to the top and Carol Arenson, the
music director, taught the top levels. After her retirement I taught the top two levels and Marilyn the next to the top. Marilyn also became the Music Learning Director.
I phoned the elementary school closest to us and said I would like to volunteer. First I had to go to the district office and fill out application forms, get finger printed, have a background check, and supply three letters of recommendation. The Mesa school district, the largest in the state, is very careful who they allow to work with the students. I started out with one morning in a kindergarten classroom and one morning in the library. This evolved into a paid position as computer aid, and as of this writing it will change again as there will no longer be a computer lab. Due to declining enrollment, the Mesa Schools have to cut thirteen million dollars from their budget, and in our school they are eliminating the
computer lab and the librarian, the two areas where I worked. The librarian/computer instructor is becoming a classroom teacher at the third/fourth grade level, and I will become her aid. Again, a paid position, which provides a little extra money to go out to dinner or do something fun.
We also volunteer usher at three theaters. We began at the Herberger Theater in downtown Phoenix (serious plays, dance, and some musicals) and put our name on the waiting list at Gammage Auditorium on the ASU campus. After eighteen months we were accepted at Gammage (Broadway musicals and ASU musical groups). Then we got in at Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix (Phoenix Symphony, ballets, and operas). We usher 4-6 times a month and see marvelous performances that we could not afford otherwise. We also enjoy traveling and have now been able to do a little more. We have owned a time-share at West Oaks on Lake Okoboji, Iowa since 1985 and have gone there almost every year. A few years ago we purchased a time-share at Sedona, Arizona and have traded that to go other places: San Diego; Solana Beach, California; Grand Junction, Colorado; San Antonio, Texas; Williamsburg, Virginia; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; The Dells, Wisconsin; Lake Tahoe, California; Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine; and Branson, Missouri.
In April of 2003 we went back to Iowa along with our sons and their families for Marilyn’s dad’s 90'th birthday. We had a family celebration as well as an open house in the church. Many friends and relatives came by to congratulate him and wish him well. During the summer of 2004 he began to decline, and on September 3rd he passed away after only a few days in the Guttenburg hospital. He had lived a long, productive life, all in the same town, and most of it on the same farm.
On Christmas Eve, 2003, we received the long awaited news that we would be grandparents again. Nathan and Kendra were expecting Wyatt Nathanial the end of May. Kendra’s dad, David Strand and I started to build a baby bed in March. What a project! Neither of us had done anything like this before, but we took it step by step and the resulting baby bed was very professional looking. Kendra was sure that Wyatt would be born on her birthday, May 26, which she shares with her dad, however, that day came and went uneventfully. Finally on May 31 she went into labor, and labored all day. Chal’s birthday is June first, and Kendra was determined that if Wyatt couldn’t share her birthday, he wasn’t going to share anyone elses, so late that evening, May 31, 2004, Wyatt was born by Caesarian Section. Of course he was the most beautiful baby ever and we were all very proud. Our lives were again changed as grandchildren are very special, and it is our right and duty to enjoy and spoil them. For Wyatt’s second Christmas I built a large Mission style toy
box. Building the crib had boosted my self-confidence in wood working, so I tackled this complicated pattern with many, many pieces. It turned out well.
In the spring of 2005 we saw an ad in the paper from a travel agency in Phoenix about a thirty-five day cruise along the coast of Europe. It started in Spain, went as far up as Russia, then back to Berlin. Were we interested? You bet!!! The price was reasonable, and we were ready for some serious traveling. It was the trip of a lifetime! We docked in twenty-one ports in thirteen countries, and took shore excursions in every port. In Barcelona, Spain we saw the steps that Christopher Columbus ascended in 1492 to tell Ferdinand and Isabella about his discovery of the New World. We also saw his tomb in Seville. In Giverny, France we saw the home and gardens of artist Claude Monet. Also in France we saw the
place where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. In Amsterdam we walked through the rooms where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis. In Brussels we walked past the guild houses in the Grand Place, and ate a Belgium waffle with strawberries, chocolate and whipped cream. In London we saw all the famous buildings we have seen so many pictures of, and in Edinburgh we were at Edinburgh Castle when Prince Charles and Camilla drove by on their way to an event in the castle. I was within six feet of him and he waved right to me. In Copenhagen we stood at the statue of the Little Mermaid. In Stockholm we toured the very ornate City Hall and had a drink in the Ice Bar. In St. Petersburg we toured the magnificent, opulent Hermitage and Peterhof. In Berlin, our final stop, we walked through the Brandenburg Gate, saw Checkpoint Charlie, and saw remnants of the Berlin Wall. Seeing all these places we had read and heard so much about was fantastic, and we would go back and take this same cruise again. Unfortunately, the ship, The Marco Polo, was sold recently, but we took three cruises on this ship: the 35 day European cruise, one to the Antarctic, and one to the Mediterranean.
In June of 2006 our church choir went on a two week tour of London, Norway, and Helsinki. This was again a marvelous trip and we stayed in some private homes and some hotels. In London we attended services in Westminster Abbey and sang in a centuries old church that was attended by King Henry VIII.. We toured Norway by bus and sang in some very old Lutheran churches. The Lutheran church is the state church of Norway and supported by the government, so does very well financially . Unfortunately very few people attend. It is used more for weddings, christenings, and funerals. At one community we stayed with six other couples in a home that Stephen Speilburg, a U.S. film maker, had provided money to remodel as a guest house for his friends attending the Olympic games a few years previously. There were six suites, with bath, on the second floor. The ground floor had a large living room, dining room with plenty of room for a table to seat twelve, a couple of smaller sitting rooms and the kitchen. We were there two nights and had a great time. Norway has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, and we certainly saw a lot.
In Helsinki we sang in The Rock Church which is carved into the side of a cliff. It was huge and is said to be the number one tourist attraction in Helsinki. We were there on Midsummers Eve, and attended a big outdoor celebration with folk music, dancing, games, food, and traditional bonfires. This celebration is bigger than Christmas in the Scandinavian countries.
Something else we enjoy doing is looking at model homes for design and decorating ideas. We had found a den/office layout that we really liked in one model home. There were built in bookcases and a peninsula desk which we thought would fit our den, be very
functional, and would look good. We took lots of pictures, and in November of 2006 I started in. I bought upper kitchen cabinets, tore them apart to make them deeper, and installed them on the floor for the lower cabinets. I built the upper shelves, then tackled the desk. With just pictures to guide me I did a lot of designing and some experimenting. After six months the project was completed, and it looked good.
In the winter of 2007 we found out that Nathan and Kendra were expecting Braeden William, their second son. We were not familiar with the name Braeden, but shortly after his birth friends of ours had a grandson, Braeden, and knew of another new arrival with that name. This must be the new popular name because we have since heard of several babies with that name. He was born on July 12, 2007, and this time because of the Ceaserian
Section, we knew exactly when the exciting event would happen. Everyone gathered in the hospital waiting room and waited patiently for the time when we could go to the room to see him. Again, another beautiful baby. We took care of Wyatt here for a week and were reminded how tiring parenting can be. As is said many times, “It’s a good thing you have children when you’re young because you could never handle it when you’re older”. We now enjoy baby sitting the boys one day a week, but get totally tired out from that We have also followed Chal through Montessori Elementary School, public Jr. High school, and now Highland High School. He does very well, and has developed a great love for football.
2007 was the year for us to travel. We began in January with a trip to Argentina and a cruise to Antarctica. What awesome scenery! We went ashore several times and walked among the penguins. They have no fear of humans and will walk right up to you. The Drake Passage, the water between Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world, and Antarctica is where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet and is considered to be the roughest water in the world. We found that to be true, and just spent the entire day in bed. This was another “trip of a lifetime”.
In late May we spent two weeks in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. What beautiful scenery, and it was actually a bit chilly sometimes and rainy. We Arizonians hardly knew what that was. The quaint New England towns were as we had pictured them, but were also very touristy. We toured the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory and of course bought a Teddy Bear for Wyatt, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream factory where we sampled their wares, and a pewter factory where we purchased several Christmas gifts. We went on a lobster boat in Maine and of course had a delicious lobster/clam/mussels dinner. I think we ate seafood every day we were in Maine. Bar Harbor was another of those “must see” touristy towns.
August took us to Las Vegas to see Marilyn’s Aunt Eunice, and of course the other sights of The Strip. From there the long drive to Lake Tahoe, a very scenic area where we enjoyed a week. On the way home we went to Yosemite National Park, one awesome sight after another. This is the most beautiful and awe inspiring national park I have been to.
We were home two weeks, then off on a Mediterranean cruise. We started in Barcelona, but this time we went the other way. Six countries, 14 ports of call, and as many shore excursions as we could squeeze in. The little seaports were so picturesque, and we enjoyed just walking around town. Then came the biggie, Rome, and the ancient ruins. The city functions around these ruins as if they were just everyday buildings. We climbed around the Coliseum, threw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, and toured the Vatican. One just cannot absorb the magnitude and importance of these wonders in the short time we were there. A couple more ports of call, then another biggie, Athens. Again the city functions around these ancient ruins and ignores them. The Acropolis with the Parthenon and several surrounding
temples and amphitheaters is amazing. Smaller Greek seaports and island communities
were as one pictures them, whitewashed masses of buildings with blue roofs. Very picturesque! I didn’t realize that Greece was so hot and dry. It’s worse than Arizona. Most of the hundreds of islands that make up Greece are uninhabited, and after being on two or three of them I can see why. We had two memorable stops in Turkey, Ephesis and Istanbul. Ephesis is an ancient ruins that is in the process of being restored. We could walk where the Apostle Paul walked and see buildings that were there when he was, 2000 years ago. The library was, at one time, the largest library in Europe because Ephesis was a thriving and very prosperous city. The latrine was one of the best preserved buildings, and could probably be used today.
As impressive and awe inspiring as all of these ruins had been, it was almost over kill. One can absorb only so much. Istanbul is a huge city, half in Europe and half in Asia. I regret now that we didn’t take a tour to the Asian side, but you have to make choices. We were there on the first day of Ramadan, a very important religious holiday. It seemed like there is a mosque on every corner, and at 11:00 a.m. we heard this eerie sound of the men being called to prayer. We toured the Sultan’s Palace, a huge, many building complex and saw the crown jewels. The Blue Mosque was unavailable because of Ramadan, but we went to another mosque that had been a Catholic cathedral in the past. Very plain on the inside with no furniture. We stopped at Dubrovnik, Croatia, more ruins, then on to Venice. What a grand entry past all the beautiful buildings and canals to the cruise piers. We went to St. Mark’s square( with the thousands of pigeons) and toured the Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs. That evening we took a gondola ride through the canals of Venice and were serenaded by the gondolier. Very romantic and Venetian! That night and the next morning there was a tremendous rain storm and we could hardly get to the airport. Our plane was delayed several hours because of the storm, and consequently we were delayed getting into New York City. We barely made our flight back to Phoenix, but with the help of two very kind airport employees we were pushed to the head of lines and were running through shortcuts to our gate. We were the last ones on the plane, the doors closed behind us, and we were on our way home.
When we arrived home we had a telephone message from some friends we had met on a previous cruise with an “interesting invitation”. I phoned them and they invited us to spend a week with them in Cancun, Mexico. They have three weeks of time shares there and a relative who was going to visit them had to cancel because of health reasons. How could we say no to an invitation like that? This turned out to be the most exciting and fun filled vacation we have ever had. Cancun is a marvelous place, our timeshare was the most luxurious we have ever stayed in, and our excursions were very interesting and exciting. We went to a cultural heritage/wildlife refuge for a day and went floating down an underground river with just life-vest and flippers. Another day we went zip-lining over the jungle and also drove dune buggies through jungle trails at break-neck speeds. (I drove and scared Marilyn half to death). We took an excursion to Mayan ruins.We went downtown Cancun on a city bus to Wal-Mart, an adventure in itself. Another day we went downtown to the Mercado, market, and did some jewelry shopping. Everything we did was so much fun, the food was so delicious, and the resort, or rather three resorts all interconnected, were fantastic.
We are now babysitting Wyatt and Braeden one day a week and find them a lot of fun, but exhausting. We give them our undivided attention, so spend most of our time on the floor crawling around playing train and cars.
I have had a very blessed, charmed, and productive life so far, much of which is due to my one and only true love of forty two years, Marilyn. We share the same interests and vocation, and compliment each other very well. Retirement is great, and I thoroughly enjoy life.
Written by Nathan Lingwall January 22, 2010
Richard Lingwall began suffering from stomach discomfort in early September 2009. He procrastinated seeing his doctor about his increasing discomfort until a few days before a scheduled trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The doctor said that as long as he took it easy it should be fine to take the trip. Richard and Marilyn enjoyed seeing the art galleries and museums in Santa Fe and also saw the sights in Albuquerque. Upon returning home, Richard scheduled an in depth appointment with his doctor. It was then determined that his gall bladder was enlarged and it needed to be removed. They scheduled surgery for November 24th to remove his gall bladder. Due to the size of his gall bladder the surgery would be highly invasive and Richard would require four to six weeks to recover after the operation. As soon as the surgeon cut several incisions to poke a scope into his abdomen to consider his options of removing the gall bladder, he immediately detected cancer on the gall bladder and abdominal wall. The surgery was cancelled due to the fact, the cancer was highly metastasized and it was not safe to attempt to remove the gall bladder.
The cancer was very aggressive and Richard’s health deteriorated very quickly. Late on Christmas Eve Marilyn was having difficulty keeping his pain under control. The decision was then made to enter Richard into the Dobson House Hospice, room 5, in Chandler, Arizona at 12:30 a.m. on Christmas Day. Dobson House is a beautiful old farm house which has been converted into a facility which can house eleven patients. On Christmas morning, Richard felt a little better and was able to eat breakfast and open a few Christmas presents. Marilyn, Nathan and Stephen all stayed by his side for the next three days and nights. Kendra, Lynn and all three grandchildren were able to see him and say their good-byes. Richard was having difficulty talking but was able to acknowledge everyone by squeezing his hand or blinking his eyes. At 5:51 p.m. on December 28, 2009 Richard opened his eyes and stared intently at the ceiling in the corner of the room as if he saw something or someone. He turned his head toward Marilyn and gave a slight smile. He then closed his eyes and took his last breath.
His funeral was held on Monday, January 4, 2010 at 11:00 in King of Glory Lutheran Church in Tempe, Arizona with Pastor. Roger Gordon officiating. There were approximately seventy people in the church choir that day, one of the largest choirs they had ever had in the church. The pallbearers were his two sons Nathan and Stephen Lingwall; grandson Challenge “Chal” Gomez; cousins Clinton McDonald, Warren Danskin and David Mooney. Honorary pallbearers were grandsons Wyatt and Braeden Lingwall. He was laid to rest in Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Mesa.
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