Selma’s Story Time – 8/7/14

 

His name is Ed Turner. It has been a while since she had last talked to Marty’s partner. Ed took Marty’s shooting pretty hard and went on a leave of absence to work through the emotional trauma afterwards. He came back stronger than ever and worked his way up through the ranks and was now an Deputy Sheriff for the NYPD in charge of Brooklyn. Mrs. Stockton saw a newspaper article recently talking about all of the positive things he has done for that department. She looked up the non emergency number for the station on the internet.
“Brooklyn Police Department,” the operator answered.
“I would like to speak to Deputy Sheriff Ed Turner.”
“He’s out on a call. Would you like to leave him a message?”
“Do you know when he will be back? I would like to stop down and see him,” Mrs. Stockton replied.
“We are never sure when they will be back, best thing may be for you to leave him a message and have him call you.”
Mrs. Stockton left a message on Ed’s voicemail. The voice sounded a little older, but still the same. She decided to put some final touches on her garden before winter set in; making sure she pulled all of the remaining dead plants and leaves out and removing the mulch from underneath the rose bushes. She loved her rose bushes. They were a gift from the kids one Mother’s Day when they were much younger and she tended to them with lots of love.
After a couple of hours in the garden, she went back in the house and checked for messages. None yet. She was sure that Ed was a busy man, it may take him a while to get back to her. She went back outside and brought all of her gardening tools into the shed, done for another season. Walking back towards the house she glanced over into the Tinkers yard and saw Oxford, digging a hole to bury a bone. Then the sound of a phone ringing came through the open kitchen window.
“Hello,” she answered almost out of breath from running to the phone.
“Shirley?” A male voice on the other end inquired.
“Ed, how are you doing?”
“Better question is are you o.k.? Sounds like you are out of breath.”
“I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss your call, so when I heard it ring, I ran to it.”
“Well, it is good to hear your voice. How are things with the kids?”
“They are good. David’s daughter is going to school at Columbia.”
“Walter’s favorite place, he would be proud.”
“Nick is at USC on a football scholarship and Ben is in his third year at OSU.”
“Just like his Dad. Last picture I saw of him, he looks just like him too.”
“Almost a spitting image. Sometimes it is hard for me not to call him Marty. How are Ellen and the kids?”
“Good. Betsy is going to start her second year at Standford and Cory will be graduating from high school.”
“They have all grown up so fast, haven’t they?” Mrs. Stockton said.
“In your message you said you had a favor to ask. What do you have for me?”
“I want to know where Jerry Givings is.”
“Why do you want to know that, Shirley. He is never getting out.”
“I want to know if he is sorry for what he did to my family.”
“I’m almost sure he isn’t, but why do you want to know?”
“Trying to make peace with my son’s death. And besides, I never got to ask him.”
“Are you planning to visit him?”
“Maybe. Or just send a letter or call.”
“Well, prison is not a place for a nice lady like you. But, if you feel the need to do something, I would probably call or write.”
“So, you know where he is?”
“Of course I do, he killed my partner. And the only way he is getting out of there is if they roll him out on a gurney dead.”
Mrs. Stockton knew that he meant it. During the trial, Ed was almost ready to pull a gun and shoot him on the spot.
“So, are you going to tell me where he is?” Mrs. Stockton asked.
“I’m not sure it is such a good idea. I don’t want him to hurt you any more than he already has. He’s not a nice man.”
“How could he hurt me any more than he already has. He killed my son.”
“I’d rather have you leave this alone.”
“I need to at least ask. He may not respond to me, but at least I tried.”
“Do you have an email address?” Ed asked.
“Yes,” she replied, hearing some typing in the background.
“I will give you the general email of the prison that he is at. You can send an email to him and he will get it. Whether he’ll respond is up to him. Will that work for you?”
“Yes, Ed. Thank you.”
He gave her the email address for the Tressman/Newman prison in Kentucky. It was kind of scary for her to know where he was and the fact that he was still alive. The next project will be to write the email.

Selma’s Story Time – 8/1/14

 

Mrs. Stockton woke up the next morning to the birds chirping outside her window. Putting on a light blue housecoat she went to the front door to get her newspaper. It was taking some time for her to get used to seeing the news on the internet, but she preferred getting the hard copy of the paper delivered to her door. After making her morning cup of tea, she went out onto the porch and sat down on the couch to read the paper.
On the front page was a picture of Officer Dan Edwards in his Wooddale police uniform, looking very proud and sure of himself. At that time, he had no idea what he would walk into one day at work. And no idea that day would be his last. She thought it was probably a morning like any other at his house. He had breakfast with his wife and kids before he went to work. Said good bye, I’ll see you tonight and never come home. He and his wife Pam have three children. Now they will have to go to the cemetery to see their Dad, just like Ben had to do. Visiting the cemetery is the only memory that Ben has of his Dad, except for the stories and pictures that the family has shared with him.
Marty was in a situation he normally wouldn’t have been in. He was covering an afternoon shift for another officer that day. It was just after 8:00 PM and the shooter was picking up somethings at the convenience store after scoring some drugs. Pulling out of the parking lot, he screeched his tires to show off. Taking off pretty fast down the street, he ran a red light. Marty happened to be sitting in his patrol car at the intersection, so he turned on the siren and went after the car. The kid got nervous because he had the drugs and thought the officer knew, he had no idea he blew through the red light. He thought that if he shot the cop, no one else would know about all of this, so he just slowed down by the side of the street and let himself get pulled over. As Marty walked up to the side of the car, the kid had pulled the gun from the glove compartment and shot Marty in the head and drove off. Marty dies instantly and the cops did eventually corner the kid in a mall parking lot and arrested him.
Mrs. Stockton now felt that she needed to visit her son’s grave. He was buried in the cemetary here in Mount Vernon, where he was born. Being a young couple, Marty and Jenny didn’t have a place picked out to be buried. After talking to Jenny about what she wanted to do, she said whatever they wanted for Marty was fine with her. She had not put much thought into where she wanted to be buried, so only a plot for Marty was set up there. After she finished her tea and read the rest of the paper, Mrs. Stockton went and got herself ready to go to the cemetery.
She drove there remembering the ride in the limo along this same route the day he was buried. Her husband, Walter, had held her hand the entire day. He had been numb ever since they got the news Marty had been shot. Walter had been Marty’s biggest fan while he played basketball at OSU and when it came to him being a cop. When Jenny and Marty would come to dinner before Ben was born, the men would go off to the living room and Marty would tell his Dad some of the stories from the street. While Jenny and Mrs. Stockton would talk about what to buy for the house or for the baby.
Parking at the Willow Hills Cemetery, she got out of the car and walked up to his grave. The head stone was gray granite with the following etched into it,
Martin Walter Stockton
May 19, 1965 to October 12, 1992
Police Officer killed in the line of duty
Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Uncle
She knelt down next to the grave and laid a bouquet of mixed wildflowers by his headstone.
“Marty, another police officer has been shot in our area. Please give me the strength to work through this episode of grieving for him and for you.”
She stayed by his grave for about an hour listening to the light wind rustle the leaves. The autumn colors were just starting to come to the surrounding trees.
Going back to the car, she started to wonder where the kid that shot Marty is today? Probably still in prison, but which one? Mrs. Stockton was thinking it would be another great opportunity to have Shelby over for dinner.

Selma’s Story Time – 7/31/14

 

Mrs. Stockton saw it on the 6:00 PM news. A 49 year old police officer was shot. It reminded her of the day she heard that her son, Martin had been killed. He was a police officer who had been shot by a 19 year old kid who  was in possession of drugs and didn’t want to go to jail. He ended up going to jail for a lot longer than he would have for just having the drugs.
The police officer that was shot today was Daniel Edwards. He was shot by someone he pulled over on a routine traffic stop. Mrs. Stockton imagined what happened. He just walks up to the car to talk to the guy and then he gets shot in the head. That simple, that fast. Witnesses saw him drive away from the scene. How can people be so selfish? They think that they are going to be able to get away. Don’t they realize that by shooting them, they are getting into more trouble? In the passion of the moment, probably not.
She was startled by the ringing of the phone,
“Hello Mom”, her son David said.
David was her youngest son. He was Shelby’s Dad.
“David, how are you?”
“I’m good. I heard about the police shooting in your area. How are you doing?”
“Well, the shooting was on the other side of town, but I am feeling a little scared and sad.”
“I feel the same way when these things happen. Marty always comes to mind and it makes my heart ache.”
“I miss him, David. I wish that I could have had the chance to talk to him one more time. That kid took him away from me.”
“Took him away from all of us, Mom.”
“But, he wasn’t your son,” she said, her voice starting to sound upset. 
“He was my brother. And I loved him too,” David replied in a calming tone.
Mrs. Stockton knew that she had never fully gotten over Marty’s death. The police department had someone come over and talk to them about how they were feeling about what happened. Her grieving has been hard. She had her son taken away from her for no reason.
“It’s still so hard honey,” she replied almost in tears.
“I know Mom. And it always will be.”
She just let down and started to cry. 
“Mom, do you want me to have Shelby stop by? I don’t really want you to be alone right now.”
She wished that David was there to hug her, but he lived in Nebraska. Shelby was about 45 minutes away at Columbia, but she didn’t want to disturb her from her studies.
“No honey, I will be o.k. This is not the first time this has happened. And it will happen again.”
“That is sad to say, but you are right. Being a police officer is not a safe job, but it has only gotten more dangerous.”
“Thank you for calling me though. It was nice to hear your voice and feel your support.”
“I’m always here for you, even though I live far away.”
“I know honey. I love you very much.”
“Love you too Mom. Are you going to be o.k.?”
“Yes, David. I will be.”
“O.k., I am going to do my rounds at the hospital now. If you need me, please call.”
“I will honey!”
They said their good-byes. She remained on her sofa for a moment and then went into her bedroom. She pulled a small oak box out from her closet. She sat down on the bed and opened it. Inside were things that belonged to Marty. Most of his possessions were saved in a box and given to his son Ben, who was only three at the time. She picked up the framed picture which was on top. It was of Marty after he graduated from the Police Academy. She smiled at it. He had that quirky grin ever since he was a kid. She loved that about him.
“I miss you so much Marty,” she said to the picture. “I wish you were here to see Ben. I’m sure that you see him from heaven every day, but he is doing really well at Ohio State, where you went to school. I don’t think that the basketball coach really knows what to do with him, like they didn’t know what to do with you.”
She put the photo back in the box. She held her hands clasped in front of her heart and took a deep breath. She felt a warmth surround her that could only be her son. The feeling is what she tries to remember, not what happened to her son. But each time it happens to another officer, it always reminds her of what happened to Marty that day. His picture brings her back to what she should remember, the spirit of Marty Stockton, her son.

Selma’s Story Time – 7/25/14

 

They settled into the chairs by the computer desk, and set their tea cups down on the woven cloth coasters that Shelby had made for Mother’s Day a few years back.
“Do you think he still has it?” Shelby asked.
“I’m not sure. It has been on my mind since the whole thing happened. I guess I need to find out for sure. So, can you show me how to find him on the internet?”
“Sure,” Shelby answered, “click on the icon that looks like a globe, that represents the internet.”
“How does that represent the internet?”
“It’s the World Wide Web,” Shelby replied.
Mrs. Stockton clicked on the globe and in a few seconds, a search engine page popped up on the screen.
“Now, type Johnny’s name in the box and hit enter. We’ll start with that.”
She typed the name into the box and pressed enter. A few seconds later, a few search results popped up.
“Now we look through these and see if anything looks familiar. Hey, this one talks about Frankton. Let’s click on that one.”
Mrs. Stockton took the mouse and clicked on that link. All of a sudden, a picture of Johnny popped up on the screen.
“That’s him!” She exclaimed, “that’s Johnny!”
Shelby didn’t think they would find anything that fast.
“It’s an article about him and his auto service shop. Looks like he still lives in Frankton. We can now do a search on his name in the city of Frankton and get his address,” Shelby said.
She had her Grandmother start a second search, specific to Johnny Kidler, Frankton. An address and phone number popped up on the screen.
“They have this much information about people on the internet?” Mrs. Stockton asked.
“Even more, if you know how to do searches. Some pages you need passwords to get into.”
“Amazing,” Mrs. Stockton said.
“Well, should we try and call him?”
“I’ll make the call tomorrow,” her Grandma said. It’s too late to call tonight.”

************
Mrs. Stockton finished her soup and crackers and had the dishes put away by 6:30 PM. She decided that she was going to call at 7:30 PM, after dinner but not too late. She tried to watch a show on TV to distract her, but it didn’t work. Time was moving so slow that when the the clock on the mantle finally said 7:30, she felt like she had waited for years. She dialed the number they had found on the internet and let it ring. After four rings, a male voice answered,
“Hello?”
“Johnny Kidler?”
“This is. Who is this?”
“My name is Shirley Stockton, well it was Hanson when you knew me.”
“I’m sorry lady, I don’t know who you are.”
“I’m the girl you took a pocket watch from many years ago. We used to get off the bus at the same place and you would make a nasty habit of teasing me.”
There was silence on his end of the line. Mrs. Stockton’s hand was shaking while she was holding the phone. It was crazy that she still felt a little scared of him after all of this time.
“Hello?” Mrs. Stockton said to break the silence.
“I’m still here. You know, I do vaguely remember that watch. It was gold, right?”
“Yes, it was,” Mrs. Stockton replied anxiously.
“Well, I don’t have it any more. I sold it.”
“Why did you do that?” she asked, sounding disappointed with his answer.
“A day or two later, I took it to the travelling flea market and sold it for cash. Then I went to the movies.”
“So you picked on me, took something that meant a lot to me and sold it so you could go to the movies?”
“At the time, it’s what I wanted to do. I didn’t know that watch meant so much to you and your family. Probably wouldn’t have mattered to me though.”
“That’s just terrible,” Mrs. Stockton replied.
“I was just a dumb kid at that time. What did you think I did? Saved it in a box to give back to you someday?”
“That would have been nice. What did I ever do to you?”
“Again, lady. I was just a dumb kid who was looking for something to do.”
Mrs. Stockton was really bummed out about the watch. She had been holding out hope that she would get her family heirloom back. She now had to accept the fact that it was gone forever.
“Well thank you for your time,” Mrs. Stockton said.
“Sorry I didn’t have what you were looking for.”
“I guess I did find something I wasn’t looking for, closure. I can thank you for that,” she replied.
They got off the phone and she sat there for a minute not sure how she she was feeling. Shocked that it didn’t work out the way she wanted, but maybe in a way relieved that Johnny didn’t have it.

Selma’s Story Time – 7/18/14

 

Mrs. Stockton loved to hear the school bus as it came down her street every morning, picking the kids in the neighborhood up for school. She had fond memories of riding the school bus, sitting with her best friend Shelly Waters every day. They giggled a lot and talked about wanting the clothes and hair ribbons that the popular kids wore. 

She also had some bad experiences associated with the bus. There was a kid named Johnny Kidler. He was called the Frankton bully. Everyone knew how mean he was to the other kids. Mrs. Stockton was one that Johnny chose to pick on, just because she was shorter than the other kids. Since they were the only two that got on and off the bus at their stop, he would follow her home every day calling her shrimp and shorty.
He would sing this little song, in the teasing melody that we have all heard,
“Shirley is so shrimpy.
Shirley is a shorty.
Shirley is so shrimpy
Shirley is a shorty”
He would sing that song over and over again. Mrs. Stockton remembered having many nightmares about it. She would ask him over and over again to stop. That made him do it more.
Mrs. Stockton remembered what her Grandmother used to say about mean kids,
“Don’t pay any attention to those mean kids and they will go away.”

That was easier said than done. While it was happening to her, she couldn’t see any way out. She felt she had to take the punishment Johnny was dealing out. There was no way she could tell someone, a parent, a teacher, or someone about it to make him stop, she felt that would just make it worse. It is a normal feeling to have, the bully wants you to feel that way. That’s the only power that they have over you, and that is why they are doing the bullying in the first place.

People would say that Johnny was just teasing Mrs. Stockton, he didn’t physically hurt her. Well, he did hurt her, emotionally. That can be just as bad or even worse than physically hurting someone. Neither one is ok to do to anybody.
Johnny eventually stopped teasing her, because it finally wasn’t fun anymore. Mrs. Stockton had to put up with it until he stopped, because she was afraid to get help. Don’t be afraid to get help. Situations like these have led to suicide, because kids don’t feel like there is a way out. Don’t be one of those kids. You are a special someone to someone, your family, your friends, even your teachers. You are important and deserve to be treated right.

7/8/14

 

Is it all about winning or losing? Is it about how you play the game? Or is it about the life lessons learned while playing team sports?
I played summer softball and was a clarinet player in the marching band growing up. At the time, I wasn’t paying much attention to what life lessons I might get out of being involved in activities where I had to be part of a team. Learning how to work and play well with others is a skill that we all must have to make life easier. None of us can do it alone, and if we don’t learn how to work as a team, it will be a much tougher journey.
We can teach kids a lot about life through sports. Sharing in their celebrations when the team does well and learning from the mistakes when the team loses, help them to not only become good baseball players, but also good people.
Lesson One: You don’t get to do what you want to do all of the time. Learning that one may have to do what the team wants them to do and not what one might want to do can be a difficult one to understand. Sometimes we don’t understand that the coach has a bigger goal in mind when they want us to do something we don’t want to do. Instead of seeing it as punishment to have to play it, how about looking at it as and opportunity to give you a break from that position, so another player can get some experience at the position you normally play? Playing right field when one really doesn’t want to is an example that has been brought up in our house. Right field is an important position on the field too, and someone needs to do it so that the team can play the game.
Adults can learn something from this too. In life, we don’t always get what we want when we want it either. And, how many times at work have we procrastinated the task we don’t want to do, even though our team needs us to do it?

7/7/14

Last night, as I sat by the baseball field waiting for the game to begin, I saw two teenage boys, dressed in baseball uniforms, helping their Dad put the white lines on the field. Getting ready for the game.

I wondered what the Dad was thinking as he was running the white chalk up the first base line. Is he enjoying it? Does he see the task as something he has to do? My hope is that he was doing it out of love for the game and his sons. It’s why my fiancee shows up early to his sons’ games. To get the field ready for them to play ball.

Even though his two sons are not mine biologically, I consider myself a baseball Mom. I’ve been at almost every game and have participated in volunteer opportunities to help the baseball association. I support them both in their pursuit of their dream to play baseball.

As I watch the players get ready to play, I hope that every kid has supportive parents or family in their lives. It’s a big commitment for the family to make for a kid to play baseball. But it needs to be done, not only for the kids, but for the parents to see the kind of kids they have and can be proud of. It is what our family does multiple times a week.