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 – 8/6/14

Bringing her tea onto the porch, Mrs. Stockton thought about how gracious Dan Edwards’ family was at the Memorial Service last night. She found it was hard to be there for others while hurting for the loss of a loved one. She sat down at the computer to respond to an e-mail from Denise,
I am so happy I reached out to you. Thanks for being so receptive. I think I was more in shock at Marty’s service than you appeared to be last night. My husband Walter believed in dealing with things internally. At the time, I couldn’t go against the wishes of my husband, but emotionally I needed to.
Have you guys decided on when you are going to hold Dan’s burial? They say to not wait too long, so the family can have closure and a place to go to be with him.
I’ll write again soon. My Granddaughter Shelby is coming over for dinner tonight and I need to get the lasagna in the oven. Take Care of yourself!
The lasagna just finished baking when Shelby arrived. After they enjoyed the old family recipe dinner, they washed the dishes together. When the last dish was dried and put away, Mrs. Stockton went to the bedroom closet to pull out the oak box. She took a scrapbook out and brought it downstairs.
“Has your Dad talked to you about your Uncle Marty?” Mrs. Stockton asked.
“He told me that he was a police officer and that was shot in the line of duty,” Shelby replied.
“Let me show you a few things,” Mrs. Stockton said as she placed the scrapbook on the dining room table.
She opened the book to the first page. There was a picture of Marty with his parents the day he graduated from the Police Academy. It brought tears to Mrs. Stockton’s eyes to see it again.
“Are you o.k. Grandma?” Shelby asked with a concerned tone in her voice.
“Yes honey, I’ll be fine. I just miss him so much, and sometimes it makes me cry.”
“I wish I could have met him,” Shelby said, “but I wasn’t born yet.”
“You were born just a couple of years later. Your brother Nick was born about a month after it happened.”
“It had to be a tough time for our family.”
“It was hard to lose him, but I think that the hardest time for us was after Marty was buried and the shock started to wear off. The heart felt attention from others stopped and it was time for us to start moving on. Jenny had a nervous breakdown over what she was going to do. She was now a single Mom with no job, since Marty was supporting her, and a house payment to make.”
“What did she end up doing?” Shelby asked.
“She wound up going back to school and we took care of Ben for her. She got a degree in counseling and ended up working in a teen crisis center.”
“She’s a pretty strong woman,” Shelby said.

They looked through the rest of the scrapbook together and Mrs. Stockton was sharing memories with Shelby. She looked up at the clock and noticed the time.

“We better get working on your project before it gets too late,” Shelby said.
“You’re right,” Mrs. Stockton replied, “let’s move into the porch.”
They grabbed their mugs off of the dining room table and put them onto the computer desk.
“Your Grandpa would never let me search for people like this,” Mrs. Stockton said as she sat down by the computer.
“I know. Why didn’t you ever work outside the home?”
“I grew up in a different time where the husband provided for his wife and family and the wife took care of the home.”
“My Mom and Dad both work,” Shelby said.
“Pretty nice jobs too. Keeps them busy. And keep you in school.”
“My scholarship helps with that too, Grandma.”
They started their internet search through the records that they could get into.
“A lot of this information is password protected, Grandma,” Shelby said.
“Some of it is public information though.”
“The fact that he was arrested, what he was charged with, and what his sentence was, but not where he’s serving his time.”
“That’s too bad,” Mrs. Stockton replied.
“Why do you want to find him?” Shelby asked.
“I want to know if he is sorry for what he did to our family.”
“Did he ever say that he was?” Shelby asked.
“I never got to ask him,” Mrs. Stockton replied.
“Oh. I don’t think we are going to get much further with what we can get into. I’m sorry Grandma.”
“No worries honey,” Mrs. Stockton replied, “I have an idea who can help me.”

Selma’s Story Time – 8/5/14

The memorial service was scheduled for Monday, the day before Shelby was coming over for dinner. Mrs. Stockton remembered going to Marty’s funeral. Police officers from all over the state came to pay their respects. Jenny was surrounded by the other officer’s wives and given any help she needed. They were so helpful that Mrs. Stockton almost felt out of place. She had received many offers from the Mothers of Fallen Officers groups, but Walter was convinced that they didn’t need any help from anyone and that they would deal with their son’s death on their own.
Mrs. Stockton wondered if she had taken the support that was offered, if she would be at a better place with what happened. Their family supported them, but the members of the support group had actually been through it. They had lost a son. Their family had not.
Since Mrs. Edwards  was being surrounded by the officer family support team. Maybe she could help his Mom? Mrs. Stockton knew she needed to get out of the house more and maybe this would be a way to do it. How should she approach her? She didn’t want to intrude on their grieving. Maybe she would go to the service and hand her a note with her information to call her.
She made a cup of tea and turned on her computer. She waited for the word processor icon to appear, double clicked on it and opened a blank document. There were so many feelings coming to her right now, she really didn’t know where to start. She decided to just start typing,
Thinking of you, knowing how you feel…

I lost my own son, Marty Stockton, in the line of duty. He was shot by a kid who was in possession of drugs and didn’t want to get found with them. He will be in jail for the rest of his life and my Grandson will be without a Dad.

Your Grandchildren will have be with their Dad at the cemetery now, but they will have memories of him in their hearts. Tell them to always remember the man that their Dad was with them outside of his job.

If you ever need to talk about how you feel, please feel free to call me. I wish that I would have talked to someone when I was going through it. I realize now how much it may have helped me.
She included her address and phone number in the lower right hand corner of the note. She printed, signed and placed it in a pale peach envelope that she had left over from a mailer the church ladies sent out recently. Along with the letter, she included a $20 bill to add to the family’s fund. They were having a visitation later today in Wooddale, so Mrs. Stockton got ready and headed down to the funeral home.
The family wanted to share the grieving with the community in which he served, but the funeral and burial would be held in his home town of Rockland, Virginia at a later date. There were only a couple places left in the parking lot at Wilson’s Funeral Home, even though she had gotten there a half hour before the visitation was scheduled to start. She was hoping to get a little time alone with the parents before everyone else got here.
She walked in the door and was greeted by a young man dressed in a navy blue suit,
“Welcome to my Dad’s memorial, my name is Jack,” he said as he reached his hand out to shake hers.
How lucky was that? Mrs. Stockton thought. She would be able to get directed right to who she needed to talk to.  Mrs. Stockton thought that may have more to offer to Dan’s Mom than to his Mother-in-Law for support.
“I’m Shirley Stockton,” she replied, “is your Dad’s Mom here? I would like to have a word with her.”
“Sure. She’s over by the guest book in the corner of the room. Just so you know, the service will start at 7:30 PM, but please feel free to have refreshments before that if you would like to.”
“Thanks Jack. And I’m so sorry about the loss of your Dad.”
“Thank you. He was doing what he loved to do when he died. The guy that killed him is the one that needs to be sorry for what he did.”
“Do you think that he is?” Mrs. Stockton asked.
“He said that he would do it again to protect his own skin, so I don’t think so.”
“That’s terrible,” Mrs. Stockton replied, “just remember your Dad with the good memories you have of him.”
“Thank you. I will.”
He smiled at her as she walked into the chapel and he continued to greet the guests. Mrs. Stockton walked over towards the guest book.
“Welcome. I’m Denise Edwards, Dan’s Mom. And you are?”
“My name is Shirley Stockton,” she replied shaking the hand that Denise offered to her, “I came here today to give you this envelope. It is my contact information. My son was killed in the line of duty about twelve years ago.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry for your loss,” Denise replied.
“And I’m sorry for yours. I just wanted to offer up my ear if you have anything you want to talk about.”
“I appreciate that more that you know,” Denise replied, “the department is taking very good care of Pam and the kids. They bring them anything they need day or night.”
“My daughter-in-law got the same kind of treatment. I sometimes felt a little left out by it,” she replied as she looked around the room where the guests were gathering in groups around the chapel, not wanting to sit down yet.
“I know what you mean. Does it ever get easier? Missing him I mean?”
“I still battle with it. I think it is because I didn’t talk about it more in the beginning and really deal with my feelings. They say that you will always miss them and maybe even stay angry for a while because they were taken from you through a senseless act. Makes it harder to accept.”
“Are you going to be here for the service?” Denise asked, “I would love to have you sit with us if you are.”
“I would be happy to,” Mrs. Stockton answered.
She stayed for the service and gave her condolences to the rest of the family before she left. Denise said that she would be in touch, even though she lived in Virginia. It would be another e-mail Mrs. Stockton would look forward to getting in her e-mail box.

Selma’s Story Time – 8/4/14

The local news continued its coverage of the shooting of Officer Daniel Edwards. The guy who shot him was apprehended yesterday at his girlfriend’s house, thinking that it would be a good place to hide out. And he thought that he would get away with it? Mrs. Stockton thought, shaking her head. The shooter never seems to think the “what will happen after” part through. 
Pam Edwards, blond hair, blue eyed wearing nice fitted light blue sweater and tailored gray pants was standing by all of the microphones. Mrs. Stockton wondered if her husband was a cop before or after they got married. Walter had been a professor at Columbia, not a highly dangerous job, except a couple of times when kids had failed his class and though he had it out for them. How can these wives let their husbands go out on the streets and do things that can get them killed instantly and without warning? They become police officers because that is what they want to do. As hard as it is to do, their families support them. They are putting their lives on the line to protect us from harm.
She looked up at the TV and saw that Mrs. Edwards was ready to speak at the press conference, Mrs. Stockton  turned the sound up on the TV with the remote.
“Me and my family would like to thank you for all of the support you have shown us in this tough time. Dan loved what he did. He was out in the community helping people and just finished setting up the Safety in the Parks program for all of the urban kids who are affected by the growing problem with drugs. We never thought something like this would happen to him. A senseless loss of life. I hope that his family is able to find some peace in what their son has done to my husband and father of my children. It has changed our lives forever.”
Then a spokesperson announced when and where the funeral services would be held. Mrs. Stockton got up and walked into the kitchen to make lunch. She was waiting for an e-mail from Shelby to see when she wanted to come over. Hopefully it would be soon, so she could start the search.
As she put a ham and cheese sandwich and some chips on a plate, she thought about why Marty became a police officer. When he was growing up, he had always wanted to capture the bad guys and protect others from harm.   When Ben was born, he almost had that kid put into a bubble so no one could hurt him. Especially after what dangerous things he saw on the street. His captain was impressed with the instinct Marty had for understanding people. He could read body language really well and see through some of the stories that the bad guys made up to try and get themselves out of trouble. 
She took her lunch over by the computer to see if there were any new e-mails yet. There was one from Marie from church. She was looking for volunteers for the pancake breakfast next week. They used to have weekly meetings at the church to plan these things, now Marie has learned how to send group e-mails to let us know what is going on. Mrs. Stockton liked the weekly meetings. It helped her to get out of the house and see people. She was finding that she needed that more than she thought she would.
Then she saw the message that she had been waiting for, from Shelby,
Dear Grandma,
Nice to hear form you! Looks like I can get together for dinner this Tuesday night. I have a paper that I’m planning on finishing up on Monday night. Once I turn that in on Tuesday morning, my load is lightened up quite a bit. Will that work for you? Please let me know. Would love to see you.
Love always,
Mrs. Stockton replied right after she read Shelby’s e-mail,
Dear Shelby,
Tuesday night would work great. I’m planning on making the favorite lasagna from the Stockton family recipe. We will see you then my dear.
Love always,

Selma’s Story Time – 8/2/14

Getting home pretty late from the library, Shelby saw her Grandma’s e-mail just before going to bed.

Dear Shelby,

How are things at school? Must be getting through your midterms by now. Boy, the school year has been going by fast. Seems like yesterday we were going shopping for your new sheets.

Wondering if you have time to help me with another project. I have another person I want to find out where they are now. Please let me know when you would be available. Hope to see you soon honey!

Love always,


Shelby replied,

Dear Grandma,

Another project? Who this time? I would love to come and help you, I will need to check on a couple of things at school before I can set a date. I will send you an e-mail to let you know.

Love always,

She kept the e-mail in her drafts folder. She would send it in the morning when she got up. Her Grandma got pretty upset knowing how late she had been up the last time she sent in the middle of the night. Shelby didn’t want to make her worry.

This is the second person she has tried to find. Where does she keep coming up with these ideas?

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.