Gene Who?

Last Saturday Diane told me that Gene called and left a message littered with a lot of descriptive adjectives regarding my heritage and failure to communicate with the older generation of Cates. Diane told me every day since then that I needed to call Gene back and find out where he learned all those words. Today I finally called back to talk with him but totally forgot to ask that critical question. We just talked and reminisced about the Good Old Days.

Normally when I capitalize things like that I make it an acronym that would allow me to use it elsewhere in my post without having to type all those words. In this case, however, I won’t because using GOD for good old days just doesn’t seem right to me. So, I won’t.

The good old days for Gene extend well beyond what I remember because he’s well into his 90’s, and his bride, Shirley, is 90. He told me that this evening so I’m fairly sure it’s true. They live in Mesa, Arizona. I’m pretty sure.

Regarding all those words Gener shared, and where he learned them, baused me reflect on Gene’s educational career. He wasn’t a teacher, or a professor, as far as I know, but he was a professional student for a long time. During that career he gathered many Master Degrees in various disciplines. I once asked him why he never took any of those disciplines to the doctorate level.

He told me he didn’t do that because doing so was expensive and the net gain just wasn’t worth it. He was just fine lingering around with Master Degrees and they served him well both in his work history and as a topic of conversation.

While some of that the info shared in that last paragraph, most of it is fiction because I just made it up. Even so, the act of doing that may have unlocked knowledge hidden in the deeper folds of my brain where I keep stuff I don’t think about very often.

Gene is a source of vast knowledge about our family history. Today he told me that our Aunt Maude’s granddaughter, who’s name is currently unknown at this time, has the Cate family history back to the 1100’s. That interests me a great deal. Though it’s incredibly unlikely this young lady will stumble across this post, and contact me, it could happen. The world is, after all, getting smaller every day thanks to internet magic.

So, young lady, who reportedly lives in the midwest, your Grandmother was my Aunt Maude, my Father’s sister. My father is James Lynn Cate Sr. He was born in Hebron, Nebraska in 1900 and passed from this plane of existence in St. Helens, in 1992. That’s enough history for now.

Back to Gene … my family has a history with him and his family that goes back decades. I won’t bore you with a lot of details. Just a few.

While Diane and I were stationed on Guam in the mid 70’s, he worked for the Micronesian Trust Territory and lived on Saipan. Figure the odds.

We had an opportunity to visit Saipan and visit with Gene and his family for a long weekend over one 4th of July. I have lots of pictures from the parade we attended on that little island but they are stuffed in a box somewhere. Waiting for us to find them and digitize them so we can enjoy them again.

Having family close at this time was great because when our daughter, Jennifer, was born in 1975, Gene’s daughter, Kathie, came to live with us for a while to help Diane take care of Jeff who was 3. And me. Yes, I needed to be taken care of. I’m sure all the women in my life will agree that I’m the one that needed Kathie’s attention. However, it was great that she came to us. Not only was she immensely helpful, we formed a strong bond that’s lasted, gee, right up to this very moment.

A lot has changed since the 70’s, but we’ve retained this strong family connection. So, as I age I need to make sure I remember that and call Gene more often. Like weekly. I need to do it that often so he’ll remember who I am. Like I said … he’s well into his 90’s.

I’m fairly safe smack-talking about Gene because not only does he not read this blog, he doesn’t know how. I did, however, give Shirley the address so she can look me up and catch up on all the gooy stuff that’s drained out of my brain over the years. Shirley knows how to use her computer so I’m actually knowingly throwing myself under the bus about all this beause Gene will read this.

So, hi, Gene. Hi, Shirley.

Did I mention that Gene was a Marine?

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