Cumberland Times-News

Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything

March 23, 2013

They’re not lost in time, if we remember

What often happens is that someone will ask me or another of our staffers about an item that once upon a time was in the paper. (I am going to reverse that role today, but we’ll get to that later.)

Because we have access to an electronic archive, we sometimes can provide the answer.

A friend I’ve never met in person who lives in Alaska sent an e-mail asking about a time capsule that was buried in 1955 in Constitution Park as part of Cumberland’s bicentennial.

She also sent me two pictures of moose — one was on her front porch, and the other was eating berries off a bush in a park where she lives — and said she was watching the finish of the Iditarod sled dog race.

I found out about the time capsule in two old Rosenbaum’s store ads. It was to contain about 5,000 photos of Cumberland residents, President Eisenhower and other dignitaries, and a quantity of “historical papers and other pertinent data.”

There was to be a pageant called “Redskins and Redcoats,” with a cast of about 1,000 people. My friend was a student at Fort Hill and took part in it. She said it was a hoot.

What they would call this pageant today, I have no idea. “Native Americans and Native Englishmen,” or something like that.

I don’t know if it’s politically incorrect to refer to British soldiers as “Redcoats,” considering that some of them still wear red, but only as dress uniforms; it provides too good a target to wear as battle dress.

There was to be a grand parade, a variety of speakers, a free dance on Centre Street at the C&P Telephone Company and, at 12:05 a.m. on Aug. 20, a changeover ceremony from operator assistance to direct distance dialing at the phone company itself.

The capsule was to be encased in cement and accompanied by a bronze marker designed to inform future citizens that it was to be “exhumed” and opened in 2055.

My friend and I agree that neither of us is likely to be around for that.

That said, I am now going to ask you for help in solving a mystery that involves a story I wrote for the paper 40 years or so ago, somewhere between 1969 and the early to mid 1970s.

I was not very good about clipping and saving my stories and, try as I might, I can’t find it in our electronic archive.

This was one of the first two stories I ever wrote about a Vietnam Veteran. (The other was about a man who since has become a good friend. He tells me that he still has a framed copy of it.)

The lost story involved a man who was either an Army medic or a Navy corpsman who served with the Marines during the Vietnam War.

He had survived his tour and returned home with the idea of becoming a nurse.

Today, this wouldn’t be a big deal. My medical provider is a certified registered nurse practitioner, and a man.

I almost would trust him more than I would a regular doctor, because he is what in the military would be referred to as a mustang — an enlisted man who worked his way up through the ranks to become an officer.

Starting as a nurse, he has seen all aspects of what goes on. He is good at what he does, and is wise enough to realize when something is out of his league, at which point he refers me to someone who has MD after his name, rather than CRNP.

However, the subject of my story wanted to become a nurse back in the days when men didn’t do such things.

The local hospitals had nursing schools, but they were for women only. The idea that a man would want to be a nurse was laughed at — literally.

This fellow and I actually were written up in The People’s Guardian, a rabble-rousing and sometimes useful newspaper that was printed in Frostburg.

The Evening and Sunday Times and The Cumberland News were generally considered by the Guardian to be enemies of the first water, but on this occasion they agreed with the gist of my story — that it was ridiculous for someone with this man’s qualifications to be denied entry to nursing school.

Those of you who know me — or who read what I write here on Sundays — are aware of how important our veterans are to me, particularly those who went to Vietnam while I stayed at home because of an injury I had in high school.

Over the past few years, I have often wondered about this man ... a man who undoubtedly was responsible for other men returning home to their loved ones, possibly even someone I know.

He deserved a better lot than he was getting. It’s because of him and a few other men and women who are now my friends that eventually I started writing about the despicable treatment many of our Vietnam Veterans received, instead of being welcomed home with open arms as they should have been.

I cannot remember the man’s name, and it haunts me. I want to know what became of him ... did he ever get into nursing school, or maybe even become a nurse practitioner or a physician’s aide?

Is he still alive? Did he achieve his dream, or did he become successful in some other field?

Or did he wind up like another Vietnam Veteran I once tried to locate for a friend, who said that as his lieutenant, the man had saved his life and those of several other soldiers.

What I found out was that one day, when he was at home alone and convinced that his life and what he had done meant nothing, the man hanged himself.

Dear Lord, please don’t let that be the case this time.

And so, today, I am asking you for help.

I would like the chance to shake his hand, tell him “Welcome Home” and talk to him once more. His is a story I started four decades years ago, and I would like be able to tell you the rest of it.

If you remember that old story, or when it ran ... or if you may know something of the man I wrote about, please tell me. I can be reached at or 301-722-4600, Ext. 2240.

I would be more grateful than you might ever realize.

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Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything
  • He means well, and this time they spared his life

    Our pal Phil is the only re-enactor certified in writing by both the Lee and Custis families to portray Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee (whose wife was Mary Anna Custis Lee). When he’s in uniform, he generally stops at the bottom of the path that leads to the summit of Little Round Top, salutes Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy and asks permission to join us. (Get it? Generally ... General Lee?) We always return his salute and grant him permission, in part because he’s our friend and also because the real Lee never got to see what it really looks like from up there. (Get it? Grant ... Grant? U.S. Grant? Real Lee ... really? OK. I hear you. That’s enough. Seriouslee.) Phil gets a kick out of being able to sneak up on us while we’re distracted by tourists.

    July 20, 2014

  • They’d have fallen like Autumn leaves

    So there we were, minding our own business (at least momentarily), leaning against the cannon at Little Round Top.

    July 13, 2014

  • Better read that french fry before you eat it

    People give me otherwise-insignificant items they hope will amuse or inspire me. I appreciate this. I’m always glad for free entertainment, which as Goldy’s Rule 33 says is everywhere. All you have to do is wait and it will come to you. Also, I have been writing columns for 37 years and embrace inspiration anywhere I can find it.

    July 6, 2014

  • The moose is loose, and it’s coming for you

    So how would you like to look out your kitchen door window onto your porch and see a moose looking back at you from close range?

    June 28, 2014

  • There are some debts you can never repay

    Today’s column will be relatively short, as my columns go, for reasons that should become apparent, and I thought long and hard before writing it.

    June 21, 2014

  • It could have saved the county a lot of money

    Random thoughts sometimes occur to me when I least expect it, usually when my brain has become tired.
    When I voice these thoughts at work or in other places, people may tell me, “Goldy? It’s time for you to go home.” Yes, ma’am.
    Here are two random thoughts of recent vintage:
    • If Bugs Bunny were an Emergency Medical Technician, would that make him a MedicHare?
    • If Daisy Duck got a job driving for United Parcel Service, would she be an UPS-a-Daisy?
    I wouldn’t blame you if you think that sounds Goofy — or Daffy.

    June 15, 2014

  • These two were part of the Not Top Ten

    Occasionally, at this time of year, I see reference to a “class orator” or a “class speaker.”

    Nothing wrong with that — people can call such things whatever they want, as far as I’m concerned — but it makes me wonder. Have “valedictorian” and “salutatorian” become politically incorrect, and I didn’t notice? It may come as a surprise to you, but I really have not kept up with what is politically correct or incorrect. That’s what people tell me, anyway. With some of them, it actually seems to be a compliment.

    June 8, 2014

  • Coming soon to a highway near you?

    People say to me, “Goldy? Can I ask you a stupid question?”

    In theory — and theory only — the correct response is: “The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.” Not so much. There ARE stupid questions, some of them so stupid that to call them stupid is to damn them with faint praise. Other questions are — on the face of it — legitimate questions, but shouldn’t be treated as such ... not if you subscribe to the same philosophy that I do: Free entertainment is everywhere; all you have to do is wait, and it will come to you.

    June 1, 2014

  • This was a skill that proved very useful

    The Belmont Park stewards have decided to let California Chrome wear his nasal strip during the Run for the Carnations. Nasal strips usually are worn by people who snore and may have saved numerous marriages. It helps the Triple Crown hopeful to breathe, and some twolegged athletes wear nasal strips for the same reason. In this case, Chrome’s nasal strip may keep him from (wait for it) ... losing by a nose.

    May 25, 2014

  • He made a big splash by asking this question

    “I don’t know who you were talking to last night,” said Capt. Gary, “but you were talking and moaning in your sleep. Never heard you do that before.” Neither has anyone else, I said. Besides, I had told him not to be surprised if we had visitors. I wasn’t at the top of my game for a couple of days, and he said some of our friends asked him if I was all right. It’s not the first time for this, so now I’ll know to watch out for it. It can affect you and is not something to play around with — as our friend Cathy found out.

    May 18, 2014

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