Chester Martin Remembers How Time Treats People

Friday, May 13, 2016 - by Chester Martin

This is the eternal lament of all the world's older citizens I know. But it is worthwhile to tell it again for any younger people in the audience who might be inclined to listen - or who believe it will never happen to THEM!  I will tell it from my own personal perspective.

When you are a kid, something that is a month away seems an eternity, but when you get older, it is only a couple of good naps and as many good meals! Christmas took forever to get here when I was a kid, but now it rolls around again every other month, it seems.

I distinctly remember my mom telling me when I was about 10 or 12 years old that I "might" live to see the year 2000, but that was still 50-odd years in the future - an Eternity.

I could not even comprehend it. Now the year of 2000 is so far in the past I do not have any clear memory of it! I can only look at an old dog that was named "Milly" in honor of the Millennium without having one single definite memory of that year - except for the dog. I even have to stop and do some grade-school arithmetic to decide how old I was at that time...

Then - many years later in 1957 - while in the US Air Force - I was assigned to the 1999th Airways and Air Communications Squadron at Sewart AFB, Smyrna, Tennessee. In 1957 I used to contemplate those numbers, "1999", and they made me think of a year then so far in the future it blew my mind - except that it came just before that enigmatic year of 2000 that my mother had told me about. There were still the 1960's, 1970's, '80's, etc, to contend with first, and I wondered if I would ever see that year of 2000 face-to-face...

Those intervening years between 1957 and 2000 represent the bulk of my working life - and are now so far in the past that everything seems like one garbled jumble of total confusion. I actually have to sit down and write stories like this one to reconstruct and straighten out what actually happened, and in what order. It is like the proverbial can of worms.

I now work at my artist's desk at least four hours every day, seven days a week. As I work - usually late at night - frequently into the wee hours - I listen to the radio and cannot believe how rapidly those shows like the Friday night "Red Zones"  come around in football season! It seems like every other day there is another set of football scores to listen to. Monday finally comes, followed immediately by Friday, and weekends are usually so confusing I am happy to see Monday get here again!

So, you see, I guess my main point in writing this is to tell you that Time likes to play tricks on us, and we can never be exactly sure just what stage of life we are in! Some of my one-time closest friends are no longer around. Most, in fact!  Some of those I always imagined to be much stronger than me physically are now gone! (I remember when my dad was going through this same stage of life how he would talk about all his closest friends having died off - and he lived on without them until he was 92!). I have a few ailments to be sure, but my painting keeps my mind active, always planning new work, which keeps me from dwelling on the bad stuff. Most importantly, I have been blessed to have a good wife for well over 50 years who takes good care of me! All people should be so lucky as to have a spouse as good as "Miss Pat" (Patricia) Parnell Martin - of Red Bank!

My plan is to simply keep going as long as I can and hopefully never get caught up in those "institutional" situations where old people sit around and compare their physical ailments all day. I am still looking forward, while enjoying writing these Memories where I look backward  for a few minutes at a time. I feel as though I am following old Charles Dickens' recipe laid out in "A Christmas Carol" - about living in the Past, the Present and the Future. "Milly", the millennial dog  (above), now 15, is still enjoying life - and so am I!

(Chester Martin is a native Chattanoogan who is a talented painter as well as local historian. He and his wife, Pat, live in Brainerd. Mr. Martin can be reached at cymppm@comcast.net )

 

Chester Martin
Chester Martin

Remembering The Mosmans In St. Elmo

Chester Martin Remembers A St. Elmo Family Friend - Kate Gothard

Newest State Museum Exhibit Focuses On Gubernatorial Inaugurations


To Chester Martin, Re: St. Elmo article: I so enjoy reading your column in the Chattanoogan. This day's blog is of particular interest in that my family, Mosman, started their Southern ... (click for more)

Kate Gothard was my mother's closest lifetime friend. They first met through attendance at the St. Elmo Methodist Church, going on through grades 1-6 at the North St. Elmo Grammar School (about ... (click for more)

The Tennessee State Library and Archives announced its newest exhibit, Governors of Tennessee , in conjunction with the 2019 Gubernatorial Inauguration. Governors of Tennessee , opens to the ... (click for more)


Memories

Remembering The Mosmans In St. Elmo

To Chester Martin, Re: St. Elmo article: I so enjoy reading your column in the Chattanoogan. This day's blog is of particular interest in that my family, Mosman, started their Southern heritage in St. Elmo. My great-grandfather, Judson Adoniram Mosman, had been a prisoner of the confederacy at Andersonville, Ga and on his furlough and subsequent trip home to Maine and Massachusetts, ... (click for more)

Chester Martin Remembers A St. Elmo Family Friend - Kate Gothard

Kate Gothard was my mother's closest lifetime friend. They first met through attendance at the St. Elmo Methodist Church, going on through grades 1-6 at the North St. Elmo Grammar School (about 1907), and maintained their "best friends" status all the way through High School - at Central - where they both graduated in 1913. The picture shown here is of Kate in sixth grade at the ... (click for more)

Breaking News

City Council Approves M-1 Zoning For Harriet Tubman Site

The City Council on Tuesday night approved M-1 zoning for the 44-acre site of the former Harriet Tubman public housing project in East Chattanooga. Conditions include a list of unwanted industrial users that would not be allowed and the requirement of a transportation study before closing with a jobs prospect. Dumpsters would be at least 200 feet from a nearby home. Council ... (click for more)

Driver Flees From Collegedale Police; Runs Over Passenger Near Volkswagen; Caught At Shepherd Road

A driver sped off from Collegedale Police on Tuesday afternoon, then ran over a passenger who tried to get out of the speeding car, and finally was captured near Shepherd Road. The car chase started out on Little Debbie Parkway as a traffic stop for multiple traffic offenses. As officers approached the vehicle, the car took off. The registration displayed on the vehicle came ... (click for more)

Opinion

The Culture Of Policing In Chattanooga - And Response (3)

I totally agree with the sentiments expressed by Brenda Washington. Over the years, I have noticed that people tend to ignore or dismiss what she says, or attack her. This is unfortunate, because she is alerting people of the problems within the culture of policing in Chattanooga, whether it is in Hamilton County or the city of Chattanooga. There are good, honest police officers ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Me and Bob McKamey

In 2009 some guy called 911 to report that his accelerator pedal on his Toyota was stuck and he couldn’t get the car to stop. He said his brakes weren’t working. Ultimately, his car crashed into another and then plunged into a ravine. Everyone inside the vehicle was killed. The call went viral and birthed the biggest scam ever perpetuated on the American people. I thought the ... (click for more)