Terry was my husband for 44 years. So many years, yet I remember the day we married with such clarity. Terry looked so handsome in his tuxedo and freshly trimmed mustache and long sideburns as he waited for me to walk down the aisle with my father. He wanted to marry me even after an infamous encounter with my father. I had made a chess board and chess set for Terry for Christmas and some of the pieces weren’t quite perfect. When Terry came to the house to exchange Christmas gifts, my father met him at the door and told him “You WILL like the gift Peggy made for you.” Shaken but not deterred, Terry expressed his appreciation and love of my gift and asked my father for my hand. That was Terry. When he decided he wanted to do something, he did it.
Terry was so good for me and to me. He was a good person. I always told him that I would never have become the person I became without him. He had faith and confidence in me, when I didn’t have it in myself. He introduced me to so many things I had never experienced.
I met Terry when we were both in graduate school at Temple University. He had completed his undergraduate degree in psychology at Bethany College in West Virginia and was just finishing his master’s degree and was accepted to continue on for his doctorate, a Ph.D. in Psychoeducational Processes. I was just starting the master’s program at Temple. We had a class on Child Psychology together and he would always come in right before class started surrounded by several other female students. He had so many female friends. I was surprised when I saw him in the cafeteria by himself after class one evening. He recognized me and asked me to join him. That was the start of an over 40 year relationship.
Do you know what the number one fear is? It is public speaking. That was certainly one of my top fears, but not for Terry. He loved to teach and accepted any opportunity to teach classes or conduct workshops. He was determined to help me overcome my fear. Terry encouraged me, prodded me, helped me, and pushed me to speak in public. Through little steps and lots of reinforcement from him, he succeeded in teaching me public speaking skills. I never would have gotten a doctorate, taught at various colleges and universities, and certainly never would have become a Training and Development Director and Human Resources Director without the ability to speak in public. I owe much of my professional success to Terry.
Terry became a Licensed Psychologist, had his own private practice, and worked with institutionalized patients at Clarks Summit State Hospital and Wernersville State Hospital. I don’t know how he could do it. The severity of the problems his patient had seemed overwhelming to me, but he had all of the patience in the world and never gave up on anyone. He took such delight in watching his patients make progress, no matter how big or small the breakthroughs were. Thank goodness we are all different and excel in different fields. I could never have done what he did. Indeed, I was always very uncomfortable when I encountered his patients at various hospital events. He found it amusing when his patients could back me up against a wall because their sense of personal space was very different from my German/English sense of personal space. He always kept an eye on me, and would come to my rescue when he could see I was beginning to feel trapped. Terry was amazing in his ability to work with his patients. He continued working even when his disease limited his physical ability to get around at the hospital.
When we moved from Philadelphia to Brodheadsville, in the Poconos, Terry was working as the Psychologist for a Sheltered Workshop and I was still pursuing my degrees at Temple. Some of his coworkers took Terry skiing. Previously, his sport of choice was bowling and he was pretty good at it. Well, once he tried downhill skiing, he fell in love with it and was very good at it, even skiing black diamond slopes. As more of a city girl, I was bored out of my mind in the Poconos, so Terry convinced me to try skiing. Although I didn’t take to it like he did, we were able to enjoy skiing together for many years.
Terry loved to travel. His family traveled a lot when he was a kid and he enjoyed it immensely. When we married, in 1972, I had only been to the shore in New Jersey and out to Illinois on our annual family summer trip. The idea of traveling out of the country was scary to me, but not to Terry. He wanted to see the world and he helped instill the love of travel in me, too. We had a goal to visit all 50 states, which we accomplished, and to see as many countries as possible. Because of him we spent several vacations in Europe, Scandinavia (especially, Norway, which we both loved), South and Central America, Canada, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and many islands. Sometimes we cruised, sometimes we flew, sometimes we traveled by train or bus or car, but we always traveled--even when travel became difficult for him as his muscular dystrophy continued its relentless attack on his body. He announced several times, that we had taken our last trip, but then someplace else would attract his attention, and off we would go again. Such was the case for our last major trip. Terry saw a flyer for a trip to Africa and he showed it to me and said, “Doesn’t this look wonderful. I’d really like to go there and see the animals.” So that is what we did, and he was right. It was a fantastic trip—right up there with the Galapagos which we had always said was our favorite trip.
Our ideas about planning a trip were very different at first. I was the planner. Wherever we were going, I would research and plan out everything we would do and when we would do it. Terry liked spontaneity. After a few planned trips, Terry convinced me (insisted, actually) to try an unplanned trip. We were doing a four state trip to North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. We had our flight to and from South Dakota and reservations for a rental car. That’s it, for a two week trip. I imagined all kinds of obstacles and catastrophes. But we got in the rental car and just drove, stopping along the way to talk with people and ask them what we should see and how to get there. It was one of our best trip in the US. He taught me that everything needn’t be planned out and some of the best times can be had by just going with the flow and trusting that people will enjoy helping us and sharing their experiences and expertise with us.
Terry usually liked simple foods. A nice steak was one of his favorite meals, and he liked plain food. Nothing spicy! When traveling, he would always come home with his belt let out a notch. That is except for our trip to New Orleans. He always asked the waitresses what were the NOT spicy foods on the menu, but their idea of not spicy and our idea of not spicy were two very different things. That was the only vacation where he lost weight instead of gaining weight. One of the more unusual things he enjoyed was the artichoke. I had never even seen an artichoke until he introduced me to it and then I too, became a fan of the artichoke.
Terry loved Dixieland Jazz music. He always said if Dixieland Jazz didn’t make you happy, then you were dead. We made many trips to the Finger Lake region of New York and to Connecticut to attend Dixieland Jazz Festivals. We even attended one in Missouri. He had so many CDs we could have listened to the music all day without repeating a CD.
Another of his loves was reading. Science Fiction, Civil War, Napoleon Bonaparte, and biographies, were some of his favorite topics. He always had a book in his hand whenever there was down time. I remember he especially loved Mercedes Lackey’s science fiction books and must have read everything she wrote. And he was a fast reader. He would read several books per week. We made many trips to the used book store, to Barnes and Nobel, and the library, always bringing home new treasures to read.
So, those are some of the reasons Terry was such a special person and the love of my life. My life would have been far different without him. He made my life rich and rewarding. I will miss him terribly, but know he is now without pain and physical limitations so he can travel wherever he chooses among the clouds.