My dad, James Whitmore, Part Fourteen


Then, there’s Sean. A conundrum for sure.

He used to pound his empty formula bottle on the side of the bed in the middle of the night, screaming “Ba Ba.” My wife at the time and the mother of my children would have none of it. “Let him scream,” she would rightly say. But I got up and refreshed his bottle. I loved ‘em to death and wanted him content. It also stopped the screaming.

I was the managing editor of both the local paper and the radio station when Sean was to enter this world. We were living in the outback of South-Eastern Oregon in the high desert. I think our town, the capital of the county, had a population of 2,800. Many of the residents were on government assistance.

A mishap occurred during his birth when they administered too much of something and my poor wife at the time could not breath. She leaned over and whispered to me, “I can’t breath. Can you tell someone.” I did and immediately they began to administer to her. Problem was: baby on the way. The main doctor, who was later to be brought up on charges of illegal hunting, handed me a tool and said something like, “put this device on the top of his head and pull him out. We have to take care of your wife.” I did as instructed and brought Sean into the world, screaming from the beginning,

He also did not take to public school. In fact, his first grade teacher was holding him through lunch as some form of punishment. I telephoned the teacher one night to discuss the situation and she appeared to be drunk. Poor thing.

I knew right away this was not going to work. I looked around for a private school and found one that suited him perfectly. Again, could not afford the enrollment fees. Again, step in pop. He footed the bill for Sean to attend school until he graduated from the eighth grade, went to public middle school, didn’t like it but found a public school on a college campus designed for advanced students. He went and graduated with high marks and went to University of California at Santa Cruz. My dad footed the bill for his private school, his college and while attending UC Santa Cruz, he paid for all his expenses.

Just as a side note, my pop did that for all his grandchildren. He was the real deal. And I didn’t even know it at the time – sometimes I did, sometimes I didn’t.

Thank you, pop. I love you and miss you.

Part Fifteen: Back to the streets of Teheran or Tehran, whichever you choose, and the ambassador’s daughter.


About stevewhitmore

Former award-winning newspaperman and broadcast journalist, both radio and TV, spanning three decades. Army-trained paralegal, court bailiff and prosecutor's lead investigator for the 8th Infantry Division's Judge Advocate General's Corp., Mainz, Germany. 1973-1975.
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