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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Visit to Romania Upcoming!

Health and other circumstances permitting, I shall be based in Cluj for ten days, starting at the end of August.

Air tickets are bought, and accommodations have been arranged.

God willing, I'll see again many folks whom I dearly love, and sorely miss.

I was able to spend time in Romania, sometimes only days, other years full semesters, in 2008, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14, and '15.  I missed getting there in 2016 due to problems of family health (including my own).  So, I cannot wait to visit Romania, my second homeland, in 2017!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Mission Mishap in PGR Service for a Great Neighbor

10 July 2017

This morning, with my fellow N.H. Patriot Guard Riders, I stood in a flag line at the N.H. Veterans' Cemetery for the late Commander Robert Bergeron of Holderness, the next town south of Campton, New Hampshire, where I live.

Commander Bergeron was a U.S. Navy carrier pilot from January, 1942, until the end of the Korean War. He served in the Navy a total of 28 years, and then became a volunteer and a board member at the Plymouth Area Senior Center for 33 years! He died at 96 years of age.

As we withdrew from the chapel in single file, still holding tall flags at our right sides, Paul Baptiste, our ride captain, had me lead the procession, because with my limp, I had not been able to keep up the pace as we had marched in. I got about 2/3s of the way back to the parking area, when I stumbled and fell onto the concrete sidewalk, dropping my flag to the ground, which shamed me greatly.

I was helped to my feet, and kindly escorted by a comrade back to my car, making sure that my flag had been retrieved and kissed. I suffered only skinned knuckles and a wrist, but as I take a blood thinner to ward off clots, and thus strokes, both bled freely.

I was able soon to stem the bleeding, and drove safely home to Campton, stopping only at the Senior Center, to give a lady there the red carnation that I'd been given by Commander Bergeron's daughter, after the close of the service.

Tonight, I received this wonderful message from our Ride Captain, Paul:

"Hi Duncan,

Just want to touch base with you to make sure you got home okay. You almost fell the last time we stood a flag line. I think maybe from now on we should have someone carry a flag for you to and from the line. That way you would be able to concentrate on your walking without the added distraction of the flag. I can make sure this happens when I'm the Ride Captain; but when I'm not there, we'll have to work up a protocol where all the other Ride Captains will know that you'll need a little extra assistance. 

I sure hope you don't get discouraged and stop attending the flag lines because we can't afford to lose someone with your dedication to our mission.

Thanks for all that you do.

Photo is of an F4U Corsair, a magnificent carrier fighter that served both Navy and Marine squadrons in both WWII and the Korean War.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Campton Historical Society Talk on Beebe River

In about an hour I shall attend a talk on the Beebe River bobbin plant here in Campton, and on the history of the "once-idyllic company town" that it sponsored. I served as manager of that bobbin mill from 1972 through 1975. Its downfall was to me a sad but educational series of events that led to the subject of my doctoral dissertation: "Manufavturing Strategy in Diversified Firms, Linkages Between Competitive Strategy and Manufacturing Planning in the Divisions."  I hope I can sit through the talk without crying!

Postscript:  After thinking about my three years at Beebe River for at least three days before the event, I believe it went well for me.  No tears, and I shook hands with many old friends, former associates, and softball teammates.  I contributed one of my Draper shuttles with a package of filament yarn on its bobbin to the Historical Society.  I was happy to see that they have a display case full of many types of bobbins, as well as a few blanks, but I saw no shuttles (which were made at Draper's plant in Marion, S. C.).  Among other comments, I explained to the audience the role that bobbins played in the spinning and weaving processes of our textile industry customers.

When I sat down, the audience were kind to applaud.  Thank you, Tink Taylor, for serving as moderator of this event!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Good News!

My neurologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Dr. Rojas-Soto, says that "a healing stroke" is a possibility.  However, she offers an alternative to my theory of clots having been washed away by this latest event.  She suggests that the improvement may well relate to the drugs they have had me on since that stroke.

I saw MRI images of my brain last week. It has a dime-sized black spot in its left frontal region. The doctor tells me that black indicates blood. She said that it was a very small hemorrhage, and that given my condition only three weeks later, that the prognosis is good. 

I am now hoping for a full recovery!

Praise God!

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Healing Stroke?

They say that God draws straight with crooked lines.

On the 10th of this month, a Wednesday, I felt lousy, suspected another stroke, and called 911.  The ambulance from the Campton-Thornton Fire Dept. came and took me to Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth.  There some tests were done, a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) was diagnosed, and I was sent home.  I have only the vaguest of memories of those events, and none of the ensuing two days, except that I was asleep in the living room, and did not eat, nor take my meds for at least 48 hours.

My first memory is of my wetting myself on the couch, Friday afternoon, May 12th.  I managed to stagger into the bathroom, changed into dry clothes, and ate one of our "meals-on-wheels."  Shirl tells me that I slept that night in our bed.  On Saturday morning, 13 May, Shirl again called 911, and had me taken back to Speare.  All I recall is their being skeptical, but deciding this time to do a CT scan of my head.  Thereafter, the attending physician in the E.R. told me, "You're right.  You've had a bleeder.  We're sending you directly to DHMC (Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center)."

My next four or five days were spent in the outstanding Neurology Department on 5W at DHMC in Lebanon.  I remember those days somewhat vaguely, but I clearly recall being thoroughly satisfied with the staff.  From doctors to cleaners, they displayed high morale, and a genuine concern for us patients.

By Tuesday the 16th, my condition had stabilized enough that the neurologists told me that they were going to prescribe one week in rehabilitation.  I immediately said, "HealthSouth!"  That rehab hospital in Concord, NH, is where I had spent four weeks last September, when I had my first stroke.

HealthSouth was able to take me on short notice, and I stayed there from  17 to 23 May.  I was discharged this past Tuesday, and picked up by Marcia Litchfield, a friend for decades, and the widow of PSU professor Craig Zamzow, our former Director of the Small Business Institute, and my golf partner for five years.  Marcia, you are a sweetheart, and both Shirl and I are most grateful for your help!


My memory seems spottier than it was after the September stroke, but my right hand is far less swollen, more flexible, and stronger.  I hope to find that this "bleeder" brought some unblocking of blood vessels in my brain that have been blocked since last summer.  Amen, Lord!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

April News

These four deer feeding on the stubble of our lawn indicate good news.  It appears that spring is finally here to stay, following a long and snowy winter, during which the plow drifts in our driveway exceeded the height of my car!
 That is the 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe that many of you who have visited our home will recognize, as I have driven it since 2007, before ever venturing to Romania!  But this spring I took the car for some touch-up work on two small rust spots, and my body shop owner, a former near neighbor, said, "Time for a new car!"  He warned me that the rust, though not yet visible, was well-established in the car's body, and would soon show through again.  So, I took the beloved little SUV to Mark at J&M Imports, my trusted mechanic, and asked his opinion.  Mark inspected the car thoroughly, and told me it had a broken front spring, warped brake rotors, a rattling driveshaft, needed four tires, and was overdue for a new timing belt and water pump.  All of these are wear parts, which at 197,800 miles (over 318,000 Km.) had simply worn out.  But, he estimated the cost of complete mechanical repair at about $4000.  Here is the rest of the story:
Free Ad Dept. My Facebook feedback to Cantin Chevrolet in Laconia:
Duncan C. McDougall
I came into Cantin Chevrolet looking for a used white Equinox to replace my beloved, but worn out white 2005 Santa Fe. Thus, I met Jeff Roberts in the Pre-owned Vehicle Dept. He showed me several Equinoxes, but had none in white. Understanding my needs, he remembered that there was a new white 2017 LS model in inventory across the street with the April 16% Off promotional sticker on it. He took me over there, and I made up my mind quickly to spend several thousand more than I came in expecting to spend. And I am delighted that I did so! Jeff then took me through the purchase process quickly, and we had fun doing it, kidding with Cheryl and others in the showroom. I bought my new car because of Jeff! I cannot imagine a more professional sales person! -Duncan C. McDougall, Grille Room Foreman, Plant 2A, Chevrolet-Flint Pressed Metal (1968 model year).

I also posted these words in the comments section of the satisfaction survey that I was sent by the dealership.  When someone treats me well, and shows that he cares, I believe in giving him credit for it!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Joy of Being a Teacher!

Mr. Bruce Mogayzel of Florida was our MBA student at Plymouth State College (now P.S.U.) in the class of 1980. It has been close to thirty years since I have seen him.   He helped out at our house, and stayed with us awhile, when we lived in our little chalet off of Bog Road, in Campton, while Shirley was pregnant with our third child, Piper.  Today, completely by surprise, I found this message in my e-mail:

Hi Duncan

For some reason part of your blog appeared in the browser.  I'm glad it did.  It gave me some insight to your activities over the last years. Some good and some not so good. 

Your Fulbright Scholarship and all it brought to you sounds fantastic and something that was well deserved. 

Shirley's and your health issues sound challenging but you seem to be positive and coping.  Your attitude and writings are more spiritual than I remember.  That's a good thing

As I look back over the years meeting you (and Shirley) when I entered graduate school was just what I needed.  I'm not sure how I would have survived that ugly and bumpy period of my life. Thanks for reaching out and being there for me when I needed it.   I enjoyed being a McDougall, I guess part of me will always be a McDougall. 

My life's journey has been like a roller coaster but now there aren't as many spikes and curves and "danger ahead" signs as there used to be.  My MBA opened doors for me and served as my career's foundation.   I now remember my time at PSC fondly. 

I left Disney in 2004 and returned to Boston because of family health issues and was my mother's part-time care giver. When she passed I left my VP position at State Street Bank (SSGA) and headed to a warmer climate.

I'm semi-retired and live a quiet life in Vero Beach FL with my "rescued" Bengal  cat. My health is a challenge at times when my Autoimmune system decides to act up and attacks my internal systems. Sometimes my blood tests indicates that I have Lupus and other times it's barely noticeable. 

My life is more spiritual now and I volunteer for my church, the Florida Cancer Foundation as well as the Riverside Theatre. 

Thanks for being there when I needed you Professor. Wish Shirley well for me.


Sent from my iPhone

(Published with the author's permission.)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Hacked in PayPal? Here's the answer!

My adult daughter's checking account out in Colorado was wiped out last night.  A hacker, working through PayPal, successfully withdrew over $3000.00 from her checking account.

Needless to say, she is actively pursuing recovery of her money.

I have made use of PayPal often.  It has been very useful and convenient for sending money to friends and relatives, as on birthdays and the like.  My PayPal account has long been linked to my checking account, so that money sent would appear on my bank statements, and monies received could easily be deposited.  Today, after reporting my daughter's disaster to my bank's customer service rep, I have cancelled that link between my checking account and PayPal, as well as two credit card links.

My bank's representative has informed me that the safest link is to my debit card. Debit transactions are limited to a total of $1,000.00 per day, she says, and if fraudulent use occurs, the bank can simply cancel the card, issue me a new one, and the leak will be plugged.  Recovery of the stolen amount, she says, usually takes only one day.

This high-tech world we live in has many wonderful aspects, but is not without its risks.  I wish my blog readers secure banking, and freedom from fraud!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Ring's True

Ring's True
Duncan C. McDougall

My wedding ring went on me,
One October day,
And well have I worn it,
At both work and play.

Since Seventy-Three
Which now matches my age,
The ring has been on me,
Through many a page.

I lived here in Campton,
At Beebe River I worked,
When Shirl-Girl said "Yes!"
Knowing happiness lurked,

In these White Mountains,
In a little chalet,
That was to be home to
Four children one day!

Shirl gave me this ring,
"With this ring I thee wed,"
At our wedding in Westborough,
Where she had been bred.

Then I wore it in Pittsburgh,
A coal industry guy,
It came along with me,
As I learned how to fly.

In Tulsa it helped me,
To pass the exam,
To become a pilot,
All life-long my dream.

It came home to Campton,
In Seventy-Six,
Where I started my teaching,
And soon found my niche.

As assistant professor,
At old P. S. C.
My ring felt a sense,
Of good things soon to be.

Jamie was born here,
In Laconia town,
Then Jesse followed,
Not tying us down!

We moved down to Westboruogh,
Where our family grew,
And I wore this fine ring,
Teaching now at B. U.

I went for my doctorate,
At H. B. S.,
Which took me six years,
Productive at best!

Piper and Alex 
Were born in that time,
With Shirl and me bonding,
By ring, and by rhyme.

There's more to this story,
This ring round the world,
To Romania, Panama,
 It sees flags unfurled,

In Italy, Greece, 
Bulgaria, too,
Shirley's companionship,
Always comes through.

Cute, smart, and funny,
Dear Shirley, my wife!
I love you, old ring,
Please see me through life.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Baha'i Queen of Romania

My friend Titiana Șilimon-Morariu sent me this article.  I found it relevant at this point in this blog.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Baha'i Parallel

From: Duncan C McDougall []
Sent: Saturday, March 04, 2017 3:30 PM
To: House of Worship Activities
Subject: My poem perhaps parallels Baha'i thinking?
Dear friends at the Baha'i Temple,
I am a 73 year-old retired professor who grew up in Wilmette. In 2008-09 I had the honor of teaching in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, the historical capital of Transylvania. I have returned for a part of each year thereafter, with the exception of 2016.
While visiting over the Christmas season in 2012, my Muse visited me with the poem at the link below:
A Poem for the Holidays (Link below)
I am in no way an expert in Baha'i teachings, but based upon what my mother taught me as a boy, it occurs to me that my poem's theme may parallel the teachings in your beautiful nine-sided dome.
I would love to hear from you about that, whether you agree or disagree.
Sincerely yours,
Duncan (NT '61)
Messchecking our E-mail and assume that no one else on the staff has responded. I enjoyed reading it and indeed the sentiments expressed the inclusiveness of the Bahá'í Teachings. Your mother indeed taught you well. I think the core Teaching is that Humanity now must recognize that we are citizens of one World as Bahá’u’lláh has said “The Earth is but one country and Mankind its citizens” and he went on to say “Let your vision be world embracing and not concerned with your own selves.”
With very best wishes
Christopher Vodden
Director of the Activities Office
Baha’i House of Worship Welcome Center
100 Linden Ave Wilmette, IL 60091

Thursday, March 2, 2017

So Nice of Her!

A writer seeking solitude in a small town finds himself developing a deep and unlikely bond with his elderly neighbor.

(A special young friend sent this link. I was touched that she would do so.)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Stroke Update: Thoughts of Saturday Evening, 25 February 2017

As I reported in Facebook, I turned 73.5 years old today.😉

Next Friday it will be six months since I experienced the first symptoms of my stroke.  I sit here at my laptop and type in Blogger, largely with my left hand, but actually assisting with my right.  I am able to walk.  Today I drove my sweet old Hyundai Santa Fe to Walmart in Plymouth, then eschewed the powered carts and walked a regular shopping cart to both ends of the store in order to fulfill Shirl's list.  For a guy whose right limbs were totally non-functioning last September 5th (two days into my stroke experience), I consider myself blessed.  I was hemiplegic.  Now, I am much better-off.

Moving and using my right arm and hand still are challenging, and subject to limits of flexibility causing pain when I try to extend them.  My walk still has a bit of a limp to it, and my balance is still imperfect, making the use of a cane helpful.  But I can walk!  And I can wash with both hands!  And I see improvement every week!

Praise be to God!  And to all my loyal friends and family, thank you for your support!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Realization

Aging brings with it lots of nagging little irritations, such as stiff joints, aches and pains, and strokes.  One might be tempted to complain.  I cannot.

Our Creator has blessed me with an amazing life.  This blog and its predecessor ( report much about my blessings of the past decade, but those are but the latest in a series of blessings far too long to enumerate.  Please indulge me as I cite a few.

As a boy I was blessed to attend the outstanding Wilmette Public Schools, in Wilmette, Illinois, and to learn to swim at the Evanston YMCA, and in Lake Michigan at Wilmette Beach.  As a teenager at New Trier Township High School, I went out for their famous swimming team.  Coach Robertson timed me, as a freshman, in both freestyle and breaststroke.  I will never forget his looking at his stopwatch, then asking me, "Do you like to dive?"  Three years later, this was the outcome:

I was a pretty good student, at least after my first year, when my 2.50 first-semester GPA caused my father to insist that I quit the freshman swim team, and focus on my studies.  I guess his wisdom proved out, as I scored well enough in later years and on the SATs to be admitted to Amherst College in Massachusetts.  At Amherst I continued to dive, but got into motorcycling, and was, at best, only a so-so student.  In searching for a subject in which to "major", I took the first course in most of the sciences, as well as many courses in the liberal arts.  When the day came that I had to declare my major, I learned that there was but one department whose major requirements not yet taken would fit in my remaining semesters, and allow me to graduate in the Class of '65, and that is how I came to be a Fine Arts major.

I am not an artist.  But I had taken Technical Drawing at New Trier, and I knew how to use a T-square and triangle.  So, I took the general fine arts classes at Amherst, and an architectural drawing class down the road at Smith College, a famous women's college in Northampton, Mass.  In fact, I was working on an examination drawing in that class on 22 November, 1963, when a student opened the door to our classroom, and reported, "President Kennedy has been shot to death."  John Kennedy was from Massachusetts.  My classmates were appalled, and released from the exam by our professor.  I asked him if I might stay and complete my drawing, since returning would require another trip from Amherst.  He consented, and I did so.  I do recall, however, that in the perspective drawing I forgot to put a "vanishing line" in at eye level, and hence produced a ground-level view of the fast food restaurant we were drawing.  As it happened, I caught my own error, and labeled the perspective "worm's-eye view."  The good professor did not penalize me for this error.

So, I had sat through many slide shows and heard many lectures regarding the fine arts as practiced through the centuries, all around the world.  Hence, forty-five years later, when I visited the Romanian Orthodox churches of northern and eastern Romania, doing so as a visiting professor of business on a Fulbright Scholarship, I knew of the tradition of illuminating the walls with frescoes, a tradition that had led to such amazing murals as these:

 I was thrilled, therefore, when at the Putna Monastery in Județ Suceava, my students and I came upon the master painter Mihai Moroșan at work, creating exactly such a level of art.
The blessing of this chance meeting has only grown since that day, as Master Moroșan and his wonderful wife Waltraudi have come to be among my closest and most-cherished friends in Romania.

So, where am I going with this reminiscence?

I am in recovery from a stroke of 3 September, 2016.  I have come far, but was not until this week sure that I wanted to continue living.

It has been difficult since September.  Then, two days ago, the Lord visited my brain with the realization that He has been playing an active role in my life for many, many years.  I realized that I have Him to thank for the many wonderful interpersonal relationships I have had, the breadth of professional experiences I have had both in manufacturing and in teaching, my wide-ranging travels, the six marvelous children I have fathered, etc., etc., etc.

I told my beloved wife Shirl two days ago, "I am going to get well, and I am going to stay alive, because I believe that God has some use for me still, and I owe it to Him to stay alive to fulfill that purpose, whatever it may turn out to be."


Monday, January 16, 2017

An Important Thing To Do

Yesterday we received the news that my wife Shirl's brother, David Kimball, just days shy of 70 years old, has been admitted to the hospital with blood clots in his lungs.  He awoke yesterday barely able to breathe.

I do not know much yet about Dave's condition, nor about its cause.  I do not know if he was able to drive himself to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) where he spent last night.  But after my 07:15 physical therapy appointment this morning, I called DHMC and learned that he is able to receive visitors all day, today.  DHMC is just over an hour from here by car, and I shall head over there, leaving in three minutes.

As an inpatient at HealthSouth in Concord for the month of September, 2016, I learned how important such visits can be.