Remembering Larry on his birthday

I imagine every mother thinks back to the time when her child was born as a birthday rolls around each year.

You remember the cute way they curled their tiny fists up into a ball, the funny faces they made before crying and the delightful feeling that came about when the child looked into your eyes. All these thoughts don’t come every year, but there is always something of their birth that comes back on their day.

All these thought plus a thousand more over the years came back to me on April 7, the day of our now deceased son Larry’s birth 52 years ago.

It could happen and does on occasion but a mother never thinks there might come a time when she will lose a child. And it takes more than a lifetime to wipe away the thought that they are gone.

The ironic thing is I was eating Grape Nuts for breakfast when the first pains of a baby deciding to arrive hit that snowy day in 1961. I suddenly realized that I was eating the same cereal again on his 52nd birthday.

We went to Holly Memorial Garden to visit Larry, and I took equipment to clean up his beautiful bronze marker that had mud encrusted in the letters and the pine tree decorations. Being the perfectionist that he had been, I knew he would not have been happy with the state of the marker.

With a folded towel under my knees and a tooth brush in hand, I brushed and scraped until all the debris was removed – then I used a bottle of water and towel to make it shine.

I was talking to him some of the time when I was working – telling him things that he would have told me not to worry about or have laughed out loud over. Larry always let you know what he was thinking. There was no holding back, but he would do it in a kind way.

When we came home, I sent texts to some of his friends and his uncle Roger, who remembered the day as well.

Lamont and I were touched when Tim Cybulski sent us a text showing that Larry’s boss at TIMET, Doug Misconish, sent out a notice to his department reminding them to “Remember our friend Larry on his birthday. Rest in peace Larry.”

Yes, may you rest in peace. You were always buzzing around doing things in life, may you now have your rest. But knowing you, Larry, you will be looking up old friends and relatives who have gone on before you.

You never liked your birthday to be celebrated. I either hope that changes or you never tell your birthday date up there.

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Speaking of birthdays, I had a small surprise birthday tea party for my sister-in-law, Norma McHugh, on April 5, not her actual birthday. Cathy Takach, Brightway project manager, had some of the 1950s songs playing for us on the sound system, and two were very appropriate, “Happy Birthday Baby” and another that I thought could be turned around from “16 Candles” to “60 Candles” for my birthday honoree. She told me that my brother, Dale, played the candle song for her the first time they dated. Good choice in your songs, Cathy.

Lamont drove me to Brightway and noticed that the tire on my car was flat when he went out to bring in more food and paper products. Rick Pastre, our car repair wizard, came out and filled it long enough to get to the station and made repairs. It was my car and apparently, I had hit a large pothole and bent the rim into the tire and made it start to leak.

Lamont tells everyone that I never let a hole in the road go by without hitting it.

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On our way to the cemetery last Sunday, we passed the Dillonvale American Legion Post and saw darling little girls in their Daisy and Brownie uniforms holding signs to promote a spaghetti dinner that was going on at that time. We had intentions of going to the Farm Inn, but they looked so appealing that we stopped there instead.

The food was good and plentiful, and I ended up winning a prize in the Chinese auction.

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I made a mistake in reporting something Elec Simon was telling about the suicide of a school friend who had a great impact on his life and made him start to promote seminars to prevent bullying at Brightway’s Fun Fest.

I was seated to the side, and the sound system was not working well, so I thought he said it was a Buckeye Local wrestler who committed suicide. This was not right. A friend, who was a wrestler, came to him to give him the news. I apologize for getting it mixed up.

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I was at Buckeye Local for the second time when Jack Campbell of the Brilliant American Legion Post 573 asked me to attend in regards to the selection of Buckeye Girl and Boy State candidates.

I was quite impressed with the students who were chosen. One young man was attired in a striking black suit, with a black shirt and gray tie, while the rest were in dressed up shirts and ties or dressier jeans and cotton shirts.

The girls were all impressive in their outfits of skirts, dress slacks and tops and dresses with jackets.

I stood on the top of a concrete wall to take the picture, leaning back on the metal rail. Coy Sudvary, principal, helped me down before I fell backwards into the rhododendron bushes.

I haven’t climbed up on anything to take pictures in a long time.

At one time, I would think nothing of climbing on a fence or something high to shoot a picture.

Once at the fairgrounds, I used a concrete block to get up on a barrel. I stood balanced there to take photos and then realized there was no easy way to get down.

If I went to the edge of the barrel to step down, it started to tip, and it was too far to jump for someone of my age.

After laughing at my expense, the men who were building a barn or some structure where I was taking the picture finally helped me down. For once, it was not Ray “Rainbow” Hilderbrand who was doing the laughing. He wasn’t even there.

(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is a staff clumnist and food editor with the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at