"And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, 'Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!' So God granted him what he requested." 1 Chronicles 4:10 (NKJV)
To God be the glory...
-Jane Corder Moore
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.71(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Enlarge My Territory
A Love Story
By Jane Corder Moore
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2016 Jane Corder Moore
All rights reserved.
My first date with Jimmie Ray Moore was a "sorta" blind date. It was arranged by our Morgantown (WV) High School friend, Gale Wilson. I had dated Gale during the summer of 1957, but we had broken up in mid-August. A couple of weeks later, Gale called. He was wondering, "My buddy Jimmie has just returned from the Army – and, well – he's kinda out of circulation and needs a date. Would you do me a favor and go out with him?"
I remembered Jimmie from high school. He was a senior when I was a sophomore. He was cute, and I remembered seeing him dancing with Sally Sue Flinn, his girlfriend at that time. So, as I hadn't had a date for a while I said "Yes." We would double-date with Gale and his former girlfriend, Betsy Miller.
I was working at the Morgantown Credit Bureau, making the "big bucks" - $1 an hour. I decided to splurge and went to O.J. Morrison's, a local department store. I rode the elevator upstairs to the Ladies' Department and agonized over which dress would "wow" Jimmie, finally settling on a long-sleeved, dark brown wool sheath with Angora trim around the neck and cuffs.
The four of us went to a movie in downtown Morgantown. I have no idea what the feature was that evening, I was just happy to be out on a date! Afterward, we went to the Phi Kappa Psi house where Gale was a member. We went downstairs to the Rec Room with several other couples and sat at a small table. When the music began I leaned over to Jimmie and said, "I understand you're a good dancer." He took the bait! "Would you like to dance?" he said. I nearly tripped over my feet getting out to the floor!
The first dance was tolerable as we struggled to get used to each other. Then the music changed to a lilting version of "Tea For Two." It was as if Fred and Ginger had suddenly inhabited our bodies! Jimmie held me closely and we quickly synced our feet to the rhythm. I was in Heaven! I think I fell in love at that moment.
The remainder of the evening is a blur to me now – except for when he took me home. Now, he had been in the Army; he had been to Germany; he was a "man-of-the-world." I was thinking I'd have to fight him off a bit. When he walked me to the door, he smiled and said, "Now I'll tell you good night like we did in Germany." I thought, "Wow, here it comes!" Instead, he offered his hand for me to shake, said, "Good Night" and headed down the steps to Gale's car. To say I was speechless would be an understatement. I didn't know whether to be relieved or indignant. He hadn't even TRIED anything! I took stock of my thoughts and decided he was a true gentleman.
Within a short time Jimmie introduced his cousin, Dorothy (Dot), to Gale and their romance took off like a whirlwind. By mid-November Gale had given her his fraternity pin. At Christmas time, Jimmie had a gift for me. When I opened it, there was a huge safety pin, about four inches long. Riding on that pin was Jimmie's high school ring. Now we were officially "pinned," too.
The need for a car had been addressed in October. Gale's father, Don Wilson, had connections and "knew people" at the bank. He vouched for Jimmie and Gale and they were able to arrange financing for new cars. They went to Pt. Marion, PA – just a few miles north of Morgantown. - where the Ford dealer had two identical Ford Fairlanes – six cylinder, stick-shift, with "Gold-anodized Side Trimming and Gun-Sight Fender Ornaments!" One was white with green trim and the other was white with red trim. They flipped a coin and Jimmie "won" the red one.
Now that we had wheels we were free to date by ourselves. We went to movies and then we'd go dancing at a popular spot near Cheat Lake. The Whippoorwill, better known as "The Whip", was our favorite. There was a juke box and we could play six songs for a quarter. We claimed Johnny Mathis' recording of "Chances Are" as "our song," and ever since, it brings back memories of those evenings together. We also fancied Nat "King" Cole's version of "Night Lights." Years later, when we were celebrating our Golden Wedding Anniversary, those two songs were played for us to dance to.
As the weeks passed we gradually began talking of "when we're married." It seemed to be what we each wanted. One evening in March of 1958 we were sitting at the Carousel, another place with a great dance floor. I had about a half of a glass of 7-Up sitting in front of me. Out of the blue, Jimmie said, "I don't think I want to get married. I'm not sure I'm ready." I felt like I'd been hit by a truck. Tears sprang up into my eyes and I whispered, "Take me home, please." I left the 7-Up and hurried to the car. Not another word was spoken as we drove to my parents' house. I sniffled and blew my nose – totally speechless. I got out of the car and he took off.
I went to the house. The usual practice when I came in from a date was to hang the door key between the front door and the storm door; it nested securely on the screw of the storm door closer. Then I was to use the kitchen door key, lock the front door from inside, and return that key to the kitchen. When my brother came home later, he would take the key from the closer, unlock the door and bring that key inside. I did all that and then sat down on the sofa to stew. "Why? What had I done? Had I said something?" The "what-ifs" and "whys" just swirled.
And then I heard a car pull up out front, a door slamming, footsteps running up the steps and onto the porch. I raced to the door. There was Jimmie! I was frantic to run into his arms – BUT – the door was locked! I motioned to him to grab the key from the closer and unlock the door. When he finally figured out what I was "saying," he fumbled with the key, opened the door, and swept me into a hug-to-end-all-hugs! He told me he loved me, that he was sorry he had said those things, and – yes, he DID want to get married. I was giddy with happiness.
* * *
One evening we were strolling down High Street, Morgantown's main drag. We paused in front of a jewelry store and perused the diamond rings. When we had settled on one, Jimmie went inside to make the "surprise" purchase. I stood there awkwardly staring at the display window with a thousand thoughts swirling through my brain.
I was still in suspense as to when Jimmie would give the ring to me. One night, soon after, we drove to a site across the Monongahela River from Morgantown., and headed up a dirt road. Jimmie pulled into a turn-off that overlooked a slag heap, a repository for dross from coke ovens. There was nothing remotely scenic or romantic about that place. The car radio was on and the singer was in the middle of "... tell her you love her ..." Jimmie turned to me and said, "I love you." It was hilariously funny! I giggled and broke the romantic moment a bit, but he brought out the ring box and proposed. It wasn't Central Park, but it was a moment I will never forget.
* * *
A Brief History of Our Marriage and Our Family
We were married on June 30, 1958. It was a hot, humid Monday evening. The ceremony was held in the home of my grandparents, Calvin and May Smith. My parents, Gerald and Willa (Smith) Corder had been married there in front of the living room mantle thirty years before. We had a lovely reception in the dining room, with guests spilling out into the side yard where there was a cool breeze.
We lived in Morgantown until the summer of 1960. Jimmie had dropped out of college and we were facing a bleak future in West Virginia. My childhood neighbor and friend, Donna Herron, had married Jack Edwards. They had moved to the Cleveland area, along with scores of other West Virginians longing for their pot of gold. Jack was instrumental in helping Jimmie find a job at Fisher Body. We joined the migration and moved to Cleveland to begin our next chapter.
Jimmie had worked at Fisher Body only three months when he was laid off. He didn't seek another job – he wanted to wait for the "callback" that had been promised. So I started looking for work and ended up as a secretary in the Out Patient Department of St. Luke's Hospital in Cleveland. Jimmie was called back to work and continued there as a Payroll Auditor for a while, later becoming a Production Foreman. We bought a house in East Cleveland and soon we were blessed with the birth of our first child, Melissa Jane. A little over two years later, Jennifer Anne was born, and our family was complete.
In 1967 we moved to Mentor, Ohio. Melissa graduated from Mentor High and went to Ohio State University. In 1983 Jimmie was transferred to the Inland Division (of General Motors) in Tecumseh, Michigan. Jennifer finished her last two years of high school at Sand Creek High School and then went on to Eastern Michigan University.
I'm reminded of Queen Elizabeth's comment about a particularly bad year for the Monarchy – "This has been an Annus Horribilius." 1987-88 weren't exactly horrible years, but there certainly was a lot going on. Melissa and Phillip Mercer were married in Woodville, Ohio in September. Jimmie announced that the Tecumseh Plant was closing and he was to be transferred back to the Cleveland area. So, we moved back to Mentor in February, and he went to work in Euclid at another General Motors facility, an Inland Plant. In June, Jennifer and Randy Turner were married in Morgantown, WV. All of this hubbub within nine months – two out-of-town weddings and a move.
In 1992, Jimmie was offered an early-retirement package. He didn't think twice. I often said that he came home from work that last day walked in the front door, picked up his golf clubs, went out the back door – and I hadn't seen him since. Not entirely true, but close.
Jimmie and a fellow retiree, Dale Starcher, volunteered for the Lake County Park System as rangers at the Erie Shores Golf Club. In return for the hours they worked, they were given free golf privileges. They also found other courses around the area and spent a lot of time improving their games.
In the meantime, grandchildren began arriving and we were making frequent trips to Delaware, Ohio via I-71. First was Calvin Jones Turner. Then came Benjamin Currier Turner, better known as Ben. Number three was Michael Phillip Mercer, followed a couple of years later by his sister, Jane Catherine Mercer. The sequence was capped by Melissa Claire Turner, known as Claire. We had burned up the highway going back and forth.
Gradually it dawned on us that we were missing a lot of the grandchildren's growing-up years. We toyed with the idea of moving there, weighing the pros and cons. We discussed it with Melissa and Jennifer and the guys. There seemed to be a consensus that we should make yet another move.
A lot of prayer and soul-searching went into that venture. We were leaving behind a group of friends with whom we'd made deep bonds over the forty years we'd lived there. But we reasoned that those folks would still be our friends, no matter where we lived.
So we contacted Gladman Builders, drew up plans for our retirement home, and moved south. We built a ranch-style home in a quiet neighborhood – about half-way between the kids' homes. Jimmie insisted we have an extra-large garage so we wouldn't need an outbuilding for the mower and other equipment.
We moved into the Delaware house in January of 2000. That summer we made frequent trips back to Morgantown to help care for my parents, Nathan Gerald and Willa Corder. We were all so thrilled that my Dad had lived to see the new century ushered in, but the ravages of age combined with Black Lung and emphysema took their toll and he died on August 31 at the age of 95. My Aunt Harriett was visiting from Idaho and agreed to stay on with Mom for a while. After Harriett left, Mom was on her own.
In December, Jimmie and I went to Morgantown to bring Mom back to our home for Christmas. Instead she ended up in the hospital with Atrial Fibrillation, and the need for oxygen 24/7. We called our kids back in Ohio and they changed all their plans. They gathered their gifts, went to our house and collected ours and headed for Morgantown. We wheeled Mom to the lounge at the General Hospital and had a quiet Christmas celebration there.
Later in January Jimmie and I needed to get back to Delaware, so we talked Mom into coming with us for a little visit. That meant schlepping an oxygen concentrator in the back of the van, but Jimmie didn't complain at all.
We settled Mom into the guest bedroom and made it comfortable for her. Eventually, after several visits back to Morgantown, we all decided that Mom would just come and live with Jimmie and me for good. She needed much more care than my brother, George and his wife, Cathie, could manage, and she seemed content to be with us.
Mom lived with us for over four years. She had a few "stays" at respite care facilities (at her insistence) so Jimmie and I could get away for little vacations. One day she said to us, "I need to be somewhere. You two need to be able to go and do things." She had experienced some wonderful facilities, and no longer viewed nursing homes as smelly, drab places. We found a lovely room at the Sarah Moore Home in Delaware, and moved her into Assisted Living. She lived there until her death on December 4, 2008 at age 98 and a half.
We'd been Baptists for our entire married life, so we joined the First Baptist Church of Delaware and soon became active there. Jimmie was on the Board of Trustees, and I found my niche in the choir, and as Mission Chairman. I found a wonderful Bible study with a group of ladies at the Grace Brethren Church. My Calico sisters were very special to me through the years. I joined the Service Board at the Sarah Moore Home, and also enjoyed singing with the Delaware Community Chorus.
Jimmie found a home-away-from-home at the Oakhaven Golf Club. It was only a mile-and-a-half from our house, so he could be there early. He became a ranger, and then the Head Ranger – both 'jobs' he enjoyed immensely.
We loved being near both of our daughters and their families. Life was good. We were happy and content – until The Accident.CHAPTER 2
"Do we have everything?" That was what Jimmie said every time we were getting ready to go anywhere. My usual response was an eye-roll! If we didn't have it packed, I figured we could buy it wherever we were going. The trunk of our Buick was filled to the gills. We had water bottles and a few snacks up front, along with a CD from the library. We were planning to listen to "The DaVinci Code" as we traveled along.
That morning, Tuesday, February 15, 2011, we were heading to Florida. We were planning to visit with Larry and Sue Proper, good Pinochle-playing friends from here in Delaware, Ohio who were spending a few weeks on the Gulf Coast. From there we were going to Myrtle Beach where we had rented a condo for a week. Jimmie had packed his golf clubs and was looking forward to playing golf with Tommy Simons, a fellow ranger from Oakhaven Golf Club.
The sun was shining, the air was crisp and the roads were dry. As we pulled away from our home on Kensington Drive, I texted our daughters, Melissa and Jennifer: "We're on our way!" Within minutes each texted back, "Have a safe trip."
We threaded our way carefully through the early morning Columbus traffic. As soon as we passed the interchange for the I-270 outer belt and turned south on I-71 toward Cincinnati, I said to Jimmie, "Well, now that we've cleared the city, let's listen to the book." "Great idea," he replied. I looked down, reached for the CD and began reading the synopsis on the back of the container.
Suddenly the car began to fishtail and swerve violently back and forth. I looked up to see everything swirling madly in front of us. I'm sure I screamed. Everything was jumbled for a second or two as we flipped and rolled into the median, coming to a stop nearly upside down. Jimmie said, "Are you OK?"
I replied, "Yes, I'm fine. How are you?"
"I'm fine, too," he responded.
It seemed like only seconds passed until there was someone at my window, pounding and trying to break the glass. I motioned for him to wait a minute. Gradually I took stock of my upside-down position and managed to locate and unfasten my seat belt. I unlocked the door and it was immediately grabbed open by a man. I scrambled to get out, thinking that surely the car would explode into flames at any moment.
Excerpted from Enlarge My Territory by Jane Corder Moore. Copyright © 2016 Jane Corder Moore. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.