Saturday, February 27, 2016

Some Biographical Info, Plus An Update on Nena

Nena's Last Public Appearance Before Stroke
Just over 47 years ago Nena and I were married in Brownsville. Our only potential expense, the wedding license, was actually a wedding gift from our brother-in-law, Charles Roth.  We spent nothing on the reception, held at my mother's house on Hackberry Lane and we didn't go on a honeymoon. 

Our close friend, Tom Robinson, now children's librarian at the Southmost Library and, just like 50 years ago, Brownsville's most knowledgeable resident, gave us our most memorable wedding gift, the just released Beatles' White Album.  Since Nena's old stereo from her army days was ruined by water damage from Hurricane Beulah, I laid a stereo away at the Gibson Store on Central Boulevard for $49.99 to play our wedding gift and my collection of the Beatles, the Mamas and the Papas, the Loving Spoonful, the Association and Bob Dylan.   Nena added Stan Getz, the Temptations and Herb Albert to our collection.

Nearly a half century later, Nena suffered her first stroke in October 2014, while touring the new tourist building at 7th and Ringgold.  Printed words became like hieroglyphics to her, unrecognizable, a huge loss to someone who purchased over 50 books per year on Kindle Fire.

Her caricature efforts became more difficult, with the latest, an attempt to capture City Commissioner Cesar de Leon, pictured at left. That effort, once a beautiful pencil drawing, was ruined when she colored the hair purple with green highlights.  I was able to somewhat recover the sense of the original with a tinting app.

This past Wednesday, at 10:30 AM, I called 911. During our morning conversation, Nena, all of a sudden, could not finish her sentence. Two Brownsville paramedics arrived at our door with a stretcher.  The seemingly long delay inside the ambulance, I later learned, was spent performing a series of tests that were forwarded to the Valley Baptist Medical Center Emergency Room.  Nena suffered a grand mal seizure at the emergency room, but, based on the tests sent ahead, went straight into an angioplasty procedure.  

Two doctors approached me hours later.  
"The blood thinner he prescribed did the trick," one doctor stated, pointing to the other.  

"The angioplasty, he performed, prevented more damage," the other doctor explained.

I thanked them both.  Nena had experienced two strokes in 18 months as well as a seizure.  While there seemed to be substantially more damage, the brain has a wonderful, unexplainable capacity for overcoming such trauma, so who knows?

When I shared this with our son, he said:  "You both are a little crazy."


  1. Wishing your spouse, Nena, a speedy recovery. Hang in there Jim, nothing but positive wishes to you and your wife.

  2. Wednesday must have been a banner day for my EMS buddies as I also called them to come to my wife's rescue. Gloria had slipped on a wet tile floor and hit her head extremely hard. Thank God the Brownsville Fire Dept is available 24/7 for all of us. God Bless and keep you both together for many more years Jim. I'm sure that you and I would be lost without our better half.

  3. Very best wishes to Nena for a complete & speedy recovery.

  4. Hope Nena gets well soon Jim

  5. Jim, I enjoyed the conversation i had with both of you. Your wife is an adorable, sweet and sincere person. I admire the love that you two have for one another. Hang in there and you two will always be in our prayers. John Chambers

  6. Jim so sorry to hear of Nena's illness. Hope for a speedy recovery, and that you both stay well. Congratulations on 47 years.

  7. Blessings and prayers for Nena and you, my dear friends!!

  8. Sending prayers for the couple, strengthen your faith and pray always for the healing.



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