Books in progress.....  

Life On Mason Mountain

The Story List

  Who Cheers for Irving - An Irv Rothrock Mystery  
  The Temple and the Sword - An Irv Rothrock Mystery  
  There Is No Vacation From Murder - An Irv Rothrock Mystery  
  The Peaceful Park - An Irv Rothrock Mystery  

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." – Theodor Seuss Geisel


I am one of those guys. Yes to put it short and sweet I am one of those guys. For years odd things have have happened to me and many people have approached me to write this all down. For years I have been working on it. It is the story surrounding the mason family and friends as they grew up and moved out of Denville NJ. Their are some stories that happened to people around us and some to us. I have purposely peppered some fictional accounts here and there to allow those involved to deny any of the accounts here that may embarrass them. Most are true as I recollect them. As you may guess as we get older some of our memories may wander and insert things we would like to be true. So this went on for a couple of years and from 2000 to 2004 I went in at it full bore.

Any one of you can sympathize with my issue. Looking at that blank page is pretty intimidating. then you fill it and it becomes ever so much more so. You look at what you wrote and you think, this is crap. Then you edit edit and edit it some more. Then you have something you can live with. I liken the process to having a child. You at first think the child is perfect and your pride and joy. Next you rip up the child and have another one based on the first one. Heartbreaking to say the least but if you want the perfect piece there you go. I stopped writing (and almost everything else) in 2004, and I want to share something really important that happened.

When I was 14 I broke my hip. I would live to say it was a football injury, and to me honest there were times that I was embarrassed enough how it happened that I would offer up that as an explanation. But I broke it Bowling,
That's right, bowling. I slipped on the alley, fell back on the ball return and dropped the 16 pound ball on my left leg and sheered my hip apart at the growth plate. In technical terms I had a Slipped capital femoral epiphysis This blink in time left me disfigured for life and I will explain why.

We had health insurance in those days it was called CO-MED a doctor designed HMO where you had to go through the primary care physician before you could go any farther, My primary care physician's name was Dr. Dennenberg. He was convinced that I was faking this injury to get out of school and gym. To his credit, when the hip sheer or slip happened it engaged a group of nerves going to the knee, so as my hip really did not hurt, my knee was killing me although nothing was wrong with that. But that guy made me walk around for a year on a broken hip. Needless to say he was not my favorite guy. Plus he had my father convinced I was lying about the whole thing. My mom was pretty solid in my corner, and it was getting hard to ignore the physical evidence. One leg was 3" shorter than the other at that point and turned out at a 90 degree angle.

Mom fought pretty hard to let me go to a Orthopedist, and finally with enough badgering I was allowed to go see one if for no other reason but to prove Dr. Dennenberg's point. I walked into the Orthopedic surgeon's office and he said pointedly, "That boy has a broken hip." He had some bad news and some worse news. First that the damage caused from walking around on it (Even with crutches) did some serious damages to what was left, and that he had only seen two cases like this in NJ before and one was up, walking and fine, the other was confined to a wheelchair for life. So I had a 50/50 shot of walking again.

Dr. Dennenberg was informed about his misdiagnosis, and he retired less than a month later.

My Dad was pretty shaken up that he took the word of Dr. Dennenberg instead of mine, but he was raised in a time where you trusted doctors 200% and that was that. He was crying on the shoulder of Al Fisk of Salam Temple one night at a lodge meeting, and Al secured me a spot in Shriner's Hospital for Crippled Children (As it was called then) Now Shriner's Hospital for Children. This is a world class medical facility and you can find more information about these guys here.
Now at this time and we are talking 1981 here the hospital was located at 8400 Roosevelt Boulevard In Philadelphia, PA. it was in an old building that looked like it was built in the 1920s It looked like this:


Now here is the bigger issue. I had never been away from home before, Here I was dropped off on Philadelphia, a city I had been in once or twice. Out of state. alone and scared. In Mr. Craig's Freshmen's English class we had just watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest, and here I was dumped off at a hospital that looked very much like the one in the movie. Although first class medical care, the housing was an older style with 15 of us to a room organized in wards:
Small Boys
Large Boys
Small Girls
Large Girls
The building was like a big Letter H with each of the above at the top and bottom of each leg, and the OR and other rooms in the center bar, with the clinic in the basement. So looking at this picture, Small Boys would be on the left and in the front. and small girls to the right and in the front. I was here in traction for about 6 weeks, and it was far enough away my parents could not stay, so I was largely alone. My sister sent me a bible, and had me read chapters and she would call and we would go over them. My uncle bill and his pastor would drop in from time to time. and on the weekends Mom would come for either a Saturday or Sunday.
Largely all I had was the Volunteers, and we would look forward to their visits. There were some boys these that had not seen their parents in years, and how much we enjoyed learning from them and having them read to us or play with us it was invaluable.

I was in for 6 weeks, and then cased in a 1 1/2 hip spika cast I was in that one and two other like it for 6 months. After that 6 months in a wheel chair, and 6 months on crutches before I could walk again. Still with one leg at a 45 degree angle and the healing of the fracture was a mess, but functional with a moderate amount of pain.

Shriner's was concerned (Rightfully so) about putting in a replacement hip. Replacement arthroplasty has a finite life to the joint. and at the time the ball and the tang (The part hammered and wedged inside your femur) would last about 10 years before it would have to be cut out for a new one. To do so you would loose about 6" of femur and so before you ran out of femur you could get 3 replacements in a lifetime. That meant by 40 I was in a wheel chair, So their plan was to have me walk around on this broken but fixed hip for the next 35 years and at 50 get it replaced. Today's Replacement arthroplasty are far more robust, (Long Lasting) and the hip ball can be replaced without replacing the tang.

I did not lead you through all of this for nothing, so I needed to get you up to speed as to where I was when I decided to write again. So at 49, I decided to get my hip replaced finally. Geisinger Medical Center Did the work under Dr. Tom Bowen. This guy is very good at his craft and I have Zero complaints about the procedure. Being in pain this long, however makes you a tough guy. I can assure you, So I was not put to sleep for the surgery, I was awake for the whole thing, in case Dr. Tom needed my help (He Didn't) with a spinal for the pain. Finally in my room and alone I turned the tv on and had a revelation.

On the screen was Stana Katic in the TV show Castle. It was the first time I had ever seen the show, or her, and she was the first thing my mind was able to focus on after the pain killers were wearing off. Coming home, learning to walk again and all of the physical therapy left me with a LOT of time on my hands and I was fixated on this woman, and being a married man, (And she a married woman) I found this to be a bit unhealthy. So I went digging for some facts and figures about her in the hopes of finding something disagreeable about her so I could push my mind away from her. And I really seriously tried.

However she apparently is not only beautiful on the outside but also on the inside. We had a lot of the same interests, The ecology, alternative transportation, (In fact she founded the Alternative Travel Project) but what really got me was that she seems to have the same love for the children that I do. She is a volunteer at Children's hospital to read to patients, The ONLY thing that made my days bearable during those dark days at Shriner's was the volunteers, and she is a champion of it! Plus she raises money for Children's hospital, and right on her website (Under Charities) she talks about how she "believes that investing in a child’s education and healthcare is an investment in humanity." Under a similar vein, my work with Julia's Garden and my plan to put one in every county in the US, and my work with Toys for Tots with the Stroudopoly project,

Ok there are a lot of other details we share that I am not going into like family origin geography similarities, Birthday significance and such, its crazy and would give you the shivers if I told you. But she is married and so am I. and besides persueing someone of that caliber is just a recipe for disaster no matter how many times you watch Notting Hill (That's why you don't reach for a star because you have so far to fall).

So I have accepted that this is a sign from the universe and now I am left with two choices:
1. Become a stalker (Not an option)
2. Take this as a sign to do something. (Yeah, lets go with that.)

So I went with route 2. Learning about Stana Katic made me want to be a better person. Here is a really busy actress and she has time to do all this good stuff and it is not too different from what I love, so I started writing again, and you know what? It feels great! When I am not writing you can find me whistling over my plans for an electric car, and an electric motorcycle that I am building. And when I am not doing that, I have just signed on to be a volunteer at Shriner's and give back to the kids what the volunteers did for me, make life bearable again, and hopefully serve as a reminder that there will be a life for them after their hospital stay, and that it can be great, its all in what you make of it. I also have my work with the Julia's Garden project.

So to summarize, we need a better world to live in for our kids (And I mean our kids in the global sense) so we all need to do what we can to make this a better place. And I want to be clear here: I was not inspired by the work she has done as an actress. Yes she is talented, and diverse But there are a lot of roles I have seen her in that I didn't like. What inspired the hell out of me is here is this girl from Hamilton Ontario who took what she had and made a difference in the world. She not only changed her corner, but made real change in the world, and she did not do it for the accolades or any other reason but to save the world from ourselves. Now she has inspired me to start in my corner of it. Now I humbly suggest you go do the same.

Legal Notice
These stories as a whole or in part is Copyright © 1967-2017 by George T Mason of East Stroudsburg PA.. These stories may not be sold or used for commercial profit in any form or fashion. These stories may not be modified in any way. These stories may not be posted on a mirror site or any other Internet site without the written permission of the author. These stories may not be distributed on print, magnetic, electrical or optical mediums. These stories will not be lettered, written, printed, Xeroxed, laser printed, cut, carved, laid, inlayed, graved, or engraved, upon anything movable or immovable under the whole canopy of heaven whereby or whereon the least letter, character, symbol, or semblance of the same might become legible, or intelligible, to yourself or any other person, Without the written permission of the author or his next of kin upon his death. That should cover that.