Fun N Sun, San Benito, Texas, November 5, 2015

Nelson’s Notes #103

Veterans are eligible to sign up for a two-day tour of the war memorials in Washington, D.C. When selected, they get to go at no cost to themselves.  First preference is given to WWII veterans and then to others on down through subsequent wars. Of the 17,000,000 who served in WWII, about 1,000,000 are alive today. They are dying at a rate of 640 each day.



                        Chriss                                                                   Buzz


In September 2015, FNS residents and WWII veterans Chriss Green, 89, and Buzz Marzenell, 87, were two of the 13 veterans on the Rio Grande Valley Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. Fifteen veterans were scheduled for that flight but one had died and the other was in the hospital.

Chriss said, “In D.C. the main thing for me was the WWII Memorial.” It is on 7.4 acres and flanked at each end by the Washington and Lincoln Memorials. Called “The Jewel of the MaIl” in the historical book by Stephen R. Brown, the Memorial has 4,048 gold stars, each one representing 100 American military deaths (one out of every 40). The Memorial was dedicated 59 years after WWII  ended, on May 29, 2004.

The Ghost Wall at the Korean Memorial is comprised of actual photos of servicemen etched into the wall. Buzz said, “No matter where you are standing there is always a soldier with his eyes on you.”

At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, a guard takes 21 steps on a rubber mat, stops and faces the tomb and counts 21 seconds. No one is supposed to talk. When Chriss was there, a visitor was making noise. Immediately, the 18-year-old Army guard stepped off the rubber mat and addressed the noisemaker. Chriss said, “He shut up real quick. The guard was carrying a rifle but I don’t know if anything was in it.” 

After two days of touring, Buzz and Chriss were on their flight home. Buzz recalls, “Seventy years ago when I came home from WWII, just my father was waiting for me at the train station. But this year when Chriss and I came back from the Honor Flight, a big group welcomed us at the airport including a group from Fun N Sun. I cried when everyone welcomed us home -- the Knights of Columbus, the Harlingen Police and the Fire Departments, all the marines from the Military Academy. Firemen shot big water canyons over each side of our plane as it came in.

Buzz urges veterans to sign up to go on an Honor Flight. He also asks people to go to and make donations to help Rio Grande Valley veterans see and reflect on the memorials created in their honor





Dalton Anderson’s “Trip of a Lifetime.” Dalton, age 82, is a part-time FNS resident from Lubbock, Texas. Two years ago, an article in his local newspaper said that veterans could go on an Honor Flight to tour the Washington, D.C., War Memorials. Dalton was in the Air Force from 1953-57 and was stationed in the U.S. He submitted an Honor Flight form but because WWII vets were being called first he didn’t think he would get to go. In 2014, a few days before a Lubbock Honor Flight was scheduled to leave, Suzanne Fletcher called and said she would be at his house in 15 minutes to sign him up. He was surprised but told her he thought he should back out because he was not a war hero. She said, ‘You served, didn’t you?’’

When Dalton’s Honor Flight arrived at Dulles Airport in D,C,, fire trucks sprayed a big arch of water over the plane. After it docked, 50-100 people met them, cheering and shaking their hands. A group of high school kids from Ohio ran up to them and grabbed their hands. Their teacher said he was going to take their pictures for the Year Book. “That’s when my tears started,” Dalton said.

“To help us get around in D,C,, we had guardian angels – ‘angels,’ that’s what I thought they were,” Dalton said. “Each angel cared for three vets. My caretaker was a young fireman from Lubbock, Justin Rhodes.”




I had the Shingles vaccine in 2007 and am one of the 50% who still got the disease. Gabapentin capsules and Shingles cream helped to lessen the aching, burning and stinging in the nerve endings that are under the skin eruptions but the medications do nothing to lessen the wiped-out feeling, a feeling like I have with the flu.

I was diagnosed on Columbus Day; this photo was taken a few days later.

Shingles is caused by the chicken pox virus. In those who had chicken pox, the virus lays dormant in the nerves. People with weakened immune systems due to age or disease are more likely to get Shingles. 

Probably because I had the vaccine, I am having a lesser case and one that will not last as long,. Now, almost four weeks after onset, the skin eruptions have cleared and I have much less pain. However, I still lack energy.






Each year the FNS Book Club votes for four books to read and discuss during the following season. These are the books we selected for the 2015-2016 season.



December 12, 2015: Still Alice by Lisa Genova, a book that brings the reality of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease to readers.

















January 9, 2016Finding Rebecca by Eoin Dempsey. In 1943, during World War II, the Germans took all the Jews from the island of Jersey to work in their camps. This is the story of Rebecca's friend who joined the German Army to find her.











February 20, 2016Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson. This is the story of the September 1900 hurricane that devastated Galveston, Texas. The book covers the time before and during the destruction as well as a scientific discussion of the storm.












March 19, 2016 All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This is the story of a sightless girl in France, Marie Saure Leblanc, and how she survived World War II. It is the best novel I have read in a long time.









Please note: the four book discussions will be held in Rm. 3 starting at 2 p.m.



January 30, 2016 guest speaker Lyon Rathbun, PhD., from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Brownsville campus. Other years, the Book Club’s guest speakers have been local authors. This year we decided to ask a college professor for reading advice. His questions will be:

“What makes a novel worth reading?” and “What is good literature anyway?”

Please note: Dr. Rathbun’s talk will be held in the FNS Computer Club Room

starting at 2 p.m.




Since last June, we have been watching Murdoch Mysteries on Netflix through our Ipad which is hooked up to our TV with an HDMI cable. 

William Murdoch, a fictional police detective in 1890s Toronto, solves mysteries with cutting-edge technology of the day such as surveillance photography, fingerprinting, and ultraviolet lights. Interesting historical guest characters -- Buffalo Bill, Arthur Conan Doyle, Nikola Tesla and others -- pop up from time to time.




















Bruce and I have grown attached not only to William (see middle of photo) but to the other regulars at Constabulary Station 4 (L-R): Chief Inspector Thomas Brackenreid; two coroners Dr. Julia Ogden and Dr. Emily Grace; and Constable George Crabtree. William often works with Dr. Ogden, who is markedly progressive, more like a woman of today than one from over a century ago. William and Julia don’t talk about romance, but they don’t need to because love shows in their eyes and expressions. So far (after six series!) various complications have prevented a permanent commitment between the two, but these make more shows possible and we’re glad about that.











Marianna Nelson, November 5, 2015