A Preamble to Our Present President
His Mantra: It is All About Me, and I’m in Control

I have written about my father and his drive to help his three boys become all they could be. To say he was driven fails to explain his motivation. During the war, he was drafted, and, when he returned home after the war, he was a major in the army. He crossed every t and dotted every i in his life. He had everything done correctly, written down, and things usually were in duplicate. He was left brain and did things by the book.

As a kid, I thought that lifestyle was a bit too regimented at least for me. I surely respected his determination provide the best for his family. Additionally, he cared for his wife from lupus years and died in her early 50s. He remarried after my mother’s death to one of his assistants at the company where he worked. It seemed a bit, but it was his life.

Prior to the marriage, my dad sent letters to each of his three boys. The letter was called his toes up letter. He said that if there was anything in the house that we wanted to write it down on a list and return it to him. If he and his soon-to-be wife didn’t want the item, he would give it to us now. If one or more siblings wanted the same item, we would need to resolve it between ourselves. If they wanted to use the item, he would give it to the son that asked for it when they didn’t need it. If one or more siblings wanted the same item, we would need to resolve it. Finally, when he died the son that wanted some items would receive when his wife died.

Talk about making sure all the ts were crossed and the is were dotted. As a dutiful first born, I responded within a week. As for my two younger brothers, I don’t recall them asking for anything. I would check with them during the next few years. I don’t recall they asked for anything, which seemed strange. My list included many things. You might be wondering why I asked for a litany of things, and my two younger brothers were indifferent about writing their list to be included in our dad’s toes up file?

The answer is that all the requested items predate our family moving to Mt. Lebanon. My first decade of life was spent in Pennsauken, NJ. My middle brother hardly remembers anything from what I considered my golden days of my life.

I asked for an iced tea pitcher. I recall having my mother or my grandmother making iced tea with lemons and mint leaves on hot summer day in New Jersey. When my dad saw my request, he couldn’t recall where it went…until he was working at his workbench in the basement. He had put screw, bolts, etc. in the pitcher.

Another item on my list was my Grandfather Oakford’s chifforobe.

I also requested the mahogany bench from my Grandparent’s home in Merchantville, NJ. Many hours were spent by me sitting on it watching the fire in the fireplace.

This is my grandmother’s water pitcher.

These next three pictures were my parent’s dining room furniture.

All these items were received long before my dad died. Most of them were within a couple of months of receiving his toes up letter.

This is a cedar chest that I got a couple of years after my father died. However, it was not the one that I had requested. And in retrospect, I made a mistake when I did not confront my stepmother. I just let it ride.

Also, on my request list, I had asked for the china and silver sets that my parent had. I had gotten the furniture and the ruby red glass goblets years before he died. My siblings and I were at a wedding years later and asked them what I should do. One of my brothers said that I should email our stepmother and explain my request. So, I did that. I told her that I had the dining room furniture and red glassware but didn’t have the silver and china.

My stepmother replied that it wasn’t on my list and one of my other brothers would get it. I check with them about what I should do. I wondered if I should mention that they didn’t asked for anything. One of my brothers said to let it ride. Again, in hindsight, that was a mistake. That was 25 years ago. Ask me whether I have gotten the cedar chest, the silver, and china. My stepmother died three years ago. I waited for some letter from a lawyer about those items. I received no letter.

Two year ago, I called my stepmother’s sister who had moved to Mt. Lebanon regarding getting access the china, silverware, and cedar chest. I told her the long story and said that I would like to pick up those items. I would take pictures of them, email them to my brothers, and have them email her that they weren’t interested in those items.

My stepmother’s sister said that she would rather put my name on the items so that sometime, meaning when she dies, I would receive them. I asked her why I needed to wait? My father nearly 50 years ago had said that I could have them when my stepmother didn’t need them. She surely didn’t need them after she died. I didn’t mention that the silverware has MOC engraved on them, which stood Mary Oakford Campbell. I had had the furniture and glassware for nearly a half century. Her response was she’d rather do it her way.

The sister died over a year ago. Ask me whether I have received a letter from some attorney about picking up some of things that my father had promised me.

These items weren’t my stepmother’s or her sister’s. Nevertheless, they inherited money, my dad’s home, and most all of the items in his home. Essentially, they moved into money and possessions, and they wanted to control both.

They were preambles of Trump. He inherited millions from his father. He has spent a lifetime of hoarding and/or stealing more money. Trump has tried to control his world. A couple days ago, Trump was trying to control the election results in Georgia two months after the November election. He needed 11,780 more votes.

Life is more than about control and taking from others. At the beginning of this essay, I spoke about how my father crossed his ts and dotted his is. I thought that his addressing the details in life was wasting time. Seven decades later, when I did my will, my father would have been proud of my doing diligence with my crossing my ts and dotting my is.

Two closing comments. I’m not convinced that there is a heaven and that my father will see my mother or my stepmother while strolling around heaven. However, if, by chance, he does see my stepmother or her sister, he won’t mince any words when they meet.

The other insight has to do with a saying that I invented, “It is in giving that we get.”