Thursday, August 18, 2011

Steve and Marcia in Michigan

One of our plans for this summer was to get together with the Adams, who live near Detroit in Michigan, and with the Reamers, who live near Cincinnati, Ohio. As of now, Everett Reamer is the most recent American Defender of Corregidor to return, having been there with us in January, 2006. Dick Adams is the last liberator to return, having been there with his wife and one of their daughters this past January. He is planning to return with his family next January. We thought it would be great to meet with both couples, but timing was against us. The Reamers were going to be in Michigan while we were in Minnesota and in Minnesota after we returned to Michigan. However, the two couples were still interested in meeting one another, and on July 17 the meeting took place without us, which was way better than not having happened at all. The following is their report.

I'm sorry it's taken so long to send these to you. We couldn't find our camera when we left to meet with Everett and Bernice Reamer on July 17th, so we only had our phone with us to take pictures. It's taken us three weeks to find the cable to connect the phone to the computer in order to upload the photos. They're not great pictures, especially the one with me in it (both subject matter and fuzziness)! Sorry about the quality. - Nancy Adams

The Adams and The Reamers
Brunch on July 17, 2011

Once again, Steve and Marcia brought together distant participants in Corregidor’s history: Everett Reamer (from Ohio), a Defender of Corregidor who fought the Japanese in 1941, and Richard Adams (from Michigan), a paratrooper who returned to The Rock with the 503rd PIR on 16 February 1945. Both had their baptismal fire on this island in Manila Harbor. Both were in Japan, Everett as a POW and Richard as a member of the occupation force.

While Steve and Marcia were visiting family in Minnesota, Everett and his wife, Bernice, drove up to Michigan to visit their daughter. Steve heard about this upcoming trip, and suggested that the Reamers and the Adams get together. They met for brunch on July 17th as total strangers, but after several hours of sharing war stories, quickly became friends.

Technology is a wonderful thing. Prior to meeting the Reamers, Richard and Nancy Googled “Everett Reamer”, and found lots of interesting information about his experiences on The Rock and as a POW. He’s quite a character, both then and now! Much to Richard’s surprise, he found lots of information about his own January return to Corregidor by Googling “Richard Adams, Corregidor”. Google has turned the concept of “private person” upside down! – Dick Adams

Our return trip from Minnesota was more eventful than we had hoped. In June, epic flooding made it impossible for Amtrak’s trains to pass through North Dakota, meaning that the “Empire Builder,” which normally runs from Chicago to Seattle, had to end its run at Minneapolis/St. Paul. This was no inconvenience to us at the time, since that was our destination. On the night before our return trip, Steve checked the Amtrak website. It said that the train would leave the station at 7:52 A.M. Unknown to us, but known well to Amtrak, the train, although it can now pass through North Dakota, was approximately SIX HOURS LATE every day, having to inch through the flood-damaged area. So we sat in the stations for an extra six hours before our departure to Chicago.

Of course, we also missed our connection in Chicago, so we were forced, along with dozens of other people (every night until this nightmare is over for Amtrak) to take a van/bus which would drop us off at the closed station in Jackson, Michigan, at 3 A.M. The alternative was to stay overnight in Chicago. We opted for the overnight stay to allow our son to sleep the night rather than trying to guess our arrival time to meet us. To make a long story short, we barely made it onto our train the next morning, and finally got into Jackson 19 hours later than “planned.” Even though the Amtrak website is misleading and should be corrected until the situation is rectified – we were not the only ones who showed up six hours early – all of the Amtrak employees were very nice and hospitable, even the ones in Chicago’s Union Station, who have had to manage hundreds of stranded travelers every night since this situation occurred in June.

We spent a few days in our former home-town of Eaton Rapids, Michigan, with our friend Sandi. We visited with numerous friends, lunched with Marcia’s coworkers, met Anushka and Anish who are twins born to friends Chinmay and Harsha, and we completed our shopping. On Sunday Steve introduced a Polish/American polka band from Muskegon at the Great Lakes Folk Festival in East Lansing. Then he had the privilege of presenting a Michigan Heritage Award to Annie Klancnik, honoring her deceased husband, polka accordionist and band leader Gaylord Klancnik. Gaylord’s son Eddie and new band member Brian O’Boyle entertained the audience with a couple of polkas and waltzes. Other award recipients were Deborah Caryl, a life-long sheep shearer, and Calvin Cooke, a steel-guitarist in a Pentecostal church.

For the last few days we stayed with our son Nick, his wife Carrie, and our six grandchildren. We played lots of card games with the children, having plenty of fun. Another highlight was seeing flocks of Sandhill Cranes, very large birds indeed, which come to spend the night in a small pond near their house in south-central Michigan. The mosquitoes are unbelievable this summer – huge numbers and very aggressive. They make it no fun at all to be outdoors, so we were not able to take advantage of the beautiful weather.

Our plans are to fly back on Thursday via Detroit, Chicago, and Beijing. We are hopeful that our two hour layover is sufficient to make our final connection to Manila. We will either return to Corregidor on Sunday or Thursday, since Sun Cruises does not usually run ferry service to the island on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday during July and August.

As you know, Corregidor is only a few miles from the Bataan Peninsula, where the Bataan Death March began. A number of our readers have sent us links to assure that we are aware that the oldest U.S. march survivor recently passed away. Here is one of the links:

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