July 26, 2008

Thomas M. Brundrett - May He Fly With The Eagles!

(Photo by Linda (Cash) Meikle)
A great man died last week and was buried as he preferred to live - without pomp and circumstance.

Tom Brundrett was a 'friendly presence' in our home for several years when I was the Berrien Springs correspondent for the Herald-Palladium in the 1980's as Linda Cash. Tom was the Region Editor and my contact at the newspaper 24/7.

This is the obituary that ran for him today (July 23, 2008). My comments follow...

Thomas Brundrett ST. JOSEPH — Thomas Brun­drett, 71, of St. Joseph passed away at his home and surrounded by his wife, pastor, grandchildren, great­grandchildren and friends on Tuesday, July 22, 2008, and waiting for his Lord. A Celebra­tion of Life service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, July 25, at Starks & Menchinger Family Funeral Home, 2650 Niles Road, St. Joseph, with Pastor Roy Cas­tlebuono and Pastor Dan Augsburger officiating. Burial will follow in Riverview Cem­etery. Visitation is from 6 to 8 p. m. Thursday, July 24, at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to St. Joseph Sev­enth- day Adventist Church or Hospice at Home. Friends wishing to send a condolence message online may do so in the guest book at
. Tom was born on Dec. 25, 1936, to William and Myrtle (Gallo) Brundrett, in Pitts­burgh, Pa. He served his country in the United States Army and was honorably discharged on July 31, 1967. He worked at The Herald­Palladium for 39 years and prior to that he worked at the South Bend Tribune. He was a member of the Elks and the Masons. He enjoyed sports, was a Cubs fan and a Little League coach. Later in life, Tom be­came a member of the St. Jo­seph Seventh-day Adventist Church. He was a prayerful man who enjoyed reading and studying the Bible and being with his grandchildren. He is survived by his wife, Charon of St. Joseph; three sons, Rick (Rose) Brundrett, Tim (Connie) Brundrett, Todd (Julie) Brundrett; four grand­children, Sarah, Emma, Noah and Jacob; four stepgreat­grandchildren; and a special friend, Yvonne Echeverria He was preceded in death by his first wife, Betty Ann, his parents and two brothers.

"Tom Brundrett" is mentioned in my memoir,
"Dusty Angels and Old Diaries" several times including this comment... "I couldn't have been such a successful correspondent without my long-suffering, chain-smoking editor, Tom Brundrett."

I hadn't heard from or about him in many years but still sometimes think of him and my experiences with the newspaper when I hear the wailing sirens of a firetruck because, as the Berrien Springs Correspondent 24/7 for over 5 years, I had to grab my camera and run anytime day or night when the Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township Fire Department got the alarm. After covering the emergency event, I'd call Tom at home to let him know the story (and film) was coming in. My family often gave him the call as I ran out the door to alert him of my response and possible story-in-progress..

He was a great teacher - for those who wanted to learn. I think he loved computers more than most people back when I worked closely with him. For many years Tom had a business in his home called,
"Home Computers". It will never be known just how many novice computer entrepreneurs were given a gentle nudge into cyberspace under Tom's persistent tutelage.

As Managing Editor, Dave Brown said of him in the news article of his passing , "He wanted just the facts, ma'am". You could bet he would "cut' the fluff. Correspondents were paid by the word, so of course we "fluffed" our stories but the readership rarely saw those extras.

Several memories come back when I think of stories I did. Remember the "Hands Across America" event? I went on assignment to cover an area where people were lined up along the road including my family in this one. When he growled a little at my work, I was confused. "You don't take pictures of people's backside," he said. Most of my "Hands Across America" pictures showed the back of the line. I never told him it was because my kids were in the pictures!

Another time, I was asked to do a story on a man who had AIDS back when it was still a taboo subject and surrounded by misunderstanding. He didn't want me to go because (I think) he thought I might "catch it". I assured him as a nurse I felt quite comfortable going to the man's home to sit and discuss the subject. But Tom wouldn't hear of me going alone. He accompanied me on the interview - perhaps thinking that would keep me from getting AIDS.

I could (and should) write a book about the many stories I covered as a correspondent who covered the emergency system, the school system and local government. Just a few days ago I found the large file box filled with stories and pictures from those horrific years as a Herald-Palladium Correspondent. Tom was behind every story taking no credit as he rewrote open-ended paragraphs, edited my misuse of the English language and often gave me more credit than I deserved.

Because of my experience with Tom under most every conceivable circumstance, I like to think I met the 'real guy". When council meetings or school board meetings lasted until wee hours of the morning, he sat at his desk at the H-P waiting for the last word - and then felt free to ask me to call a public official to confirm a quote.

He answered his phone at home at unearthly hours of the night and urged his correspondents out when an emergency occurred in his jurisdiction. Then called us repeatedly with outlandish questions up until the moment of deadline the next morning to make sure we got the story right.

His most happy hours were election night when the results trickled in all night long. He came to work coffee mug and cigarettes in hand prepared to follow the election trail for the next 24 hours!

He was writing a novel "after hours" at the time, but didn't tell very many people. (He didn't like rejection any more than the next writer!). I think I still have a copy of one that was rejected, but to tell the truth, the language was stronger than I could handle at the time. ha ha

Back then, Tom still enjoyed setting up a train set for his children (grown) at Christmas time in the living room window of his home. I'm not sure if it was a tradition that brought out the child in him or if was his annual birthday treat to himself (also on Christmas day).

It's really difficult for me to imagine Tom as a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I can't believe anyone was strong enough to pull him through the front door of any church. But Seventh-day Adventist? (Did he really quit smoking?) (Did he stop cussing and swearing as part of his everyday language?)

Tom was really good at heart, but most who knew him figured he would want to pass on the religion part. I wasn't 'blessed' with knowing Tom when he "got religion" but it really would have warmed my heart to know he found peace in his spirit and the love of his family before he left this world.

This is the article that the H-P ran on Tom after he died. It sounds more like the Tom I knew.

Veteran newsman Tom Brundrett is dead at 71
H-P City Editor
ST. JOSEPH — Tom Brundrett, a nearly 40-year fixture in The Herald-Palladium newsroom, died Tuesday at his St. Joseph Township home after a long battle with cancer. He was 71.
The Pittsburgh native joined The News-Palladium, an H-P forerunner, as a reporter in 1968. He was promoted to region editor in 1970, a post he held until 1991. He then became assistant region editor and troubleshooter for the newsroom computer systems.
He retired in September 2007. Herald-Palladium Managing Editor Dave Brown worked closely with Brundrett on the newpaper’s Region Desk for a number of years. He praised Brundrett’s work as an editor.
“Tom reminded me of Sgt. Joe Friday on ‘Dragnet’ – ‘Just the facts, ma’am.’ He didn’t tolerate unnecessary fluff in news stories. He just wanted reporters to stick to the facts,” Brown said. “He will be missed by our staff, both professionally and personally.”
He was known by colleagues for a characteristic laugh and a passion for computers.
Brundrett worked more than 50 years in newspapers, including stints with the Niles Daily Star and the South Bend Tribune.
The graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College served two years in the U.S. Army.
He is survived by three sons, Tim, Todd and Rick, four grandchildren, and his wife, Charon.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Betty, in 2000.
His son, Rick, worked 12 years as an H-P reporter before leaving in 1998 to become a reporter with The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C.

Tom loved his country, his work and his family in a quiet honorable way.

Take Care on the Journey, Tom.


July 21, 2008

Homepage: Dusty Angels and Old Diaries

My Book! I'm Published!

"Dusty Angels and Old Diaries"

by Linda J. Meikle

A Book For Women Who Want To Be Strong

An amazing story that might change your life

This is the story of my life gleaned for a box-full of old diaries. It re-lives the terror of a three-year old child as I waited for my mother to return; the fight to stay in the orphanage and not be separated from my baby sister. Later, the abuse and injuries suffered at the hands of an unbridled angry grandmother; the slow death of a turbulent marriage; the birth and blessings of two wonderful sons; the agonizing search for my mother - and the pivotal moment when I found her almost 40 years later! It ends on a magical note of unexpected love found in an unusual place. A story of love and forgiveness rarely seen today!

Search Inside the Book at Amazon.com

My e-mail: bestnurse@usa.com (from your mailbox)

July 16, 2008


I'm 57 years-old and getting ready to go back to college!

Yesterday was one of my biggest days getting 'ready' for the RN program that starts October 6, 2008 and finishes December 20, 2009. At 2 p.m. yesterday I had a meeting with my advisor, Candice T. She was expecting receipts showing I'd had a drug test (urine) and background check (fingerprinting). The paperwork for financial aid was done using our 1040 from last year and a letter of support was promised from Teresa L. (Thank-you soooo much.)

They got copies of my drivers license, medical insurance, social security card, current CPR card and current TB test (2-step). Actually, there was a whole page of single spaced "lists" of information they needed. GED results (from 1969!), practical nursing transcripts from my school that is now closed! and (oh yeah), my current LPN license!

Tomorrow is the doctor's appointment to get blood drawn for 'titers' to see what immunizations I need (even if I think the shots are harmful to my body) and a completed "physical" that says I can lift 40 pounds and work long hours on my feet. I've decided to quit fighting against the immunizations because if I choose to do nursing, it's part of the package!

Early yesterday morning I mapped out my route for the day starting with the drug testing station close to home and then going downtown to the (massive!) Columbus Police Station for the FBI and background check. Then back to the library to make hideous amounts of copies and a swing back home to freshen up before my 2 p.m. appointment with Candice whose birthday is today!

I took her a small gift basket that delighted her no end! Mostly, I think, because she didn't expect me to remember it was her birthday.

At the front desk, the receptionist (who has assisted me several times) asked if I had been there before. "Enough to know that tomorrow is Candice's birthday" I said as I was ushered right in.

After that it was the dreaded financial aid's office. She also asked me my name even though I sat in front of her last week. (But that's okay. I can't remember names or faces very well.) After handing her the worksheets Jim had filled out for me, she entered some numbers into her computer so fast that her fingers seemed to fly over the keys. She quickly showed me the results. (That I'm very happy with.)

I can get $19,000 in Stafford Loans and must pay $5,000 during the 14 months I'm in school that comes to about $350/mo. (No interest). Of course, I'm indebted to "Uncle Sam" that $19,000 after I finish. (Total cost of the course including textbooks and uniforms is just about $24,000.)

I'm searching the Internet and anyplace I can to find additional scholarships for nurses. I know there must be a LOT out there.

Also, I'm looking for volunteers (your assignment) to ask around and/or search for scholarships that might apply to me. If you'd send me the link(s) or information, I'll check them out and/or apply for them.

Jim is better. (Big Smile). He's been back to work the last two days (not smiling as much as I am). When he's home, he has to rest a lot but we're thankful that he can at least walk about and go 'back' to work.

I'm picking up some extra nursing hours (that doesn't seem much like work) while I can. The nurse who usually works on my days off is going to be gone for a couple weeks so I offered to pick up most of the hours and my company said "sure".

Wish we could all gather around a big ole campfire tonight. Tell stories (for those who are storytellers) play music and sit quietly in the night. Well, we can dream of it and be encouraged.

Take Care on the Journey,


Home: http://dustyangels.blogspot.com

July 13, 2008

Loving Those Comments!

Don't miss the comments posted at the end of each posting. Sometimes that's more exciting than what I posted! Just click on the word 'comment' to read what my friends have to say. Also, if you don't want to post a comment in the public forum (here), feel free to send me an email (from your email center) at bestnurse@usa.com. If you'd like me to post a comment for you (like Teresa did), let me know I can do that when you write to me. Every note of encouragement is like a great big HUG!

Take Care on the Journey,

Home: http://dustyangels.blogspot.com

July 10, 2008

One Giant Step for Linda Meikle

Dear Family and Cyber Friends,

Today was the day for the entrance exams at Behecker College! For me to be considered for acceptance, I had to make 850 (not sure where that number came from), so I've been studying and worrying and studying some more - especially the math and basic algebra!

Jim's been helping me even though he's sick in bed, and my friend, Buffy spent some time reviewing with me. She can instantly see right through any algebra problem. But, I still felt very shaky about the math and really hoped my angels would amplify the encouragement and helpfulness from others!

So today at 1:30 p.m. I sat down for the 4-hour test - and finished at 3:30 with a score of 1,032.

The preceptor of the test looked at my score on the computer and did a double-take. Then she said "OMG" as she patted me on the back. "I think that's the best score we've ever had" she quietly squealed.

Funny, on the computer screen as you answer the last question and click for your final score (at least 850), it says "please remember to be quiet". (Others are still taking the test). I reminded the preceptor that we were suppose to be quiet, but we were both excited and it was hard to keep quiet.!

Later, my advisor said, "See I told you that you're smart." I pointed to the little golden angel pinned on my blouse and said, "She helped".

Actually, there's a story about that little angel too! Before leaving for the test, I was looking for a pencil sharpener and remembered that Sandy had sent me one for a Christmas present a couple years ago that I'd never opened but had sitting next to the computer. I opened the package - and it wasn't a pencil sharpener at all!!!!! She had wrapped two very tiny packages and put them into a cutest little container that had a picture of a dog (like Sheba) on it. Inside the miniature container was the tiny little angel and a set of angel earrings. I don't know how long that "pencil sharpener" box has been sitting there, but I suspect I've been carrying it around for several years!

Well, my smallest "Go-for-it" (the name of all my angels) arrived at just the right time and place!

By the way, for tests these days one does not need pen, pencil, calculator or scratch paper! The questions and answers are done with a computer and the calculator is on the computer screen. They give you scratch paper and well-sharpened pencils which are returned at the end of the test.

My next appt. is Tuesday July 15 when I turn in my paperwork for financial aid and a million other forms of paperwork that is required in today's technology society. (Immunization records ((from how many years ago?)), health records, drug screening, background check, physical from the doctor, letter of recommendation from a RN, tax papers, and more!)

Jim is still having very bad back problems and has been off work (and mostly in bed) all week. He's afraid he's never going to recover, but I assure him that back spasms do eventually resolve themselves. He's been to the emergency walk-in clinic, our medical doctor and to the local chiropractor several times this week.

Chiropractic care is something that he's never been exposed to, so they've spent a lot of time with him explaining everything they do and believe in and are giving him several types of treatments and adjustments. We love the new chiropractors in town Drs. Heather and Greg Prenger.

It's been stressful, but we are survivors!

Take Care on the Journey,

Home: http://dustyangels.blogspot.com

July 6, 2008

Linda Meikle, RN (Again)

Like a bride-to-be writing her soon-to-be married name, I'm practicing a new name!

If I told you that I'm planning to start the RN program on October 6, 2008, would you say, "Oh yeah, you've said that before!"

If I told you that there are no prerequisites such as Algebra or Chemistry, would you think maybe I had a chance?

If I told you that even though I told everyone that at my age, it's crazy to change from LPN to RN because I'll make less money as a entry-level RN than what I'm making now, would you still think it's worth the time and trouble?

If I told you that when my good friend, Neil, asked me if I was sure I really wanted to do this at....(he stopped from saying "at your age"), would you agree? (I reminded him that one is never to 'old' to move forward in life.) I'll be 60 when I'm finished and maybe 61 by the time I take state boards!

A couple things happened lately that started me on this path again. First of all, my hubby believes in me and won't let the dream die! Then, I started getting this RN magizine that I did NOT order and it had so many articles about being a travel nurse. (They pay housing and everything!). And, about this time, Jim started riding the bus to work and noticed a new school, Bohecker College very near our home. He suggested I check it out!

I discovered they don't require any courses to start. And, they don't include all those subjects that have been so difficult for me in the past. So, I made an appointment and got an advisor who is thrilled that I have the courage to take this step right in the middle of my life! She's also very positive and helpful.

Jim says he will support me 1,000% because he knows that deep in my heart, getting my RN was a goal I always wanted, even if I SAID I decided not to.

He sent me an email with a picture of a ladder going up into the sky and said, "I will hold the ladder for you!"

Please remember me on Thursday, July 10 from 2-6 p.m. as I take the entrance exam. I've purchased the review books and am feeling pretty good about how I'm doing on the review questions. But, my educational background did not provide me with many basics one needs to build on for continuing education - especially in math and science.

When I'm done, I'm going to write a small booklet with examples of math problems and how I learned to remember the rules and sell it on eBay!

I have to tell you this funny illustration that Jim and I came up with for remembering the graph points. If you don't know what a Cartesian Graph is, here's a link.

So, here's how I will remember the graph if asked to plot (-2, +4). Where we live in our apartment complex, we have to pick up the dog poo from the yard. Sometimes, I take the dogs out and Jim goes back out to pick up the dirty work. Using the graph and the post on our side patio as "0", I can tell him exactly where he needs to walk to find the little pick-up spot. Straight out from the post and to the left would be something like (-2, +4). If you don't know what the graph is, just have faith, it works for us!

For measurements like the radius of a circle, we use a pancake as an example. First of all, I have to memorize the definitions such as what circumference and surface area means in the first place. Then I can figure out how to solve the problem by using common items like traffic signs, car windows and even food items.

Then there are those questions like if I have an order to give 0.1 mg of epinephrine and it come in a vial labeled 1:10,000, how much do I give? (I know that one from experience.)

So hip-hip hurray for me and follow my progress in this adventure from now until December 20, 2009 when my class graduates!

Did you know I may have become a registered nurse when I was 19-years old but grandma was so sure that Jesus would come before I finished school, that we decided on less education at the time!

What a journey it's been, but not that one yet!

Take Care on Your Journey,

Home: http://dustyangels.blogspot.com