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Saturday, November 16, 2013

(More) fun old photos of Mike

When Ben & I came up for the memorial, Mike Stanley kindly took us over to Mike's house and apartment.  The Crondahls had already done a LOT of work clearing and tossing and sorting.  They'd thoughtfully aggregated family photos for us to look through.  These were a few I found that I particularly enjoyed; thought I'd share them with you, too.

Great shot of Mike as a young man.

David, Mike, Ernest, and their mother Anna Kirk in Los Angeles.

Mike and Ernest - in color!

Mike as a young teacher.

Mike and his mum I presume going on a hike...looks like Los Angeles back country.

Mike on a motorbike!  No doubt purposely posing next to the informative signage.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A remembrance from Robin Riley Fast

I first got to know Mike Kirk when I joined the Debate Club as a Sophomore. He was the coach. I remember very little about him from Debate, only that he was encouraging and critical. The fact that I stuck with it for three years tells me that I must have liked working with him there. And it no doubt prepared me for his classes.

Mr. Kirk was my teacher for Plane and Solid Geometry and “Senior Math”—whatever that was. I said that (“whatever that was”) to him recently, when he asked me which classes I’d taken with him. He laughed. Math was not my favorite subject, but I did enjoy Plane and Solid. Mr. Kirk was rigorous and demanding. In fact he could be quite brusque, and would never tolerate anything he considered foolish, or work below the level that he believed we could reach. We would put our work on the board every morning, and he would walk through it, step by step, getting us to see what worked, what didn’t and why, what we could do more elegantly.  There was a real feeling of accomplishment when we succeeded in creating “an elegant proof.”

(Writing this, I remember that he got me my first real job—told me about a summer opening, when I hadn’t even thought of such a thing, and whom to contact. When I said that Mr. Kirk had sent me, that was enough.)

For some of us in the Class of ’66, the biggest deal of Senior year was “The Times.” It began as “The J-High Gazette,” produced by (I think) just one or two people. It definitely was not the “J-Bird,” which, whatever else it might have been, had to answer to the faculty adviser. I think what started the “Gazette” was the new principal’s prohibition of the Senior boys’ beard-growing contest. But it quickly became more than that. By the second issue, fifteen to twenty of us were in on it, and it had a new name, “The Times: They Are A’Changing.” We may even have printed the lyrics of Dylan’s song in the second issue. In any case, the title said that even if our focus was local, and I’d guess it mostly was, we were part of the big world out there, and we were rebelling. We were all anonymous, as I recall; we were on our own, no advisers for us, and it was exciting. I don’t remember how we distributed the paper, but we did, several issues during our Senior spring, and the principal, of course, was furious. There may have been more teachers who supported us, but the ones I’m sure of were Richard Pastega and Mike Kirk. Mike was very clearly delighted by “The Times.” I remember his asking some of us, with conspiratorial glee, if we’d seen the latest issue of “the naughty paper.” Of course he didn’t officially know that we were the creative culprits, but we knew we had a reliable ally who’d defend our rights to think and speak our minds.

When I told Paul that Mike had died, he said, “I’m glad I got to know him.” And so am I glad I got to know him, as my teacher and mentor, and, because of that, as a friend. In the past several years, we saw him each time we were in Juneau, and each time we were amazed by the stories he told us and by his warmth, wit, insight, and, yes, his it-could-only-be-Mike style. He gave us a lot to think about and learn from. Thanks, Mr. Kirk, wherever you are.                   

Robin Riley Fast, Sept. 2013

A remembrance from Jane Lindsey

I am sure you will have a wealth of information about Mike Kirk and you may hear over and over how years after retiring from being a teacher, he was still a mentor - he was with my children. I met him about 13-14 years ago through a mutual acquaintance at the time and was invited to brunch at the Prospector. I must have passed the test, as I was told that Mike thought I was "articulate" and our friendship began. Soon, my two children who were 10 & 7 at the time also joined the mix. He became a part of our family and quietly supported my clumsy and struggling efforts as a single parent in Juneau. He was supportive when I remarried and knew my husband's family quite well and deeply respected Ross' father.  He was a regular guest at our house for dinners and the kids were always excited to be invited to brunch at the Prospector with Mike. He was gentle, encouraging, and responsive to my children and never talked down to them.  He encouraged them to think and pursue their ideas and interests and always followed up with them on their interests when we got back together. He brought them books to encourage their ideas. Thomas received history books, Lydia received books on culture and animals. He listened to me when I expressed personal concerns about parenting, he was reassuring.

Mike taught Thomas and Lydia how to think and communicate their ideas, especially to adults. His influence in our lives was real and deep and our household craved it. This was the gift he gave my small disjointed family at a challenging time that we were able to share for years as our household grew and became more stable. Thomas graduated two years ago from college and is teaching English in Russia. Lydia is in her last year of college studying Biology and Anthropology and spent the summer working on a graduate thesis project related to political ecology. We were able to sit with him at Wildflower Court days before he passed as a family with others in the room. We talked about the world, and our fears, as he floated in and out of the conversation. Mike raised the question of Socrates and justice, our last conversation together, continuing to challenge and encourage us to learn, think, and communicate.

Jane Lindsey, Ross Soboleff, Thomas Mills, Lydia Mills

Monday, October 14, 2013

A remembrance from Shelley Rogers Thissen

I entered the teaching profession in response to a letter from then Governor Frank Murkowski to all early retirees from the State of Alaska. He wanted us to go back to school, get a teaching certificate and then help man teaching positions in the Alaskan Bush.  I have been through the best and the worst of times since I decided on the pathway of becoming a teacher.  I needed support and good advice in so many areas, not the least of which was something called “Classroom Management”.  Here’s the story of Mike Kirk’s best advice to me on how to control any student, anytime, anywhere!

            It began with Mike asking me if I had a minute?  Half an hour later, I was laughing until I cried.  According to Mike, he had met a teacher from Wyoming once.  Wyoming had been having an impossible time filling one of their bush teaching positions.  That particular part of Wyoming was peopled, for the most part, with elk, oh, and wild-eyed rancher’s kids.  After repeated attempts to get ANY teacher to stay, Wyoming considered a short, kind-of-pudgy, red-headed female teacher who wore bright red, ankle top, lace-up tennys every day, rain or shine!  Wyoming’s Board of Education members rolled their eyes, drummed their fingers and mumbled under their communal breath.  They had to have “SOMEONE OUT THERE!”, so, they hired her, ON THE SPOT!

            The first day of class our innocent, red-headed, red tennied teacher strolled into the classroom with an uncanny sense of confidence about her.  Kids were running in and out of the back door chasing chickens, leaping from table to chair to table, yelling at the top of their lungs and were, generally, completely OUT OF CONTROL!  At that point, our dear little teacher threw her coffee cup, full of boiling coffee, high into the air above the class.  Before the cup began its descent, she drew a 44 magnum pistol out of her right ankle top tennis shoe and blew the coffee cup to smithereens!

            For the first time in forty years there was dead silence in a Wyoming classroom.  For the rest of the year every student and parent addressed her with a very careful, “Yes, Ma’am” and “Will Do”.  Each and every student paid attention to everything she said in her softest voice, did ALL their assigned work and, generally, completed everything that was asked of them, in top form, ALL YEAR.  There were no complaints from the parents, all her students achieved “A’s” on their report cards and even did bonus work around the classroom without being asked.

            Mike’s Moral to this Story was: “A teacher MUST establish and maintain the upper hand in their classroom AT ALL TIMES!”  I know you can hear his clipped German accent telling me this story and I know, too, you’re laughing.  I wonder what might happen if I pulled this particular management stunt in a classroom today?  Well, NEVERMIND, BUT, I got the message.  With such an unforgettable image etched on my mind, Classroom Management has ceased to be any problem for me, WHATSOEVER, AT ALL!

Gratefully and Lovingly Submitted by:  Shelley Rogers Thissen 

Celebration of Life

October 13, 2013, was the Celebration of Life for Mike. There were so many wonderful stories by people who had come from near and far that I couldn't wait to post them. With Lisa Tansey's help, I was able to get them posted this morning. I have separated them by storyteller so you can listen to them individually. Here they are. Enjoy them over and over again, as I know I shall.  (Judy Crondahl)

Kim Laird
Recognition of Travelers
Alison Eastaugh Browne
Peter Freer
Don Greenberg
Arnie Weimer
Jackie Honeywell Triplette
Dennis Harris
Ben Tansey
Lisa Tansey
Mark Boesser
Kim Laird
Dale Wygant and Jerry Fiscus
Margo Waring
Mary Alice McKeen
Bruce Botelho
Herman Husen
Douglas Methodist Church
Ward Lamb
Mark Regan
Sheila Nickerson
Carl Brodersen
Bruce Botelho

Arnie Weimer did a drawing (he said it was a "limited edition Xerox") in honor of the celebration, and gave permission for it to be posted on the blog:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Spreading the Ashes

On Saturday, October 12, a small group of friends and family gathered on the shores of Gastineau Channel to spread Mike's ashes, as he had requested. It was a solemn occasion with bits of humor (as Mike would have surely wanted).

 Ross Soboleff spoke about Mike's friendship with his family, drummed, and sang.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Some Childhood Photos

Little baby Mike, with Ernest (in white) and David.

David, Mike, and Ernest
Mike's the little one with the funny smile and sticking out ears.

Mike told me this was a Jewish youth group.  
Mike's oldest brother David is on the far left, Mike is the smallest boy, front and center, and Mike's middle brother Ernest is the boy with glasses standing next to Mike

Portrait of Mike and his brothers.  Mike told me the suit he was wearing in this
portrait had been his oldest brother David's, and that he wanted to wear it for the
portrait because he idolized David.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Runt Speaks for Himself

I got to go up to Seattle when Mike was rehabbing up there.  He'd invited me to participate in his [auto]biography project.  His idea was different people would help him with different periods of his life.  I told him I'd take part one as I'd also get some bonus stories about my Step-Dad, his brother David.

His accent is pretty strong, and there was a lot of hospital-ish background noise, so it's a bit hard to follow.  I've transcribed what I can & will paste it in below for those who might be interested.  & I will also upload the recording some way so you can enjoy the distinctive sound of his voice.  Although, of course, this is not him at his very best, you can still get a clear sense of the man.  A gem.  I will miss him.  And his listening with the third ear.

Here's a link to the recording:

Extemporaneous Life Story Recording

and here's the link to the notes:

Notes transcribed from extemp life story

Those of you who've known him for a while will have heard several of these stories before.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Remembrances from the guestbook in the online obituary:

September 21, 2013
Rest in Peace, Mike
Our family knew Mike in Berkeley, California. He babysat for myself and my sister around 1948-1950+. He 
and my father, also a student at Cal Berkeley, had many long conversations about mathematics, physics, 
building electronic and mechanical gadgets, pacificism, civil rights,and Quakerism. He attended Berkeley's 
Quaker meeting occasionally. My 95 year old mother, Jennivieve Westwick, who lives with us now in hospice 
care, remembers Mike fondly.  Mike's brother was in Civilian Public Service (CPS) Camp with my mother's 
brother, Jack Tootell.  We have kept up with Mike through the years sporadically through the mail and 
telephone, and always enjoyed his connection to our family's California past. My parents also left California 
for Alaska, settling in Fairbanks from 1968-1992, when they came to live here on our New Hampshire farm. 
We always enjoyed thinking of Mike there in Juneau,where we lived from 1969-1970, and will continue to 
remember him fondly there in his Juneau community.
September 11, 2013
When I had mr. Kirk in class we had to listen to radio KIRK and nothing else.
September 08, 2013
Rest in Peace Mr. Kirk and I always left a School Board Agenda on the counter with your name on it and
enjoyed your most valued opinions you will be missed.
September 08, 2013
I remember Mr Kirk very fondly. When I was first in 7th grade he...

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Funny

I've been going through the images Mike had on his computer (there aren't very many) and came across this gem I thought everyone would get a kick out of:

Email me some photos if you have any you'd like me to post!
Thanks, Shana

A Few Remembrances from the Class of 1965

From Arlene (Weisenberg) Crumrine: "I ran into him at the airport several years ago and he remembered me by name.  Blew my mind."  

From Peter Hildre:  (Pete was the engineer in charge of the 2004 street reconstruction project in Mike's neighborhood.)  "When we began working with the Upper Evergreen Avenue street reconstruction project in 2004, Mike requested that I meet with him at his home located on this street. He told me he knew all about surveying as he worked in that field in his younger years and wanted to be assured we weren’t going to screw things up.  I’m not a surveyor, but I was able to convince Mike our crew was quite good at this profession and that I would report back to him as the project proceeded.  We had a nice and long discussion.  I didn’t have him as a teacher, but I could see what it must have been like.  He became one of our best supporters during the course of the project.  I’ll miss him."

From Linda (Lehman) Lucero:  "Mr. Kirk did his best to teach me algebra.  One day I was not paying attention and he threw a piece of chalk at me, which embarrassed me and made me mad.  Promptly, I went home and made a voodoo doll, put a small heart on it and stuck pins into the heart.  Early the next morning I put the voodoo doll on his classroom door.  Unfortunately, I made the voodoo doll out of  the same material I had made a dress and wore to school.  Clever girl I was!  Mr. Kirk never confronted me nor did he turn me in.  Mr. Kirk also attended my wedding and sent me a gift.  I have always had such warm memories of Mr. Kirk.  He made every effort to educate me, and keep me focused.  It was in my adulthood that I was able to truly appreciate him and understand that he really cared.  [After hearing he was very ill...] I wrote to Mr. Kirk to tell him this story, and tell him how much I appreciated him.  Unfortunately, I mailed it the morning he passed.  It was returned to me.  I was so sad that I never told him how much he influenced me and how I appreciated him."

From Diane (Dabney) Parham:  "I was hoping that he would still be around for our 50th. Sorry to hear about his passing, but hope that he knew how much an impression he made on his students. I had a similar memory to Linda's, only mine was getting a chalkboard eraser thrown at me! Good thing I could duck fast."

From Maxine (Paddock) Richert:  "Whenever I went to Foodland on a Saturday morning, Mike Kirk was usually there talking to folks (former students and their parents) in the aisles. It reminded me of the time my parents and siblings hiked out to scope out the future Herbert and Eagle River bridges which my father's construction company would build the next summer.  Rev. Walter Soboleff and his good friend Mike Kirk were along. Mike proceeded to talk my mom's head off which prompted my 9-year-old sister Anna to say "remember Mom, you're married to Daddy."

From Gail (Parke) Roust:  "I'll always remember Mike as a guy of exceptionally quick-wittedness and as a terrific teacher who entertained us with his endless silly little jokes.  And he never failed to ask, "tell me exactly what it is you don't understand," in response to anyone who shrugged and said, "I just don't get it..." to a several-step algebra problem he'd just explained on the blackboard.  Drove some nuts, but it generally worked!  He'd patiently go through whatever was on the blackboard, step by step until he hit that student's brick wall.  If his re-explanation didn't take, someone would be with him after school that day!  We can much appreciate Mike for helping us end up as a pretty smart Class of '65. And I don't think I ever saw another teacher who could so speedily move his motor legs to go after a misbehaver in the hallway.  Mike was also a hunting buddy of my dad's (bet several of you didn't know he was a hunter)--and always a friendly neighbor.  Whenever he came home, he greeted us neighborhood kids playing near his very long stairway to "the crow's nest" house--high above the one he more recently occupied, also on Evergreen Avenue.  He later moved to the old Berggren house down at street level a few lots away."

Celebration of Life - Sunday, October 13

The Celebration of Life for Mike Kirk will be held 
at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center (JACC) on 
Sunday, October 13, at 2:00 pm.

Bring a memory to share, a photo to display, or just come hear the stories of others. Contributions of finger food for the refreshments table will be appreciated.

If you have a memory or photos you would like published on this blog, please email to: 
Shana Crondahl at 

Mike, on the stairs to his house

Monday, September 30, 2013

Who Keeps the Memories?

Who keeps the memories when we are gone?
The photos?  The letters?
The secrets...
If there are no descendants.

If there are descendants
we will be remembered
for a while
then forgotten with the ages.

We don't remember the long ago because there are too few artifacts.
Our descendants, if we have them, won't remember today because there are too many artifacts.

Last night, these thoughts made me cry.

Today, I have an answer that makes me laugh - 
Google will keep them!
Shana Crondahl

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Obituary and Planning the Program

Obituary: A wonderful obituary written by Mike's young friend, Carl Brodersen (with suggestions by others), is in today's Juneau Empire. It is a lovely tribute to a remarkable person with the type of humor any friend of Mike's would appreciate.

Planning the Program (Sunday, October 13, 2:00 pm)
One of the things we learned about Mike during his last illness was that he had many different circles of friends and, unlike venn circles, there was sometimes little overlap. Through this blog, we would like to invite all his friends to provide ideas for his Celebration of Life. If you have a story or memory to share during the celebration, let us know about it. What was your connection to Mike? How/when did you meet him? How did he impact your life or the lives of others? What do you believe would be important to include in his celebration?

We know there are at least a few people who will be coming from out of town. Let us know if you are. Also, if you have a spare bed you would like to provide for someone coming from out of town, let us know that, too.

For either of the above, you may email me at

Shana Crondahl, my daughter,  has volunteered to collect other remembrances and stories from people and compile them for posting on the web and for viewing at the celebration of life.  If possible, write stories in either a Word or text file and send attached to an email.  You can also include photos with the remembrance.  Her email is 

Lisa Tansey will be putting together a slide show for the celebration. If you have photos you would like to share, email them to her at 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Celebration of Life Scheduled

We are reserving the Juneau Arts and Culture Center (JACC) for a Celebration of Life on Sunday, October 13 at 2:00 pm. Please mark your calendars and pass the word.

Klas Stolpe, who normally reports on sports for the Juneau Empire, has written a lovely tribute to Mike in Tuesday's paper.

If you haven't read the comments on the KTOO story on Mike, there are some very nice ones. 

The Juneau Empire is working on a story about Mike. Call the reporter, Katie Moritz, at 907-523-2294 or email her if you would like to provide her with some information about Mike.

Photos of Mike

Last summer when Mike's friend, Jan Tiura was visiting from California, she took some beautiful photos of Mike. She has offered to make digital files available to friends and family who are interested. You can contact her directly at if you are interested. I have included one of the photos here for you to see.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Memorial for Mike

We are beginning to plan for Mike's memorial. Two weekends are being considered. The preferred weekend is November 2. This would allow those who would be coming from out of town more time to plan and to advance purchase airline tickets. The other date would be the weekend of October 12. If you could not make it in November and prefer the weekend of October 12, please comment below this blog or email Judy.

As of now, a venue has not been chosen; however, the Juneau Arts and Culture Center (JACC) is being considered. If you have other ideas for an appropriate venue, please comment below this blog or email Judy to let her know. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Something Old and Something New

There are some wonderful old family photos that Mike's niece, Lisa Tansey, has posted from a trip to Germany with her father, David (Mike's brother).

Trip to Germany

 Also, there was a very nice news report on Mike on KTOO radio this morning. You can read it here.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Michael John Kirk 8/6/1924 - 8/22/2013

Mike Kirk died this morning, Thursday, August 22, 2013, at about 6:40 am. Bruce Botelho was with him at the time when he stopped breathing in his sleep. We (Judy and Jay Crondahl) got back to Juneau at about 10:00 last night. Katy Hursch sat with him from 10:00 pm until just before 2:00 am and Beth Leibowitz provided backup at the end of Katy's shift and at the beginning of mine. I went in at 2:00 and was there until almost 5:00 when Bruce came in. Mike was sleeping soundly the entire time so I don't think he even knew I was there. 
Thanks to all who helped and especially to those who volunteered and spent time with him in his last days.

Judy Crondahl

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mike's Condition

Shana posted the following as a comment to the blog below but I am reposting here to make sure it gets seen.

Got a report from Arnie Weimer this morning that Mike is not doing well and may need to have someone with him at all times now. Arnie says what is not needed are large groups of people or a lot of chatting. He needs quiet support from just a few people at a time. Arnie said he was sleeping a lot and waking up scared and incoherent, which is what he was doing with me last night. One time last night he woke up terrified. 

Carl Brodersen went over after Arnie this morning, and Craig Wilson just went to relieve Carl. I am in a meeting all day, and am unable to go over until this evening. We can figure out this evening whether or not Mike should have someone with him all night, and at that point perhaps can work out shifts to take turns. I’ll let you know when I hear an update from Carl, Craig, or someone else. 

If you visit Mike, keep the chatter and noise level down, as he is easily startled and scared right now.

Thanks, Shana Crondahl

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Email from Mike's Niece -- Part 2

Probably my favorite experience with Uncle Mike was a long phone conversation with him just after I graduated from UC San Diego in 1993.  He called me as I was packing up my apartment and we chatted for over an hour.  I learned so much about him and his brothers from that phone conversation!

I should probably add that he did try to help me with my math when he would visit us in the 70s and early 80s, but I am a bit of a hopeless case when it comes to numbers.  I'm not sure that I was able to convince him that my degree in Linguistics was really "math with words"!

Mainly I set out to write to you to express my appreciation for all you have done for Uncle Mike and for sharing his story via the blog.  You have allowed me to see facets of him that I never knew existed.  It is particularly heartening to know that there are so many people who care about his well-being and are taking the time to visit and look after him.

My dad (Uncle Mike's cousin through their mothers somehow), has been widowed for 5 years and has had his share of medical issues, including a broken hip in 2011 and a hospitalization for cellulitis this past Spring.  I know from personal experience what energy and vigilance it takes to be the watchdog and companion for a loved one during a medical crisis.  I also know how quickly well-meaning people's energy fades or is diverted by the other distractions of daily life, so I see how truly blessed Uncle Mike is to have the sustained support of so many.

I only just found out about the seriousness of his case two days ago and got the link to your blog today, but oddly enough, thought about Uncle Mike, out of the blue, early this past Monday morning while at my dad's, during my daily visit to take care of him and his cats.  I think maybe some of Uncle Mike's energy is still hanging around that kitchen he entertained us in so many years ago!

With sincere appreciation and a request that you pass long distance hugs and love from Roxanna in Santa Barbara on to him.

-Roxanna Stern Nocker

Email from Mike's Niece -- Part 1

I just received a very long and lovely email from a niece of Mike's that I am going to post in its entirety. Because of the limitations of my Mini-iPad, I will have to post in two or more segments.

Hi Judy-

I am Ron Stern's daughter in Santa Barbara, CA. My cousin Gerald sent me the link to your blog about Uncle Mike. (He has insisted for years that I call him simply "Mike" or "Cousin Mike", but I can't seem to shake the name I have called him since early childhood.)

Mike's brother Ernest used to spend most Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with us, since we are not far from where Ernest lived in Los Angeles.  Mike made many visits to our home in those days too.  I remember him as being quite the comedian!   He once had my mom, grandmother, and me in stitches, doing funny voices while wearing a range of different hats.

The only time I ever saw that Uncle Mike's brother Ernest had a funny side, was when the two of them did a spontaneous comedy routine for our family as we gathered in the living room of our home on Christmas Eve.

I loved the books he would send me for my birthday, all written by Alaskan authors, and read them over and over. I have at least one of them in my home for my daughters to read when they are old enough.  The others may be at my dad's house about 1/2 a mile away from me.

When my first child was born, Uncle Mike sent me a beautiful quilt that he said he bought at a church bazaar in Juneau.  My kids squabble over who gets to use it as a lap quilt on chilly mornings in their dad's truck on the way to school.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Good Day

Shana called me this afternoon and told me she had visited Mike for about an hour today. She said he was better today than she had seen him in over a week. He was alert, in a good mood and very articulate. He even sent her off to buy a new math book. He has been solving math problems in his head. He was in little to no pain but so alert that if he was on pain medication, it was not clouding his thinking. All in all, a very good day.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Looking for Jim

Mike has asked Barbara May to contact one of his former students. His name is Jim but Mike can't remember his last name. He was a student at JDHS in the early to mid-70s when Mike had his court case with the school district. Jim testified for Mike and now Mike would like to be able to talk to him again. For a while Jim was living in Anchorage and was a Bishop with the Morman Church. More recently he has been an attorney living in Snowflake, Arizona. If anyone knows how to contact him, or even his last name, please email Barbara May at or call her at 907-723-5000.

Also, please see the comment from Shana on the post below on visiting Mike.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thank You

Jay and I (Judy) are on vacation for several weeks but other friends continue to visit Mike at Wildflower Court. There were many people at his birthday celebration on Saturday, estimates vary widely. He continues to have visitors and enjoys telling stories although his short term memory is such that he doesn't always remember who has visited. 

Shana took a picture of the view from his window that enjoys so much. We wanted to post it on the blog but my mini-iPad freezes up when i try to post pictures. 

Mike has stopped going to the physical therapy room, although he is doing some therapy in his bed. He has largely stopped eating and is in the process of saying goodbye to his friends who visit. One thing that he mentioned to Shana is that he doesn't want to die alone or with strangers, which is why he has declined Hospice care. Wildflower Court accepts his decision and will contact us when his time is near. It would be good to have a list of his friends who would be available to be with him during that time. If you would like to volunteer, please email me at with your name and phone number. Feel free to specify times when you do or do not want to be called. 

Thank you to everyone who has spent time with Mike while he has been in Seattle or at Wildflower Court. He has appreciated your caring. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mike!

Mike's 90th birthday is on Tuesday, August 6. Ward Lamb has arranged to have a party for him in the Blueberry common room this Saturday, August 3, at 1:30 pm and will provide cake and ice cream. Please pass the word to all his friends.

The question has been asked about cards and gifts. Mike has everything he needs at Wildflower Court and also has a problem dealing with masses of cards and letters. Ward will have a sheet at the party where people can sign their names with phone numbers in case Mike would like to contact them. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Wildflower Court

We were talking with our daughter Shana this morning about Wildflower Court compared to Park West. She said the atmosphere, physical condition and staffing are much better: like going from a one star hotel to a three or four star hotel.

Mike has a private room (all rooms are private), the whole facility is very quiet, and the staff has time to give residents immediate attention.  For instance, within minutes of telling Mike's aide that he would like a whiteboard installed in his room, a maintenance person arrived and installed a whiteboard provided by the facility.  At Park West, Shana had to purchase the whiteboard, and it took three days for maintenance to install it.  In addition, at Park West when Mike would ring his call button, he would be checked on by staff immediately, but they would sometimes tell him they were busy, and would have to come back later.  At Wildflower Court, staff responds and helps immediately. Furthermore, from his bed he has a lovely view of a hillside out his window (much better than looking up at a concrete retaining wall and the bumpers of cars in the parking lot!).

Mike has no appetite and has lost a lot of weight. We were with him when the dietician was asking him about his diet. It sounds as though it is only milk, Ensure, mashed potatoes, and gravy. The dietician said they also make milkshakes with Ensure and ice cream. Shana visited Thursday during lunch and fed him; he only ate about 4 or 5 bites of mashed potatoes, gravy, and peas mixed together, and drank about 6 ounces of V-8.

Shana suggested that if people visit him at mealtime, he should be encouraged and assisted in eating. It is important that he be in at least a semi-seated position so he doesn't aspirate his food. He is having trouble chewing and swallowing. If you can bring him something soft and delicious when you visit, he might be tempted to eat more.

In terms of physical fitness, Mike can walk farther than when Shana last saw him at the beginning of June in Seattle.  Thursday he walked from one end of the physical therapy room to the other three times using a walker and assisted by the physical therapist. 

In conclusion, Mike is very happy to be home but we need to fatten him up. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Welcome Back, Mike!

Mike arrived back in Juneau about 1:00 pm today. They were diverted to Sitka for a couple of hours because of fog in Juneau but they finally made it and now we have sun.

He is in Blueberry House, Room 9103, at Wildflower Court. He does not yet have a phone in his room but there is a cordless phone that can be taken to his room for calls. That number is 463-8701. I am sure he would like visitors but for the first few days it would probably be a good idea to call first so that he doesn't get too many at once.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Coming Home

This is probably the last blog post I will do until after Mike is back in Juneau. He will be flying out Monday morning at about 9:00 and arrive back in Juneau at noon or shortly before. The air ambulance service will arrange for ground transport on both ends.

Here is an old photo of Mike I just received from Jan Tiura.

Monday, July 15, 2013

J-D Picnic

Mike went to the Juneau-Douglas picnic yesterday and had a wonderful time. Barbara Nielsen says he was a real charmer and a real trooper and that he loved getting the bull horn to "say a few words":)

Only seven more days until he comes back to Juneau. Arrangements are being made.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Picnic on Sunday

Micaela Jensen and Barb Nielson both had good visits with Mike yesterday and confirmed that Mike's mood was much improved with his move back to Park West.

Any of you who are in the Seattle area and attending the Juneau-Douglas picnic on Sunday, look for Mike. The plan (which could change) is for him to arrive by "cabulance" with an attendant.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Back at Park West

After being taken to the Harborview Emergency Room on Sunday (July 7) with a urinary infection, Mike was transferred to Swedish Hospital later that day. Yesterday, July 10, he was taken back to Park West Care Center. He is now in the same room with the same phone number he had before he was taken to Harborview.

The last few days have been very difficult for him. He has been confused (apparently a very common symptom with urinary infections) and felt helpless. This morning I talked to him for the first time since he had gotten back to Park West and his mood was so much improved. He keeps forgetting when he is to come back to Juneau (July 22) thinking he would be coming back today. He was with Ren, his physical therapist, when I talked to him and I ask Ren to write July 22 on his white board so he could be reminded of the correct date. Mike asked me what today is and I told him the 11th and said he has just 11 more days at Park West. He said, "Wonderful, wonderful! I will have more time to do the exercises." Ren also told me that the tests had shown there was no more damage his his organs from the infection. It was good to hear Mike sound so much more up and hopeful than he has been for the last few days.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Room in Juneau!

A room will be available for Mike at Wildflower Court in Juneau as of July 22 so we will be bringing him home by medivac then. In the event that a room becomes available before then at the Pioneers Home, he will go directly there. In any case, his ultimate goal is the Pioneers Home.

The good news is July 22 is the date certain for him to return to Juneau.

Mike wanted me to add to the blog: "Hello darlings! Thank you all for the very kind wishes. Rather than answering you individually, know that you are all in my heart. I am grateful for all your well wishes."

Barbara Guertin Nielsen took this picture today, showing Mike standing outside in the sunshine. I hope he takes advantage of getting as much sun as he can before he gets back to rainy Juneau!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wednesday, June 19

There is not much news or change in Mike's condition since the last blog post. He continues with his physical therapy. At his request his catheter was removed last week but was re-inserted after only a day because he was retaining urine. He is eager to get back to Juneau and we are simply waiting for a room to become available at the Pioneers Home or Wildflower Court. He is at the top of the waiting list for the Pioneers Home but apparently Wildflower Court has a fairly long list.

I have not heard recently from people who have visited but his nurse tells me that he is still getting frequent visitors. I asked him if he has had any visitors lately and he asked if he should be expecting anyone in particular. I think the problem may be that he is having trouble remembering names.

Please continue to call, write or visit Mike. It boosts his spirits greatly.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thursday, June 13

Today Mike had a visit from another former student, Barbara Guertin Nielsen. Forty-seven years late, she got him to sign her 1966 yearbook, the one that was dedicated to him. She sent this delightful picture as proof. It's good to see him having such a good laugh over it.

Yesterday Mike said he had walked with the walker but today his physical therapy had not gone so well.  He was pleased, however, that he has successfully used the commode twice.

One of the things Mike told me about the ad he had placed in the Totem (the one included in Sunday's newspaper ad) was that he had been ordered not to place any more ads in the Totem -- not because they had taken offense at his "Men of Distinction" statement but because his placing an ad would put pressure on other teachers to pay for future ads! Always the trouble-maker.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wednesday, June 12

I talked to Mike this afternoon. He received Sunday's paper with the Get Well ad yesterday afternoon and he was delighted. He said we don't know what a morale booster it was. Good idea, Kenn; good execution, Phil; good editing, Virginia; and generous contributions from many made such a large ad possible. I'm betting anyone who visits from now on will have a chance to see it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday, June 11

 I talked with the therapy coordinator at Park West on Monday and she was quite encouraged by the progress Mike made last week. He still needs approximately 75% assistance when standing up or walking. He can use a walker for transferring from a wheelchair to the parallel bars but is not yet able to use the walker in place of the parallel bars. Walking the length of the bars is one accomplishment but an additional accomplishment is being able to turn around to walk the other way. He can stand for approximately two minutes using the walker or bars and they are also working on his upper body strength. He is still on mostly soft foods but they will be testing other foods. They are being cautious because if he aspirates food he could develop pneumonia. .

I also talked to his nurse. The news on the biopsies is that they were inconclusive. While there are some atypical cells, the cancer has not come back. I guess that's a case of no news and good news. 

As I said last week, Mike is on the waiting lists for both the Pioneers Home and Wildflower Court. The progress he made last week shows he is working hard to gain strength.  Some days he is more confident than others and when he is discouraged, he becomes uncertain and/or unrealistic about his options.  We are working hard to keep Mike realistic and his options open. It's clear that the good wishes and visits from his many friends mean a lot to him and help to boost his morale.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday, June 7

The ad for Mike is all set to run in Sunday's Juneau Empire in the front section. Here is a copy for all to enjoy. Please do not mention this ad to Mike if you see him or talk to him. I intend to express mail a copy of the paper to him first thing Monday morning and want him to be surprised when he sees it. Here is an advance copy for you to enjoy. Thanks to Ken Moss for the original idea and wording, Phil Smith for the layout, Virginia Breeze for the fine editing, and to all who generously contributed to paying for the ad.

Mike continues to be pleased with his recent progress in physical therapy. Yesterday he walked the distance of the parallel bars four times. It was only about a week ago that he accomplished walking the entire length only once. I asked if he goes to the dining room for any of his meals. He said he goes there for breakfast every morning and has three charming ladies as his tablemates.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tuesday, June 4

I just talked to Mike. He had been taken back to Harborview Hospital today just so they could check his sutures from his hip surgery. He said they were very pleased with how it looked.

He was also pleased that he had walked the full length of the parallel bars round trip. He is setting goals for himself to increase the number of times he can walk so that is showing a very positive attitude.

I talked to his nurse today and she told me that it will be a couple more weeks before they know the results of his biopsies. I'm amazed it takes that long.

Ken Moss, Phil Smith and Virginia Breeze have done a wonderful job of composing, laying out and proofing the ad for Mike. I will try to get it in the paper this Sunday. If you have put a check in the mail but have not received an acknowledgement from me, it would be helpful if you would email me with the amount so I know how large I can go with the ad.

This information comes from Mark Regan who visited Mike a week ago. If anyone is in the Seattle area without a car, Mike's extended care facility is on the 128 bus line, which runs from Southcenter and Tukwila all the way to the north end of West Seattle.  There are several different ways to make connections either from the airport or from downtown Seattle.  People can use the metro trip planner using the destination 1703 California Ave SW.

That's all for now.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday, June 2

First of all, I have an apology to make. I mistakenly credited Jay Crondahl with taking the photo of Mike sitting on "The Beast." It has been part of our photo album so long I just assumed ownership. It was actually taken by Mike's friend, Jan Tiura, on one of her trips to Juneau. Sorry, Jan, and it is a great photo.

Secondly, because of a problem with Mike's roommate, he has been moved to a new room. He is now in Room 103 for those of you who can visit. Afternoons and weekends are best because he has physical therapy on weekday mornings. His new phone number is 206-826-0664.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Saturday, June 1

Yesterday when I talked to Mike he was in a great mood because he had had a breakthrough in his physical therapy. Last week he had felt himself slipping further behind but yesterday he had done something he had not been able to do before. He walked the entire length of the parallel bars and was so happy about it.

This morning he called and said that for the first time since he got there, he has slept through the night for two consecutive nights without major pain. 

Since others have been sharing photos, I thought I would share one of our favorites. When I first came to town in 1963, Mike's vehicle was an old WWII personnel carrier, affectionately known as "The Beast".  There was none other like it in town. Jay had taken a photo of him sitting on it and I used this photo to make him a card for his 80th birthday.

Those of you who have ever ridden with Mike, whether in the "Beast" or one of his subsequent vehicles, know that he can't drive without using his horn as a warning to other drivers within a half block. Thus the poem we wrote to go along with the photo.

You've traveled far in 80 years,
Applied the bakes and shifted gears.
Sat up high for all to see, 
And used your horn most liberally.

Mike is now on the active list for the Pioneers Home. There are no rooms currently available but he is at the top of list for when a man's room at the appropriate level of care becomes available. He is also on the waiting list for a room at Wildflower court. He is eager to get back to Juneau. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thursday, May 30

Today has been a busy day tracking down the documents to submit to the Pioneers' Home office to move Mike from the inactive list to the active list for admission to the Pioneers' Home. Now that's done and he's officially on the list. I was told he would be pretty high on the list but there is no room currently available. It all depends on when that happens.

In the meantime, I have also contacted Wildflower Court and found they have a fairly long waiting list and also require some documentation. I have provided the same documents required by the Pioneers Home in hopes that is all they need. The person who handles that is out this week so I will contact her next week to see if they need anything else. When a room becomes available in either place, we will be ready to contact the medivac company.

In the meantime, I got another great portrait of Mike from Louise Champagne. She took this photo in the early 1990s at her home on North Douglas.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wednesday, May 29

The big news today is that Mike has decided he does not want to wait to come back to Juneau until he is able to fly commercially. That means he will come back by paid Medivac as soon as it can be arranged and there is a room available at the Juneau Pioneers Home. Heather is getting quotes from Medivac flight companies and I have begun the process of getting him changed from the inactive waiting list to the active waiting list at the Juneau home. We got great advice from Peter Jurasz, Mike's investment counselor: "Medical services are totally negotiable, especially when you are willing to pay cash and there is no insurance reimbursement." I think we are finding that is true.

We still have not gotten the results of the biopsies. I just checked with the Nurse Manager at Park West and she will follow up (again) with Harborview Hospital.

Meanwhile, the idea to honor Mike with an ad in the Juneau Empire is taking form. Ken Moss and Virginia Breeze have come up with some good ideas and Phil Smith has agreed to do the layout. He is traveling from now until June 8 but will be able to put something together quickly after that, especially with the ideas from others. All those who have volunteered to help pay for the ad can send checks to me:

Judy Crondahl
800 F Street, A-4
Juneau, AK 99801

By the time Phil has the ad ready to go, we will know how much money we have and can place an appropriate-sized ad. 

Jan Tiura, one of Mike's many friends, emailed me another good photo of Mike. It was taken a couple of years ago when Jan was in Juneau and they had dinner at the Twisted Fish with Nancy Weaver. Thanks, Jan.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday, May 28

I must apologize for not having posted over the weekend. There hasn't been a lot to report and, after a very cold and miserable spring, we have had glorious weather over the weekend so I have been spending as little time inside and at the computer as possible.

We still have not heard the results of the biopsies of Mike's bladder and prostate that were done on Thursday. Heather hopes to be talking to the medical staff at Park West today and learn more about that. I called Harborview Hospital this morning but had absolutely no luck there.

Mark Regan visited Mike over the weekend. Mike has physical therapy exercises listed on a white board in his room that he can do by himself any time of the day. They are:

1. Ankle pumps
2.  Buttock squeezes
3.  Heel slides
4.  Half snow angels ( leg)
5. Partial leg kicks

Go Mike!

He says he continues to get a lot of visitors. Brenda Krauss and her son, Teddy, visited yesterday. We both agreed that he is very lucky to have so many goof friends that even 1,000 miles from home he does not lack for company.

This morning when I talked to him, he was sounding discouraged about his lack of progress. He feels he is slipping back rather than progressing. He is not sure whether it is is age or just a general lack of energy. (He will be 90 on August 6).

Phil Smith included a photo of Mike from an Evergreen Avenue block party in an email this weekend. I'm including it here for all who were not on the email distribution.

Also over the weekend, Ken Moss suggested that his many and varied friends should honor him as "friend , provocateur, teacher, activist, citizen" with an ad in the paper. I think he would really enjoy this. Many people have pledged to help pay. If anyone is interested in composing this ad, I would be happy to coordinate collecting the money and getting it placed in the paper.

In the meantime, continue to visit him at Park West if you are in the Seattle area, and sending him greetings in care of

Park West Care Center
1703 California Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98116

The central number for Park West is 206-937-9750. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday, May 25

I just received a long email from Lynn Burlingame, who visited Mike yesterday. He is a former student and wrote a nice long message so I am copying it in full here. He has included a very short video of Mike in two different formats that you can either click on or copy into your browser to get greetings from Mike directly.  Enjoy!
I visited this afternoon.  My wife was mystified when I put on my old Xtratufs for the visit, but the Juneau kids will know why I did it – I had to be in proper uniform!  Mike got a kick out of it which was the whole point.

He was in good spirits and we had a lively conversation.  In case any of you are wondering, he has all of his marbles.  At one point we were talking about Black Mac, the JDHS principal back in the 60’s.  I referred to him as “Harold MacMillan” and he corrected me by saying, “George MacMillian, Harold was the British Prime Minister”.  He then gave me a grin and pointed at his temple and said, “Hey, how am I doing”?  It was pretty funny.

He says that the facility is first rate and that they are taking good care of him.  I shot a quick video and uploaded it to my temporary web folder.  Here it is in WMV and Apple MOV format.  I am new to the iPhone and managed to convert the file to WMV and flip it 90 degrees, but Apple users may have to look at it sideways.  These files are huge (especially the MOV one) , so give them a while to download:

He had stories to tell – the thing about being stuck in a storage closet in Harborview Medical Center was not a joke.  He was in a storage room and other than a bed had no amenities, not even a call button.  He says that he irritated his neighbors by having to holler for help when he needed assistance.

By way of background, he told me that he fell in the kitchen in March and broke his hip.  He was medevac’d to Seattle the following day.  They have repaired his hip and he is in physical therapy to gain strength so he can walk.  The problem last week was caused by a broken blood vessel in his bladder that caused blood to show up in his urine.  It sounds like it was easily fixed, so fortunately he did not have to spend much time in the hospital.

The nursing home was very pleasant.  I walked in on a nursing and PT session, and he asked me to wait outside until they were done.  I took the opportunity to look the place over and was impressed – the people were friendly, the facility was spotlessly clean and the patients all appeared happy and well cared for.

Before I left I asked if he needed any errands run, purchases made, etc., and he told me that he did not, but would call me if something comes up.  I am not sure who else lives in the Seattle area (I am in Bellevue) but we may want to line up some ground support for him when he gets out of there and returns to Juneau.  If anybody lives in the area and is willing to help out, please email me at .

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thursday, May23

Mike will be headed back to Park West today. If you want to send him greetings, mail them to him at

Park West Care
1703 California Ave SW
Seattle, WA  98116

I talked to him after he got out of surgery. They are doing biopsies of his bladder and prostate. I told him people were thinking of him and those who were inclined to pray were also doing that. Typically Mike, he asked if they were praying or preying. He is doing a great job of keeping his spirits high. 

I will let you know more when I do.

Update: Thursday Evening
Mike arrived back at Park West this evening at about 7:15 Seattle Time. He would have been there much earlier but it took several hours longer to arrange for an ambulance. For those of you who have visited him in the past, he is in the same room as before.

I had a very long conversation with him tonight. He was in great spirits and so happy to be out of the "storage room" in Harborview's Emergency Ward. I asked him if he liked Park West and he said places don't come any better. He told me a very long story about how Jennifer Wilke "saved his life" many years ago during his Major/Weiss battles. She is now living in Bellingham and he is hoping to have a visit from her soon. 

He said to tell everyone that he is enjoying life again.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wednesday, May 22

Today Mike is still in the Emergency Admittance area of Harborview Hospital. They apparently have a real shortage of rooms. His doctor told me that they had one patient who was there for five days.

The report from his doctor is that the blood has cleared from the urine a lot but not totally. They are not sure if it is a bladder infection but are treating it with antibiotics in case it is. They are also doing a blood culture and a CAT scan and will have the results in a day or two. He may be going back to Park West on Thursday or Friday. I talked to them this morning to make sure they would have a room available when he comes back and they assured me they would. They said what a delightful man he is and had had even called Harborview to check on him. That reassures me they are taking good care of him.

Mike says to tell you all that he has things reasonably well in hand and his morale is up. He told me that he has been put in a storage closet so all the medical supplies are very conveniently located. Micaela was visiting when I talked to him so I was able to fill her in on the doctor's report.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday, May 21

 Sunday Mike had a lot of visitors: six at one time in his room. I had a call from Sheila Nickerson that evening and she told me that Mike was in rare form, regaling them with his stories. She also said that he had to have his catheter adjusted while they were there and she could tell he was in pain.

This morning he called early and told me he had had a setback in his condition yesterday, not having to do with his hip fracture but with his cancer. He did not go into detail but he will be seeing a urologist this afternoon to learn more. I will let you know more as I find it out.

Update: 1:25 PDT
 I just had a call from Mike's nurse at Park West. He is in the process of being transferred from Park West to the Emergency Room at Harborview Hospital (phone 206-744-3300). He is suddenly showing a lot of blood in his urine. I have called his nephew, Ben, who lives in Seattle. Unfortunately, he is in Los Angeles but flying back to Seattle late tonight.  I have also called Micaela Jensen in Seattle and left a voice mail for her. If there were anyone else in Seattle who could be with him at Harborview, that would be great. 

Update: 10:00 PDT
This afternoon, Martin and Sheila Nickerson were in Seattle and were able to visit Mike at Harborview. They said that his color was not good but upon seeing them he immediately perked up. This evening I was able to talk to the nurse. She said he was still in the emergency area while waiting to be admitted to a room. He has a urinary infection which they will be treating with antibiotics. She could not say whether his condition was strictly due to the infection or was also impacted by his cancer. I talked to him for a minute also. He was not happy with his setback but was entirely coherent. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Saturday, May 20

First of all, Mike wanted to add to his 70th birthday greetings to the Class of 1961. He said he forgot to address them as "Darlings"!

When I talked to Mike yesterday, he was very pleased to have gotten phone calls from two cousins who live in LA. I had been trying to contact them for a week and finally got through. He also got a call from Rob Crosby from Maine, a fellow teacher from the 1970s. Mike asked him about Rick Pastega who also taught at JDHS in the 60s. If anyone has a way of contacting Rick and letting him know of this blog, please do so, or ask Rick to email me.

Mike also had a visit from Jim Barron. Jim took the following picture and he certainly looks like he is enjoying Jim's visit. This was after having a visit from the long-term care insurance reps for an hour and a half so I'm sure Jim's visit was a great tonic.

He's getting his physical therapy every day which consists of various exercises and walking between the parallel bars -- about a dozen steps. He feels insecure walking with a walker. His balance is not good and he's afraid of falling again.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wednesday, May 15

I talked to Mike this afternoon. He was so pleased to have had a visit from Bruce Botelho yesterday. Today Jim Asper and Dan DeRoux came for a visit.

He also wanted me to send his greetings to the Class of 1961 as they celebrate their 70th birthdays this year.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday, May 14

This is mostly a repeat of what I thought I posted on Monday night. I heard from several people that they looked and the post was not there so I have redone it.  

I had a call from Sheila Nickerson who had driven down from Bellingham on Monday with Ingrid Judson to visit Mike. Sheila thought he looked weaker than the previous week but said it might have been due to having walked 9 steps during physical therapy earlier in the day. Micaela Jensen called and also said she thought he looked weaker. Today, Tuesday, Bruce Botelho will be stopping for a visit on his way through Seattle.

I gave him a call at 10:00 this morning (11:00 Seattle time), Tuesday, and it was a short conversation since he was getting physical therapy. There seem to be more medical activities in the morning than the afternoon. If you are passing through Seattle and would like to visit him, he does enjoy visits. You can call 206-937-9750 to find out when is a good time to visit. The address is in West Seattle, 1703 California Ave SW, 98116.

I enjoy hearing from people who have visited him because I can get a better idea of how he is doing than by just talking to him. You can call me at 907 586-1464 or email me at crondahl(at)gmail(dot)com.

Friday, May 3, 2013

May 2013

Thursday, May  9
Today Mike says he walked five steps with the parallel bars. He was quite pleased with himself. He was also pleased to have received a phone call from his friends, the Schergers in Germany. He was quite impressed that they had stayed up until midnight (their time) to call.

On a less cheerful note, I also talked to my daughter Shana who has been there for about ten days. She said he has lost a lot of weight and looks quite frail. He repeats himself frequently and gets stressed out over seemingly minor things. His progress is very slow. Shana is concerned that after she leaves tomorrow that there may not be many visitors. He enjoys visitors but finds phone calls difficult.

All of the mail that had gone to him at Harborview and arrived after he had left was returned to Juneau. I sent it off to him yesterday so he has something to look forward to there.

If you can't visit him in Seattle, I'm sure he would enjoy a card. His address is

Mike Kirk
Park West, Room 110-2
1703 California Ave SW
Seattle, WA  98116

Friday, May 3
I've talked to Mike several times in the last couple of days and today I was on a teleconference with him, the Social Worker, Physical Therapist, and Nurse Manager from Park West. The purpose of the conference was for Mike to clarify his rehabilitation goals. At first he said his goals were to become as independent as possible. When I asked him if it was more important to stay there until he could live independently or to come back to Juneau as soon as he could travel commercially and go to someplace like the Pioneers' Home, he said his preference would be to come home as soon as possible. The Park West Social Worker will contact the Pioneers' Home Social Worker to determine how and when a transfer could be made.

They are now working on getting him to transfer from bed to walker to wheelchair as independently as possible. Within 6-8 weeks he may be able to get around fairly independently with a walker. They estimated he may be able to travel with an escort in about a month. They will continue to assess his progress meeting that goal.

Yesterday he told me that balance is difficult. He has gotten a lot of mail and says he is "trying to be good"!