Update from Amazing Grace
Bud and Louise spent a lifetime together. Amazing Grace, the story of their falling in love, ended in 1947 Pittsburgh. They spent the next 27 years in Pleasant Hills, a south-hills suburb of Pittsburgh, raising two beautiful daughters, my Aunt Carolyn and my mom, Deborah.
Following the war, Bud took over his dad’s successful furrier business, providing storage, cleaning, and repair of various furs. He and his brother purchased a small, single-engine plane together occasionally couriering friends and themselves to Florida or other locations around the United States. Following a tragic crash and death of his brother, Bud never flew again, focusing on furs, and briefly working for Abravanel Furs in Pittsburgh until his retirement. Once both of their daughters were married, he and Louise then moved to Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, where they spent the rest of their lives in a quaint house and property they purchased through Bud’s business contacts. There, he launched yet another business, becoming the go-to man in the area for customizing and repairing boat covers for Deep Creek Lake guests and residents, befriending such people like Jim Delligatti, the creator of the Big Mac.
Louise remained the solid force in Bud’s life. After resigning from the Navy during the war, she acquired a nursing position at Macgee-Womens Hospital. While there, she attended hundreds of patients, keeping her rounds and easing the stress of others with her care for personal detail yet never quite coming across anyone like Bud.
In 1992, Bud suffered a major stroke and was eventually checked into a nursing facility in Oakland, Maryland, just east of the Deep Creek Lake area. There, Louise visited Bud like clockwork, fluffing his pillows and keeping the nurses who worked there on their toes as if she worked there herself. Their daughter Carolyn, who had become a nurse herself, assisted where she could and was there in their final days together. She quietly observed Bud and Louise holding hands and staring glassy-eyed at each other as Bud’s condition slowly worsened and he eventually slipped away. At Bud’s funeral, Louise said very little. She requested a violin rendition of Amazing Grace.
The song was played once more at a modest observance after Louise lost the fight with a serious bout of pneumonia. Since she was a war veteran, a couple Navy servicemen presented a flag-folding ceremony. Today, over 75 years after Bud and Louise locked eyes for the first time, I––one of their grandsons––keep Louise’s folded American flag in my office where I write. To this day, her loving yet coarse voice rings in my ears and my heart, keeping me motivated the same way Bud was undoubtedly kept in check.
Currently at home in Central Florida, John Hope loves spending time with this family and friends. Whether he's traveling thousands of miles in a car or playing board games on the living room floor, he loves the company and conversations and laughs with the ones he loves. He often pulls from these times with his family and loved ones to create wonderfully tender moments and hilariously vivid characters in his writing.
Shortly after marrying the love of his life, John was blessed with the birth of his daughter and son. Reading night after night to his kids, he revived his writing by making up stories for his kids. This lead to a number of published books that came directly from these stories: The Band Aid, Frozen Floppies, and Pankyland. He still works as a software engineer, a career he enjoys at times, but his heart remains in his writing. Visit www.johnhopewriting.com.