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Everyone has a Story ~ Here is Ours

Ron (left) Neall (right) {Picture by Murphy-Steele @ Sam Lewis State Park, York, PA}

Hello there, I am Neall, one of the co-owners of Junction 116, LLC.  And I wanted to take a moment to share my our story (well, one of them) and in addition, answer a few questions asked of us along the way.

Before I get started with my story. Yes, I will complete the series about Gram and her move into assisted living with the Haven at Springwood. Admittedly, my delay in writing it is very personal, as it will be the final living chapter of her story; though not the end of her stories, since she touched so many lives in her lifetime.

Moving on, my latest leg of life’s journey began in 2003. I was living in a college town called Forest Grove in Oregon. It is located about 30 minutes just outside of Portland, Oregon. And to put things into a bit of perspective. My Gram was living in Craley, Pennsylvania, which is about 35 minutes south of Harrisburg the State capitol of Pennsylvania. This was quite a distance to try and care for someone, 2800 miles of distance. So as time passed and the normal calls of how are you doing, changed to could you help me with a problem dear. She had a habit of being scammed out of a lot of money. All do to her very trusting nature. I will never fault her for it. It is what made her so lovable. But, I would do my best to remedy as many of these wonderful issues as I could; from 2800 miles away. But, it started to become quite apparent that this could not continue. I discussed with her about moving to Oregon.  She was at first quite thrilled with the idea and even came to stay for a while in Oregon (we have a ton of videos she recorded). She so did like it there, she would often point out, that she isn’t sweating bullets, because the climate was so similar to England. But, then another issue popped up while she was visiting. She had a heart attack, though it was not fatal, it downed her mood greatly. So she wanted to return back to Pennsylvania. I knew this was the start of a big change coming.

About, a month after she returned home. She called me at an irregular time (not our good night call), but, early morning. She said I do not feel quite right dear. She said, that she felt very tired and could barely keep her eyes open. So I said unlock the kitchen door and just sit there at the table with the phone by you. I will call and ambulance and will get you to the emergency room. She then retorted, I do not need a bloody ambulance, just need a hot cup of tea. I said nevermind the tea right now. Just sit there. So I called the ambulance, not easy from 2800 miles away. but, when I mentioned she had a heart attack about a month earlier, they decided to listen and sent one to her home.

So she arrives at the hospital, a few hours later, the doctor calls me and informs me the blood flow to her heart is less than ten percent. He then says, she needs to have stents placed immediately or she will not be around much longer. But, Gram being her lovable self, scratch that, being her most stubborn British self said, the doctor doesn’t know what he is talking about and just wants more money. And that she is just tired and needs a pick me up. To which, I debated with her, she is not a doctor and less she forgets, she had a heart attack about a month early while visiting with me. She fought me on this, saying no such thing happened, and all she remembers is having indigestion. I had to point out the doctor she saw while in Oregon was a heart doctor. She still denied it. But, as we were talking she started to have a bad angina attack. Which somehow convinced her she needed the stents. So off she went to the have the stents put in. I should note, this was just the first 2 of 9 total stents she would receive over the next couple years. She fared well through the placement of the stents, and returned to her stubborn British self. Because, after it was all said and done, she kept asking, was that all  necessary, as she felt totally fine. Another moment of realization that my time of big change was even closer than I initially imagined.

So another month goes by and I cannot stop thinking about the move to Pennsylvania. But, one morning I just gave up arguing with myself and made that decision. I was moving back to Pennsylvania. So I began preparations. First thing I had to do was find a place to live. Why not with Gram? Well, she is not only a lovable stubborn Brit, she values her privacy and independence. And I remember other times just having a visiting nurse come by to help her after hospital stays or rehab. It did not fare well at all; since she chased them off. While I know I am family, I had already left the nest, and on some level she would lose some respect for me. And if that happened, it would have caused issues with her future care. So I bought a place in downtown York City, Pennsylvania. It was not too far, but not too close to be a bother to her. So I moved back to Pennsylvania and the journey of crossing America is another story all to itself (I will say it involved three siamese and three people in a two seater 24 foot Ryder truck traveling 2800 miles).

I arrived in York, Pennsylvania in June of 2003 and after getting all settled in. The daily visits to Gram’s home began. There was never ending yard work and weeding of her huge flower beds, not to mention a host of other tasks to make her home livable for someone now deemed handicapped; and for someone insisting on being independent. So I installed hand hold bars near steps and reworked the bathroom to give handles everywhere. Perhaps, I overdid it, but, her safety was my primary concern. So for now I had her sort of squared away. I now needed to work on my personal life. Because all work and no play does make for a dull boy (or stressed out caregiver).

I dated a bit, but, was not feeling the York vibe. It is a small town of about 100k people. A little town trying to be a big city is the best way to describe it. But, it does have some appeal for its closeness to big cities like Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, Washington D.C. to name a few. So a few months pass and I am setup on a blind date by a dear friend. Yeah, all those thoughts crossed my mind about blind dates. But, little did I know at the time. That the blind date would turn into 14 years and married. He has been simply amazing, a rock for me to lean on, a shelter in the storm of my emotions. But, mostly a true companion that I trust as we travel together through this journey of our lives.

So to wrap up my at times long winded stories. After, my Gram passed in October of 2015 and I finished my roller coaster of mourning. Ron and I began a closer look at our lives. We pondered all those we had lost and the trials and tribulations we had been through in life thus far. And what we came up with was to start Junction 116. It had to be more than just a business to make money, it had to help others and touch lives. But, most importantly, it had to have the values of those we cherished and loved. It also had to reflect their beliefs in charity and helping others less fortunate or dealt a bad hand…(that last one was for your gram). So Junction 116, LLC was born in June of 2017; interesting time June. Junction116.com is an online department store with something for everyone and every budget.  And we donate 50 percent of profits to charities. Though in order to be added or stay in the rotation of charities we support. The charity must give to its programs and works at least 50 percent of its income; not 49.5, but 50. We are realistic and understand there are administrative and other costs. But, if an existing charity falls below the 50 rule, it will be removed.

So there is a little more background about us and Junction 116’s origins and why we do it.

Have a Fantastic day and be good to one another.

Neall

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