Thursday, February 28, 2013

About the Author - I had a catastrophic stroke 16 years ago. I couldn't talk. For seven years, I pieced-out words.


That's an old picture.


I'm Michaline Yezek Yankowski Schlueter-Schlueter (it's a long story) Roller, thrice divorced and my son is Jeffrey Yankowski. No alimony, thank you very much.  All three guys are the "black sheep", for what it's worth; all three guys were strong and exceedingly powerful mothers. Chercher la mere, it seems.  Frank Yankowski and Dur Roller died of a heart attack, respectively at 57 and 69. Ozzie Schlueter is at large in Beaver Falls, Pa. 

I dropped out at 19 from Maryland Medical Secretary School at Hagerstown. Md. in 1965. I dropped a lot of things, actually, for California State Teacher's College from Pennsylvania, a stint at University of Pittsburgh of Greensburg, Chrysler Institute from  Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Tarrant Junior College at Volkswagen-Fort Worth, Westmoreland County Community College ---a host of colleges. I never finished.

I worked as a medical secretary for two physicians, respectively, one and the other.  I was fired; too long lunch-breaks and never showing up. Doctors hate that. I was a transcriber for medical records in Frick Hospital and Latrobe Hospital in Pennsylvania.  February 1976, Volkswagen Manufacturing came, in New Stanton, Pa. I worked as secretary in personnel, moved up to personnel services-salaried, benefits analyst, and benefits coordinator.

VW-Ft. Worth, Texas, is a teeny hamlet of the plant.  I worked a secretary of personnel and it  was a colorless job. I graduated to Quality Control as a clerk, but it didn't work out.

I worked Chrysler Motors in Sterling Heights, Michigan, as a secretary, and a production foreman, body-in-white.  I built cars, the Sundance and Shadow; little silver cars in the body shop. I was exhausted and exhilarated at the same time.  I loved the body shop. The plant is a swiss watch, something is always going on, somewhere.

I foundered over job after job, always looking around the next corner.  I had a short attention span.  Scotch and vodka is my libation, the good kind---Chivas and Absolute.  The alcoholism numbed me. And Afib, heart-stopping, hammering-in-my-chest, no rhyme or reason for 20 years. Yes, I had myriad physicians.

My stint of jobs were all over the map; Production Control - Queen of E&O (excess and obsolete), Communications - a half-bad pretty-good speechwriter, (pithy was a good thing), Dealer Liaison for the Plant - Eight people traveled nationwide, concerned about the dealer and the plant. It was a Public Relations job. Chrysler cut back with budget cuts and disbanded the dealer liaison. I was Safety and Security, a trio of people dealing with, well, safety and security. It was a silly job and with nothing to do.

I took a buy-out for Chrysler and never looked back.

I shoveled excrement for a living, specifically, horse manure. Dur owns standard bred racing horses. Florida is muggy, sweltering and white-hot, even in the winter time.  However, I love the ocean. 

Oh, I almost forgot.  I worked as cub reporter, notwithstanding 40 years old.  I was terrible, although what, who, where, how and when came easily. I had good editor.  The Village Voice was the newspaper, a throw-a-way, in Richmond, MI. and The Advisor and Source was a throw-a-way in Shelby Township, MI.  I was a personal column and editorial writer for the Source.

Fast forward in 1997, I worked as a reporter for The Daily Courier, in Pennsylvania.  I won an Associated Press (Penna.) for editorial writing in 1999, six-months before the stroke. On Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1999 in Allegheny General Hospital I lay in Afib tachycardia as fast as 220 beats per minute and a stroke to boot. Twenty-twenty insight; I believe it's mercury fillings.

In 1995, I summarized depositions for lawyers from Interim Services in Fort Lauderdale and worked as a transcriptionist for a doctor and hospital for radiology. I worked at home for the doctor and hospital. I continued to Pennsylvania, worked as a depo writer and transcriptionist, completely free-lance.

I love the spoken word; the nuances, the inflection, and the connotations.  It's ironic, God's little joke. I couldn't talk, in 1999.  For seven years, I peaced out words. One word answers; food, haircut, water, Doritos, bed, thanks, please, etc. My mind was totally black, a blank slate.

The dentist extracted the in '05, fifty years of mercury fillings is a god-awful thing. And the Afib is completely gone, nyet, vamoose, nada. Twenty years of Afib. Yikes. Slowly but surely, I'm better.  Mercury fillings is beyond belief. I know.

I can talk again. I can converse again. I have a website. Who knew? Probably, it's fate. 

Spooky, huh?

I'm not a physician, or a dentist, or a science guy.  A stroke survivor? Yes. I know what I know.

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