Stan Gerding

Dear Grandson: Getting New Pets and Quitting Smoking

In his latest “Dear Grandson,” Stan Gerding talks about the family’s new pets, a Siamese kitten and Boxer puppy, and quitting smoking.


Dear Grandson,

People down the street from us had a Siamese cat that had a litter and were selling them for fifty dollars, so we purchased one and named her “Mystic.” She was a very feisty cat.

We also drove to a Boxer breeder in Wisconsin to investigate buying a Boxer and, what a place. The puppies were well-attended, so we purchased one, a male that was sired from a champion male and a Blue-ribbon female. We were going to name him “Rocky,” because Bud and I liked all the Rocky movies and how fitting to name a Boxer dog Rocky. When we went to register him with the AKC (American Kennel Club), Rocky was taken, as was Rocky 1, Rocky 2, etc., they were all taken. So, we finally wound up calling him “Rocky B” for Rocky Balboa and that name was acceptable with the AKC.



We figured, if they grew up together, they would play and be good to each other, just like Pug and Bag Lady. Nahhhh. That didn’t happen. The kitten was annoying to the dog and would tease him unmercifully and, since he was bigger, he would try to get her, but she was too fast for him, he was very clumsy as a pup. They both got bigger, but Rocky B was enormous for a Boxer, he weighed 85 pounds and he was solid muscle. I took him to obedience training that was offered by the city and he responded very well to the training.



I had a small Toyota Tercel and I would put him in the front seat, and he would fill that whole front seat. You should have seen the stares I got from people on the street and especially other drivers.

Pony League was getting ready to start and the schedule showed us traveling quite a bit to places like Palatine, Highland Park, Zion, North Chicago, Libertyville, Mundelein, Deer Park, Arlington Heights, Deerfield, Northbrook, and Barrington, playing teams from those areas. As you can see, we were going to be very busy for the baseball season, busier than any other place we had been.

We were sponsored by the Junior Police and our uniforms were red and white. Waukegan was a true baseball town and they took this game extremely serious. After all that was said and done, the Junior Police came in 1st place in the playoffs that year in Rockford, Illinois.



I picked up another class at the end of the summer in August 1984 and their number was 84043-B. This was the class I had with that Navy Seal “Hero” Nurse.


(Class 84043-B)


This was a unique class, extremely intelligent and a lot of fun to teach. I enjoyed watching them grow into wonderful Hospital Corpsmen; they were self-motivating, caring, helpful, and nurturing to one another. I had no discipline problems with this class. The four instructors that worked with this class were extremely motivated and cared genuinely for them and we wanted to make them the best Corpsmen in the Navy. When this class graduated, each student walked by me and handed me a penny; I have no idea why they did this, but I was 36 cents richer. But more than that, I was proud of them for what they had just accomplished.

I ended up hurting my back lifting weights in the gym. After seeing an Orthopedic physician, I was diagnosed with two bulging discs in my spinal cord. The command took me off the teams and had me work in Curriculum Development. I worked there for next couple of months and then they asked me to take charge of our Educational Labs in the hospital.

I had an office on the 8th floor of the hospital and we had about seven wards on different floors that were loaned to Corps School from the Hospital Command for our use in testing our students. My back was in good shape after a while, I went back to the gym, mainly for strengthening exercises, and I started jogging again. I was feeling very good.

One day, I was coming back from the gym and the power was out in the hospital and the elevators were not working, so I walked up the steps to get to my office and, about four floors up, I noticed I was having pains in my chest, so I sat down to rest. After a few moments, I got back up and finished my jaunt to my office. I felt terrible. When I got to my office, I called a buddy of mine in X-ray and asked if he could do a chest x-ray on me. I got the x-ray and the radiologist called me up and told me I had two very dark lungs and I had better give up smoking.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, I smoked. I knew I had to quit if I wanted my lungs to clear up, so I signed up for the Seventh Day Adventist five-day no-smoking program which was offered on the base.


I knew I had to quit if I wanted my lungs to clear up, so I signed up for the Seventh Day Adventist five-day no-smoking program which was offered on the base.


The Seventh Day Adventist five-day no-smoking program was a program to flush all your cells of nicotine and caffeine. The first day, they said: no nicotine, no caffeine, no alcohol, no meat, just fruits and some vegetables and lots of water. Now, I must tell you, that I averaged about fifteen cups of coffee a day and smoked a half a pack of cigarettes, this was going to be a challenge.

We started out with 23 people in our class. When I went back the second day, there were 16 people left in the class.

The second day, the instruction was: no caffeine, no nicotine, no alcohol, no red meat, but you could have one helping of chicken and all the fruits, veggies, and water you could consume. The third day, there were 10 people left in the class and the instructions were the same as the previous day. The fourth day, there were 7 people left in the class and the instructions were the same as the two previous days. The fifth day, the same 7 people were still there. The instructions were still the same and they told us that we should be nicotine and caffeine free, that our cells were totally free of those chemicals.

This program worked for me because, since then, I haven’t had a cigarette and I didn’t drink coffee for about six months. When I did go back to coffee, I had a couple of cups a day. I lost the sensation of wanting cigarettes with coffee; I knew then that I was not going back to smoking. I went to the X-ray department and had another chest x-ray about a year later and my lungs were clear.

Thank you so much, Seventh Day Adventist, for your wonderful program! (No, I did not join the Seventh Day Adventist, I know you were wondering.)

Bud was in the 8th grade now and doing very well in school. He was anxious to start high school the next year. Bud would have attended Waukegan East High School, but he was eligible to attend the International Studies Program (ISP), so we signed him up for that. It meant that he would attend Waukegan West High School instead.

More later, Grandson.



Stan Gerding is the author of the book The Nam “Doc” A Navy Corpsman’s Story.


Stan Gerding

Stan Gerding is a retired veteran after 23 years in the Navy that included a tour of duty in Vietnam as a Corpsman, 1968-1969. He has since been the administrator of various healthcare organizations, a high school science teacher, an author, a singer, and is the father of Greg Gerding and grandfather to Jack.

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