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How I got my appointment to West Point
My story is somewhat different, in that I always knew I wanted to go to West Point. Four previous generations had attended, plus numerous uncles. I had two problems:
1. As an Army brat, I had no home and hence no political base. But a major advantage was I was eligible for a presidential nomination, entitling me to compete for an appointment. As I recall, there were seven, but of course qualified alternate provided a viable alternative. To solve this one, I was enrolled at Sullivan's Prep School to learn how to take the West Point Entrance Exam. (Best friends Ray Gunderson and Stan Sydenham, among others, were classmates).
2. The major problem: I was extremely nearsighted, and there was no way I could pass eyesight requirements. To solve this one, during my year at Sully's I attended an eye doctor twice a week to take eye exercises ( the thought was for myopia one's eyeball was too long or too short, I forget which, so the exercises would shorten or lengthen, whatever, the eyeball). I don't know if this worked, but what I learned to do was blink hard, the chart became clear, and I would memorize the line.
So my concern at Sully's was not the feared entrance exam, but for me the dreaded eye exam. I chose to take the exams at Ft. Jay, Governor's Island (incidentally, where we had been stationed from 1934-1940) because I had been told the exams were not as stringent as at Walter Reed.
As for the West Point Entrance Exam, I had gotten sick and don't remember much about them. But for the medical exam, I remember blinking and reciting the letters and then the doctor dilated my eyes. I had no idea such a thing existed-everything dissolved. I recall the doctor saying 'can you see the big E so I know you're seeing something.' I think he might have commented that he thought I had an allergic reaction to the drug.
So I went to Heidelburg, Germany, where my family had been reassigned, certain I had flunked the medical exam. I was stunned to receive the letter of appointment, and to this day have no idea how I passed that exam.
In four years as a cadet, I only recall one time other than playing myopic waterpolo where this hampered me. That was when I wasn't wearing glasses and saluted a barracks policeman.
The irony is that when I had cataract surgery last year my distant vision was corrected, and for the first time in over seventy years I can see the barracks policeman.
But now I can't find my reading glasses.
28 July 2010
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Eleanor Schmidt 'Ellie' Raymond
June 15, 1936 - July 7, 2015
Resided in Marquette, MI
Eleanor Schmidt Raymond passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by love, in Marquette, Michigan on July 7, 2015 after a courageous journey with Alzheimer's dementia.
Ellie graciously transcended the ravages of this progressively debilitating disease with an intact spirit and unconditional love for those in whom her care was entrusted. Particularly beloved were her family and friends, and the companions and caregivers who graced her life in her final years. The obituary picture taken eight days before her death reflects this love.
Once referred to as 'the most beautiful wife in the Army', Ellie was born on June 15, 1936 in Perth Amboy, New Jersey to Theodore and Josephine Schmidt. She met Allen on a blind date at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in March 1955 while a student at Rutgers University. In December that year she left college in a leap of faith to marry Al and join the Raymond-Leonard West Point legacy family. The newlyweds lived in Germany for three years, where children Dwight and Licia were born. Jorie was born in New Jersey while Al attended the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and Ted was born at their next assignment at West Point, where Al taught Social Sciences. Ellie excelled as a career Army wife, supporting Al's students and the families of the troops under Al's command during his 22 years as an Army officer. She especially met the challenge of sustaining the family during Al's tour in Vietnam in 1966.
Ellie and Al were transferred to Marquette, Michigan 1973-76 to serve at Northern Michigan University in the Department of Military Science, and they remained happily in Marquette ever after.
Ellie embraced Marquette, and in 1976 published a cookbook 'Marquette on Menu', which was subsequently republished as a fundraiser for the St. Paul Episcopal Church Sesquicentennial in 2006.
She launched her four children out of the nest and founded Mares-Z-Doats Feed, Garden, & Pet Supply in 1978 to meet the growing needs of her enlarging menagerie of horses, goats, dogs, cats, ducks, birds, guinea pigs, and rabbits.
Ellie completed her Bachelor of Arts at Northern Michigan University, and briefly taught elementary school in the Marquette school system. She was a devoted member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, where she sang in the choir and served on the Welcomer and Stewardship Committees. She was a loyal member of the Marquette Yacht Club, supporting her husband Al's obsession for sailing with good humor as a crew member in the weekly Ensign races in Marquette Harbor ('oh no Al, not the spinnaker!'). Ellie treasured her friends in the Marquette Study Club, especially her sponsor Katie Wright.
Ellie's foremost love has been her husband Allen. Their devotion to each other through the years of her illness has been inspiring.
She was so proud of her four children: Dwight, a retired career Army officer now working at the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute; Licia, who worked in Marquette as a women's health physician for many years; Jorie, a U.S. booking agent for Spanish Riding School Bereiters from Vienna; and Ted, a senior investigator with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.
Ellie is survived by her husband of 59 years, Allen Raymond of Marquette, Michigan; son Dwight Raymond and his wife Youngae of Carlisle, Pennsylvania; daughter Licia Raymond and her husband Christian Hansen of Boston, Massachusetts; daughter Jorie Raymond Sligh and her husband Rob Sligh of Grand Rapids, Michigan; and son Ted Raymond and his wife Kay Payant of Marquette, Michigan.
Ellie will especially miss being involved in the lives of her grandchildren: USMC Captain Sean Raymond stationed in Okinawa, Japan and Scott Raymond of Charleston, South Carolina; Michala Hansen of Boston, Massachusetts, Ariel Hansen Strong and husband Andy Strong of San Francisco, California, and Nicholai Hansen of Los Angeles, California; Jim Sligh of Brooklyn, NY, Leslie Sligh with the Peace Corps in Namibia, Africa, Laura Sligh of Bend, Oregon, and Jack Sligh of Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was preceded in death by her brother and sister-in-law Ted and Mary Jane Schmidt who lived for many years in Marquette.
Ellie was able to remain at home throughout her journey with end-stage Alzheimer's, in familiar and peaceful surroundings, because of the extraordinary involvement of hospice services. Her family is eternally grateful for the loving care provided by companions Nancy Evans, LeeAnne Robinson, Barbara Anthony, Pat Shaw, Sandy Brindley, and Deb Carlson; dear friends Charlie and Katie Wright, Frank Allen, Sandra and Burt Purrington, among others; the staff at Arcadia Health and the enduring wisdom and tireless professionalism of the palliative care specialists at Lake Superior Hospice.
All are welcome to attend a celebration of Ellie's life at the home of Peggy and Pete Frazier, 460 East Ridge Street, Marquette, Michigan on Tuesday, August 4th, 2015 from 4-7pm. The Memorial Service will begin at 5:30pm.
Donations in Ellie's memory may be made to Lake Superior Hospice, St. Paul's Episcopal Church or UPAWS.
'She walks in beauty...' Lord Byron
The Canale-Tonella Funeral Home is assisting the family where memories may be shared at canalefuneral.com - See more at: http://www.canalefuneral.com/obituary/ELEANOR-JAY-RAYMOND/Marquette-MI/1526964#sthash.t0KHhBva.dpuf