There was a couple whom I knew by the name of David and Helen Goodman. They were an elderly couple who I use to see in our local Walmart. They would sit and talk with people, either on a Walmart bench or usually in the dining area of a small restaurant within the Walmart. Everyone knew them, both employees and customers, and people would gather around them to join in their conversation. It was as if they were a king and queen holding court. They were absolutely delightful to talk to and that is why the people would gather around them, including me. Here is Helen making "bunny ears" with her fingers for David and herself. Notice the pin on David's cap? Answer: Navy officer. And the printing on the left side of his jacket? Answer: Disabled American Veterans.
Yes, Helen was the lively one and so full of life. She would talk a mile a minute. David was more on the quiet side. They were always together. I never saw one without the other.
Helen passed on first and then David followed six weeks later. This seems to happen when the husband and wife are very close and have been together a long time. I guess that one can't survive without the other. A friend attended their funeral and visited their grave later and sent me a picture of their marker. And there, on their marker were some small stones that had been left behind by visitors, just like in the movie Schindler's List.
I became very curious about this placing of the stones on a grave. So I did a search on the internet. I found several similar versions of its meaning:
a stone is placed as a sign of respect
a stone is placed to participate in the marking of the grave
a stone is placed to let the deceased know that you were there.
All are very good versions. I visited their grave and left my own stone, for all three of the above reasons. I hope that this blog will give an idea of what these two individuals were like. These biographical sketches were taken from their eulogies. Many thanks to whoever wrote their eulogies. It is good to remember our friends and not let them just pass into obscurity. I have always liked people and I consider myself lucky to have shared some moments with these two individuals, David and Helen. The first part is about Helen since she passed first.
Helen (Bazar) Goodman
January 3, 1926 – October 22, 2012Helen was born in
On a blind date set up by her sister
May 27, 1920 – December 3, 2012David Goodman was born in
David was stationed in theIn the late 1950's he was given orders to
Philippines when war with broke out
in 1941. David was a radioman on a PT
boat (boat PT-34). He was captured in
1943 and spent the duration of the war as a prisoner of war. He endured a living hell working as a slave
laborer in a steel mill, incurring malnutrition, disease, and tortuous medical
experiments. He was liberated in 1945
and returned to Japan Brooklyn. He married Helen on February 20, 1946.
The Silver Star indirectly awarded by General MacArthur. There is a small silver star located in the center of the larger gold star. I guess that is why they call it the Silver Star medal.
On the reverse side is the inscription "FOR GALLANTRY IN ACTION". I guess that speaks for itself.
Military Service Medal
SECNAV Commendation (Letter or Medal?) under the hand of then Sec’y of the Navy Frank Knox;
Philippine Defense Medal
On the reverse side it says
Good Conduct Medal
Navy Presidential Unit Citation ribbon
Prisoner of War Medal
Radioman Second Class David Goodman NSN 2234320, United States Navy was captured by the Japanese after the fall of Corregidor, Philippine Islands, on May 6, 1942, and was held as a Prisoner of War until liberated by U.S. Military forces after the end of hostilities in August, 1945.
David was held as a Prisoner of War in the Kawasaki 5D POW camp until that camp closed on June 4, 1945. Then he arrived at the Niigata 5B POW camp where he stayed until the Rescue Team arrived on September 5, 1945. Both of these camps were in the Tokyo area.
Did you keep count on the total number of medals and citations that he received? I counted 8. How many did you count? Please let me know in the comments section if I miscounted. What a chest full of medals he must have had on his uniform. Quite a feat.
After leaving the Navy, David and Helen eventually settled in Ocoee, Florida. He operated a radio repair shop for a while but eventually went to work for the Florida Department of Transportation, repairing and maintaining communications equipment.After the war until he died, David suffered from what we now recognize as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We us to say some military came back from the was "shell shocked". When he might wake up at night in terror, Helen was always there to comfort and reassure him that everything was alright. She devoted herself to him completely. They were devoted to each other. David died six weeks after Helen on December 3, 2012.
Shopping at Walmart just doesn't seem to be the same without Helen and David there. I hope that this biographical sketch has given some insight into this remarkable couple. Thanks for reading this.