The Paregien Journal – Issue 340 – September 06, 2016 — Stan Paregien Sr., Editor
Our 50-Year Old Son
You know you’re really getting some mileage on your ol’ speedometer when you wake up one day to discover that your baby boy just turned 50-years of age.
Yikes. I have trouble believing that I am way over 50+ muchless that our son is five decades into his life (or will be at the end of September).
Time for a little reality check.
Peggy and I were married in Ventura, California on May 31, 1962. Yep, 54 years ago. We immediately rented a small U-Haul trailer and pulled it behind my customized 1955 Ford all the way to Nashville, Tenn. We moved there for me to study at David Lipscomb College (now known as Lipscomb University). I intended to eventually teach for a living while living in a mission field in the U.S. and preaching for a church part-time. To make that happen, Peggy went to work to earn our main income. Meanwhile, I preached on Sundays for various small churches (Mars Hill Church of Christ northwest of Bowling Green, Kentucky; Greenville Church of Christ, Greenville, KY.; and the Chestnut Ridge Church of Christ way out in the country east of Petersburg, Tenn.).
In 1965, I graduated from Lipscomb U with a major in Speech Communication and minors in History and Bible. My goal was to teach speech courses in a college somewhere, and to do that I needed at least a master’s degree. So with the help of Dr. Bill Banowsky and Dr. Carol Ellis, I applied for and was accepted for graduate study at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. So we rented a slighly larger U-Hall trailer and headed west.
Peggy, again, took a full-time job to help support us while I worked on my master’s degree. She worked as a customer service person at a branch of the Bank of New Mexico out on the east side of Central Avenue (old 66 Highway). And I was awarded an “Assistantship” for a pittance each month to work with the UNM debate team and to teach a beginning speech class. We worshiped with the good folks at the Netherwood Park Church of Christ not far from the UNM campus, and for a time I worked as the Associate Minister with Minister Darrell Rickard.
All was chugging along like clockwork as we lived in a rented duplex near the airport. Then one of life’s little detours happened early in 1966. We found out Peggy was pregnant and would be having our first child in September or so. Well, I finished my course work at UNM and late that summer I began looking for a full-time job. I couldn’t teach on the college level until I had completed my masters, so I talk with a few churches in southern New Mexico about working with them. And the elders of the College Church of Christ (now the University Church of Christ) in Las Cruces invited me to preach for them.
That’s how it all came about that in September of 1966 I was preaching for the 250-member congregation in Las Cruces and starting to write my master’s thesis on “A Rhetorical Analysis of the Speeches of Robert G. Ingersoll.” Then one night I spoke at a little dinner for our congregation’s college-age students at nearby New Mexico State University. Peggy went with me.
Early the next morning, before sunup, Peggy awoke me complaining about a stomach ache. “I think it may be that spinach we ate last night,” she suggested.
Nope. It wasn’t the spinach. It was our baby and it was on the way. Somehow I got her to Dona Anna Hospital and watched as the nurses wisked her away to begin preparations. I, meanwhile, did the hard part: waiting nervously for our firstborn to make his or her appearance. Okay, okay. I’m kidding. Peggy had quite a long struggle with the birth, but . . . Shazam! Our first child made his grand entry and we slapped on him the exalted (but cumbersome) name of Stanley Eugene Paregien, Jr. After experimenting with various nicknames–such as “Little Stan” and “Junior”–we settled on “Gene.” And that’s what folks called him until he graduated from high school in 1985. However, that same year he joined the Air Force Reserves, where they call you by your first name, regardless. So folks who met him from the start of his college days until now only know him as “Stan.”
One thing about it, I did not have any trouble indentifying my prodigy in the busy hospital nursery. He was the only baby there with a thin crop of blond hair, while there were about a dozen Hispanic babies there with beautiful and full crops of coal-black hair.
Stan Jr. (“Gene”) days after his birth in 1966.
Alright, now lets “fast forward” to the fact that Stan Jr. started kindergarden at Stroud, Oklahoma and graduated from high school there in 1985.
Stan Jr.’s very first day of school — Stroud, OK — Sept., 1972
In addition, Gene (as he was known in high school) was a self-motivated kid. That was so whether he was in the classroom or playing in sports. He was a darned good running back in football, and he set two or three school records as a runner in track.
He spent the summer of 1985 going through basic training in San Antonio with the U.S. Air Force (Reserves), and that fall he started college at Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City.
That’s when the plot thickened. At OCU he met a pretty and vivacious little gal named Becky McLain from Gallup, New Mexico. By early in 1986 they were talking about getting married. And they did so in Stroud, Oklahoma on May 10, 1986. Stan Jr. became an instant father, as Becky and a beautiful three-year old daughter named Jodi.
The ceremony was performed by Gene/Stan’s maternal grandfather, W.W. (“Woody”) Allen. Becky worked at Hertz’s big reservation center on Northwest Highway to support them while Stan worked on his degree in Public Relations. He worked at a couple of radio stations and also for OCU and got a few grants.
It was a proud moment for all concerned when Stan Jr. in 1989 graduated from Oklahoma Christian University with a degree in Public Relations. He went to work for OCU recruiting students, so for two or three years he traveled out of state a lot. Then he became the Public Relations Director for the “Enterprise Square Museum” right there on the OCU campus. The museum featured the history of and games related to how the U.S. economy works.
By Easter of 1993, it was obvious that another family member was on the way. Stan Jr. and Becky with Jodi at Edmond, Okla.
The Oklahoma City Bombing
The Air Force sent Stan Jr. from Tinker Air Force Base to the site to document the work that the Air Force was doing to help in the rescue/recovery effort. Even the national media were kept more than a hundred yards away, but he was right up in the carnage. He later went on a local TV show showing the photos that he had taken.
Stan Jr., Becky, Jodi and Daniel at Christmas time in Edmond, OK.
L to R, FRONT: Jodi (McLain) Paregien & brother Daniel. BACK: Peggy Paregien, Evelyn Cauthen Paregien Spradling (Stan Jr.’s grandmother), Becky Paregien, and Stacy (Paregien) and husband John Magness . . . at our house on Neptune Road in Edmond, OK.
Front row: Christal & Stacy (Paregien) Magness, Dylan Magness, Daniel Paregien with his sister Jodi. 2nd Row: Stan Paregien Jr., John Magness, Evelyn (Cauthen) Paregien Spradling [Stan Sr.’s mom], & Becky Paregien. 3rd Row: Stan Paregien Sr. and Peggy. At the home of Stan Sr. on South Neptune Road in Edmond, OK.
Soon the Air Force moved Stan Jr. to an assignment as the Public Information Officer for Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, IL. Becky found a good job in the Information Technology department at the world headquarters of Enterprise Car Rental in nearby St. Louis, Missouri. The family first bought a home due south of there out in the country near Barnhart, Missouri.
After two or three years, they moved across the Mississippi River to the little farm community of Waterloo, Illinois. They bought a large two-story house south of town.
Daniel Paregien and his father, Stan Jr., playing music in their Union Army uniforms (Civil War vintage) at an encampment and festival south of St. Louis, Missouri.
Then, in 2004, the Stan Paregien Jr. family expanded even more. Daughter Jodi and her husband Brandon Barrow had a baby they named Dominic. Stan and Becky’s first grandchild.
Christmas time in Waterloo, IL. Brandon Barrow family–Jodi and childdren Dominic and Bailee, and the Stan Paregien Sr. family–Becky and Daniel.
Several of the folks in the 2010 photo above were little kids that Stan Jr. started Kindergarden with at Stroud (Okla.), in 1972. It says something good about one’s character and integrity when you are loyal to them and they to you for 38 years .
This was my dear mother’s last Christmas on this earth. She died from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease just a few weeks later, on Feb. 23, 2011.
Hey, there has never been any doubt that our son knows how to have a lot of fun himself and how to make a lot of other folks smile, too.
Whew, well folks, there you have it. After looking at the previous photos, you’ll understand why Peggy and I are so proud of our son. He has become a professional soldier, a fine writer and photographer, and a loving husband, father and grandfather. He has also proven himself to be a dedicated Christian who is active in their local congregation, and he has demonstrated a compassionate spirit for those who are down and nearly out.
Is he perfect? Heck, no. Not by a long shot. But Stan Jr. keeps chugging along and trying to be a better person and to help others do the same.
So . . . won’t you join his mother and me as we wish him a very happy 50th birthday?