April 6, 2012

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Trip to Cleveland reminds me of what’s holy in our lives

Shirley Vogler MeisterSo many readers have told me how much they enjoy the “Faithful Lines” columns about my husband, Paul, and our family.

As most people know, Paul and I have three daughters, each very unique. We are close to all of them. The eldest is Donna Marie. Our middle daughter is Diane Mary. Our youngest child is Lisa Marie.

When Paul and I were married, I told him that I wanted to have 13 children. We are 10 short. Perhaps God sent lost cats to us to correct the count!

Our daughter, Diane, is a medical laboratory technician at St. Joseph Marshall County Hospital in Plymouth, Ind. She has a son, David, 28, who works for Angie’s List in San Diego.

Lisa is vice president of claims with the Hospital Corporation of America Insurance in Nashville, Tenn.

Both Diane and Lisa have cats.

Donna’s son, Samuel, 12, has a life different than ours because when she married her husband, Dr. Robert Simons, she converted to Judaism.

Last year, they spent a year in Haifa, Israel, while he was on a sabbatical from Cleveland State University. While there, he taught at Technion University and they traveled widely. Donna is the chief financial officer for Simons and Associates, her husband’s other work.

Although Donna’s conversion to Judaism has sometimes been challenging for our family, we have appreciated learning more about the Jewish faith.

Fortunately, when Paul and I moved to Indiana from Illinois after our marriage, we rented an apartment in Broad Ripple and became members of Christ the King Parish.

Our friends and neighbors across the hall from us, Ruth and Art Klein, were Jewish. We still keep in touch.

The Kleins have sons and we have daughters. Eventually, we bought homes in different areas of the city.

Our first home was a bungalow, but after being blessed with three daughters it was too small. Fortunately, two parish friends, Kevin and Jeannie Birmingham, lived nearby but were preparing to move to California. We bought their larger home and have loved it ever since—just as we have loved our parish for more than 50 years.

Recently, Lisa, Diane, Paul and I traveled to Cleveland to witness and celebrate Samuel’s pre-Bar Mitzvah event at their synagogue. It was a beautiful experience with both Sam and his father expertly chanting and praying together.

Next year, God-willing, we will be there again for Sam’s Bar Mitzvah.

We cherish our family and are grateful to have experienced many blessings in our lives. We hope that David and other relatives can be in Cleveland next year.

We feel so blessed to have extended family and the many Indianapolis friends we have made through the years!

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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