A Collector Series Story
Charles W. Bird
©2011 – 2014
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental. This story is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced by any means without the express, written permission of the author.
Sergeant First Class Juan Edward Moralis sat on the edge of his bed, tears running down his face and a crumpled letter in his hands. Sgt. Moralis, United States Army, soon to be medically retired, had read and reread that letter until he knew the words by heart. "Juan, I am taking Danny and we are leaving, don't try to find us. I am not going to live with a half of a man. I can't say it hasn't been fun, but goodbye, Janice." Juan Moralis had been in Army Special Forces fighting the Viet Cong in the jungles of Viet Nam when a grenade was dropped in his lap while he was in a boat headed down river. He remembered screaming and the next thing he remembered was on a hospital ship headed to Hawaii. He spent a year at Walter Reed Army Hospital and then they sent him for another year of rehabilitation at the VA Hospital in Tucson, Arizona. Tomorrow, May 1, 1969, he would be retired and sent home to Hurley, New Mexico, on a prosthetic leg and a cane, to an empty house, no family and no job.
A SMALL BOY SHOWS THE WAY
School started that September, Bobby was a senior this year and all the boys were in school except young James, who had just turned 4 years old. The little boy was lonely, all his brothers were in school and just Juan was home with him.
It was a warm fall day and being cooped up in the house was not his idea of a great day! Juan was in the kitchen having a second cup of coffee when James wandered in. The little boy had a sad look on his face and said to his dad, "Daddy, will you teach me how to ride a pony?"
Juan replied, "I can't ride, can you wait until one of your brothers get's home?" The little boy looked ready to cry, "But Daddy, can't you show me, you can do anything!" Tears were beginning to bubble out of the boy's eyes and Juan could feel his heart begin to crumble.
Finally he said, "Well, let's try it, maybe I can swing up on the pony and we will ride around the yard."
James' eyes lit up like the Fourth of July, he screamed, "OH BOY, I'll get my new hat!", and he ran off to collect his new cowboy hat. Juan groaned, thinking, "Oh God, what have I gotten myself into?"
The two walked out to the corral and Juan saddled up one of the ponies. Holding onto the reins, Juan lifted James up into the saddle and then, standing on a box, levered himself into the saddle behind the boy.
They rode around the yard, James was screaming, "Faster, Daddy, faster!" Juan found that he was actually quite comfortable in the saddle, so he kicked open the gate and the two headed out for a ride.
They rode as far as the High School and, as they started to turn back towards home, it was time to change classes. Bobby, Roger and Phillip were headed to the JROTC Classroom when they spotted Juan and James on the horse! The three brothers yelled and screamed, waving their arms in greeting.
Bobby yelled, "Way to go, Dad!" He added to himself, "About time!"
As they rode back to the house, Juan was thinking, "I can do this, I can go with my boys!" It took a small boy to show his Dad just how little he was handicapped!
The first grading period reports cards came home, and all the boys were on the Honor Roll. Major Davis, the JROTC Instructor included a note in Bobby's Report Card asking to have a meeting with Juan.
Juan asked Bobby what was going on and Bobby told him that he had no idea.
The next day, Juan telephoned Major Davis and set up a meeting for that afternoon. Juan could not believe that Bobby was in any trouble, but whatever it was he needed to find out early and "nip" whatever was wrong in the "bud", before it became a problem.
Juan arrived for the meeting and was ushered into the conference room. Not only was Major Davis there but also the High School Principal, Amanda Gorman and the Senior Class Advisor, George Cahill.
Major Davis had a stack of papers in his hand and a smile on his face that told Juan there was no trouble ahead. Juan sat down with relief on his face and in his heart.
The Major began, "Mr. Moralis, you and I have spoken before about Bobby's excellent grades and leadership. Now, I have a paper here that proves what I said! He passed a bundle of forms to Juan and as he read them, he nearly fell of his chair! It was an offer for a Congressional Appointment to Annapolis – The Naval Academy!
Juan started to stammer, "But…. How…. Who…." His heart was hammering like a pile driver!
Major Davis laughed, "Are you aware that Bobby Moralis is the top All Around High School Student in all of the state of New Mexico and I want him to apply for an appointment to the United States Naval Academy!"
Juan read all the paperwork and then asked, "Is Bobby aware of all this?"
Amanda Gorman, the Principal smiled as she replied, "Yes he is …… Bobby, come on in here and sit beside your Dad!"
Bobby opened the door and entered the room, wearing an ear to ear grin on his face. He hugged Juan and said, "May I go, Dad?"
Juan hugged his son tightly and, with tears streaming down his face said, "Son, if this is what you want, YES, you may go!"
Juan was overcome with emotion and pride in his son. He sat down and looked at Major Davis, "Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!"
So began an odyssey of paperwork that seemed unending. Immediately after Christmas, Juan and Bobby flew to Washington, DC to meet with their Congressman and also to pay a visit to the Naval Academy in Annapolis.
Bobby came away with stars in his eyes, ready to start his plebe year then and there!
The remainder of the year passed rapidly, it was no surprise to anyone when command of the JROTC Unit was passed to Bobby's brother, Roger Knife.
At the Change of Command Ceremony, Roger praised Bobby and then continued, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests, I would like to add to the praise that my Brother, Bobby Moralis accorded to our Dad, Juan Moralis. This man, Juan Edward Moralis, dragged a skinny, filthy Indian boy out of the bushes, loved him, cared for him and encouraged him to be the boy you see standing before you. The greatest thing I can think of to say is, I am now 17 years old, on my 18th birthday my Uncle, John Peters, has papers to file changing my last name to Moralis. Dad, I repeat what Bobby told you, you are the greatest that will ever be!"
Anita had to drive Juan home again this year!
A week later, they took Bobby to the airport in Las Cruces, where he boarded the plane for Washington and on to Plebe Week at Annapolis.
The JROTC Annual Encampment was another great success with units from other High Schools who were invited to participate, more than 1,000 cadets attended!
Juan spent the summer enjoying his boys as they all spent many hours roaming the hills on horseback.
Roger started applying to colleges and universities that had courses in forestry. He had decided he wanted to be a Forest Ranger. The best course available was at the University of New Mexico in Las Cruces. He and Juan made a visit to the campus and met with the Freshman Counselor.
After looking at Roger's High School Record, the Counselor told them that Roger should have no problem meeting the entrance requirements or passing the course of study for a degree in Forestry Science.
They received a letter from Bobby, he said that being a Plebe was no cakewalk, but he was determined to succeed.
Kennecott announced they were curtailing operations at the smelter and were going to lay off over 1,000 employees. This was a terrible blow to the folks in Hurley because the smelter was the only large employer in the area.
Bill Cochran quickly made arrangements to sell the ore from the Moralis Open Pit Mine to other smelter operations. The ore was high grade, so the other smelter companies were anxious to bid.
The school district voted to consolidate with the Silver City School District and bus all the students there.
Since the Moralis Foundation owned the Elementary School, Juan decided to open it as a private school. There were so many applications for enrollment that he purchased the High School from the school district and had it renovated. Even before the renovations were complete, enrollment applications started arriving.
Most of the teachers asked to stay with the now private school system and before the last day was over as a public school, there were more applications than there were places for students. Some applications came from as far away as Tucson!
The Foundation contracted to have motel like accommodations built for out of town students and Juan again went on a hunt for mentors.
Like before, most of them came from the VA Hospital in Tucson. Juan and The Moralis Foundation had gained such a high reputation; the Social Services Office at the hospital had Juan's home phone number on file! They regularly called him when they had a veteran who needed a job, particularly if that veteran was handicapped in some manner.
Roger graduated with Highest Honors and was Class Valedictorian. In his speech he said, "The highest honor I have received came not from my classes, but from Judge Sanchez when he signed my petition this morning, to change my name to Moralis! If I, a dirty, scraggly little Indian boy can come so far, then I say to those of you who think they cannot, you are WRONG! Make the most of very opportunity, you can be whatever you want to be if you are willing to grab on, hold on tight and NEVER, EVER give up!"
Juan had to be driven home again by Anita!
Times were hard in Hurley, now that Kennecott has closed down, but Alfredo Moralis, Juan's cousin, managed to keep the little General Store open, it was the only store in town. He still gave credit and nobody ever abused it. Juan helped out making sure that Alfredo had sufficient funds to keep the place going. Unknown to Alfredo, Juan had bought out the small store from the smelter company some time earlier.
Employment at the private schools helped and both the schools and the Home bought all their supplies locally.
Bill Cochran drove down from his office in Silver City to talk with Juan, "Juan, we have discovered an arm of the ore body going off to the north. Kennecott has shut down the Tamara Pit Mine, if we can increase our production we can sell every pound we can dig."
Juan asked, "How many more people will it employ?"
Bill replied, "On a steady basis, probably 100 men." Juan told him to go ahead, folks need the jobs here.
Roger Moralis entered U of NM, Las Cruces that fall and Phillip was a Junior at Moralis High School. James started the First Grade and the Twin Terrors, Juan's nephews Juanito and Carlos were High School seniors. Phillip was the only one in JROTC now but Juan kept close tabs on that successful program.
Jason would be a graduating senior. The beatings he had sustained had left him impaired him physically, but he would be a fully functioning adult. He was already working part time for Juan's cousin, Alfredo, in the General Store.
Judge Gabby Sanchez was nominated for a seat on the bench of New Mexico State Supreme Court and was confirmed by the legislature before Christmas. The Governor selected John Peters to replace Judge Sanchez as Superior Court Judge.
The increased production at the mine not only saved many jobs for the local people, the increased revenue began to pile up in the account of the Moralis Foundation.
At Christmas, Juan made sure all his boys, even Bobby, came home – he sent Bobby plane tickets and drove to Las Cruces to retrieve Roger!
The day after Christmas, Juan convened a meeting of the Moralis Foundation Board of Directors, all were present. They set up a Scholarship Fund with $20,000,000 for deserving seniors of Moralis High School and another $1,000,000 to fund deserving students at other schools who could not otherwise afford to attend. They then voted to continue to operate the General Store and keep Juan's cousin, Alfredo as store manager and to hire Jason Moralis to run the day to day operations.
The last order of business was to build and equip a Volunteer Fire Department to replace the one that Kennecott Corporation had operated. Construction was to begin as soon as possible.
Bobby asked, "If we build an office, do you think the Sheriff will station a couple of deputies here?
Juan said, "I will ask and if he will is a building authorized by this board?"
A resounding "yes" was voted.
The day after New Year's Juan drove Bobby back to the airport in Las Cruces and also dropped Roger off at his dorm. It was a sad trip home, he missed his boys so much and he had been thinking of Danny again.
School began again at Moralis High School and Phillip was determined he would meet the same levels of excellence attained by his older brothers.
As the school year rushed to a close, Gordon Lassiter, a new counselor hired by Juan, called and asked Juan to meet with him. Juan was used to this by now, so he was not concerned, when he arrived, Mr. Lassiter was waiting for him and they both went into the conference room. Amanda Gorman had remained as Principal and was also waiting for Juan.
Gordon started the meeting, "Mr. Moralis, I am sure you know that Phillip is following in the footsteps of his older brothers. I received an inquiry from our Congressman about Phillip and an appointment to West Point. Based on Phillip's record to date, he is willing to guarantee an appointment for Phillip immediately after his graduation from High School."
Juan shook his head and said, "I suppose Phillip already knows?"
Amanda grinned and said, "Come on in Phillip, we can't surprise your Dad this time!"
Phillip rushed in and hugged his Dad, "Dad, I really want to go, will you let me?" Juan chuckled and said, "Would I hear the end of it if I said no?"
Phillip laughed, "Nope!"
The annual change of Command Ceremony for the JROTC was held.
Again, there were no surprises when Phillip was selected as the Cadet Commanding Officer. He was making his acceptance speech, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests, I stand here, not humbly, but exceedingly proud to be able to follow in the footsteps of my brothers. But there is one brother you have not heard from, my brother Jason. Jason, will you come and stand beside me, BROTHER? As you all know, Juan Moralis rescued my brother and myself, but what you don't know is what my BIG BROTHER did for me. He took the beatings from our birth father to protect me, he shielded me from harm and when it got beyond bearing, he grabbed me and ran. Despite his injuries, he protected me until we were found by our older brothers. Jason had a broken leg and was comforted by Bobby. Roger ran for help. Dad came and carried us to safety. Jason is 18 years old now and I am 17, when I turn 18, Jason and I already have the paperwork completed to make our name Moralis, like our brothers. To have the same name as our Dad is an honor beyond compare"
The Brothers held hands and said together, "We love you, Dad!"
Anita had to drive Juan home again!
The Annual JROTC Encampment was another success, nearly 1,500 cadets participated with delegations from four surrounding states and one foreign nation!
Alfredo decided to retire, so Jason took over the management of the General Store. Despite his handicap, Jason not only ran the store, he increased its business.
Roger decided to take summer courses so that he could graduate in three years.
Bobby was on his summer cruise on a destroyer off the coast of Korea. Juan was glued to the news in worry of some crisis that would involve Bobby, but the Gods of War were gracious and no harm befell him.
Bobby came home for a short leave before classes resumed and went with Juan to Silver City for a meeting with Bill Cochran.
There, Bobby met his fate.
Bill's oldest daughter, Charlotte, was home from Stanford. Bobby went goggle-eyed. He was completely smitten, both Juan and Bill sat back and giggled!
Before the evening was over, each had the other's address and the next three years they managed to keep the US Postal Service in business selling stamps!
They would be married three days after Bobby was commissioned!
Phillip's senior year was busy; he was Student Body President in addition to Cadet Lt. Colonel, Commanding of the JROTC Battalion.
The paperwork to enter West Point was tremendous, Phillip and Juan visited the Academy over Christmas, if they had let him, Phillip would have started right then!
Like his brothers, Phillip graduated Valedictorian.
In his speech, he said, "There is but one reason I am standing here before you, one name that says it all, Juan Edward Moralis. Yesterday, my brother, Jason, and I did as we said we would, our last name is now Moralis. What more can I say but this great man is my DAD and he made me what I am, what I will ever be. Dad, to repeat my brothers, you are the best that will ever be!"
Poor Anita had to drive Juan home yet again!
A week later they took Philip to the airport in Las Cruces to begin a new phase in his life. Juan would have a few years to recuperate, James was only in the Third Grade and Anita and John's twins were still in high school!
That summer's JROTC Encampment hit 2,000 participants from 6 states. That was the maximum the campground could accommodate, future encampments would have to limit the number of attendees.
Only the Twin Terrors remained in High School, but this was their final year. The Fates would have to wait their turn for James!
That summer, while Phillip sweated out Hell Week at West Point, Bobby was cruising off the coast of West Africa. Again, Juan stayed glued to the news but the Gods of War continued to look favorably on them.
Bobby came home, but spent almost all his time in Silver City. Love was a powerful magnet! Charlotte was a beautiful young woman, she had flaming red hair like her father and she was as beautiful on the inside as the outside! They were madly in love with each other.
Almost as soon as he got home, they were taking Bobby back to the airport, they went a day early so he could visit with his brother, Roger and then, the Post Office could sigh in relief, the volume of stamp sales went back up!
By Christmas, Roger was recognized as a Sophomore and was listed in Who's Who among American University Students. He was active in several clubs and was a charter member of the local chapter of Big Brother's of America.
Slowly, life in Hurley settled down, the loss of the smelter was a terrible blow, but employment at the schools and Home, along with increased hiring at the mine helped a little bit.
Juan had tennis courts and a baseball diamond added to the ground at the Home and later stables and 20 horses were added.
Many morning would see Juan out pleasure riding his horse, he could thank James for that, and boys from the Home would scramble for one of the 20 horses in order to join him.
Juan was just turning 40 years old, still a young man to have lived as much as he had! It was 1978, Saigon had fallen three years earlier, was the world safe for his two military sons?
Only time would tell.
THE BUSINESS OF COPPER
Two years passed swiftly, only James was still living at home and he was nearing High School age already!
Bill Cochran called and asked if Juan was going to be home, that he wanted to talk with him. Thinking that Bill wanted to talk about the wedding, Juan told him to come on down.
When Bill arrived, he had an arm load of papers and blueprints with him. He looked excited and started spreading the papers out on the kitchen table. He said, "Kennecott wants to sell the Hurley Smelter, we have enough copper in the ground to last many years. What if we purchase the old smelter and rehab it and then put it back in operation?"
Juan replied, "I'm not sure I have the funds enough to swing all that." Bill said, "Oh, I have lined up enough investors for that, we just have to assure the ore supply, your mine will take care of that, what do you say?"
Juan thought for a few minutes and then said, "OK, I'll do it but there MUST be one stipulation – Hurley or ex-Hurley folks have first dibs on the jobs." Bill replied, "Done and Done, it is already in the contract. I knew you would want that!"
Within six weeks, work began on the old smelter. Folks in town walked with a new spring in their steps.
June arrived and Bill and Juan, James, Roger and, of course, John and Anita along with the Twin Terrors were on an airplane, headed for Washington, DC. On a hot Tuesday morning, Juan and Roger pinned brand new shiny gold "butter-bars" on the jacket of Second Lieutenant Robert Edward Moralis, United States Marine Corps.
Miss Charlotte Cochran got the first kiss!
Two days after that, Juan got the first kiss from Mrs. Robert Edward Moralis!
Roger got the second kiss!
Roger was Best Man and Anita was Matron of Honor.
Juan gave the new couple 1,000 shares of Moralis Industries stock, the new company formed to operate the smelter.
After a quick honeymoon the couple was off to Rota, Spain where the young Second Looey was assigned as Assistant Brig Officer. It was not many months later, an overseas telephone call informed Juan that he was "GONNA BE GRANDPA!"
Poor Anita thought she was going have to get a taxi license, Juan was too jittery to drive!
In December, Roger graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Forestry Science. The National Forest System hired him, practically off the podium! His initial assignment was Forest Ranger in the Siskiyou National Forest in Northern California.
Phillip would be graduating in another year and, Juan suddenly realized that James would soon be in High School! He seldom though about Danny anymore, just every once in a while it would flash across his mind.
The rebuilt smelter finally went into production. The first test ingot was presented to Juan.
He was asked to speak at the celebration, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Honored Guests, we go way back together. I see His Honor, Justice Sanchez trying to hide behind that post, I also see His Honor Judge John Peters beside him and I see all the people who have worked so hard to make this smelter a reality. Bill Cochran, I see you, too. I know your Dad would have loved to be here, you have our deepest and heartfelt condolences for his death, he was a great man. I was born here, I grew up here, my children grew up here, this where the roots of the Moralis Family are sunk into the soil. That we have been able to bring the jobs we thought lost forever, back to our town, is nothing short of a miracle, With hard work and honest people, Hurley is, again, a major player in the copper business."
The applause went on for nearly 20 minutes.
Juan turned around to walk away when he ran into a solid man in uniform. He looked up into the eyes of his son, Roger. He exclaimed, "Roger, why didn't you tell me you were coming, how long can you stay?"
He grabbed the huge man hugging him for all he was worth, and, yes, Juan was crying, but they were tears of happiness.
Roger grinned and said, "I am here to stay, I am now Chief Ranger for the Southwest District, New Mexico, Southern Colorado, Utah and part of Nevada!"
It was beginning to look like Anita was going to have to drive again when the 6 foot, 5 inch giant man picked Juan up and set him on the seat of a Ford F-250 Forest Service truck, complete with Red Lights and a siren.
He turned to his Aunt Anita and said, "Let me take Dad home this time!"
Just then, another man ran up, also in uniform, "Roger, oh boy am I glad to see you!" It was Chief Deputy Sheriff Juanito Peters!" Roger said, "How ya' doin' Cuz?"
Juanito replied, "I am in charge of the Sheriff station here in Hurley now!"
Anita had them all to their house for supper it was almost like old times!
James arrived to join them for supper, he was a senior in High School. Roger almost didn't recognize him, he is the Star Tackle on the football team and looked to be second cousin to a gorilla!
He was following his brothers, he was also the Cadet Commanding Officer of the JROTC Battalion.
The next day, Juan was doing some paperwork at home. A young man in uniform, his left sleeve pinned up indicating the loss of his arm, walked into the General Store with a woman, obviously his wife and three small boys.
Jason was waiting on Mrs. Coleman, a long time resident of Hurley. The man, he wore the insignia of an Army Major, asked Jason how to find the home of Mr. Juan Moralis.
Jason looked at the man, he seemed kind of familiar, but couldn't recognize him, so he gave directions to Juan's house. As the man turned, Mrs. Coleman gasped and clutched her chest.
Jason ran to her, thinking she was having a seizure. She was shaking like a leaf. Pointing at the man's receding back, she wailed, "That's Danny Moralis, Juan's little lost boy!"
Jason ran next door to the Volunteer Fire Station and punched the emergency alarm button. The siren on the tower started to scream and people came running.
Juanito was first to arrive, Jason said, "Call Roger, QUICK! Dad's boy Danny is here!" Juanito grabbed his car radio, nearly tearing it off the dash, "Dispatch, this is Sheriff 2, over…." "Sheriff 2, Dispatch, go ahead……" Dispatch call Chief Ranger Moralis over at the US Forestry Office and tell him that it's an emergency and GET HOME, RED LIGHT, ESCORT IS AUTHORIZED!... Sheriff 2 out – off duty"
He then turned to Jason, "Close the store, come on!"
Jason hustled poor Mrs. Coleman out the door and the two took off, with red lights and siren blaring!
Mrs. Coleman proceeded to alert the whole town, Juan was so precious to them all this was a major development!
Meanwhile, the young man arrived at Juan's home, recognizing it from memory.
He walked up to the door and knocked, when Juan answered the door, the two just stood there and stared, then Juan screamed, "DANNY" and the man screamed, "DADDY!" They hugged each other, and soaked each other's shirt.
Just then Juanito and Jason came screeching in with red lights and siren, right behind them a Forest Service truck with light and siren skidded to a stop and a huge Roger jumped out.
Jason grabbed him and pointed, "That's Danny!" Roger bounded up the steps in a single leap, wrapped his arms around Juan and said, "Dad, we are complete now"
He then pulled his Dad and Danny in the door.
By now, the whole town had been alerted, Anita sprinted to Juan's house, John canceled court and James was told to go home NOW from school!
Danny went back out to his car and retrieved his Family, it was then that Juan noticed the pinned sleeve.
James came running in the door and was quickly apprised of what was happening. He stepped into the kitchen and made a quick phone call to a room in the Senior's Barracks at West Point, "Phillip, Dad's Boy, Danny came home, I call ya back later! Bye."
He then told the operator he wanted to place a transatlantic call to the US Navy Base at Rota, Spain. When the young sailor manning the telephones at the Navy Base came on the line, James said, "This is Lt. Moralis' brother please have him call home immediately, his missing brother, Danny, just came home!"
Carlos came running in the back door, he had been teaching at the Elementary School and just got the word!
Danny and Juan were not saying anything, just gazing into each other's eyes. It would be several days before it was all sorted out. Danny had been retired from active duty in the Army because of his injuries incurred during a terrorist raid in Beirut. He just wanted to find his Dad, his Mother had been so hateful, he had always been afraid to look Juan up.
Roger looked down at the man, "Danny, you can have no idea just how wrong she was. If a man could walk on water, it would be our Dad! Let me tell you what he is like."
Roger went on telling Danny all the things Juan had done, the boys he had saved, the town he had rescued from oblivion, the Boy's Home, the Schools, the scholarships, everything.
By the time Roger had finished, Danny was weeping.
Roger put his arm around him and said, "Danny, you are home now, stay here with us, get to know us, get to know Dad. It's a good place to live and bring up those nephews of mine, BROTHER!"
At that, Danny completely lost control and collapsed on the couch heaving great racking sobs, "So long, so much."
When he recovered, he brought his wife to Juan, "Dad, this is my wife, Martha, and our sons George and Carey, twins and Richard. May we stay here with you for a while, I think maybe we will find a place and live here. I saw a school and I am a qualified High School teacher."
He didn't see the gleam in his Dad's eye but he felt the arms of three brothers and an Uncle around his shoulders. Anita and Martha became instant friends and soon they were in the kitchen concocting enough supper to feed everyone.
During the meal, the phone rang, it was Bobby. Between Juan, Bobby and Danny, they tried to short out the world-wide telecommunication system.
Both Roger and Juanito took two weeks leave, Phillip broke his budget calling every night and tying up the barracks phone from West Point.
The Superior Court Calendar was cancelled for nearly a month!
It turned out that there really was an opening for a Math and Science teacher at the High School, Danny was hired immediately and they built a house very near Juan's.
Juan was in High Heaven, three grandchildren to spoil, right in his own backyard.
The next event was Phillip's Graduation from West Point. He graduated first in his class. Juan got everyone back there for the graduation ceremony, Now, he had only James to finish school. James was headed to Texas A&M, he had a scholarship to major in plant genetics.
The years seemed to fly by, Danny's boys were soon back in school and doing as well as their cousins before them. Bobby and Charlotte came home on leave before he was transferred to Japan. First Lieutenant Robert Moralis proudly showed off his new son, Edward Juan to everyone in town.
All too soon, the young family headed to Japan for a two year assignment.
Danny became a favorite teacher at the High School, he had inherited his Dad's personality and teachers and students alike thought he walked on water!
The smelter thrived and they installed a wire mill to make electric wire. Another 70 people were hired, there wasn't a house to be found in Hurley! A third shift was needed at the mine in order to keep up with the improved smelter.
It seemed only a few months when Bobby and his family returned from Japan.
Phillip was also visiting, he was a Rhodes Scholar and had just been promoted to first Lieutenant. Bobby was sporting new Captain's Bars when they arrived. Charlotte was expecting again and Bobby was being posted to Beirut, so it was decided that she and Edward would stay with Juan while he was in Beirut.
His thirty days leave went by at lightning speed and Bobby had to go. The entire family accompanied Bobby to Las Cruces, it was well they did.
Juan went back to watching the news intently for any hint of trouble wherever one of HIS boys were!
James was appointed Director of a new laboratory owned by the Department of Agriculture.
The Home was again full and a new wing was started. When completed, they would have a capacity for 600 boys! It was Juan's policy that they would take any boy from anywhere.
There were even a few who came on their own, John Peters always had a few Custody Forms in his pocket!
One dramatic arrival took place shortly after Bobby left; Juan was enjoying a stroll around the ground of the Home when he heard, "Shhhhh, somebody will hear you." Just then a small child started crying.
Juan knew trouble when he heard it, so he went searching through the shrubbery. Finally, near the vent outlet from the laundry, where it was a little warmer, he found a teen boy and a toddler. The teen looked up and threw his arms around the small child, screaming, "NO, he is my son, you cannot take him from me!"
Juan knelt down, holding the teen to prevent him from running, "Son, I wouldn't take this child from you but I would take you both inside and feed you. Please, come with me?"
At that, the teen burst into tears, "You're Mr. Juan, aren't you?"
Juan replied, "I guess so, but please come inside and let us help you both." He gently picked up the small child and led the teen inside. Once inside, he called Joe Greer, their newly hired ex-Navy Corpsman. He handed the child to Joe, telling the teen that Joe was a medic and he would check the baby out and clean him up.
The teen was uncertain until Joe said, "Come on, you can help" Joe took them into the First Aid Room and proceeded to undress the small child. The little boy was surprisingly clean and well cared for.
Juan sat down with the teen and said, "He is your son?" The teen replied, "Yes Sir, I got a girl in trouble and she refused to keep our baby. They were going to give him away, I couldn't let that happen, he is MY SON!" He continued, "Here, look, these are his birth papers – that is my name where it says Father!"
Juan asked, "How old are you son?" The boy replied, "I will be 18 in two weeks."
Juan made an instant decision, "Son, we are going to keep you here until you are 18, then we will notify the authorities and tell them you are working here as a groundskeeper!" He turned to Joe saying, "No record for two weeks!"
The teen flew into Juan's arms crying in relief. He related that some students at the University, where he had hid out for a couple of days, had told him about The Home and Mr. Juan.
He said that his name was Eric Halterman and he had named his son Eric, Jr. Eric would work keeping the grounds neat and trimmed until his retirement. The little boy soon became a favorite of the boys, before he was 10 years old he was a fierce competitor on the ball field and would become a minor league hero after graduating from High School.
Charlotte had her baby, a little girl who sported the family curse, RED HAIR! They named her Gail Edwina and they were sure that they were going to be forced to fight off every boy in the county! As it was, there WERE several verbal arguments to see who was going to baby-sit!
Bobby's tour in Beirut was extended, he was promoted to Major and was the Battalion Executive Officer. With the news coming out of that awful place, Juan's nerves were worn nearly to a frazzle.
Phillip came home sporting new Captain's bars and assignment to the Pentagon.
Roger was transferred to the headquarters of the Department of the Interior and Juanito was elected County Sheriff. Carlos became the Elementary School Principal and Amanda Gorman retired as High School Principal and was replaced by David Fellows, a young combat veteran who Juan had hired a few years earlier as a Social Studies Teacher.
James completed requirements at the University of Arizona for his doctorate in Plant Genetics.
On a sleepy Sunday afternoon, towards the end of June, 1996 Juan was dozing on the new porch swing his children had given him for his 56th birthday the day before.
A large black sedan drove up and a senior Navy Officer got out of the car, Juan's chest clutched in fear and he began to tremble, "Dear God, no" he silently screamed. Lt. Colonel Robert Edward Moralis, USMC, had been killed in the bombing at the Marine Base in Lebanon.
Juan screamed and collapsed on the floor. Anita had been in the kitchen talking with Charlotte, both women came running. Juan had to be put to bed and sedated.
The outpouring of grief in that small town was at flood level. The smelter shut down so that the employees might attend the funeral. The High School JROTC Honor Guard and Colors Team, under the command of Juanito's son, Juan Robert Moralis led the solemn march from the rotunda of Moralis High School to the family plot located in the Hurley Cemetery.
Friends and dignitaries from all over the country flooded into Hurley. Bobby's Brothers were the pallbearers and a distraught Juan had to be helped during the procession.
Charlotte clung to her babies and put on a strong front for their sakes. It would be many months before either of them could regain their emotional balance.
Phillip, now a US Army Major, gave the simple eulogy, "Today we bury our Beloved Brother, Wonderful Son, Incredible Nephew and Friend beyond compare." Turning to Charlotte, he continued, "As hard as this is, we know that Robert Edward Moralis lives on in his Wife and in his Children. He leaves a legacy of valor and integrity, honor and fidelity that will live on."
Then turning to Juan, he continued, "My Brother, Bobby, was a unique man, nurtured by his Father and sent forth in this world that the rest of us might be safe. Dad, that is not Bobby in that casket, it is only his husk. His essence is all around us, in the air, in the sky, in our people. Take comfort that Bobby gave up his life so that the rest of us might remain safe in our beds tonight."
Phillip then knelt and kissed the casket of his beloved brother and said, "Goodbye for now, Brother."
Life slowly returned to the Family, Juan continued his work with The Home. He took great joy in being around the boys and they, without exception, looked upon him as their own, personal Grandfather!
Charlotte bought a home in Hurley, next door to Danny and his family. She never remarried and lived out the rest of her life in that same house.
David Fellows resigned as High School Principal so that he could return to the University and obtain his Doctorate in Education.
Danny Moralis became Principal, a position he would hold for the remainder of his working career. Like his Father, he was held in great esteem by the students and was known universally as "Mr. Dan"!
Juanito's son, Juan Robert Moralis continued in his Uncle Bobby's footsteps and won an appointment to Annapolis. Upon graduation he entered the Marine Corps and served for the next thirty years, attaining the rank of Brigadier General.
Carlos' two sons stayed in Hurley, Edward Carlos Moralis joined the Sheriff Department and would eventually fill the position of County Sheriff like his Uncle.
Juan Carlos Moralis became an Elementary School Teacher and would replace his Father as Principal when his Father retired.
Bobby and Charlotte's son, Edward Juan Moralis attained a degree in Political Science at the University of New Mexico and entered a lifetime career in politics. His sister, Gail Edwina Moralis became a Pediatric Surgeon and was the Chief of Pediatric Surgery at University Hospital in Las Cruces.
Phillip never married, he became General Moralis, US Army.
The Moralis Foundation Corporation continued to prosper and the Moralis Boy's Home grew to an international reputation. The Moralis Schools had waiting lists years long, some parents entered their children's names on the waiting list at birth!
June 6, 2029 – We are sad to report the death of beloved Hurley resident, Mr. Juan Edward Moralis. Mr. Moralis was a philanthropist of the first order he founded Moralis Boy's Home, The Moralis Schools and was Chairman of the Board of Moralis Foundation Corporation. His son, General Phillip Moralis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, read the eulogy. Another son, Mr. Roger Moralis, Former Secretary of The Department of the Interior, under two different administrations, led the Formal March to the Cemetery. Mr. Moralis' Grandson, The Honorable Edward Moralis, Governor of the State of New Mexico ordered all flags flown at half mast in Honor of Mr. Juan Edward Moralis. The Funeral Cavalcade began at the Rotunda of Moralis High School and it was led by the High School JROTC Drum and Pipe Company, followed by the JROTC Color Guard and Honor Guard. More than 4,000 men, all graduates of Moralis Boy's Home marched behind the casket, paying honor and tribute to their benefactor. Mr. Moralis leaves a great hole in the hearts of many, this reporter included, I was a Moralis Home Boy. Mr. Moralis was 90 years old and a native son of Hurley. The youngest Moralis Brother, Dr. James Moralis, PhD assumes the Position of CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Moralis Foundation Corporation.