What Don't You Know ~ I Don't Know Who I'm Going To Talk To (Perspectives)

When this month’s theme was first suggested, I thought I would be writing about the importance of knowing what you don’t know, about recognizing those subjects and ideas you have little information about or experience with, things you would do well to listen to others regarding. Those of you who might read each of the ‘Perspectives:’ our little troop publishes each month might have noticed that mine tend to be the least impressive, the most sparse, not at all attractive just a lot of blabbering. My inclinations almost always tend to be a bit cerebral – I’m not suggesting smart or wise or anything along that line, just that I am most comfortable with ideas, with investigating the philosophic mechanisms behind things and not so much the personal practice leading to a desired emotional condition.

My plan was to write about owning a sure confidence in the things you do in fact know about, but honestly recognizing those things you don’t know much about . . . that, you’re kind of just -wasting everybody’s time if you timidly squeak-out something you know to be true in an apologetic manner, and you are certainly wasting everybody’s time if you boldly bark-out something you really know nothing about. That’s the kind of blabbering I was planning for this ‘Perspectives:’ . . . but my mind and heart have been abducted by another concern, and so instead, this ‘Perspective:’ will be quite personal.

Me and Spencer, way back when . . .

I had lunch yesterday with a friend, Now, the only people I know who I’ve known longer than my friend are my mother and my sister & brother, and I’m nearing 60 so I’ve known Spencer a very long time. This is a very peculiar friendship in several areas. While we’re not really much alike, some might likely suggest not very compatible at all, our lives have seemed to follow such a similar course that our companionship seems undeniably ordained. Years after knowing each other we came to realize that, before we ever met, we both spent our youth just blocks from each other, knowing some of the same kids and visiting the same candy shops and Saturday Matinee, etc . . . and yesterday, to have lunch with him, I walked 3 houses down the road – we both live in a town neither of us grew-up in and have no connection to, yet without plan or design we just happened to live a half a block from each other, miles away from where we met in school.

But that just scratches the surface of how ludicrously our lives have ‘just so happened’ to intertwine. Our names are Haist and Hinerman, and so, we first met in homeroom, 7th grade. After getting to know each other a bit probably the first peculiar thing linking us together happened; in a large suburban school (the suburbs of a capitol city) I was put into a section of all girls, with only one other boy besides myself – guess who. Spencer and I were the only boys in our section in 8th grade. Now, just to set the tone of our friendship, the kind of boys we were; as our teacher would walk along the side of the classroom, I would rub the bar of soap along the floor leading back to his desk while Spencer would toss a match in the trash can and then yell “fire!” . . . as Mr.Culver hit the soap running to put out the fire he would slid to the front of the room kicking the flaming trash can sending ash and sparks into the air. Spencer and I enjoyed many such bonding experiences.

Spencer and me, again, some time ago

Perhaps what initiated our fate as companions was that Spencer and I were the first kids in our school (1967ish) to start letting our hair grow, long. This was when guys with long hair were beat-up by guys with crew cuts. We both dropped out of school, we both eagerly partook of the drug culture of the 60s, we both married our high school sweethearts, we both had one kid after another. Now, here’s my favorite part of the story; sometime after dropping out of school, Spencer ran off to Texas for a couple of years. While he was gone, I began reading all manner of ancient texts and esoteric poetry, etc (Bhagavad Gita, Dhammapada, Koran, Apocrypha, the Bible, etc), and (to make a longer story a mere statement) I became a Christian. When I heard Spencer was back in town (we’re now maybe 19) we made plans to meet at a local fast food joint . . . now, most of my hippie friends had managed to steer clear of the new Christian Mickey, and I was not at all sure how Spencer would take this rather bizarre bit of news – just as he was likewise pondering how I would receive the very same report from him . . . Spencer had become a Christian during his time in Texas.

After fumbling around just a bit, we realized that we were both trying to tell the other that our lives had changed, that we were now Christians. Now, I think that the manner of person I am, the way I approach things and consider things, had Spencer and I experienced our conversions together, talking and working through ideas together, I’m quite certain I would have lingered in an overly cautious questioning of how independent and genuine my own resolve regarding the claims of the Bible was – that my great partner in so many epochs of growing-up and maturing was absent from this particular adventure, was of no small consequence to me. And that he returned and we both advanced into our Christian faith together was no less a certain benefit to me.

This is Spencer and I in my mom's living room, maybe 25 years ago - Spencer has a cast on his arm and so, of course, I've a cast under my pant leg.

The hours we spent together driving through Pennsylvania corn fields in a VW Bug, talking theology, history, and Biblical texts was . . . well, I’m sure it drove our wives batty. The premise was heading off to an old used book store we heard about, but the path we took was always ludicrously indirect by design. We wouldn’t actually arrive at the book store until we had nothing more to say on that afternoon’s subject – and ‘nothing more to say’, for us, took hours . . . the kind of hours that got us home after dark with much explaining to do. We once bought a garage full of books from an old Mennonite fellow . . . we sat on top of a mountain of books piled in the back of a pick-up truck on Spencer’s front lawn in the dark with spotlights shining on us as we picked through making piles of ‘mine’ and ‘his’ and ‘unwanted’, with our wives coming out to the front porch every so often to remind us we had to go to work in the morning.

You can’t count the number of times I tied a rope to my crappy car and towed his crappy car to a garage at 2am (to avoid traffic police) or how many times he towed one of mine. You can’t count how many times I helped him move (all those boxes of books) to a new home or how many times he helped me move (all those boxes of books) to a new home. Spencer would lose a job, I would lose a job –I would have another kid, Spencer would have another kid – Spencer would brake his arm, I would break my leg. It became truly odd how paralleled our lives would seem . . . it seemed comparisons were required to be made – David & Jonathan, Peter & John, Luther & Melancthon, and Spencer himself once inscribed in a book he gave me ‘a friend as close as Christian to Pilgrim’ (characters from John Bunyan’s ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’).

So, what does all this have to do with ‘what don’t you know’? As I had lunch with Spencer yesterday, I was cutting his sandwich and setting it before him when the phone rang, I had to maneuver around his wheelchair to get the phone and place it in his hand. Spencer has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis , ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The last time I saw him, Spencer was walking down by backyard path coming to visit me – yesterday he was flicking a joystick on the arm of his wheelchair to turn to talk to me. It’s a very rapidly progressing disease. So, I don’t know who I’m going to talk to . . . we had detentions and suspensions together in school, we took LSD and sat in closets together, we married our high school sweethearts and raised families together, we worked through the ideas of the Trinity, predestination, eternity & time, etc, etc, etc, together.

Spencer will eventually leave behind a wife of over 40 years, 4 children, grandchildren, and his mother – I acquiesce to their loss and their hurt. But, I will bare my own loss, my own hurt. I don’t think I know anyone else who knows the theological distinctions between Ignatius and Polycarp, or who can explain the difference between infralapsarianism and supralapsarianism, or who is interested to spend 4 hours talking about any of that – and who knows I still love the movies I saw at The Penway Theater when I was 10, who knows I'm a hippie who can’t stand The Grateful Dead, and who knows how much and how long I’ve loved my wife. When Spencer is gone from this world my concern will be, I don’t know how I can best attend to the needs of his wife – but just now, when considering what I don’t know - I don’t know who I’m going to talk to.


For an introduction to the 'Perspectives:' series, visit ~

"Perspectives: An Introduction"

The 'Perspectives:' team is delighted that Nellieanna will be our guest contributor for April, sharing her 'perspective' on the theme 'Art'.

If you're interested to contribute and would like to join our group and share your 'Perspective:' on an upcoming theme, please contact MickeySr.

July ~ ‘Bigotry’
August ~ 'What Is Your Problem?' *
September ~ ‘Poverty’

* "The problem that infuriates you the most is the problem God has assigned you to solve..." (Anonymous) . . . What is your problem?

Introducing Mickey Sr

An Interview with MickeySr

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Comments 36 comments

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Oh dear man,

I hate the Grateful Dead with my very being...did you ever know that?

I am crying so hard. This is really beautiful and sure does put things in perspective.

bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 years ago from Central Florida

Wow, Mickey, what an amazing story! I hope Spencer hangs on as long as he can without being in too much pain. Your friendship is astonishing and envious. I can understand why you fear having no one to talk to. I can't pronounce some of the words you use in this post, let alone have a clue what they mean!

Great post, Mickey. I hope you have someone to talk to for a while longer.

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Vickiw 3 years ago

Hi Mickey, this is such a touching story of true friendship through thick and thin. How fortunate you are to have this amazing experience over so much of your lifespan. A wise Chinese friend said to me once, ."Vicki, if you only have two good friends in your whole life, it is very good." I have never forgotten that. He was talking about the kind of deep friendship you have. Sounds as though you have managed to meet and exceed that number. All the best, and my heart is with you. Lovely writing.

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa

Oh, what a story! I am crying so hard I can't see what I am writing.

This hub was an entire movie in my mind!

Yes, we don't know what the future has in stock for us, and we don't know how we will meet all its challenges, but looking back we can clearly see that we have always found the strength, wisdom AND knowledge we needed. Even though we may not have found all of it, we did survive.

We will live until death stops us....

Herewith my best wishes to you and your buddy :)

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

A truly touching and realistic matter of not knowing something important.

I really haven't known you before so now I feel I am introduced with knowledge of who you are, Mickey. Thank you.

MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

Maria ~ I did not know you too disliked The Grateful Dead, and I'm now wondering why it is you dislike them . . ?

Thank you for your sweet note.

MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

bravewarrior ~ I always appreciate your visits and comments, thanks again.

MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

Vickiw ~ thank you so much, and, I don't suppose I could be ay happier than with "Lovely writing". Thank you.

cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles


Thank you for sharing the highlights of your friendship w/ Spencer and your fear of life without him. My heart goes out to you. The tragic turns in life make us put things into perspective- ready or not. As inadequate as you may feel at the moment with this inevitable loss on the horizon, remember that God has equipped you with the strength to see it all through. Trust in Him as you always have, and He will show you the way. I will keep you in my prayers and hope that you, Spencer, and your families savor all the joys of the remaining time with open hearts and love.

My best,


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

Martie ~ I honestly am not perfectly comfortable thinking I've made you cry, but for a comment like "an entire movie in my mind", I'll deal with it. Thank you.

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

I don't wanna be a hub hog...but in answer to your question there are only two bands, Steeley Dan, the icky other...and the reason is purely visceral.

Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Thank you for sharing your wonderful friendship with Spencer. My heart goes out to you knowing that Spencer won't be around till your old and gray. I have several close friends my closet being my high school girlfriend and she lives in Florida. We contact every day but it still isn't the same. Here on my side of the world I have no friends except for my hubby and cat Sid. The greatest thing I do have is my cyber world friends on HP and FB you included and that gets me through my days. Eventually I know I want to reconnect with my "bestest" friend and let us go crazy like in the old days. Sending you lots of love and hugs from my corner of the world and passing this on.

Docmo profile image

Docmo 3 years ago from UK

Mickey - your shared narrative of a lifelong friendship and the inevitability of what is to come has the raw honesty that we've coem to expect from you. It is at once poignant, touching, and heart rending... and puts everything else into perspective. Thank you- Mickey- for sharing this.

btrbell profile image

btrbell 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

Wow, mickey, beautiful story. I read this and at the beginning it seemed like a whole lot of what you do know. I didn't anticipate the end. I am so sorry. Voted up and awesome and praying for all of you

MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

Nellieanna ~ thanks so much for the visit and the generous comment.

MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

cat on a soapbox ~ thanks for the visit and your tender remarks. Thank you.

MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

Gypsy Rose Lee ~ thank you for continuing to check out my offerings here, and always leaving such encouraging comments.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States

This story of your life and friendship with Spenser touched by heart. ALS is a horrid disease, and I am so sorry he much suffer with it. It is rare in this world to have a friend that we connect with on this intellectual level. Awesome hub!

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

When reading a lifelong story like this, that has the anticipated ending this one does, tears, my friend, are inevitable. Tears to celebrate the life you had together as friends, and tears for Spencer's ALS and what is to come. It is rare to have a friendship that endures so long and has parallel experiences for so many years. You have been truly blessed and the tears we shed are for you and Spencer. God guide you through this and stand at your side.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

Docmo ~ "puts everything else into perspective"

. . . that seems an attainment higher than I could reasonably strive for. Thanks bub.

MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

btrbell ~ "wow" and "beautiful story" I will always be delighted with, thank you so much.

MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

Pamela99 ~ "touched my heart" . . . you're very sweet to share that with me, thank you.

MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

tillsontitan ~ thank you so much for the visit, votes, comment, and your warm and encouraging words.

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Vickiw 3 years ago

Hi Mickey, I remain touched by your description of the years you have spent with your dear friend. What a richly descriptive essay this was, and still is. I am thinking of our next writing adventure, about 'what matters', and really, this is what matters, isn't it? I read this after reading about some small squabbles today in other hubs, nd I feel so glad you wrote it for us. All the best to you, Mickey, and my heart goes out to you with this pain.

MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

Vickiw ~ wow, a 2nd visit . . . I must be a nearly remarkable writer.

(no "squabbles", I mean, I wasn't squabbling - just sharing)

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Vickiw 3 years ago

You are, my dear man. Squabbles? I don't know what you mean? I think we are both wonderful at sharing! May we both be excellent examples to others! That is all that really matters, isn't it?

Mary 2 years ago

Ugh, I'm a mess. I remember camaraderie being a favorite theme of yours in movies and no stinking wonder. I'm trying really hard not to sounds like a sap but I'm so glad he was meant to be in your life, our lives. I've always struggled and never understood when people call others their second Mom or Dad but if anyone ever came close it was Mr. Hinerman. All the time I spent there I was never a guest, I was just one of the kids.

This is really nice and I'm glad you wrote it out and shared with us. Also you and Jr have never seemed more alike.

Sarah 2 years ago

I couldn't love you more. I am also amazed and in awe of Janet's bravery and strength through all of this.

Kay 2 years ago

Your are truly remarkable Mickey. I too am teary eyed reading about a remarkable friendship that has grown stronger over the years instead of lessoning. The friendship you speak of is unheard of generally. The thought of not having him in your life to talk to is devastating but may i just share a thought with you?? When my husband died, my soulmate, love of my life just as your wife is to you, i thought i would never recover. It took me about a year to realize that i was not unfortunate because i had lost my husband. I was truly fortunate to have him in my life and given the time we had together to create so many wonderful memories that I cherish and think of daily. Even 14 years later. So I hope that you will be able to look at your friendship in that light some day and be happy when you flash back on the many stories and memories and eventually a smile will apear instead of a tear!! Bless you Mickey!

Natalie 2 years ago

It's hard for me to explain to people how intertwined our lives were with the Hinermans. Janet and I were talking about it last week and it was one instance after another. I remember in 1st grade when the truancy officer came and told Mom she couldn't homeschool us anymore. I was so scared to go to public school and thought I wouldn't know anyone. I remember vividly the day we went to tour the class and there sat Adele Hinerman in my new class!

The Hinermans have always been such a constant presence, and I can't even wrap my head around the fact that Spencer will soon gone. It doesn't make sense and I'm such a mess over it.

MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 2 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

The Mary, Sarah, and Natalie above are 3 of my daughters - no comments mean more to me . . . they've made me the 'me' that I am as much as I've helped shape them.

Pixie 2 years ago

Beautiful story, by my beautiful husband about his beautiful friendship.

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Vickiw 2 years ago

Lovely comments by your family, Mickey. I'm so glad you have their support. And I'm thinking of you, and hoping you are well. Visit me sometime at my site.

Joanne1225 profile image

Joanne1225 2 years ago from Central Pennsylvania

Having known both you and Spencer in high school, then reading about how close you were and the parallels in your lives, was really amazing to me. Your descriptions enabled me to envision some of the antics between you two - soap and matches, sitting on a pile of books and picking through them, and you making a sandwich for Spencer as you had lunch together. The most poignant part of your story was the impact the loss of this very special friend in your life will have on you, for the reasons you expressed. I think you and Spencer were very blessed by your friendship, the kind that not many people experience. Or, in short... your story touched my heart.

MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 15 months ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

Spencer Hinerman died this morning, quietly in his sleep, after the progressively debilitating onslaught of ALS.

cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 15 months ago from Los Angeles


I pray that you, Spencer's family, and loved ones can find peace and comfort through your faith and your sharing of love and memories of Spencer. I am sorry for your loss.

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