Sunday, January 28, 2007

High School Friends

High School Friends pictured above are Marcus and Colleen in the top photo; Meredith and Mary in the center photo, and Tom and Linda in the bottom picture.

Helen and I spent the weekend in the Coralville (Iowa City) area getting re-acquainted with some high school friends of mine (pictured above).

I helped start a High School web site, with a stated purpose of "facilitating re-connecting." The response has been phenomenal and to date we have had over 3,000 visits to the web site, have had over 50 classmates register and have raised nearly $500 to help cover the cost of the site. A side benefit has been this weekends "mini-reunion."

Six of us "hung out" during high school and we were in a lot of shared activities. Somewhere after graduation I dropped out of sight for awhile as I was travelling around the world with the Navy. I managed to get back for a couple of reunions, but missed more than I made. The others stayed in, what I surmise, was frequent contact.

This weekend was great. Although the weather in Iowa was frightful (near 0 degrees) - our hearts were warmed with friendship. My hope is that this is a beginning, and that we can get together more often than once every 37 years.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

POW Bracelet

POW Bracelet

My mother has been a scrap booker from the beginning. She has put together scrap books from the Depression, World War II, my tonsillectomy and my sister and I each have a scrap book which contains articles about our accomplishments, pictures, mementos, etc. It does make for some excellent history reading. Recently I found the scrap book she kept of all of the letters I sent to her after I first joined the Navy in 1971.

I ran across a letter I wrote in December of 1971:

Dec 1971

Dear Dad,

I am enclosing something you might be interested in, a POW bracelet card, I have bought one and it would really make me feel good if you would buy one also. It’s only $2.50 and the POW/MIA effort needs all they can get. Several members of my squadron have been in this predicament.

Have you seen the article in January’s Reader’s Digest entitled, “Five Years to Freedom”? It is something to think about.
If I were in that predicament I would appreciate all the help people were doing back home.
The one I am wearing is for Staff/Seargeant (sic) David Demmon, who was captured in June 1965.


PS I took the liberty of filling it out. Send it in if you desire

I don’t know if my Dad ever did buy the bracelet, but after reading the letter yesterday I thought I’d look up Sgt Demmon on the internet. I found a lot of information, including that his status was upgraded from MIA to POW. In April 1991 the US government released a list of Prisoners of War and Missing in Action who were known to be alive in enemy hands and for whom there is no evidence that he or she died in captivity. This list commonly referred to today as the USG's "Last Known Alive" list, included David Demmon.

I thought I see if there were still POW bracelets available and located a site where they can be purchased. There is and it is: Unfortunately, we have added conflicts and names to the list.

I will start wearing a POW Bracelet for David Demmon.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Hard At Work

I have a new crew hard at work looking for blog ideas and ramblings. They are "techno-deficient" and as a consequence must submit their 'blogs" the old fashion way - with a typewriter.

Off to California

Navy Recruits in San Diego

I had just reenlisted in the Navy for 4 years for my choice of duty and location. I was accepted for recruiting duty in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This worked out pretty good for me as my new wife was from Minneapolis, and my folks lived in Iowa, so I was going to be close to both families. Besides, the Navy paid me nearly $10,000 to reenlist. A deal I could not pass up. We paid off our bills in Virginia and had money in our pockets to finance our journey across the country.

I had to attend a school in San Diego, California before I could start my job in Minneapolis. The school I was attending was “Enlisted Classification School.” It is where people are trained to become “Classifiers”, or the people who “place the right person in the right job” when they enlist in the Navy. This function used to be completed entirely at the Recruit Training Centers (RTCs) but parts of it were being moved out into the field to the Navy Recruiting Districts (NRDs). It seems that a lot of people were showing up at the RTCs with the promise of being trained in areas they were not qualified for, and as a consequence either had to be discharged, or agree to another job. I was going to be among the first wave of classifiers into the field, But, I digress...

I don’t specifically recall the move from Oceana, Virginia, but do have a vague memory of a large moving truck showing up and several burly men packing all of our earthly belongings into their very large truck. At this point in my life my goods didn’t come close to filling the truck. We had traded in our 1972 Chevy Vega for a Mazda Rx4. It was a sporty car, but short on storage room. We packed the trunk, placed the baby in the back seat and packed “around” her. We had a play pen we were going to use for the baby to sleep in, and tied it to a bike rack to the back of the car. Off we went...

We drove non-stop to Iowa, a 24 hour drive and stayed at my folks for a week. We then journeyed to Minneapolis to stay with her mother for a couple of more weeks. Our plan was to stay with her Mother after we returned from California long enough to get set up in a “government leased” apartment. This was the same as “base housing’ for people stationed in the hinterlands. We left some of our stuff with her mother and headed west. We went through South Dakota, making a vacation of our trip.

I swear, the baby cried from the moment we left Minneapolis, until we reached San Diego. If there was a moment of quiet, I certainly don’t recall it. Oh, the play pen on the bike rack – while initially it seemed like a good idea, in practicality, we had to wash road dirt and bugs off of it every night before it could be used. But, hey, the baby didn’t want to sleep in it anyway.

We stopped at a variety of sites along the way and arrived in San Diego about 5 days after we left Minneapolis. We initially stayed with a friend of mine who I knew from being stationed with him in the fighter squadron in Virginia. He and his wife opened their home to us while we got set up in an apartment. It took about 3 days, and we found a place in Point Loma, CA. It was an upstairs apartment with a great view, and only a mile or 2 from base.

Upon our arrival in California I vowed that I would “fly” the wife and the baby home and drive home by myself. It was bound to be quieter.

We enjoyed the time we spent in California. The first day of my class I looked across the table and there sat a guy I had been trained with 4 years earlier, David. In 1971 during our “Personnelman” class training we competed vigorously for class honors and finished first and second. He was first, I was second. He left San Diego in 1971 and went to the Philippines, and I went to the East Coast. We got caught up over the 4 years since we had last met, and the competition started up where it left off. It was nice to have someone in class who I knew.

My wife, baby and I made a trip to Los Angeles to visit my cousin Tom who at the time was the “token honky” living in Watts. As we drove into his drive way, in large letters was the message, “F**K YOU KAREN”. It seems that the land lady’s daughter’s name was the same as my wife and the message was for the “other’ Karen. I remember the look on Tom’s face when he came out to greet us in the drive way, as the graffiti had been just done sometime during the night. It was the first thing my Karen saw, and Tom was aghast...

He showed us a good time and we toured all around Los Angeles. Karen even made a return trip to try out for a game show. I don’t recall which one, but she had a good time.

As graduation from class drew near, I was determined not to drive back with the family so I bought them airline tickets and flew them back a couple of days early to Des Moines. My friend David, was going to be stationed in St. Louis, so I agreed to drive him there and then I would drive North to Iowa, visit my folks and then on to Minneapolis. About a week before the end of class I dropped Karen and the baby off at the airport. We ran into Dick Van Dyke, a television actor. That was cool.

The last several weeks of class was the “practical” application of what we learned in class, actually doing the classification and interviewing of recruits as they passed through boot camp. David and I excelled at this and we were allowed to graduate early. And, again, he finished first and I finished second.

I now had to pack all of my stuff and David’s stuff into the car. It fit (barely). I left the play pen in the trash. I saw no point to move it again.

We departed for St. Louis about 9:00 AM the day before thanksgiving 1974. We had a cup on the dash and we both put $100 in the cup and used that money for expenses. When it was gone we each put in $100 more and then whatever was left over was mine to keep. We left in uniform (whites) and stopped somewhere in Oklahoma panhandle to change clothes (it was cold). Our intention was to drive non-stop to St. Louis, and we did, by napping as the other one drove.

We stopped at a truck stop somewhere in Oklahoma and had the absolute worst Thanksgiving dinner ever!! We arrived in St. Louis where I dropped David off. He and I would meet yet again in a few years, but that is for another story. After a night in a hotel in St. Louis I headed north to Iowa. The last 4 hours of my trip was in a good old fashion Iowa snow storm – welcome home!!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Who Is the Bearded Guy?

Thought I'd grow a beard for the winter - since winter just started, so did my beard. It itches...

Monday, January 08, 2007

You Must Be A Genius!

My oldest step-daughter sent me this – and while this isn’t an original post – as a lover of the English language – I enjoyed this. So, if you have ever felt stupid about the English language, read on. If you've learned to speak fluent English, you are a genius!

Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn:

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time
to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) After a number of injections, my jaw got number.
19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting, I shed a tear.
20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England nor French fries in France(Surprise!). Sweetmeats are candies (or nuts) while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.
Quicksand works slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea, nor is it a pig .

And, why is it that writers write, but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth?

One goose, 2 geese. So, one moose, 2 meese? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?

If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? Is it an odd, or an end?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?

Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

P.S. - Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick"?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Too Many Email Addresses

How many email addresses does one person require? I did a quick inventory (1st of the year - what else do you do, but count things) and discovered I have many toooo many email addresses. A sampling:

Gone are:

Now, for those who know me, y'all will know what goes in the place of the "r" - for the spammers and scammers who crawl the internet - well - go someplace else.

I also cover webmaster email accounts for a couple of web sites - so I'm so plugged in it hurts!!!

Each (ok, most) email addresses were created for a genuine need (perceived) at the time - others like the gmail account was created 'cause I wanted one and couldn't have one until I was "invited". Becoming invited became my mission for awhile - and now I have a gmail account.

My 1st 2007 New Years Resolution - clean up my the mean time, if you can't find me by email, you're not really trying. .

Monday, January 01, 2007

Now THIS Is Iowa!!

I almost thought we'd go the entire month of December with no snow, but a last minute (literally), snow "dusting" provided us with a picturesque front yard.

Not a lot of snow -

The top of my BBQ Grill

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