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Return From Okinawa – Finding Donna and The Failure to Commit

Return From Okinawa – Finding Donna and The Failure to Commit


While I was in Okinawa, Donna and I wrote each other regularly. I kept telling her I was doing better. But then I'd been telling her I was doing fine when I obviously was not. Of course it had not been quite so obvious to me. Donna's letters were beginning to contain things like how much she believed in me and how I turned out to be tougher than she thought I would be. I was beginning to feel she might be leaving and now that I was more engaged I realized I had been lucky she hadn't left already. We were able to talk on the phone a couple of times. It wasn't a regular phone. It was a line through the base with an operator on with you. It was one way communication. You spoke and when done said “over”. The operator would then cut you off and open it up for the other person to speak. Both of us were rather private people and trying to have an intimate serious conversation with a third party listenin…
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A New York Yankee and His Free Time

A New York Yankee and His Free Time

I grew up rooting for the NY Yankees. Consequently, I hated the Boston Red Sox. I always thought that Boston should have been named the Yankees because we considered people from New England Yankees. I grew up with what was considered “Yankee” principles or traits. Things like: keep to yourself, do things yourself, be independent, be self reliant, be straightforward, be frugal, be humble, and do it all with integrity. These were the traits that were pushed as admirable in my family. While some may question how I've fared with that last part, I pretty much have adopted these ideals. I've always been very self-contained. I like being by myself. Being by myself energizes me whereas being with others drains me. I am also empathetic. I don't know if those two are particularly “Yankee” but if you put that with the other traits I think that goes a long way towards explaining who I am. Of course putting those two together makes an od…

Okinawa and Appreciating Water

Okinawa and Appreciating Water

Preparing to ship out to Okinawa, I moved out of my apartment and into the barracks. A couple of days later I boarded a cargo plane, with 30 or so others, heading for Kadena AFB in Okinawa. Kadena is where the real missions were run, over places like China and Russia and particularly Vietnam. We all rotated out to Kadena on TDY (Temporary Duty). The rotation was 4 months in Kadena and then 8 months back in the states. Since the plane we worked on, the SR-71, was a spy plane, this was all secret stuff. That was why we were all there on TDY status, because then we would be officially in California at Beale AFB, not Kadena. Donna had wanted me to try to get it postponed. I didn't see the sense in doing that as I would have to go sometime soon so what difference would a month or so delay make. Besides, it was unlikely that my assignment would have been postponed much, if at all and I didn't want the extra attention I might get for asking and…

The Beginning of The End

The Beginning of The End

We weren't poor, just lower income. We were two young people who grew up middle class and living on the edge was new to us. We 'd been living in low rent, cheap places, the kind that were in need of some repair and came with some sort of infestation. They all were definitely without anything like air-conditioning. Looking back, the good side to all this is it taught me to be very careful with how I spent my money. I learned to budget, juggle bills, live within my means, and appreciate discretionary income.
For years I kept my budget in my head. I knew how much I spent and where I spent it. Later, when I was working in Silicon Valley making good money, I went to see a financial adviser. I walked in with nothing but a pad to take notes. He asked how come I didn't bring my financial stuff, things like pay stubs, bank statements, bills, credit card statements, etc. I told him I didn't need them, it was all in my head. I knew my income a…

Boil the Oil in the Soil

Boil the Oil in the Soil

My first 6 months to a year I lived in the upstairs apartment of my maternal grandparent's house. It was 1949. My Dad was a WWII vet and married my Mom after the war ended. I was their first child. They had built-in babysitters with my grandparents living down stairs. My grandmother had a Brooklyn accent since she grew up there and it was from her I picked it up. My Mom had a more typical Long Island accent. Why did she not have a Brooklyn accent as well you might ask? Well she was adopted and so her very early life was not spent with her adopted parents. However, I have no memory of all of this so this information comes directly from my parent's memories. My parents bought a new house in the famous “Levittown” , the first mass-produced suburb. It was a planned community, built to take advantage of all the GI's returning from the war who would be marrying, starting families, and needing a place to live. The houses were affordable, came …

It Comes In Pretty Handy Around Here, Bub

It Comes In Pretty Handy Around Here, Bub

In “It's a Wonderful Life” – There is a part in the movie where George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, is with his angel Clarence at the bar and he asks Clarence if he happens to have any money and Clarence replies no they don't have any need for money up in heaven. George then says “Well, it comes in pretty handy around here, bub.” When watching that part of the movie I always think about this time in my life.
I was a married Airman First Class stationed at Beale AFB in Marysville, California. As the summer of '70 was coming to an end, money was tight and we were living as frugally as we could. I watched other married airmen, who were having trouble making ends meet, start going into debt. I was determined not to do that. As I mentioned previously, the money situation made doing my own laundry mandatory. My pay was something like $120 a month and they gave us another $100, for food and rent, supposedly $60 was for rent …

Mr Adler and Those That Can

Mr Adler and Those That Can


My Dad was fond of saying “Those that can, do, those that can't, teach”. I know he didn't really believe this but he liked to say it, after all his Mother had been a teacher. I suspect that some of his motivation was his sister-in-law, who was an excellent teacher, but also someone who could come across as a “know it all”.
I've had many teachers, both good and bad from grade school through college. Teaching is more than just a skill that you learn. Being able to teach is really a gift that should be highly valued. Unfortunately there seems to be this general idea that teaching is kind of easy and most anyone can do it, so we in general pay teachers poorly. Why? Is it better to have a few more dollars in our pockets than invest in our kids, really our whole society? That does seem to be the general feeling. We lose so many talented teachers to other occupations because we as a society undervalue the ability to teach or maybe we underv…