MEET LILLIAN! – Revised!

I have fleshed out this post and want to reblog it for those who are interested. Thanks. Jay

JAYSPEAK

MEET LILLIAN. Who?  Why?

Lillian is on my mind this week.   She was my aunt.  My mother’s sister.  I wrote about her over last weekend, but that post was too long, and Lillian “got lost in the shuffle.”  So, now, Lillian has a post of her own!  She matters because she mattered.  A woman before her time.  She never talked about it.  She just DID it.  I learned early in life to “stop talking about it. DO it.”  So, I did.  I have. And, I am.  But I digress……

LILLIAN DOROUGH MORGAN.  (1904 – 1990)

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Lillian was born in 1904.  During those days, girls were raised to get married.  And, if they could not find a man to take care of them, or be a teacher, or be a dutiful secretary, something that was “acceptable for a woman to do, it was difficult.  No woman dared to try to compete…

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THINK ABOUT IT!!! (Revised Edition)

JAYSPEAK

I have revised this post because I want to flesh it out some more.  As I said before, this week, I am beginning to think ahead, as I reflect.  From where I am sitting, I have a lot of questions. This one may require another cup of coffee.  Settle in.  The lockdown is still outside my  window in Paris.  SO, if you want/need to go to the beach or the bowling alley, this one is not for you. It is one from my heart and as political as I have gotten to date.  Sorry.  We both knew it was coming.  I just was not sure WHEN. 

Our first reopening (in France) happens on Monday, May 11 – one week from tomorrow.  I was able to buy my first mask at the Pharmacie yesterday.  (long story).   What is next?  I don’t know.  “I hesitate to speculate.” 

I am discouraged to…

View original post 2,833 more words

MEET LILLIAN! – Revised!

MEET LILLIAN. Who?  Why?

Lillian is on my mind this week.   She was my aunt.  My mother’s sister.  I wrote about her over last weekend, but that post was too long, and Lillian “got lost in the shuffle.”  So, now, Lillian has a post of her own!  She matters because she mattered.  A woman before her time.  She never talked about it.  She just DID it.  I learned early in life to “stop talking about it. DO it.”  So, I did.  I have. And, I am.  But I digress……

LILLIAN DOROUGH MORGAN.  (1904 – 1990)

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Lillian was born in 1904.  During those days, girls were raised to get married.  And, if they could not find a man to take care of them, or be a teacher, or be a dutiful secretary, something that was “acceptable for a woman to do, it was difficult.  No woman dared to try to compete in a man’s world.  Lillian did.  She went against the grain and and got work in a man’s world.  I am not sure how she made her choices.  She just did it – in a quiet, unobtrusive way.

I never realized all that she accomplished before. Let’s take a moment to go back in time to the early 1900’s.  Think of what was going in the world and in society in the USA during those years.  As I said before, in so many words, women were “chattel.” (a personal possession). Men ruled the Universe. And, during her lifetime, there were pandemics, two World Wars, the Great Depression, and more.  NOTE:  If you don’t value history and don’t care about what happened before your time, now is your time to stop reading this post.

Lillian was my mother’s younger sister and her best friend. My mother’s name was Anna Louise (called “Anna Lou”) (1902-2001). They were two of the five children of LILLIE WESTMORELAND (1880-1992) and TRAVIS GLENN DOROUGH (1875-1940).   (The other three girls were Ruth, Edna (died from peritonitis in 1929), and Rose). (I have a picture of Mother somewhere like this one. This is Lillian.)

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When Lillian and Anna Lou were very young, 1918 (ages 14 and 16), there was a bad pandemic. People were getting sick and dying.  (Like today.)  The world was frantically trying to find a vaccine.  (Like today.) The 1918 influenza pandemic was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin (similar to today’s “bat”). Although there is not universal consensus regarding where the virus originated (unlike today), it spread worldwide during 1918-1919 and lasted for approximately two years.

In the United States, it was first identified in military personnel in spring 1918. It is estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 ( In the current pandemic, the U.S. is currently registering 76,000 deaths, as of May 7, 2020, and approximately 50 million worldwide). Mortality was high in people younger than 5 years old (unlike today), 20-40 years old (unlike today), and 65 years and older (like today – ME and most of my friends!!).

The high mortality in healthy people, including those in the 20-40 year age group, was a unique feature of the 1918 pandemic with no vaccine to protect against influenza infection and no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections that can be associated with influenza infections.  Control efforts worldwide were limited to isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, and limitations of public gatherings, which were applied unevenly.  (Sound familiar????) So, Lillie, Glenn, and the girls stayed home and tried not to get sick!! (Sound familiar?)  And, to you healthy young people who want to go to the beaches and get a tattoo, “buyer beware”!  Germ warfare is on your home turf, turning neighbor against neighbor.  (Sound familiar?)  Read about World War II in Germany and France and Italy!!

So, all of Lillie’s girls were teenagers in 1918, except for Rose.  Susceptible.  And, Lillie and Glenn were 38 and 43.  Susceptible.  It lasted for TWO YEARS.  (Today, we are at 3-5 months, sorta, with a long time to go).  Can you imagine how scared they must have been?  Without radio, television, or social media to give them information. Newspapers, word of mouth.  Amidst that pandemic, Mother and Lillian grew up, went to college, and taught school.  I doubt they wanted to go to the beach or get a tattoo, or bowl or go to a music concert.  I DOUBT THEY WERE TOLD TO DRINK BLEACH!!!!

By 1920, the family had moved to Athens, GA.  And, Anna Lou and Lillian were at Maryville College.  I don’t know about the other girls.  In Athens, the girls all attended a private high school – the Lucy Cobb Institute in Athens, but they did not graduate from there because of financial considerations and moved back to their hometown of Royston, Georgia, eventually moving to Toccoa, GA.

Anna Lou-classmates-lillian 1920

(In this photo above, Lillian is #1 and Mother is #3).  As I said, Anna Lou and Lillian both attended and graduated from Maryville College (co-ed) in Maryville, TN, and Lillian graduated in 1927 with a B.A. degree.  She was a member and officer of Theta Epsilon, a literary society for female students.  She played on the “Girls Basketball Squad” and lettered during her senior year in college.  (She was a good athlete.) After college, Lillian moved to La Follette, TN where she taught high school.

Before Lillian got married, she participated with Mother and my aunt on my father’s side of the family and another woman I don’t know in a Terripin Derby staged in the Gainesville City Park, as part of the WWI centennial and the American Legion, part of “Georgia Images.”

Lillian and others - turtle race

At some point, she met and married a salesman – Ralph Morgan.  (Remind you of Linda in “Death of a Salesman”, written in 1948). She worked while she was married – worked as a “project” supervisor in government work in the Atlanta area.  The family gossip was that Ralph Morgan was a “compulsive liar.”

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At a time when women did NOT divorce, no matter what, and stayed home, no matter what, Lillian was working for the government, and, by 1944, Lillian and Ralph were divorced.  WOW. I don’t know the details.  In those days, people did not talk about “family matters).

On Nov. 9, 1944 she enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps for the duration of the war, plus 6 months. I was informed by my cousin Edna that her brother Preston (my first cousins, children of Ruth) was in the War as a pilot. And, Lillian wanted to show her support for her nephew Preston by joining up.

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 The war was over September 2, 1945.  (On the enlistment document her marital status is “divorced,” and it says she has dependents.  Since she never had any children, the dependents probably are her mother Lillie and possibly her youngest sister, Rose, and Rose’s young daughter Joan.  (In 1944, Rose was a widow with a teenage daughter.)

(What I know about Women and World War II:  The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Desperate for personnel, the Army created the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACS) in 1942, but the idea of women in the army was too new for many Americans to stomach. People turned against the women who were taking desk jobs and thus seemed to be freeing up people’s sons and husbands to be killed on the battlefields.   Rumors spread that WAACs were simply man-crazy; they were “khaki-wacky” and prone to getting pregnant. Recruiting fell off, but with a European invasion on the horizon, the country needed women in uniform more than ever. Army leaders recognized that they needed more WAACs than they could get, and also that the army could not use women in dangerous locations unless they received regular army benefits and protection in case they were captured.  So, in 1943, Congress created the Women’s Army Corps, and Lillian joined upon November 9, 1944. She was 40.)  Lillian’s decision of November 9, 1944, along with a similar decision by sixteen million other anonymous Americans– including the 350,000 other American women who also joined one of the other service branches—helped to defeat fascism. That decision that Lillian made to help America defend American democracy, still echoes amidst all of the existing chaos.

In 1949, Lillian’s name appears on a departing passenger list on the ship Queen of Bermuda, leaving from New York and going to Bermuda.  I don’t know anything or remember anything about any of this.  In 1949, I was 12.

 

My niece Debby remembers that Lillian obtained a master’s degree (in psychiatry, I think) at some point, and she worked for many years as a psychiatric social worker for the Veterans Administration. I remember that she also worked at the Federal Penitentiary – as a psychiatric social worker) for years.

She took care of Lillie for many, many years and was active in the Altrusa Club in Atlanta.  She loved genealogy and gardening.  I have her trowel.

In later life, Lillian and Lillie were quite entrepreneurial.  They had to support each other, and they also help out other members of the family who needed help (when they could).  And, I know that Mother helped them (when she could).  They lived in a large house on Peachtree Circle in Atlanta, GA and rented out an apartment in the basement and all rooms upstairs.  And, they also rented out a two-story concrete block building at the back of the property in which there were at least two apartments.

Lillian was frugal.  She saved her money.  And she was very “business-like”.  She really helped me and my sister Patricia (with private loans) when we needed help. She charged us interest, but it was low and fair.  We always paid her back.  She died of cancer before Lillie.  So Lillie had to be moved to a rest home where she died two years later.  Two amazing women.

She and Mother remained good friends throughout. All of the family were full of love and made all of us grandkids and great grandkids feel loved.  That was because they really loved all of us.  No “just being nice”.  How fortunate we all were.

unnamed-1Mama Dorough & LillianAS A WRAP, I am sorry that I did not value Lillian during her lifetime.   I didn’t.  I thought she was “bossy”.  I did not like her influence on Mother.  I thought Mother was “weak”, and I did not like her.  I was into myself, what I though, what I wanted, my ambitions, my dreams.  I liked Daddy.  It was ALL about him.  I wanted to be like him.  How little about our parents that we really know.  How little about Lillian and Lillie and Anna Lou and Jesse that I really knew or know.  And, I KNOW that my children do not know much about Janet and less about Darrell (their father).  C’est la vie.  “Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for ‘anybody to realize you!”

“Cat’s In The Cradle”
My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say “I’m gonna be like you, Dad
You know I’m gonna be like you”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home, Dad
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, “Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let’s play
Can you teach me to throw”, I said “Not today
I got a lot to do”, he said, “That’s ok”
And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
And said, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah
You know I’m gonna be like him”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home, Dad
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
“Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while”
He shook his head and said with a smile
“What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home son
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad
You know we’ll have a good time then

I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job’s a hassle and the kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you”

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
When you comin’ home son
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad
We’re gonna have a good time then.

–   Songwriters – Sandy and Harry Chapin

Best, Jay

Please help.  Thanks in advance.

 

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THINK ABOUT IT!!! (Revised Edition)

I have revised this post because I want to flesh it out some more.  As I said before, this week, I am beginning to think ahead, as I reflect.  From where I am sitting, I have a lot of questions. This one may require another cup of coffee.  Settle in.  The lockdown is still outside my  window in Paris.  SO, if you want/need to go to the beach or the bowling alley, this one is not for you. It is one from my heart and as political as I have gotten to date.  Sorry.  We both knew it was coming.  I just was not sure WHEN. 

Our first reopening (in France) happens on Monday, May 11 – one week from tomorrow.  I was able to buy my first mask at the Pharmacie yesterday.  (long story).   What is next?  I don’t know.  “I hesitate to speculate.” 

I am discouraged to see and hear and read about what is happening in my home country. – the USA.  It is easier (and feels safer, for now) to see what is happening from over here in Paris.  I am subject to the beat of another drummer, here in France.  AND, I am outside looking in re: the USA   As such, I hear international commentary as well as commentary in the USA. First of all, it is obvious that EVERYONE wants someone to blame. Social media is the worst.

“You may make mistakes, but you are not a failure until you start blaming someone else.”        – John Wooden

Even if it were possible to find the source actually responsible for this pandemic, it would not eliminate the pandemic.  That is factual data, not “fake news” (everyone’s go-to target).  Not everything is fake.  A “fake” faker.  A lot of it can be verified.  Like what?? 

Antietam, bloodiest day of Civil War: 2100 Americans dead; 1918 Pandemic: 675,000 Americans dead; Battle of the Bulge, the bloodiest single battle the US fought in WWII: 19,000 Americans dead; Vietnam War: 58,000 Americans dead; September 11: 2,977 Americans dead.

Coronavirus Pandemic on May 1, 2020:  65,000 Americans dead.

When I watch the news each night, I am amazed that in France and in the USA (plus, the world, in general) , I hear warnings about a  “second wave” that may peak in the fall during the flu season. In France, we are just getting better from the first wave.  In the USA, the first wave is still peaking.   A lot of people are dying but no one knows how many because most states are not counting.  They have NOT successfully lived through the worst part of the pandemic.  On the contrary, states are reopening because of the economy.   Not because anyone is dying.  Not important.  WHAT????????

In fact, all of these deaths are helping the economy.   WHAT??????   A member of a planning commission from the San Francisco area (I have been informed by an attorney colleague that the member of the planning commission is not from San Francisco city of county.  He is a planning commissioner in the small city of Antioch, an East Bay city in Contra Costa County, north of Oakland.)  and he took to Facebook to suggest we should just let coronavirus take its course. Lots of people would die, he wrote, primarily old and sick people, but that would take the pressure off Social Security and lower health care costs. There would be more jobs and housing available. And as for homeless people, when they died it would “fix what is a significant burden on our society….” WHAT????????   African Americans and Native Americans are badly susceptible to Covid-19.  Some groups are celebrating these deaths, and calling for their supporters to infect minorities with the virus. WHAT???????   Germ Warfare?????   Americans killing Americans?   Is America doing what Germany did?  1/3 of Americans are killing 1/3 of Americans while 1/3 of Americans watch?  Have we learned NOTHING from history?   WHAT??????????????

Many people I know are demanding society to open up again even though it will disproportionately kill some Americans at higher rates than others. Do people now believe that some people matter more than others?  Do older Americans (ME!!), Black Americans, Brown Americans, sick Americans, all matter less than healthy white Americans?  Today, they do, according to the narrative I am hearing and reading and observing.   I am a potential sacrifice.  Any one of us is a potential sacrifice if we disagree with what “the leader” says – whoever he/she is. 

Otherwise, it is tyranny. “Quarantine is when you restrict the movement of sick people; Tyranny is when you restrict the movement of healthy people”.    WHAT?????   Hello!!!  DO you know anything about tyranny – “a state under cruel and oppressive government?  Is it cruel and oppressive not to open beaches, not to be able to get your hair done, not to be able to get your nails done, not be able to bowl or get a tattoo, or not be able to go back to work?  READ HISTORY!!!  

Do people know anything about history?  Or care?  Life will teach us all.  I don’t claim to know it all, but it is difficult to watch the carnage caused by stupidity and selfishness.  “Rights” and freedoms” don’t exist unless there is a Constitution.   

People want state governors to bend to political pressure and State Governors who don’t bend to political pressure are wrong for trying to save lives.  The ECONOMY is more important!!!!  What?????   People’s lives are not important????  Well, if you think people’s lives are not important, then you must be a healthy, white American and NOT a potential sacrifice. 

OK.  You think people’s lives are not worth the economy because you are healthy, white, American, and not a potential  sacrifice, and you are willing to take the risk because you think you are in good shape.  Well, congratulations!!  You are well-positioned.  As luck would have it, Trump is the “Vector-in -Chief”.  AND, if you want to kill yourself (because of stupidity), there are plenty of opportunities to do so. Indeed, in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the question of when and how the nation’s economy should be reopened, the USA seems to have tapped the U.S. Strategic Stupid Reserve. Read history books about pandemics and tyrannical governments.  See what happened.  Does what happened before your lifetime not matter?????  

I read an excellent article this morning that started out with some history. “On July 4, 1775, just his second day serving as commander-in-chief of the American revolutionary forces, George Washington issued strict orders to prevent the spread of infection among his soldiers: “No person is to be allowed to go to Fresh-water pond a fishing or any other occasion as there may be a danger of introducing the small pox into the army.” As he wrote later that month to the president of the Continental Congress, John Hancock, he was exercising “the utmost Vigilance against this most dangerous Enemy.”   What was happening 1775 that prompted George Washington and John Hancock to say this.  Do you know? 

Frankly, I don’t think my opinions will cause much change in my friends and family and colleagues and acquaintances.  And, most of the time, I keep my opinions to myself when I am out and about.  But, as I said before, I am angry and it is painful to watch the carnage that is and will be because of bad decisions and short-sightedness. 

Is there anything I can do about it?  Maybe.  I am looking for ways to serve in some capacity.  I am looking for ways.  I don’t have answers at this time. I think that (other than a Jayspeak “rant”) talking and complaining and accusing and fighting is not something I can do.  I am doing what I can to stay alive.  I am obviously dispensable. I am pretty good at blaming.  Haha.  Aren’t we all!!   The problem is I am an action-prone Pollyanna. 

I follow a writer – Heather Cox Richardson – and enjoy her daily posts from which I learn a lot while helping me to make sense of what I see and hear in the news.  I find her to have an objective viewpoint and want to share selections from her posts from yesterday and today.  I have cherry-picked what I want to include here.  I give up trying to persuade family members and good friends to think the way I do.   It is not going to happen.  But, I want to clarify my own thinking so that I enjoy whatever I can during these turbulent times.

Jeff Kowalsky’s photograph of the “American Patriot Rally” at the Michigan statehouse on April 30 shows a large, bearded man, leaning forward, mouth open, screaming. Positioned between two police officers who are staring blankly ahead above their masks, he is focused on something they are preventing him from reaching: the legislature. His fury is palpable.   The idea that such a man is an “American Patriot” is the perverted outcome of a generations of political rhetoric that has celebrated a cartoon version of “individualism.” That rhetoric has served a purpose: to convince voters that an active government that regulates business, provides a basic social safety net, and promotes infrastructure—things most Americans actually like—is socialism.

Americans embraced an active government in the 1930s and 1940s to combat the Depression and fight World War Two, and by 1945, that government was hugely popular among members of both parties, but not with the businessmen who resented government interference in their industries. To get voters to turn against a system they liked, in the 1950s, leaders eager to destroy business regulation linked their mission to racism.

After the Supreme Court, headed by former Republican Governor of California Earl Warren, unanimously ruled that school segregation was unconstitutional, reactionaries determined to undercut the New Deal government told voters that this is what they had warned about all along: an activist state would redistribute white people’s money to black people through taxes, levied to do things like provide schools, or the troops necessary to protect the black youngsters trying to enroll in them.

That rhetoric resonated with certain white Americans because it echoed that of Reconstruction, when Democrats opposed to black rights insisted that Republican policies to level the playing field between formerly enslaved people and their white former owners were simply a redistribution of wealth. Money for roads and schools and hospitals that would now be accessible to black Americans would have to be paid for by tax levies. Since most property owners in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War were white, this meant a transfer of wealth from hardworking white taxpayers to lazy African Americans. As one reporter put it: socialism had come to South Carolina.

In contrast to the East, with this crushing system, stood the postwar West, where Democrats admired the cowboy. The actual work of a western cowboy in the short period of the heyday of cattle ranging from 1866 to 1886 was dangerous, low-paid, and dirty; the industry depended heavily on government supported-railroads and military support; and a third of the cowboys were men of color. But people eager to criticize the Republicans’ social welfare policies insisted that the cowboy was the true American individualist. Almost always white in this myth, he wanted nothing from government but to work hard as he tamed the land and the “savages” on it, provide for the wife and children he someday hoped to have, and be left alone. The image of the cowboy became such a dominant myth during Reconstruction that it turned Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show into the nation’s first mass entertainment spectacle.

It was no wonder then, that in the 1950s and 1960s, those eager to destroy an active government tapped into the image of the American cowboy as their symbol. Gunsmoke debuted on the new-fangled television in 1955, and by 1959, there were 30 prime time Westerns on TV. These westerns portrayed the mythical cowboy much as he had been after the Civil War: an independent white man fighting the “savages” of the plains to provide for his eventual family. A man who wanted nothing of government but to be left alone.

Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, with his square jaw and white Stetson, tapped into this mythology as the Republican presidential candidate in 1964. He assured white southerners that the adjustment of race relations was an unlawful assumption of power by the federal government. So, too, was business regulation. Goldwater lost the election, but turned five deep South states from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party, a pattern Ronald Reagan capitalized on in 1980. Swapping his usual English riding outfit for jeans and a western saddle, Reagan personified the mythological American cowboy. He assured Americans that “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem,” then began the process of dismantling the New Deal state, slashing taxes and programs to restore to glory the American individualist.

Reagan’s election saw the first gender gap in American voting, as women hesitated to sign on to a program that was working against their ability to provide for their families. Lots of men weren’t so sure they wanted to slash workers’ protections and government regulation of business, either. So those eager to reinforce the image of the American individualist against a socialist government upped their game. In 1984, we got Red Dawn, the bloodiest movie made up to that point, featuring high school boys in the West standing against an invasion of communists after the town government sells everyone out.

In 1992, the idea of a western individualist standing against an intrusive government got a real demonstration when government forces tried to arrest a former factory worker, Randy Weaver, who had failed to show up for a trial on a firearms charge, at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. An 11-day siege killed Weaver’s wife, fourteen-year-old son, and a deputy marshal. Far-right activists and neo-Nazis swarmed to Ruby Ridge to stop what they saw as the overreach of government as it attacked a man protecting his family.  The next year, government officers stormed the compound of a religious cult whose former members reported that their leader, David Koresh, was stockpiling weapons. A 51-day siege ended on April 19, 1993, in a gun battle and a fire that killed 76 people. Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh told his listeners that the government had invaded Waco to “murder” a citizen. The modern militia movement to protect individuals from government tyranny took off.

Now, having sown the wind, we are reaping the whirlwind. Anti-government cowboys are protesting the tyranny of government measures designed to protect citizens from dying. The right of governors and legislatures to protect health is well-established, of course, but that doesn’t matter to men steeped in the rhetoric of the past generation.  This now-famous image of the screaming “American Patriot” is a portrait of the failure of the individualist image. This is a man who punches down, not up, and who wants to have the power to decide whether his neighbors live or die. He is a bully and a coward. You know who’s brave? The doctors and nurses who get up every morning and go to their jobs. The bus drivers who have continued to work without either hazard pay or sufficient protection, at least 94 of whom we have lost to Covid-19. The janitors and housekeeping staff who combat the virus all day, every day. The meat cutters and fishermen, shippers, drivers and store clerks who are keeping us alive, some only because it is the only way they can feed their children, which makes it all the braver. The Navy sailors trying to contain the virus so they can complete their mission. The teachers who stay upbeat for the students they terribly miss. The parents who are so very tired as they try to work and teach and parent and shop, but who get up every morning and do it again. And, yes, the political leaders trying to legislate to protect us as a handful of screaming anti-government activists terrorize them… and the photographers who record it.  These true American Patriots– not a screaming bully whose “rights” require others to die– are the very good people Abraham Lincoln meant when he called for a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

LIncoln Statute

As a wrap, I was born in 1937.  My kids were born in the 1960’s. This narrative chronicles the times during which I lived. NOT MY KIDS.  I held hands with my boyfriend, watching Roy Rodgers and Gene Autry in westerns at the Ritz Theatre in Gainesville, Georgia.  Everyone I knew was a “Democrat”.  “Republican” was a dirty word.  I later acted in those westerns – Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and Centennial.  I was in school and a young actress and an attorney (fighting bullies) during all of those elections and presidents.  After I moved west, I voted for the person I liked – whatever party.   My children’s father was involved and possibly sacrificed for what he knew during Reagan years.  I remember Ruby Ridge and Waco.  This is up close and personal to me.  I will NEVER understand why young people think their “freedoms” come to them “by right”.  Don’t they still teach the Constitution in schools anymore?

I will close with some of Heather’s thoughts from yesterday for you to think about (if you are willing) and are still reading this post.  We are creating today’s history.  Will it be re-written?  Do we care?  Did the Romans care?  Did the Greeks?  Is the history we read accurate?  Did George Washington really say that? Is this really a “pandemic”?  Is it a hoax?  Is it a conspiracy?  We may never know.  Truth?   What is actually true?  Is what we see with our eyes and hear with our ears really true?  Is it what our leaders say is true? Is this classic gaslighting?  Do you know what that is?

“Where are the tax returns Trump promised to release? Where are the investigations of any of the literally dozens of accusations of rape and sexual assault made against Trump? Where is John Bolton’s book? Why is everyone who worked for Trump bound to secrecy? And key: where are the medical supplies the federal government has seized? Why is the use of Tara Reade’s accusation to controlling the political narrative?  Why is Biden to jumping through hoops and on the defensive?”

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THE NEW NORMAL

On my mind this Sunday morning, as I sit in my Studio in the heart of Paris, I am reflecting and rambling (and defrosting the refrigerator at the same time haha).

Take a look at the photograph featured above.  I have used my very favorite shot as the “featured image photograph”.   What do you see?   I see  (in the foreground) a large garbage container, the Seine River, the reflection of church and sky in the river, a couple of trees, a cloud-filled light and dark sky, some sun, silver linings, and Notre Dame Cathedral, as it now exists.  Did I miss anything?    This is Paris 2020.  A gorgeous shot!!!   My shot.  And, I think this photograph represents the NOW – April 26, 2020. 

This is the beginning of the new normal.  We are living during the time of the Pandemic-2020. 

This morning, I read a commentary that I liked very much.  It said that “history repeats itself because no-one learns from it.”  I don’t agree.  I think that a lot of people choose to remain self-centered at the cost of the community.  And, dub this “socialism”.  Ugh.  In other words, I don’t agree that no-one learns from it.  I think there will always be people who want to remain ignorant “lest they be altered by education”. 

I will admit that people can lack education and still be intelligent.   However, intelligence by itself doesn’t cut it. A person also must have smarts to manage the intelligence – a process that ends at time of death.  Not before.  AND, my hope is that there are more intelligent people with “smarts” (who may or may not be educated) who hope to make a better world for our children.  The world is changing, but it is up to us to decide how and for whom we make those decisions. That said, in my photographs, I try to capture our changing NOW world.  The photograph NOTRE DAME (see below) – THAT WAS  A “THEN” PHOTO (2015 – with Steve)

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NOTRE DAME NOW.  Five years later.   Look at the picture again.  What have I missed?  I think that – intuitively – this photo says it all.  I don’t know where I was standing in 2015.  Down the street.  I will find it.  Just sayin……

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In my  NOW world photo, I have garbage, beautiful waters, lovely trees, clouds, skies, sun, silver linings.  And, I live in an all-inclusive world – Paris.  Yes, immigration is a problem.  Yes, there will always be immigrants. Yes, it is not easy. Yes, I am willing to compromise conveniences.  Yes, I want a better world for my children and grandchildren.  So, none of us knows what “the new normal” will be.  In other words, we KNOW that we don’t KNOW.  No one knows.  It has yet to be created.  Fingers crossed.

Now for some more of my NOW favorite photographs from my camera ((as you can see, I like to see the sky in my photographs.  It adds to the mood of the piece (for me)).

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I am writing more posts because I am in lockdown and writing more.  Period  Here, I have a good forum.  Sorta selective.  Life has good changes …  so far.  Haha.   Just sayin……. Stay tuned…….

Best, Jay  (I am posting a photo that makes me feel good – with light hair and makeup!!  This is one I like!

Oh, by the way,

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ON MY MIND THIS MORNING……

This morning I woke up upset, after hearing the news. I know better than to read news before bed.  (sigh)  I am writing this at this moment because I want to……  And, I have some pictures to post……       So what is going on?   (This post is not intended as a “feel good” post.   I apologize in advance to those who are offended.  …..whatever…..)  I was reminded last night of something that happened when I was much younger that I will never forget (forgive me while I go back into my past – which I seem to do a lot of these days. This is not a memory that I am very proud of.) 

As a lot of you know, I was into metaphysics for many years.  I went regularly to astrologers and psychics.  (I know, I know.  No comment.)  Anyway, one of the astrologers that I went to regularly was a woman who lived in Burbank.  Her name was Tish LeRoy (I think. It was a long time ago.)  I also went to a psychic who was good friends with Susan Strasberg (daughter of Lee).  And, all of them were very interested in Jim Jones.  As a result, I went with them, wanting to be included with all of these “celebrities” and “all-knowing” people, to hear him speak at some place (a church of some sort) in downtown Los Angeles. We sat in the balcony and watched as Jim Jones “healed” people downstairs.  (That was the day of Oral Roberts.  Ugh.) 

I must say that Jim Jones had the ability to convince people that he was really healing people.  And, they were doing what he said and suggested.  I was not convinced or otherwise.  I was going along with the crowd to be included.  At some point, I smelled foul and stopped going with the group to events.  I still wanted to be included, but, for some reason, I stopped going.  At that point, I was not thinking “cult” or “followers”. I only questioned the healing, the fake charades of crowd-pleasing and the gullibility of my new “friends”.  I did not believe ANY of it.  And, I wondered why they did.   Did they know something that I did not know? 

At some point, I knew that Tish and her daughters were moving to somewhere in Northern California outside of San Francisco to be near Jim Jones. What????  Why????  My concern was that I would need to find another good astrologer (for a couple of times a year). 

Then, one day I was sitting at home, on the sofa, reading the newspaper. I was shocked to read about Jonestown, the People’s Church, Kool Aid, and mass suicide of over 900.  I read the list of names and saw the names of Tish LeRoy and her two children.  I sat in disbelief.  It was in November 1978.  It really upset me that I had attended his Los Angeles meetings. I felt dirty.  Ashamed. And, gullible.  I did not want my family to know.  Ever.  And, for the record, this is the first time I have let myself think about it for a long time. (This is not a memory I am proud of.)

Last night, hearing the words of Donald Trump about drinking disinfectant to help the virus, I immediately thought of Jim Jones and the Kool Aid – on a grander scale???? And I knew there would be a lot of people like Tish LeRoy, willing to follow his advice or “suggestion”.    I often think of Tish’s two children.  Blind trust. Trusting their mother. I thought of my children.  And the responsibility of trust.  Truth goes out the window.  And, on my mind this morning are words that I read during the middle of the night, “You cannot escape the crazy in the White House.”  “A deep state is being created. ” “There is no transparency.”  Oh, dear me.  Thus, much worry during the night….  Plus, an upset wake-up.  

So, this morning, I got dressed and walked out the door.  That was a start.   These are photos that I am posting because I want to – in no particular order.  And, a meme or two that I want to include.  So, if you have stayed with me this far, thank you.  I did not feel like doing any of it.  But, I made myself do it anyway, and I feel better.  I care.  

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As you can see, I bought myself some yellow tulips (at the grocery store) and two plants that I have named “Felicia” and “John”, for no good reason.  (I read somewhere that a good thing to do is to buy living plants and give them a name….) Haha.  Just go with it……

Best, Jay   …. whatever……. 

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“THAT WAS THEN; THIS IS NOW”

This is what is on my mind this morning.  Something happened this week that made me very angry.  And, hurt.  So, when I woke up, I wrote down some words that kept running through my mind – THAT WAS THEN. THIS IS NOW.  The “then” I once knew –  no longer exists.  This is NOW.  The new normal? I am hoping that this concept  may be something for your consideration in these times of confinement and attempts at moving on to whatever is next.  

Is there such a thing as “normal”?   Things feel different.  AND, there is no going back.  So, I went for a long walk and took lots of pictures.  Therapy.  Stopped at Paul’s and got a coffee and some fresh orange juice “for take-out”.  I also got a fresh pastry, a chicken salad, and a cookie for later.  It’s a new day! Then, I got upset at my getting upset.  Haha.  Why all of this “drama”?  

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I had a person who was once important to me “then”, say things to me in response to my “Stockdale Paradox” post that let me know that he is not to be a part of my “now”.   CLICK!   Ever.  CLICK AND BLOCK!   Yes, I heard the “click” (written about in former posts)!  That was a reality check for me.  SO, when I write “there is no past, there is only the present moment”, I must listen to my own voice.  Who is part of my NOW?  I don’t have or need a fan page.  I don’t need for everyone to “like” me.  Will I become angry and bitter and unlikeable?  Maybe.  I know a lot of people who are angry and bitter and unlikeable, and they don’t seem to care.  Rude and uncaring.  They are not my friends.  

Posting this blog does not give people license to tell me off.  I have often said that if you don’t like what I have to say, DON’T READ IT.  Go somewhere else.  I have a lot of people who don’t want to hear what I have to say.  They haven’t wanted to hear what I have to say FOR YEARS.  That is not new news.  Haha.  Leave. Go away.  And, now, with the “THAT WAS THEN; THIS IS NOW new normal (sigh), it is not that I can afford to lose my friends, my relatives, my whoever-will-take-me-in, I can’t!  But I also cannot live with myself otherwise. 

We are all having to make choices because of chaos.  Is it politics?  Not all of it.  But I must admit that politics and the virus are playing big roles in creating the chaos.  I definitely don’t choose politics over friends.  I never have.  However, I knew from 2016 that anyone who supports Trump is questionable as my friend.  And, if those people still think he is doing a good job, I question their intelligence, their morals, and/or their discernment.  I don’t think it is possible to “cherry-pick” things you like/support about Trump.  True, each person is entitled to his/her own opinion (until that entitlement is taken away).   BUT I question whether I will remain that person’s friend – not that that person cares.  Haha.   But, I like me, and she is the person I live with. And, I want to really like my friends.  As well as be a good friend.   And, I want Missy to like me.  That is why I feed her and talk to her a lot.  Haha.  

I think people who criticize me personally think I am someone they used to know, not like I am today.  I have changed.  (Thank goodness)   We were – or might have been – friends “then”.   Not, NOW.  They want me to be who I was “then”.  They want me to agree with, to reflect, their position.  If they know me at all (most of my readers are not people I know),  They want me to be who they think I am……  

Wellllllll, that is not going to happen.  I hate bullies.  I hated bullies in grammar school, high school, college, and on and on.  I can name the high school bullies to this day.  I knew them then; I know them now.  I knew in 2016 and before, during the reality show and ‘”People” magazine, that is Trump was/is a bully. And a racist.  And, if you support, or overlook the fact that he is a bully and a racist (and a misogynist, xenophobe, liar, adulterer, narcissist, and more), you are no friend of mine.  Trump lashes out at elite organs of his own government — namely justice, intelligence officials and bureaucrats who trade in fact and traditional notions of US national interests. If there’s a rule, he will break it. If there’s a custom, he will infringe it to preserve his image as ultimate outsider and disruptor. Even when he is the ultimate authority.-And if you are willing to overlook all of that, you are the “intelligent” hypocrites I thought you were and are and will be. As we used to say in the South – “two-faced”.  That word doesn’t begin to say what I really think.  

So, for those who like my NOW, I want to post some photos.  For those who want to criticize me, go away.  We don’t need each other. Ever.

I am not taking the time to identify the photos. Just know that I am behind the camera.  I walked 1.7 miles.  During my therapy session this morning, as I was trying to calm myself down, I took over 50 photos in my passionate pursuit of peace.  Here are some of my favorites. The flowers are all in locked gardens.  So, you will have to go with the architecture and the trees and the sky.  I should know what something is and its significance, but I don’t.  Sorry, PARIS IN PROCESS…..Haha.  Or as I said at the beginning —   That was then; this is NOW.  

I passed a grammar school as I was walking down some street -not sure of the name but I think I was walking down Rue de St. Jacques toward the Seine.

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and this plaque was on the wall.  Translation:  “In memory of children, students of this school, deported from 1942 to 1944 because they were born Jewish, innocent victims of Nazi barbarism with the active complicity from the Vichy Government.  They were exterminated in the Death Camps.   Never forget them.  October 5, 2002.”  I am still reeling from that reality – of where I was standing.  The school is closed now for lockdown but still in operation.

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Best, Jay   (I apologize for the ranting.  This was an important post for me to write.  I am NOT asking for agreement or argument.)

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THE STOCKDALE PARADOX

This is what is on my mind this morning…the “Stockdale Paradox”. Before I start, please know that I am not looking for agreement or argument.  I am thinking out loud in this post.  Contemplating this concept.  NOT A COMPARISON.  As a result, I often ramble.  And sometime, my point gets lost. My grammar get sloppy, my paragraphs get confusing.  But, I get impatient and want to publish.  Haha.  My apologies in advance……. Hey, just go with it!!

Have you ever heard of the Stockdale Paradox?  I heard of it this week by accident while browsing on the Internet.  I wanted to acknowledge the graduation class of 2020 by posting my picture at that wonderful time in my life. That is the best I can do. No insult.  Just a way of saying, I am thinking about all of you and your memorial experience, such as it is.  Thus, I was looking in my Yearbook for a graduation picture of me in 1955, and pow!  I remembered so many things. 

One thing that hit me like a ton of bricks – It all started early in my married life when I heard that a classmate of mine in high school, a guy named Douglas (Doug) Patterson, had killed himself.  What??????  Doug Patterson????  Yes! He took off all of his clothes, got into the bathtub, standing up, and shot himself in the head (not wanting to make a mess for his wife Nancy and family).  That was the story I was told.  I was horrified.  He was such a gentle, wonderful, likeable guy.  What happened????  Then, I got bits and pieces of the back story (as only people in the South can tell it – with dramatic everything.)  Who knows what was actually true!  Anyway, he had graduated from Med School, had become a practicing physician, had gone to Viet Nam as a doctor, had experienced terrible things, had never gotten beyond what happened to him in Viet Nam, and subsequently had killed himself because he could not live with his mental torment.  Not a lot of days go by that I don’t think of Doug Patterson, in one way or another.

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I can truly call Doug a “friend”.  I was always dating and concerned with boys, but Doug was just a good friend.  A buddy.  I didn’t have a lot of buddies.  And, he was special.  Always had a smile and an understanding comment of some kind. We were both usually class officers of one kind or another.  Our Senior year, we were voted “Best All Around” in the Yearbook. 

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So, we worked together on class committees.  Plus, we were in the same class from grammar school through High School graduation, after which I went off to the University of Wisconsin and he went to Med School.  Our pathways separated.  Then I heard the news. 

Now, let me add that I do not know a lot about the Viet Nam War.  During that time, my life was in a mess, so I did not pay attention.  My bad!   So, when I read Nelson DeMille’s book, “Up Country”, I could not put it down.   And, the whole time, I was there, alongside Doug Patterson.  I have always been concerned with John McCain’s story and Doug Patterson.  And, now, during this Pandemic, for some reason, Doug Patterson has been on my mind.  Then, this week, the Stockdale Paradox came across my path.   Let me explain…

James Bond Stockdale was born December 23, 1923. He was 14 when I was born.   During his lifetime, he was a United States Navy vice admiral and aviator.  He was awarded the Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War, during which he was a prisoner of war for over seven years in the Hanoi Hilton.  This is what happened. 

The Viet Nam War: Since there was no declaration of the war, exact dates are sketchy.  It was a conflict in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. North Vietnamese accepted a cease fire. But as U.S. troops departed Vietnam, Vietnamese military officials continued plotting to overtake South Vietnam.  How did the U.S. get involved?  President John F. Kennedy sent troops to defend South Vietnam. I don’t know what year.  Congress never declared war, but years later passed the Tonkin Resolution authorizing President Lyndon Johnson to use force against North Vietnam. 

For the U.S., it lasted until April 30, 1975, which is roughly 20 years, or 19 years, 180 days to be precise, when President Nixon signed the Paris Peace Accords, ending direct U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

Stockdale had led aerial attacks from the carrier USSTiconderoga (CVA-14) during the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident. Then, on his next deployment, while Commander of Carrier Air Wing Sixteen aboard the carrier USS Oriskany (CV-34), his A-4 Skyhawk jet was shot down in North Vietnam on September 9, 1965. He was 42 years old, at that time.  He survived.  And went on to serve as President of the Naval War College from October 1977 until he retired from the Navy in 1979.

As Vice Admiral, Stockdale became the President of The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. We Southerners all are very proud of The Citadel.  Stockdale held this position from 1979 to 1980.  (For you political rookies) Stockdale was a candidate for Vice President of the United States in the 1992 presidential election, on Ross Perot’s independent ticket.

That is who he was.  Now, let me get to the reason for this Post. 

I am in a small Studio in Paris in “lockdown” during a Pandemic at the age of 83.  I have problems with both of my knees and walk with a cane. Otherwise, I am in good health.  My family of origin is dead, and my kids are elsewhere – physically and mentally.   I have wanted to move to France, especially Paris, since I was at the University of Wisconsin in 1955.  I don’t have time to lose. 

James Stockdale was definitely in a worse situation while he was being tortured in a Viet Nam prison camp during an unpopular “war”.  It is even ludicrous that I am comparing my situation to his.  But I do and I am.  How do I make the best of this?  I really hate this Studio.  Yet, I should be happy I am here.  I am not happy.  SO, I need a perspective that works for me.  This may be it!

I don’t want an “optimistic” prospective.  That is not working for me.  I am thinking a lot about the “Stockdale Paradox”.  The main gist of the idea is that I need to balance optimism with realism. Paradoxes are best understood through experience.  During the seven years that Stockdale was held prisoner, he was repeatedly tortured without a reason to believe he’d make it out alive. So, he found a way to stay alive by embracing the harshness of his situation with a balance of healthy optimism.  Well, that doesn’t sound so great.  It sounds like common sense.  NO.  On the contrary, it means that I can never afford to lose the most brutal facts of my current reality (whatever they may be). 

Stockdale explained this idea as the following: “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”  I am in a foreign country, foreign language, handicapped, elderly, in a pandemic/plague, female, caged, retired, financially dependent, etc.   That combined at the same time with “I will prevail in the end.” Thus, the paradox. The ability to acknowledge my situation and balance optimism with realism comes from an understanding of the Stockdale Paradox. This contradictory way of thinking was the strength that led James through those trying years. Such paradoxical thinking has been one of the defining philosophies for great leaders making it through hardship and reaching their goals.

Whether it’s weathering through a torturous imprisonment in a POW camp or going through my own trials and tribulations, the Stockdale Paradox has merit as a way of thinking and acting for any trying times in a person’s life.  I consider this a trying time in my life.  I am in a situation of my own making, and I did not prepare for the unexpected – a pandemic!!   Few of us did.  Expecting the best while preparing for the worst – even though the worst is worse than my worst!! 

So, I have asked and answered the question – what are my wildest dreams at this point in my life?  I know.  I want things to workout for myself.   I want to be successful, happy, and have achieved something no matter how trivial or personal it may be.  We all do.

I know enough about the human brain to know that it is important to visualize what I want.  But I am just skeptical enough to know that making that happen is not just going to come by positive visualization. That’s all well and good, and it makes me feel nice.  On the contrary, also confronting the entire brevity of my situation (my lifetime) is instrumental for success. There’s a bit of positive visualization in there, but it needs to be counterbalanced with the thought that I can utterly fail and to put it frankly – my current existence might be absolutely miserable and hopeless. But I must not lose faith, my wildest dreams just might come true. . . hence the paradox.It’s not about choosing which side to take, but instead learning to embrace both feelings in opposition to one another and realize they’re both necessary and interconnected. 

This duality helps to guard against the onslaught of disappointments that will hit me in the process. Optimism may drive innovation, but that needs to be put in check to help ensure that I am still on this plane of reality and not bumbling naively into something that can’t happen.  It helps me to keep myself grounded, but also entertain the idea of being incredibly successful in whatever pursuit I am after.  The Stockdale Paradox can help me assess a current situation and plan accordingly to tackle the challenges I will come across. It enforces both the idea that I can be positive and believe I will overcome all difficulties while at the same time I am confronting the most brutal facts of my current situation. The latter is what turns people off, because it can be misconstrued as negative or overly pessimistic.

In some strange way, this makes a lot of sense to me.  I realize that I have a lot of things that seem to be going wrong and I can walk out the door, get a disease, and die, like I watched Steve do, and yet, I may prevail and get a lovely home and have a loving companion and make money and walk and wear pretty shoes, and shop for Armani clothes, and speak fluent French and act in a film and whatever else exists in my wildest dreams.  So can you.  That thought makes me happy.  Stockdale died in 2005. He was 82 when he died. I just turned 83.  And, I am going to think about my wildest dreams while I confront this miserable plague in this tiny Studio that feels like a cage!!   What happened to those kids who were put in cages.  Are they still there?  The cruelty of those actions are beyond cruel.  And, I have a list of people to whom I want to say, “I told you so.” Ugh.  And, they still support their positions.  Double ugh.  The reality that they won’t face is very ugly.  But, meanwhile, back to my wildest dreams……..

Meanwhile, please support Jayspeak. I know, I know.  Why?  Why not?  Even a little helps.  Thanks in advance.

 

 

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Best, Jay, 

Gainesville High School, Class of 1955, Gainesville, Georgia

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This post is dedicated to my friend, Dr. Douglas Patterson, Class of 1955, Gainesville High School, Gainesville, Georgia.
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A CLEAN SLATE – BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS

Sound familiar. August 2016.  “Over the age of 60.  Underlying health condition (heart problems.) Pneumonia in the lungs.  ICU.  Ventilator. Unexpectedly.”  That is exactly what happened to Steve 4 years ago.  Was it a virus before its time?  I will never know.  The doctors cured the pneumonia.  He died of heart failure.  It was fast.  Like today.  That should make you want to stay home!  It does me.  I remember only too well.

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SO, how do I start with a clean slate of this?  By introducing you to Steve two months earlier

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some books I think you may enjoy reading during this down time.  SO, I am spending today, a (férié) in France (the day after Easter is always celebrated as a holiday) by staying inside and writing a lot.  Sorry.  But, I cannot stop thinking about what happened to him as I read the news and all of the descriptions of what to expect.  Plus, in my head, I am processing a Lot of new ideas that have come to me over the weekend.  My “clean slate”/ “eternal NOW” frame of mind is running wild with new ideas of how to spend this unusual time in Paris.  I have ideas for new books that excite me.  I have projects that need to be completed.  I have courses I want to take, places I want to walk, pictures I want to take, sites I want to develop.  There is never a dull moment around here.  My mind keeps me busy.

I want to spend time with my “new present”.  So here is a fresh look at something that means a lot to me. What??  I have in my safe keeping, several books that I want to bring to your attention in this new day!!! OK.  So a tad of past. Don’t worry.  I will try to make it interesting and worth your time.

It all started on September 20, 2011. I was (for 20 years) an Entertainment Attorney (and an Employment Law Litigator) in Los Angeles, California USA. In early September 2011, I was invited by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) to be the legal representative on a panel for the members – an E-publishing Panel. The Panel sought to empower writers to create new opportunities for work in film, television, new media, and transmedia. Since WGA did not cover book publication regardless of format, it was thought that e-publishing could be a stepping stone towards potential work on Guild-covered adaptations. So, on September 20, I joined other Panel members Lee Goldberg (The Glades), Derek Haas (Wanted), and Alexandra Sokoloff (author, Book of Shadows, and Mark Coker (Smashwords) on a panel.   Our task was to discuss the latest ebook/self and indie-publishing developments. WOW, what a lineup! I got very excited.  Needless to say, it was a power-packed evening with the Writer Members and members doing most of the talking.  The evening flew by with everyone sharing information, questions, and answers.

The next day I said to my husband Steve Orlandella, “You need to write a book”. He said, “What? A book?  I have nothing to say.”   I laughed.  Steve ALWAYS had something to say.  So did I. I needed to write a book.  And, we did.

Steve wrote eight books before he died in 2016.  I have written seven (7) and am still writing every day. But, this post is about Steve and his books.

He had specific things he liked – history, cheesecake, sex, trivia, condiments (of every kind), Castle (TV show), the Titanic, and baseball.  Not necessarily in that order.  So, he wrote about things he liked.  Now, to be honest, he was not a great American writer.  He just wrote about topics he enjoyed.  I was glad to see him happy.  He loved working.  Retirement was not his cup of tea.  And, he loved writing.  He created two characters he liked.  And, he would spend all day creating their “banter”.  I would often hear him chuckling to himself.  That would be when he would come up with something he thought was particularly clever.  He started out with a collection of his writings on Facebook.  All of that was new at that time, and his posts were funny and interesting.  When it was published, he was thrilled.  He would read it over and over.  Amazed and proud of himself for actually publishing a book!

Next, he tackled baseball.  He was an Emmy-winning Live Sports producer for Hockey and Baseball.  9 seasons for the Dodgers.  Personal friend of Vin Scully.  He KNEW his baseball.  Then, he wrote “his masterpiece”, a wonderful book about the Titanic.  He poured his soul into this book.  His love, his heart, his skill, his all.  He could not believe it when he held that book in his hands.  He read and reread and reread it.

It was then that he thought that he had no more to write.  I did not want to see him depressed because he was happy when he had a book in progress.  So, I suggested he create a detective and do mysteries – novels.  After thinking about it a LONNNNNGGGGGG time, he came up with an idea.  He really loved the television show “Castle”.  He loved their “banter”.  He would create a sexy couple – an ex-baseball player (a private investigator – Vic Landell) and a hot babe attorney/news anchor (The Redhead).  They would solve crimes in Sarasota, Florida (his favorite location in the world).  That was how it started.  It evolved from there.

So, I am going to introduce you to his books.  I am not presenting them in the order they were written.  I am doing this my way.  Novels, first.  I am suggesting you try them. they are light reading and enjoyable.  I am including his introductions. And,  I think the reader can experience the fun Steve was having with the dialogue and spending time with his characters.  He loved Tina Louise and Dusty Springfield.  Plus, he had some favorite News Anchors.  So, bear with him as he enjoys his “babes” with their high heels.  Short skirts and all.  Red hair, long legs.  A fun guy.  We laughed a lot.  And, I  miss him.  This post is dedicated to Steve Orlandella.  This one’s for him.  Now, the books – during this pandemic!

The first Vic Landell mystery was BURDEN OF PROOF. 

1) BURDEN OF PROOF is set in and around Sarasota Florida.  It is dedicated my sister, Patricia Jewell Prince, “My Sister-in-Law Patricia, Lover of Mysteries.”

Steve begins each mystery: What’s in a Name?  “My father was born Vito Anthony Orlandella, and he didn’t much care for his name. “Vito” was all right, and in fact, he named his principal business The Vito Fruit Company – although throughout Boston he was often referred to as “Vic.” No real problem with the benign Anthony, it was the last name he saw as problematic. His one foray into show business as a record producer was done under the name “Tony Vito.” I’m not certain, but I believe he thought that Orlandella was too long and clumsy for a billboard. He had another name ready but never got the chance to use it. A clever anagram made by dropping the first two and the last letters of his name. Add to that, the remnants of his first name. Thus, was born “Vic Landell.” When it came time to name my pitcher-turned-detective, the choice was an easy one. Call it homage to my father.”

Next, CAPITOL MURDER.

2) CAPITOL MURDER is dedicated to “Her Royal Blondness [HRB], Long may she Reign”. It is set in and around Washington, D.C.

“What’s in a Name? The heroine of this series is Marcia Glenn. The name is borrowed from my first childhood crush – a sixth-grade, blonde goddess. For two years I pined for her from, to paraphrase Hammerstein, ‘across a crowded schoolroom.’ My passion held in check only by the fact that she didn’t know I was alive. Her sights were set on another classmate, a surfer boy wannabe with flaxen air. Sure, just plunge a knife in my heart. The irony of all this is rooted in the fact that he seemed to have absolutely no interest in her. Funny the things you remember. How this preteen vixen has now morphed into a six-foot, Titian-tressed femme fatale is a story for another time.”

3) MARATHON MURDERS.

MARATHON MURDERS is dedicated to “Dash, Winner & Still Champion”, and located in Boston.

“What’s in a Name?  He was born on a farm in Maryland.  He served his country in the First World War and became ill with the Spanish flu and later contracted Tuberculosis – spending most of his time in the Army as a patient in a Washington Hospital.  As a result of his illness he could not live full-time with his wife and two daughters and the marriage fell apart.  He was a firm believer in the notion that you write about what you know.  And since he was an alcoholic, his two most famous characters were as well.  He devoted much of the rest of his life to unpopular causes.  He wore his country’s uniform again in the Second World War.  His reward?  After the war he was investigated by Congress and testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee about his own life but refused to cooperate with the committee.  As a result – he was blacklisted. He was sixty-six when lung cancer took his life.  In his obituary, The New York Times said of him, ‘the dean of the hard-boiled school of detective fiction.’  For any fan of mysteries his name is said with a smile.  For someone like me, who would love to be just a poor copy of the original, it is said with reverence.”

4) DANCE WITH DEATH.  (Steve’s Favorite – he wanted me to read him passages from this one when he was in the hospital)

DANCE WITH DEATH is dedicated “To my Second Parents Rose & Gerry”.  It is set in Los Angeles, California.

What’s in a Name?  She was born Marcia Colleen Glenn – her first name from the Latin, meaning ‘dedicated to Mars.’  Mars is the red planet – there is your first clue.  It also means proud or warlike – that’s your second clue.  Her middle name was chosen by her father to emphasize the family’s Gaelic heritage.  By the age of five, her sister Katelyn was calling her ‘The Marce.’  To this day, if she likes you, call her Marce.  If she doesn’t much care for you, it’s Marcia.  If she flat hates your guts – it’s Ms. Glenn.  Fair warning, if you call her Marsha, brother, you are just asking for trouble.  When she was seventeen and turned from an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan, the boys in her high school started referring to her as ‘the looker.’  The lawyers at the firm where she did her internship called her ‘the stunner.’  That’s also what the crew at WWSB calls her – along with ‘the goddess.’  To the boys in Idaho Falls, she was ‘the long drink of water.’  When she knocked out a would-be assailant with one right hand, the name ‘slugger’ entered the lexicon.  There are others, like ‘supermodel’ and ‘deadeye.’  But if you’ve killed someone, she’s the ‘red menace.’  And finally, to her smitten boyfriend, she is occasionally ‘Titian’ -the shade of her glorious red hair.  She will also answer to ‘Irish,’ and for him only, ‘Honey,’ along with his favorite, ‘Baby.’  But, first and foremost she is always and forever – ‘the redhead.'”

5) MIDTOWN MAYHEM, dedicated “For the amazing Kris Jones”, and set in NYC. (He did not know this would be his last one.)

What’s in a Name?  It was my high-school baseball coach who first hung the nickname on me. Of the nine pitchers on his staff, eight were right-handed. When asked who the starting pitcher against Syracuse would be, he replied, “Let’s send out the lefty.” The name stuck throughout college, the minors, and my first six years in the majors. It became problematic for me when I was traded to Philadelphia – for you see, they already had a “Lefty.” He was born Steven Norman Carlton. He made his debut with the Cardinals in 1965. He was a tall, imposing man blessed with a hard fastball and nasty slider. He was soon known as an intimidating and dominating pitcher. Following a protracted salary dispute, St. Louis Cardinals owner Gussie Busch ordered Carlton traded. Eventually, he was dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies before the ‘72 season for a pitcher named Rick Wise. In time, it would be recognized as one of the most lopsided deals in baseball history. Carlton hit his stride with the Phillies. How good was he? In 1972, the down-trodden Phils won a total of 59 games – 27 of them by Carlton. That won him his first of four Cy Young Awards. He finished with 322 wins and was a consensus first ballot Hall of Famer. The day before a start, the scoreboard in Veterans Stadium would list tomorrow’s starting pitcher – Lefty. Need more? There’s a statue of him in front of Citizens Bank Park. How was I supposed to compete with all that? I could not. Since Carlton is six-foot four and your humble servant is a paltry six-foot one the players started to refer to me as Little Lefty. The day my career ended, I went back to being plain old Lefty.”

6) CASINO KILLER (Steve was writing this one when he died.)

Forty-six pages are in the can. It was to be dedicated to “John & Gloria Cataldo, Once and Forever”.  It was to be set in and around Nice, France.

“What’s in a Name?  It is the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea in the southeast corner of France, beneath of the base of the French Alps. There is no official boundary, but it is usually considered to extend from the Italian border in the east to Saint-Tropez, Hyères, Toulon, or Cassis in the west. The area is a Department of the French Government – Alpes-Maritimes. There is nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world. As the French might refer to it – beau ravage – beautiful shoreline.  It began as a winter health resort for the British upper class at the end of the 18th century. With the arrival of the railway in the mid-19th century, it became the playground and vacation spot of British, Russian, and other aristocrats, including Queen Victoria. It was the English who coined the phrase, the French Riviera.  After World War II, the south of France became a popular tourist destination and convention site. The area went off the charts in the 1950s when a beautiful girl from Philadelphia moved into the Royal palace of the one and only principality. Millionaires and celebrities built homes there and routinely spent their summers.  The region has one more name. In 1887, a French author named Stéphen Liégeard published a book about the coastline. So taken was he by the color of the Mediterranean, he used the words Azure Coast in the title – in French that translates as Côte d’Azur.”

CASINO KILLER jpg

Steves first book is delightful – STEVESPEAK – 3 YEARS ON FACEBOOK.

STEVESPEAK is one of my favorites for spending time with him and getting to know him better. Plus, it is dedicated to me: “To Janet, The wind beneath my wings, And the power behind my throne.”

In his Prologue, he writes: “I’m not sure how I got on Facebook.  Most likely it was word of mouth.  Like many of you I started small, but as my list of friends grew, so did my activity.  A funny thing happened along the way, I found my voice.  Along with connecting with friends, I had the chance to be critical, historical, passionate, and I hope, funny. This book traces almost 3 years on Facebook, and is designed to give my fellow “Facebookers,” An idea of what other people are saying. For what it’s worth, you will learn some things about me. My love for baseball, my interest in “The Titanic,” my passion for my hometown, Boston.

“Stevespeak” was coined by my wife, who insists I have my own language.  Well that’s probably not true, but there are some words that are uniquely mine. For instance, only in my world is there a planet “Smecktar.”  Those pimples on your shoulder blades are “bacne,” and “Xerocracy” is government by photocopy. If something is dead, it’s “kersfuncken.” “Inuendo” is Italian for colonoscopy.

That said, there are some things you need to know in order to navigate your way through this book.  There are many references to something called “HRB.”  “HRB” is “Her Royal Blondness.”  That would be my wife.  She is an attorney and is sometimes referred to as the “blonde barrister.” Her maiden name is Janet Jewell.  Christine became Kris and is my sister. “Tori” and “Icto” are other names for our friend Victoria Lucas.  Tori’s sister is Lil, and sometimes, Liz. The “Knife” is Joe Klinger. “Fabulous 52” was the old Saturday night movie series on CBS in Los Angeles. I stole it, (I mean, researched it) and it became the “Fabulous 42.” Most of the rest is self-explanatory.”

Steve’s MasterpieceTITANIC.

TITANIC was his lifetime achievement, the one he held close to his heart.  He dedicated it to his mother.  He wrote, “To my Mother Therese, The Real Historian in The Family.”

“In the fall of 1960, I was a ten-year-old, growing up in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley.  Even then I was sarcastic, opinionated, and well on my way to becoming obnoxious.  The phrase most often used was, ‘A little too smart for his own good.’  Perhaps.  Duplicit in all this were my parents who spoiled me rotten.  One of my numerous privileges was permission to stay up late on Saturday night…very late.

Toward the end of the 1950s, television in Los Angeles was in a state of flux.  The Country’s number three [now number two] market had seven stations, a wealth of airtime, and a dearth of programming.  The three network affiliates and the four independents turned to motion pictures to fill the void so much so that one station, Channel 9, ran the same movie every night for a week.  Hey, I love Jimmy Cagney, but how many times can you watch ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’?  The stations also had the nasty habit of cutting the films to pieces, the classic case being Channel 7, the ABC affiliate who filled their 3:30-5pm slots by slicing and dicing 2-hour movies down to 67 minutes. They came close to cutting Ingrid Bergman out of ‘Casablanca.’  Channel 2, the CBS Affiliate, had no such problem.  [They had ‘Lucy’; they had ‘Jackie Gleason’.]  ‘The Fabulous 52’ was reserved for Saturday night at 11:30pm, and, since the only things that followed the movie were the National Anthem and a test pattern, they ran uncut.  The station held the rights to a package of relatively recent films from 20th Century Fox.

One Saturday afternoon, my dad announced, ‘Titanic is on tonight.’  I had no idea who or what was ‘Titanic’, but we gathered in the family room at 11:30.  For the next two hours, I sat transfixed, mesmerized by what we were seeing.  If you are scoring at home, it was the 1953 version with Barbara Stanwyck, Clifton Webb and a young Robert Wagner.  They had me.

In 1964, I came across a copy of A Night to Remember, Walter Lord’s seminal work on the events of April 14-15, 1912, and the following year, I saw the movie made [in England, 1958] from Lord’s book.  It was a film made by people who wanted to get it right.  This film was the game changer.

The Fox movie opens with a page of text proclaiming that all the facts in the film were taken right from the United States Senate and British Board of Trade Inquiries.  Really?  Even then, Fox knew how to ‘play fast and loose with the truth.’  As good as their movie was – and it was good, it paled before the Brit’s film.  Fifteen hundred people did not all stand together, sing ‘Nearer My God To Thee’, and meekly sink into the North Atlantic.  They fought and struggled until their last breath, trying not to freeze or drown in the unforgiving sea.  Madeleine Astor wasn’t an elegant matron.  She was in fact a pregnant teenager.  That was it.  ‘Game On!’

I absorbed every book I could find, any TV program I could watch, and every newspaper on microfilm, along with help from the Titanic Historical Society.  Add that to my natural affinity for ships, and an ‘obsession’ was born.  For some, it’s The Civil War; for others, it’s the Kennedy Assassination; for me, it is The Royal Mail Steamship Titanic.

Part of the obsession stems from the fact that no event in history is so loaded with conjecture, myths, and downright lies, some of which are ‘beauties.’  One example:  A young David Sarnoff [co-founder of RCA] became famous telling the world how he was the first to pick-up the Titanic’s distress call in the station on the roof of Wanamaker’s Department Store and how he remained at the key all Sunday night and well into the next day.  Great story?  Absolutely.  Truthful story?  Absolutely not.  Wanamaker’s was closed on Sunday, and even when the store was open, Sarnoff was the office manager.  Three other employees of The Marconi Company stood the watch.

Fox reloaded and fired again in 1997.  This time, they tried it with a seemingly unlimited budget and an amateur historian calling the shots.  Movie making?  Unmatched.  Story telling?  Not so much.  History?  Nonexistent.  There is a word for what you wind up with when you invent the leading characters.  Fiction.  Now, nobody loves Kate Winslet ‘in flagrante delicto’ more than I do, but the truth is better.  Thus, ”Jack Dawson’ and ‘Rose DeWitt’ join ‘Julia Sturges’ and ‘Lady Marjory Bellamy’ as mythical creatures on a real ship.

And, since you’re making stuff up, how about a little character assassination?  The 1997 film depicted First Officer William Murdoch taking but ultimately rejecting a bribe from make-believe villain ‘Caledon Hockley.’  Murdoch was also shown shooting two passengers dead after he presumed, they intended to storm one of the remaining lifeboats.  He then saluted Chief Officer Henry Wilde and committed suicide with a revolver.  None of this ever happened.  After the picture’s director [name withheld] refused to take out the bogus scenes, studio executives flew to Murdoch’s hometown to issue his relatives an apology.  As for the movie, if you are looking for an accurate depiction of events – keep looking.  Put another way, there was a ship called Titanic, and it sank.  After that, you’re on your own.

The Civil War is far and away the all-time champion of most books. [One of Titanic’s passengers wrote ‘The Truth about Chickamauga.’]  Second?  The runner-up is World War II.  Third?  The correct guess is the Titanic.  So, what is my mission statement?  What else?  Write yet another book.  Tell her story, once again.  This time come armed with all I know and have learned in the wake of Doctor Robert Ballard’s stunning discovery of the wreck in 1985.  I will attempt to detail what is correct and dispel, whenever possible, what is not.

I spent my career working in television, the first seven years producing TV News.  What did I learn?  I learned skepticism tinged with a bit of cynicism, and it has served me well.  So, I will do your bidding.  On your behalf, I will be skeptical, factual, analytical, and when required, cynical.  There is one thing I cannot be, dispassionate.  I will stipulate to a love of all ships – but Her most of all.  By now, you may be asking yourself, ‘Why so many pictures?’  I confess that, too, is the TV producer in me.  You always try to put a face with a story.  Plus, there is always the possibility that you can’t recognize Turbinia.

If I am standing at all, it is on the shoulders of some truly great authors.  I have read, re-read, and re-re-read their work over the years and have researched – borrowed – from them all.  To the best of my ability, everything in this book is true.  I believe in the concept that, if the Lord wanted us to remain silent, he wouldn’t have given us [brackets].  So, on occasion, you’ll see a comment from yours truly.  [I’ll be that most irritating of shipmates – the loud, opinionated one.]

The longest section of the book concerns the area around the Boat Deck between midnight and 2:20am.  If it seems long [it’s real time] and overly detailed, I apologize, but to me, this is the heart of the narrative.  Hundreds of little dramas played out on a sloping deck in the middle of a freezing ocean.  Loved ones were torn apart, and families were destroyed.  And with it came the sub-plots.  Some got in lifeboats, and some did not.  Some were allowed in the boats, and some were not.  All of this begs the question, why?  Regardless, these are their stories, and on their behalf, I make no apologies.  I have tried to keep the technological parts under control and not drown my readers in facts and figures.  But the brains and skill that created the Olympic-class liners are very much a part of this story.

Allow me just a couple of more thoughts before we proceed.  There is one sentence that is common to virtually every book written about the RMS Titanic.  ‘It had been a mild winter in the Arctic.’  It had, indeed.  Ice that had been forming since well before the dawn of man was now at last free.  Unfettered, it could leave Greenland and move into the Labrador Current and begin its journey south toward the shipping lanes.  The ice was no different than previous years, only this year, there would be more than usual, much more.  There were small pieces of ice, what sailors called ‘growlers.’  There were large sections known as ‘sheet ice,’ and larger still, ‘pack ice.’  In between were hundreds of what every seaman feared most, what the Norsemen referred to as ‘mountains of ice.’  Icebergs.

If you’re familiar with the advertising business, you probably know about the concepts of ‘marketing research’ and ‘brand recognition.’  Countless studies have been commissioned to find out what people can identify and what they like.  The results are often quite surprising.  For example, inquiries have determined that far more people [around the world] can recognize the ‘Cavallino Rampante’ [in English, ‘The Prancing Horse’ aka the ‘Ferrari’ logo] than can recognize ‘Shell’ or ‘Coca-Cola.’  Then there is my favorite.  For decades, focus groups, when asked to identify the most famous ship in the world, gave the traditional answer, ‘Noah’s Ark’.  No more.  The runaway number one is now ‘Titanic’.  That’s ‘brand recognition.’

There is no way to tell the whole story in this little book, yet I will do my best.  Call me crazy [you wouldn’t be the first] and maybe a little arrogant [see previous], but I feel it’s my duty to help set the record straight for fifteen hundred souls who went to a cold, watery grave that night.  Time to depart.  ‘All ashore that’s goin’ ashore!'”

THE GAME 

THE GAME is dedicated, “To My Father, for that rainy day at Fenway and A thousand games of ‘catch’”.  Steve was passionate about baseball.  He knew baseball in-and-out.  He was the expert’s expert. He would say, “I know what I like.”  Well, I’m here to tell you that he “liked”, [see also, “was passionate about”] the Red Sox, Boston, the Patriots, the Celtics, Lotus cars, Ferraris, meatballs, pasta of any kind, pundits, condiments, the Titanic, HRB, his family, and Vin Scully – not necessarily in that order.

He writes in THE GAME Foreword: “The History books tell us that the first professional baseball game was held on May 4, 1869, as the Cincinnati Red Stockings ‘eked’ out a 45-9 win. No doubt, the first baseball story was told on May 5, 1969.  No sport – not basketball, not football, not hockey – has the oral tradition of the national pastime. And, like any good oral tradition, it has been passed from generation to generation.  Baseball stories in one form or another are as much a part of our game as the infield fly and the rosin bag.  In this book, they come in all sizes and shapes – short stories, essays, expressions, rules, jokes, and slang, to name just a few.

The first ‘Baseball Balladeer’ in my life was one Vincent Edward Scully, known to three generations of fans as ‘Vin.’ For baseball-ignorant Southern Californians, he was a Godsend. Far more than their voice, he was their teacher.  At that point, the game that had been thousands of miles away was as close as your transistor radio or the ‘am’ in your car. He gave Los Angeles the who, what, when, where, and most importantly, the why. He studied at the foot of the master Red Barber and is acknowledged as the best in the business.  I know this how? He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame 43 years ago! For nine years, I was lucky enough to be his producer. I called him ‘The Doctor’ for his PhD in baseball. Try explaining the balk rule to the man who taught you half of what you know about the game.

When I began covering the Angels, I got to know Emil Joseph ‘Buzzie’ Bavasi.  If you looked up ‘character’ in the dictionary, it would say, ‘see Buzzie.’  In the ‘40s, he was Branch Rickey’s top lieutenant and had a hand in breaking Baseball’s color line as well as dealing with Vero Beach in the acquisition of Dodgertown.  He became General Manager and earned a reputation as a shrewd and tough negotiator. Buzzie loved to tell the story about contract haggling with a certain player [still alive, so no names]. He had a fake contract with a very low salary created for the team’s best player.  He left it on his desk and excused himself for a moment, convinced that the player would take a peak. Needless to say, that when he returned, the negotiations ended quickly and in Buzzie’s favor.  He had been schooled in [and ultimately taught] the Branch Rickey way of playing the game [stressing fundamentals, nurturing talent, and the importance of a strong farm system]. In the years we worked together, I never once overheard a conversation when he wasn’t at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a story or anecdote. He lived for baseball and lived to talk about it.

In 1985, I began working with Bob Starr. Bob, or as we called him, ‘Bobo’, was the broadcaster’s broadcaster. He could do play-by-play for anything – baseball, football, your kid’s hopscotch game, anything. Bobo was a graduate of the KMOX School of Broadcasting.  The famed St. Louis radio station produced Harry Caray, Jack and Joe Buck, Buddy Blattner, Joe Garagiola, and Bob Costas, among others. He had that smooth, Midwestern style, and on the air, you’d swear he was talking just to you.  I once shared a golf cart with him for a round – four hours well-spent looking for my ball [as usual] and listening.  He loved to tell stories, some on himself. While playing 18 holes on an off day, Bob had a heart attack.  Upon arrival at the hospital, the doctors asked if he were in pain. ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘in my backside.’ Mystified, the doctors went over the test results. A physical examination revealed that the patient still had his pants on.  The source of the pain was two Titleists in his back pocket.  How we miss Bobo.

The average baseball fan may not recognize the name Jack Lang, but every player knew him and loved it when he called.  Jack was for twenty years the executive secretary of The Baseball Writers of America, and if he telephoned you, it meant that you just won the Cy Young Award, the Most Valuable Player Award, the Rookie-of-the-Year, or had hit the ‘Baseball Lottery,’ induction into the Hall of Fame.  His vocation was sportswriter [a New York beat writer], and for forty years, he was one of the best.  I met Jack in 1987.  We had been hired by Victor Temkin to do sports licensing for MCA/Universal. It was there I discovered his sense of humor, his humanity, and his encyclopedic knowledge of the game.  We would speak on the phone almost every day for an hour.  Five minutes would be devoted to business, the remaining fifty-five given over to ‘talkin’ baseball.’  I firmly believe that I could have put the phone on speaker, turned on a tape recorder, left the room, and returned thirty minutes later to find another chapter for this book.  In 1997, we took a production crew to his home for an interview. It was the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s entry into the major leagues, and who better to discuss it than the man who covered it.  Jack lived in the little village of Ft. Salonga on the North Coast of Long Island, [Vin used to refer to him as ‘the Squire of Ft. Salonga’] in a modest house with an office on the side. The office contained a desk, two chairs, and enough baseball memorabilia to open a museum. [The whole place could have been shipped, as is, to Cooperstown.]

Buzzie, Bobo, and the Squire are gone, and, believe me, this book would have been easier to write if they were still here. We still have Vinnie [long may he reign].  If there is such a thing as a sub-dedication, this is for them. They and countless others had a hand in writing this book.  I have tried to fashion a work with something for everyone, from the hard-core fan to the young people just learning about the game. In so doing, I’ve run the gamut all the way from baseball history to baseball jokes. I hope you enjoy it and hope it adds to your love for ‘the game’.”

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