Saturday, April 8, 2017

Growing up without "Mom"!

I always missed my mom who died when I was four but I don't think I ever stopped to think bout how difficult it must have been for my big brother Hank who was probably 12 at the time or for my sister Jane who was probably nine at the time. I didn't know what was happening but they did. It must have been very difficult for them. My brother was losing his mom who took care of him and kept him close. My sister Jane was probably even more devastated. Her role model, the lady who taught her how to be a lady. Having lost my first wife after 15 months of marriage, I am sure my dad was probably devastated.


A lot of times, we get caught up in our own thoughts and problems and never think about how other people are affected by the same action. Can you imagine the lost a daughter experiences as she is just beginning to enter adulthood. A girl who is beginning menstruation and experience the emotions of dealing with people -- especially boys who are going through a similar maturation process with hormones raging.. Girls who may be jealous and boys who are not really interested in you but what they can get from you. Wow! Being a male, I can't begin to imagine all of the things a 9-10 year old girl would go through -- especially if she doesn't have any aunts or grandmothers close by to caution and guide her. I'm also sure that having a bratty little brother under foot wasn't very helpful. Probably a significant portion of the responsibility for looking after me fell to her.


It was probably a little less emotional and traumatic for my brother because he had my dad to come to in times of discovery and questions. Being as young as I was, I don't really know how receptive and willing my dad would have been to discuss the situation -- especially immediately after losing his wife. I'm inclined to believe that there are some things that only a mother can caution and give advice on -- even to little boys. I'm sure one of the things that he would have needed advice on was interaction with girls and social skills.


My dad's sister and aunt lived in Pittsburgh, about 180 miles west of Carlisle. So while they may have been able to provide some comfort via the telephone, I can't imagine that they would be that handy or helpful. As I remember, my mother's family weren't that close. I don't know why but I just don't remember them being there for us but at the same time, what does a 4-5 year old boy understand abut these things. The more I think back on it, the more questions

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Remembering my dad -- "Pop!".

I grew up in a small (18,000) town in central Pennsylvania from 1941 to 1959. It is about 18 miles west of the state capitol, Harrisburg. Carlisle was a nice little town. You could walk or ride your bike to any point in town and most people either knew you or your parents. My mom died when I was four. My brother was 9 years older than me and my sister was 7 years older than me. Consequently, I spent a fair amount of time with my dad who was a physicist and veracious reader. I remember going to the state library in Harrisburg at least once a month so that my dad could check out books. On a lot of those trips I waited in the car for him and on other days, if there was an interesting exhibit in the library, he would let me wonder around the exhibit and meet him at a specified location at a designated time.


Those were interesting times. I don't remember my dad giving me specific instructions  not to speak to strangers, but I never did. Although I can't remember specifically, I don't think my dad was ever very far away. The exhibits were always very interesting and always had something to do with Pennsylvania -- e.g., native Americans, coal mining, farming, schools, communities, etc. One of the things I remember from sitting in  the car is that every now and then I would see men in their dirty work clothes and I always said to myself, "I don't know what I am going to do when I grow up but I know it won't be a dirty job." It is funny how things like that stick with you.


When we would drive to Harrisburg from Carlisle and vice versa, we would play games. One of them was that my dad would name a state capitol or a state and I would name the corresponding state or state capitol. Another game we would play was that my dad would name the school and I would name their nickname or mascot -- like he would say Army and I would say Black Knights of the Hudson! One day he said Army and for some reason I said Black Knights of the Potomac. We both laughed and laughed about that one. . One other game we played was to name a city or town and the other person would have to name a town or city where the first letter of the name was the last letter of the city or town that was just named. We had a grand ole time.


My dad has been gone since 1962 but I still remember him fondly and vividly. He was a good man.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Nurturing

I turned 76 on February 20, 2017. For the past few years I've been thinking -- or maybe reminiscing is a better term -- of my earlier life. I mean from childhood through my twenties. In retrospect, life has been pretty good since I met my wife Margaret and we married in 1971. Prior to that, my life was a jumble of experiences and disappointments, These disappointments were primarily associated with female relationships. If I had to identify why this was so, I think it was primarily because my mother died when I was four and there was no constant adult female in my life to provide the love and nurturing that a mother provides. I based this pretty much on the loving relationship my wife Margaret provides to our three children. She provides discipline when necessary but she also provides a listening and discerning ear when needed. I didn't have that! My understanding of love was based on what was portrayed on the large and small screen. I guess the biggest and most misunderstood conception in my life was the meaning of love and how loving relationships develop and grow.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Keeping It Real

I posted two entries earlier today that I originally wrote some time ago. don't know why I didn't post them when I wrote them but at least they are posted now.


I like to talk and dialog with folks however there aren't a lot of folks to talk and dialog with. Sometimes I attempt to engage my wife in conversation but she is usually busy playing "Word With Friends," doing Facebook or engaged in something else. Sometimes I kind of go off on my own and then she does interact with me. Interesting isn't it.


My wife is at a luncheon today celebrating the founding of her sorority -- Delta Sigma Theta. She is one of the speakers. I know she will do a good job because she is a very conscientious person who doesn't take on things lightly. She is a dedicated and responsible person. She was recently elected to the Board of our local South Bend Duplicate Bridge Club and she was also elected Secretary of the Board. She is an excellent and conscientious Bridge player. She studies and tries to figure out what errors (if any) she made. Me on the other hand, I am just a kibitzer and player. I am a social card player. I'd like to win but winning isn't all that important to me. The interaction, laughing, joking, and playing are more important to me.


There was a time when I used to be very serious about things but not any more. I just kind of take it easy these days and calm my anxieties. Not exactly sure what I'm anxious about but I do seem to get nervous and preoccupied. I guess a lot of it has to do with failing health. I get frustrated at not being as healthy and capable as I used to be. Probably the most frustrating is dealing with failing eye sight. I can still see but just not as sharp as I used to see. Oh well, se la vie.


I don't wantta to get off on feeling sorry for myself so I'll probably end this post for now. Take care and have a good day.

Looking for input and suggestions!

     I think that if you are going to blog, you probably have to do it with some regularity otherwise you forget things and are not familiar with new things that are added. I've been trying to get to this point so that I could make this blog entry for the past half hour. The software keeps taking me to different places and I couldn't get here. Not exactly sure how I got here!
    Perhaps part of the problem is that I have two g-mail accounts. I don't want two accounts but an organization I belong to insisted that we have a separate e-mail account on g-mail. Perhaps, this 2nd g-mail account is messing with my ability to blog. Right now, I don't intend to eliminate the first e0=mail account. That is how I got here!
     I am 75 and retired. When I was younger and working, I interacted with people all of the time. When I first retired, I was real active with a lot of volunteer activities in the community. Now, my interactions are limited. See folks at church -- basically once a week. See people at fraternity meetings (once a month) and a civic/social organization which meets every quarter. This is not enough interaction for a guy like me who likes to socialize. On the other hand hanging out just to be hanging out does nit have a particular appeal to me.
     I used to do a lot of volunteer activities in the community but over the last few years, I've developed some health issues that tend to limit my mobility. Seem to spend a lot -- in fact, an inordinate -- of time just fooling around reading Facebook posts, tweets, and random stuff on the computer.  I should be searching blogs to see if there are some out there  that invite interaction. I tried to find some blogs but wasn't very good at it and kind of dismissed it. Perhaps I need to give it more time and develop some skillss and techniques to search the blogisphere for entries that might be interesting or amousing. If your reading this post and have any suggestions, please past them on to me.
     I probably also need to become more active. I used to play golf, swin, and walk. Don't do any of those things now. Not quite sure why. If anyone who reads this has any deas or suggestions, please past them along. Don't know That I will adopt any of your suggestions but it would be nice to have some suggestions to consider.

Nostalgia

I grew up in Carlisle, PA. Our next door neighbor to the south was Mrs. Lena and Mr. George Frazier. Next door neighbor to the north was a girl about two years younger than me named Ginny. I don't know what happen to either of these neighbors. The Fraziers are probably long dead by now.
I can see the old neighborhood and many of the people and families that lived there but I don't know what happened to them. Perhaps that is because I joined the Air Force when I was 19 and never really moved back to the neighborhood. I moved back to Carlisle but not the neighborhood in 1969, ten years after I graduated from high school. Never really reestablished connections. Was there for two years but spent most of that time completing my bachelors degree at Penn State Harrisburg.

Friday, September 2, 2016

A Professional Retrospective

When I was child, I thought like a child -- When I was a teenager, I thought with my hormones.


I didn't give much thought to anything other than the moment and was consumed in high school athletics enjoying a fairly successful scholastic sports career that included all-state and all-conference football honors, basketball reserve, javelin champion, and solid baseball outfielder. My first year in college, I experienced a compound fracture of my left ankle that required steel pins to repair, a less than enviable academic experience, and went to work in a local carpet manufacturing plant. After five months in the plant I decided to go back to college to play football but just didn't have it and I still was nor academically inclined. So I opted for the U.S. Air Force.


I experienced my first academic success in an air force technical school at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, MS. That success was followed by my being the first individual to detect a dog on-board a Soviet missle shot into space. This was followed by recognition and advancement as an Electronic Intercept Operator and a Command Post Technician where I ws awarded the Air Defense Command's Commendation Certificate.
 
Following the air force, I realized I needed to be more responsible, complete college and begin a career. I re-enrolled in college, met a young lady, got married, fathered a daughter, secured a job to support my wife and daughter, brought a home, and continued college on a part time basis. By the time I was 30 my wife had died, my daughter was three, and I  knew I had to complete a bachelor's  degree and become a responsible adult. So I sold my house in West Chester, PA, returned to my hometown (Carlisle, PA), secured a job locally and enrolled in college on a full-time basis.


I was a full time student during the day and worked as a house parent in juvenile delinquent facility. An opportunity presented itself for me to return to the labioratory as a quality control technician on the second shift. Since this would allow me to continue school on a full-time basis during the day I took it.  After two quarters at ib college as a full time student, I had staright 4.0 average
 at night. Two tears later I was remarried to a beautiful young lady who agreed to share my life.


I graduated Penn State Harrisburg with a Bachelor of Social Science degree magna cum laude and was on my way to Syracuse University for a Ph.D. in Political Science (emphasis: Comparative Government).
Two and a half years later I had an MA in Political Science, finished my PH.D. course work in Higher Education Administration and was employed at Norfolk State University as the Director of Institutional Research.
The next three and a half years were filled with professional recognition, publishing professional papers, and holding national offices in both the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) and the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP). In addition, my wife and I had two sons in addition to our daughter and things were looking good.
By now I was 39 years old and was actively looking for a better position in college and university administration with more pay and responsibility. I was offered an opportunity to explore employment with IBM however I was not interested in leaving higher education administration.
I was hired as the Executive for Management, and Planning at the University of Arkansas Little Rock. Things went well until the Chancellor who hired me departed (UALR) to take another position. A new Chancellor was hired, I was more or less demoted, and things went down hill.
A former colleague was hired as the President of a small liberal arts college in Alabama and he asked me to join his staff as Director of Planning, Management, and Analysis. During this period, the VP for Finance was discharged and I was asked to fill his position on a temporary basis. This I did until a new individual was hired for the position. The new person and the President were discharged and again I was asked to assume the chief fiscal officer's position. I agreed to accept it on a temporary basis until someone else could be found but was told that was unacceptable. I either had to accept the position on a permanent basis or be discharged. I opted for the later and was unemployed.
A good friend and colleague who I met in graduate school at Syracuse became aware of my situation and contacted me about a position with him as a planning analyst for a consortium named Graduate Engineering for Minorities  located at the University of Notre Dame. I accepted the position and we worked well together. My friend retired, a new Director was hired and he brought in a friend of his to be the Associate Director.. Within a year or so after the new Director was hired, I was dismissed.
Given my age and the family not wanting to relocate -- this was made clear before I came to Notre Dame -- I started a consulting service with my major client being the state of Michigan. After about three and a half years, the governor of Michigan declared a revenue shortfall and terminated funds that were used to support several consultants, including myself.