That's "Campana-stan" or ''Land of Campana." It reflects the Weltanschauung of Michael E. Campana, President-for-Life of the Republic of Campanastan. Welcome to Campanastan - no passports or visas required!
Texas Agriculture Law Blog Don't let the name fool you - there are lots of water issues in agriculture and Tiffany Dowell of Texas A&M University does a fabulous job with this important Internet resource. Give it a read - I do every day!
The Way of Water Oregon State University Geography PhD Student, Jennifer Veilleux, records her fieldwork, research, and thoughts about transboundary water resources development in the Nile River and Mekong River basins. Particular attention is given to Ethiopia's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and Laos' Xayaburi Dam projects.
Thirsty in Suburbia Gayle Leonard documents things from the world of water that make us smile: particularly funny, amusing and weird items on bottled water, water towers, water marketing, recycling, the art-water nexus and working.
This Day in Water History Michael J. 'Mike' McGuire, engineer extraordinaire, NAE member, and author of 'The Chlorine Revolution', blogs about historical happenings in the fields of drinking water and wastewater keyed to calendar dates.
WaSH Resources New publications, web sites and multi-media on water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH).
Water 50/50 From Jay Famiglietti at UC-Irvine. Fifty lectures in fifty weeks: The 2012 Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lectureship. A global lecture tour delivering the message about our changing water cycle, groundwater depletion, and the future of freshwater availability.
Watering the Desert Aptly-titled blog by CJ Brooks, a lawyer-hydrologist-geologist from Tucson, AZ.
Watershed Moments: Thoughts from the Hydrosphere From Sarah Boon - rediscovering her writing and editing roots after 13 years, primarily as an environmental scientist. Her writing centres around creative non-fiction, specifically memoir and nature writing. The landscapes of western Canada are her main inspiration.
WaterWired All things fresh water: news, comment, and analysis from hydrogeologist Michael E. Campana, Professor at Oregon State University.
Watery Foundation Tom Swihart, formerly of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, tells all about water management in the Sunshine State.
Western Water Blog The 'mystery blog' about Western USA water issues. What more can I say?
Wisdom in Water, Please... Kate Wilkins-Wells , who manages the Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 4, provides her wisdom on water issues.
xAnalytical Doug Walker's xAnalytical blog:Turning Data and Information into Knowledge
"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, when asked about weapons of mass destruction in an ABC News interview, 30 March 2003 (Source)
Mr. Spock was the most intriguing of the four. He was half-human, half-Vulcan. His logical Vulcan half frequently wrestled with his emotional and illogical (at times) humanity. And there were those pointy ears, eyebrows, nerve pinch, and Vulcan sign, often coupled with 'Live long and prosper.'
Upon hearing of Leonard Nimoy's death, astronaut Terry Virts took this picture in a window of the International Space Station:
Much has been written about Leonard Nimoy and his alter ego Spock. One of the most compelling pieces was one from CBC News about how Nimoy's legacy extended far beyond science fiction. Read ithere.
From the article:
Leonard Nimoy didn't just leave a lasting impression on the science-fiction world, he also left his mark on science itself.
Seth Shostak, who researches the possibility of real-world extraterrestrial life as the senior astronomer at SETI Research, recalled that Nimoy was regularly willing to lend the organization a helping hand. When he was asked to narrate a planetarium introduction or appear as a guest at an event, Nimoy did so graciously and never charged.
"That struck me then, and it strikes me now," said Shostak. "If you play a famous alien, you might have little interest in how science is searching for real aliens, but Nimoy was actually interested in the science — and he was always willing to help us out."
The article has more accolades, such as this:
"Leonard Nimoy was an inspiration to multiple generations of engineers, scientists, astronauts and other space explorers," said NASA administrator Charles Bolden. "As Mr. Spock, he made science and technology important to the story, while never failing to show, by example, that it is the people around us who matter most."
Mary Frances and I spent some time reminiscing about Star Trek. The TV series debuted on NBC in September 1966 and lasted for 79 episodes till June 1969. What most people don't realize is that the network show was not a commercial success; it was canceled. But in syndication it took off, and the Star Trek franchise was born.
We both watched the original series and loved it. The story lines often addressed moral and social issues that were not widespread on TV in those days - equality, inclusivity, non-interference with indigenous cultures (the Prime Directive), war, diplomacy, collaboration, etc. Never mind that most of the women in the series were often comely and clothed in miniskirts or other revealing outfits, and that Kirk would often become romantically involved with some gorgeous creature. After all, this was 1966-69 and we were not where we are today. But the crew would at times encounter powerful women.
The show also provided hope that Earth would have a future as a united, peaceful place. Recall that climate change was not the issue in those days - it was the specter of nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Yes, World War III devastated the planet in the 21st century, but since Star Trek took place in the 23rd century, Earth was back in the game.
A couple of creative Danes - writer Mikael Wulff and cartoon artist Anders Morgenthaler, collectively known as WuMo- have created these hilarious graphs of some of the annoyances, facts, and perils of modern life.
Here's a postcard that friend Frank Colvario sent out to former North Bennet Street Schoolcaddies from the following camps: Maplewood, Lake Tarleton, Clauson's, Wianno, and Oyster Harbors. We'd like to expand our list, so if you know a former caddie, please let Frank know. If you did not get this card, let Frank know.
Below are just some of the people we seek....I'm there. Go to 'Ma' LaBonte in the middle and count three to the left - that's me! You can click on the picture to enlarge it.
Even if you can't go to the reunion, let him know so we can toast you in September and keep you updated. Click on the graphic below to enlarge it.
See you in September!
"I'm kind of comfortable with getting older because it's better than the other option, which is being dead. So I'll take getting older." - George Clooney
Each year about this time I wonder why the news media blow off the last week (or two) of the year. Even before the year ends, we're already bombarded with 'The Best of 2014', 'Notable Deaths of 2014', etc. Whatever happened to actually waiting until the year ends?
Why, TIME even named its '2014 Person of the Year' on 10 December 2014! It was a very worthy selection - the Ebola fighters. No complaints from me. But what if someone had perpetrated a devastating terrorist attack, discovered a cure for AIDS, started a nuclear war, negotiated a lasting Middle East peace, exposed the Kardashians as a bunch of no-talent morons, or performed some other remarkable feat between 10 and 31 December?
What would have been lost by waiting? Would someone else have beaten TIME to the punch?
Below is the cover of the 31 December 2014 issue of The Week, which arrived today, 26 December 2014. The news is already close to a week old. Yet the magazine is chock full of 2014 lists, some of whose items could be obsolete by 1 January 2015.
I suppose much of this is motivated by journalistic one-upmanship. But it seems to me that be that, in this case, one-opmanship would best be illustrated by waiting until the year is actually over. Do something different - do it right.
Interesting to note that today is the 10th anniversary of Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. If you search old (unedited) 'Notable Events of 2004' I wonder how many have this devastating disaster listed?
Note added on 28 December 2014: the media are bursting with stories about the disappearance of AirAsia Flight 8501. You can bet it's too late to appear on many 2014 lists, even though it might prove worthy of inclusion.
Hard to believe that 27 years ago tonight Mary Frances and I had our first date. But it was hardly a date; more like two very good friends meeting for perhaps the last time. We dined at Marie Callender's in Reno, then enjoyedThe Princess Bride at the movie theater.
Mary Frances had resigned her post as head of the libraries at the Desert Research Instituteand was leaving the next morning for a position in San Diego. We had both been in relationships (I, a marriage) that had fallen apart. We just had a real good time for a few hours. After that, who knew?
We drifted apart. I went on sabbatical to UC-Santa Cruzin 1988-89 and left DRI for the University of New Mexicoin summer 1989. She stayed in San Diego, building a new life. But five years after that Reno date, I picked up the phone and called her. I was expecting (hoping for?) her answering machine but got 'the real thing'. We had a wonderful conversation, she invited me down in early 1993, and on 3 October 1993 we wed at Lake Tahoe (Nevada side). It's been a sweet ride lo these 21+ years.
And we both still love The Princess Bride.
"Please consider me as an alternative to suicide." -Prince Humperdinck
What the ad forgot to mention was that World War I was such a huge waste (more so than most wars) and could have been avoided (like most wars, I suppose). It also indicates who bears the brunt of such folly, and it's not the national leaders. I recall my father, a historian born just a few months before World War I began, describing the events leading up to the start of the war and the miscalculations and stupidity of the European leaders. There was anger in his words.
It's Russian here in Oregon. Never would have guessed that. I am also surprised at French in some places: the Carolinas, West Virginia. I know that Germans comprise the largest group of European immigrants to the USA but the frequency of German - 16 of the states - was unexpected.
Friend and fellow caddy camp alumnus Frank Colvario sent me this piece from the Boston Globe.
As you know I am a veteran of caddy (also spelled 'caddie') camps in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and have fond memories and lifelong friends like Frank from those days (1958-1967).
Kevin Williams working on the course at Sankaty Head Golf Club.
SIASCONSET — Hut inspection at Sankaty Head Caddie Campbegan at 8 o’clock sharp on a bright midsummer morning. “Hats off!” barked assistant camp director Nick Riccardella as he walked through the rows of double-decked bunk beds, taking note of unswept floors and other infractions. At 8:15, a flag-raising ceremony was held in the courtyard outside.
By 8:30 a.m., most of the 54 campers were either on caddie duty at the nearby golf club or tending to chores elsewhere on the rustic campus, tucked between the 11th and 13th fairways of the Sankaty Head Golf Club on eastern Nantucket.
Not so, though, for a dozen campers who are high school juniors. They were attending a college counseling session in the camp library, learning about “reach” schools and “likelies,” engineering-major options versus liberal arts strongholds. Later that afternoon, a group of seniors would receive help with their college application essays.
At a camp founded in 1930 and long known for instructing teenage boys, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, in how to judge a putt, carry a golf bag, locate an errant tee shot, rake a bunker, and impress club members with their smarts and maturity, these training sessions are both new and necessary, according to those in charge of the facility. This is not your grandfather’s caddie camp anymore, many say, a statement that might strike several campers as literally true, their own grandfathers being proud camp alumni.
“We’re the last of a kind and, we hope, also the first of a kind,” said Sankaty Head club member and camp foundation trustee Richard Drucker in the clubhouse that afternoon.
‘It’s beyond these kids making money and finding jobs. . . . We’re preparing them better for college life and beyond.’
Already regarded as the last private-club caddie camp in the country, if not the world, the camp’s mission was reconceived two years ago. Camp trustees hired Dave Hinman, a veteran high school teacher and coach, to implement their plan. Hinman in turn has made several key changes in the program, placing greater emphasis — and scrutiny — on campers’ classroom performance during the school year while striving to build a more diverse camp community to share in the 10-week summer experience.
These changes include expanding the pool of applicants via an aggressive, Web-based outreach effort; partnering with organizations such as First Tee, which provides golf instruction and educational resources to inner-city youths; adding courses in college counseling, SAT test prep, and public speaking; and bringing in motivational speakers like New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, a Sankaty club member.
Of this year’s group, 25 hail from Massachusetts; the rest come from 15 other states, including Ohio, South Carolina, California, and Oregon. Hinman received 100 applicants for the 17 slots available this year. Ideally, he says, campers spend three to five summers here, beginning at age 13 or 14. As they advance in seniority, they gain more authority over which golfers they’re assigned to help. The hope is they’ll form lasting bonds with specific members as well as staffers and fellow campers, bonds that often serve them well in young adulthood and beyond.
“The younger they are, the more opportunity they have to grow here,” Hinman said during a tour of the camp facility, which includes three dormitories plus separate buildings housing a dining hall, rec room, library, laundry, and shower area.
Jack Eichen (left) and other caddies man the bags during a recent round of golf at Sankaty Head Golf Club.
Campers also now have Wi-Fi coverage and other technological resources unavailable to them just a few years ago. Other traditions and rules at the all-boys’ camp — no drugs or alcohol, no social visits with the opposite sex — have been carefully preserved, however.
“It’s beyond these kids making money and finding jobs, as was the case for decades,” Drucker noted. “We’re preparing them better for college life and beyond.”
Like the camp, Sankaty Head Golf Club boasts a storied lineage, its link-style course still considered among the finest of its vintage in the world. The waiting list to join is long, the membership roll a reflection of Nantucket’s well-heeled, if rather eclectic, summer population.
Without the solid support of club members, says Hinman, the camp might no longer exist at all, a fate shared by many private-club camps that vanished from New England’s golfing landscape in the 1960s and ’70s: victims of rising operating costs and liability concerns, among other factors.
Affirming their commitment, members rushed to help rebuild the camp after a fire in August 2011 gutted the mess hall and one dorm. Camp continued more or less normally for the remainder of the summer, and the buildings were replaced during the off-season.
“You need a lot of people to buy into the idea,” Hinman said “And here you have a [club] membership that has a strong relationship with these kids and wants to keep it going.”
Make no mistake, though. The money to be made is still meaningful, and plentiful, to campers as young as 13, some of whom arrive with little or no exposure to golf whatsoever.
This year’s group can expect to earn $3,000 to $15,000 apiece in caddie fees and tips, working six days a week (weather permitting). Campers with two years’ service or more can apply for additional scholarship aid, which is awarded at summer’s end by a panel of trustees that includes former General Electric CEO Jack Welch and ex-Honeywell chief Larry Bossidy (some have likened these interview sessions to episodes of “Shark Tank Nantucket”), both longtime golf club members. More than $100,000 is handed out each year, a sum trustees say they hope to boost substantially in the near future.
Assistant camp director Nick Riccardella performs a bunk-check at Sankaty Head Caddie Camp.
Most of what the campers earn is pure profit, too. Charged a $5 daily fee for room and board, they pay only a token amount to support the camp, whose annual budget is approximately $400,000. In return comes the privilege of summering on Nantucket, making lifelong friends and networking contacts, and, yes, getting to golf on a world-class course in its off-hours.
“We’re trying to send as many through college with as little debt as possible,” explained camp foundation head Jacques Wullschleger, who along with Hinman has been instrumental in tweaking the camp’s mission and focus.
In many ways, camper Kareem Brown and staff member Ryan Collopy embody what the Caddie Camp experience was originally designed to do, decades ago.
Brown, 15, a high-school sophomore from Trenton, N.J., had never set foot on Nantucket before — or on a golf course, for that matter — when he arrived at Caddie Camp in June. He applied online after hearing about the camp through one of his father’s co-workers.
His first few days were “really tiring and stressful,” Brown admitted during a break from an intramural softball game. “When people call rank on you, it’s not the best feeling.” He also had difficulty mastering what to do, and not to do, when golfers were gathered on the putting green, he said.'
Campers gather for the morning flag-raising ceremony at Sankaty Head Caddie Camp.
However, Brown added, he’s since learned to love the camp experience, its camaraderie and teamwork, and hopes to return next summer.
Hinman says Brown’s adjustment has been fun to witness, on many levels.
After his first few days as a caddie, Hinman recalled, a club member phoned to complain — politely but pointedly — that Brown seemed lost trying to follow a struck golf ball. What could be done about this, the club member asked.
Hinman took Brown to the golf club’s practice tee and had him watch a few shots, describing what he saw. No luck. So Hinman arranged for an eye exam. Problem solved.
Collopy, 19, of North Andover is in his seventh year at camp. For the past two, he’s served as a senior staff member, running extracurricular activities and mentoring younger campers. Headed to Vermont’s St. Michael’s College in the fall, where he plans to study business, he first came to camp as a 13-year old in need of mentoring himself.
“At first there was more of a fun, summer-camp aspect to it,” Collopy recalled. Making money was important, too, he said. Equally valuable, though, have been the relationships he’s forged with club members and their guests.
“You make strong connections here,” he said. Seated next to him in the camp mess hall was Bryan Garland, a 21-year-old senior at The College of New Jersey. Garland said he switched his major from engineering to finance — and landed a plum internship at Merrill Lynch — on the advice of a club member for whom he’d caddied over several summers.
By next summer, according to Hinman, the camp will be offering courses in being interviewed for college or employment. “There’s still some tweaking to be done,” he acknowledged. “We really want to keep camp traditions alive, though. They’re too valuable to lose.”
July 14th - Bastille Day, a French national holiday formally known in France as La Fête nationale or more commonly,Le quatorze juillet - was always celebrated in my childhood home.
But we were not French, although since my mother was of English and Scotch-Irish descent, I suspect there was some French (Norman?) blood coursing through her veins.
July 14th was the day my parents celebrated their first meeting and date in 1941. That landmark occurred in the hamlet of Bethlehem, NH, at the Maplewood Hotel and Golf Course, which at the time was a semi-fashionable resort in the White Mountains. My father John was an assistant golf pro at the Maplewood course, and Ruth Emerson a waitress at the hotel. He was 25 and from Boston; she was only 21 and from North Carolina. Their meeting resulted in a 'soda date' at Parker's Drug Store on Main Street. Hey, Earth girls are easy!
Courtship followed, culminating in marriage on 29 May 1943. They were happily married for 41 years, till my father's death in 1984.
Great role models, and I finally got it right, Mom and Dad. My first date with Mary Frances was 18 December 1987: dinner (Marie Callender's in Reno) and a movie (The Princess Bride).
In between the fireworks, auto and furniture sales, and barbecues, take a few minutes today to read the Declaration of Independence and the remarkable Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which came along 11 years later:
If you are an American citizen, thank your lucky stars for those 56 guys who signed the Declaration in Philadelphia in 1776 and started this thing rolling.
While you are at it, give extra thanks for the First Amendment, which guarantees five fundamental rights, which you can remember with the mnemonic RAPPS: religion, assembly, press, petition, and speech.
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, two giants in American history - friends, then opponents, and finally friends again - both died on this day in 1826. As I get older, I think less of Jefferson and more of Adams. Both were great men, but the former 'talked the talk' and didn't always 'walk the walk' (e.g., slavery) whereas the latter tried to do both.
Enjoy the day, and enjoy RAPPS!
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." -- Declaration of Independence
"...a Republic, if you can keep it." -- Benjamin Franklin, at the end of the Constitutional Convention, when asked, "What have you wrought?"
(being a semi-truthful account of my travels, designed to amuse, and to be read with a dose of skepticism)
3 August 2004
I am now aboard (a bored?) one of Delta’s jets hurtling through the night sky en route from Cincinnati – er, I mean Northern Kentucky - to Albuquerque. I am returning from Myrtle Beach, SC, where I attended, for the fourth year, the South Atlantic Well Drillers’ Jubilee, an event that annually draws thousands of well drillers and their families, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, and hangers-on like me, to lovely Myrtle Beach, the jewel of the Carolinas. In some ways, Myrtle Beach reminds me of Las Vegas, the jewel of Clark County, NV, but there are five fundamental differences between the two. Myrtle Beach has: 1) a beach, as implied by its name; 2) lots more golf courses (over 100); 3) no casino gambling (ooops - I mean gaming); 4) air service by the notorious Hooters Air; and 5) much less class than Las Vegas. Despite this latter shortcoming, it is still a great place for vacations, and capitalizes on its family-friendly atmosphere.
A brief aside about Hooters Air. It is owned by the same corporation that owns the restaurants and features female flight attendants outfitted in the same manner as their “sisters” who wait tables. Hooters Air runs golf junkets from Atlanta. They also run them from Gary, IN, but no one in Gary can afford to golf so the planes are mostly full of gawkers. Other airlines have cried “Foul!”, claiming that Hooters Air’s skimpy fares are loss leaders and that the deck is stacked against any competitors. Dewey Cheatam, CEO of Delta, Hooters Air’s biggest competitor out of Atlanta, was quoted as saying, “We know that Hooters is cheating. They have a well-endowed “slush” fund and can afford to undercut us. They have a leg up on all the other airlines. Hooters drives us crazy!” Hooters spokeswoman Ima Skank commented: “Delta? They’re boobs.” The FAA is said to be scrutinizing Hooters closely and promised to keep other airlines abreast of its findings.
After reading the aforementioned paragraph there should be no doubt in your mind that I am a proud graduate of the Catholic elementary and secondary school systems. I am honored to number among my fellow high-schoolmates former Senator Al D’Amato (currently on work-release, serving as ethicist-in-residence at UNLV), Bill “No Spin” O’Reilly, Louis “Call me Lou” Gerstner (former IBM CEO), and Glenn “YMCA” Hughes, the original biker guy in the Village People. Guess which one of the above avoids our high-school reunions? Guess which one we wish would not show up?
So back to the Jubilee. You can tell something about it when you realize that Calvin Falwell, Reverend Jerry Falwell’s first cousin, was one of the movers-and-shakers in the organization. Calvin gained fame by distributing Bibles with each successful well he drilled. He believed that Satan was responsible for poor well yields, so he would bring in cousin Jerry to perform an exorcism. The duo became quite well-known throughout southern Virginia. Get your water, and religion, too.
On the flight from Myrtle Beach to Cincinnati I sat next to a German fellow who vaguely resembled Gert Frobe, the actor who portrayed James Bond’s nemesis Goldfinger in the movie of the same name. We struck up a conversation, and I learned that Ulrich was an executive with BMW in Munich who had come to SC to check out the BMW assembly plant in the Greenville-Spartanburg area farther north. He had taken a short golf vacation in Myrtle Beach before heading back home. Now, for those of you who own BMWs and believe that they were painstakingly crafted by meticulous German assembly-line workers named Klaus, Hans and Dieter – surprise! They may have been assembled by Bubba, Goober and Gomer in SC (you can tell by looking for tell-tale tobacco stains). Hey, but now they are cheaper (Mercedes owners – don’t snicker; your “German” car may have been built in Alabama). But I digress. Anyway, Ulrich was curious as to what I thought of Ahhhnold the Governator. I told him that I didn’t know that much about him but that he seemed to be doing a half-decent job, except for calling legislators “girlie-men” the other day. I asked Ulrich what he thought of South Carolina and he replied that it would be good to get home.
Cincinnati’s a neat town, although they did get confused and built their airport in Kentucky. It suffers from the “Philadelphia complex” – so overshadowed by the vibrancy of an adjacent city – usually across a river – that it pales in comparison. In Cincinnati’s case, it’s Covington, KY. In Philadelphia’s case, it’s Camden, NJ.
Speaking of the great state of South Carolina, I think I should enlighten you about it. The state has a proud past, its residents having started the Civil War (aka The War of Northern Aggression) by firing upon Fort Sumter. It has had memorable politicians, such as John C. Calhoun, Preston “Bully” Brooks, Mendel Rivers, Fritz Hollings, J. Fred Muggs, and Strom Thurmond, whose embalmed body lies in a glass case in the capitol in Columbia. The quote on the pedestal reads “Never was there a man who so dragged his feet through the sands of time.” Few people realize that ol’ Strom actually died three years before he left the Senate. His staff, inspired by the movie Weekend at Bernie’s, decided to “keep the dream alive” (and their cushy jobs intact) till his term ended. No one noticed until Strom introduced some fairly significant legislation – giving African-Americans voting rights - which was totally out of character. And a recent SC governor gained infamy by being caught in a compromising position on his desk with a female staffer. The governor muddled through the rest of his term, but the staffer resigned quickly. Newspaper headlines noted her resignation with lines like “She had served ably under the governor for many years” or “Governor’s aide was always on top of things.” Charleston is perhaps the best-known of all SC cities. A recent downtown renovation has rejuvenated Gallows Square, which for many years, was the source of entertainment for Charlestonians, especially those of the upper class. Each Sunday (except for Easter, Christmas and New Year’s Day), residents would gather in their finery, attended to by servants, to watch “uppity people” get “taught a lesson” from local law-enforcement officials. Charleston is far more sensitive now, and that barbaric ceremony, discontinued in 1978, has now given way to re-enactors who celebrate the good ol’ days on the third Sunday of each month. Charleston’s residents are quite boastful and prone to exaggeration. As an example, they note that their fair city is bounded by the Cooper and Ashley Rivers, which join to form the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, like the residents of Honolulu, Santa Fe and San Francisco, Charlestonians suffer from the disease known in medical circles as terminal pretension.
I could not end this without a few SC jokes. Q: What’s the best thing to come out of South Carolina? A: Interstate 95. Q: What’s the next best thing? A: Interstate 85. Q: What is the difference between Mississippi and South Carolina? A: At least Mississippi tries. Q: What do you have when you have three South Carolinians in a room? A: A full set of teeth. And finally, there is the state motto:
Like many others, today I am honoring those who served and those who died 70 years ago on D-Day and the entire Normandy Invasion. Special thanks to the Allied troops - American, Canadian, British, Australian, New Zealand, Free French, Free Dutch, et al. - who made it happen and rescued Europe and the world.
My father's brother - my Uncle Vic - was one of those young men who was there that fateful day. He was a paratrooper - 82nd Airborne - who made a nighttime jump into France. He survived.
Thank you! And a special thanks to the French people, still so welcoming and appreciative lo these many years!
Giovanni Pellegrino Campana would have been 100 today.
That name is on his birth certificate, but we knew my father as John Pilgrim Campana. Born on 6 June 1914, he was the son of Italian immigrants Consiglia and Domenico Campana, who arrived on these shores from Naples, Italy, in the late 1890s.
The family settled in Boston, where my father grew up working, playing baseball, ice hockey, but most of all, studying. He vaguely recalled the Great Molasses Flood of 1919. He attended Boston Latin School, the oldest and arguably still the best high school in the USA.
After that, it was off to the oldest college in the USA, Harvard, where he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in history in 1936. In those days, Harvard was not a hospitable place for Italian-Americans, Irish-Americans, or Jews; forget about Latinos, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, or African-Americans! It was the bastion of WASPs - White (or Wealthy) Anglo-Saxon Protestants.
He loved playing hockey - he was a right winger - but didn't play for Harvard after his freshman year. He told me that the rich kids on the team would rent one of the indoor arenas for practices that were restricted to themselves and their friends. So while he worked, they practiced and his skills fell behind. When he told me this, there was nary a trace of bitterness in his voice. That's just the way it was.
But his true sports love was baseball. He played shortstop and pitched on the Harvard team till he graduated in 1936. Here is the team ball signed by all the players on the 1936 team, with the cherished inscription: Harvard - 3, Yale - 0.
He married 'Southern belle' (North Carolina)Ruth Ellen Emerson in 1943 and they had three children. They first lived in Manhattan, then moved out to Queens, and finally, headed to the Long Island suburbs in December 1951, where they remained until 1978, retiring to Mooresville, North Carolina.
He started teaching in the New York City school system in 1938, a career that spanned 36 years, 26 of which were spent at Brooklyn's Erasmus Hall High School, the nation's second-oldest high school. He taught history and political science. He recalls EHHS students Barbra Streisand, chess champion Bobby Fischer, Neil Diamond, Billy Cunningham, and Lainie Kazan. Don't ask him about the first two. In those days, EHHS was one of the nation's best. Its top students won scholarships to the USA's finest universities. Even the top Jewish students, who for years could not get into the Ivy League schools, routinely made Princeton, Yale, and Harvard starting in the mid-1950s; African-Americans (few in number at EHHS in those days) and others soon followed. As I grew up, I remember many visits from former students who would drop by to thank him for all he had done. They told me what a remarkable teacher and man he was and how much he had helped them.
He left EHHS in 1964 to help open Canarsie High School in Brooklyn. He was the Assistant Principal, a position that earned him more money but meant no more teaching. That was a tough call for him.
His time at CHS was difficult - an unreasonable boss and trouble from the start. In those days, the races and ethnicities mixed far worse than they do today. On some days scores of NYPD officers patrolled the halls and grounds. When a chair whizzed by his ear during a cafeteria free-for-all, he knew it was time to retire. That was 1974. This photo was taken a few years before he left CHS.
My father was an inveterate and prolific letter-writer. He would write letters to all kinds of people: political leaders, heads of state, CEOs, editors, sports figures, et al. At the time of his death he was working on a book titled, One Small Voice, a collection of his letters. His favorite target was Tom Yawkey, then the owner of his beloved but then-incompetent Boston Red Sox. He would instruct Yawkey on whom to trade, whom to release, etc. It was a futile exercise, of course, but he enjoyed it. One of my big regrets in life was seeing him die in 1984, before the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, 2007, and 2013. But at least he did not witness the 1986 debacle. That surely would have killed him. My father's devotion to the Sox and their history still have an impression on me: although I am a Yankees fan, there is a soft spot in my heart for the Red Sox.
I often wonder how the Internet would have appeared to him. Given his love for writing and commentary, would he have become a blogger? Somehow I doubt it. He was committed to letters.
He was a student of history, languages (five), politics, sports, chess, and more. He was small in stature and an unlikely athlete. Baseball, hockey, golf, bowling, and tennis were his games. He was a Democrat who was not overly fond of John F. Kennedy and the Kennedy clan. He remembered too much from his early days in Boston and also never forgave patriarch Joe for being an early Hitler supporter. But he voted for JFK over Richard Nixon in 1960; that was a no-brainer.
My late younger sister Ann and he would have some epic confrontations; they were too much alike. One of his unbreakable rules was, 'Never drive the car into Manhattan.' I recall an incident where Ann was to drive his precious Mustang into Queens to catch the subway into Manhattan. Well, she sort of forgot about the rule, and drove into the city. Next morning as he got up to go to work, he saw a note from Ann that said, 'Sorry - it was the goddamned bus!' He did not understand the note till he went out for his morning drive into Brooklyn. That's when he noticed a huge crease running the length of the driver's side of the Mustang. Seems that Ann had had an encounter with a city bus. She left the note and was spending the day at the beach. Lucky for that, too - she had been partying with friends in Manhattan and was in no shape to face my father.
I loved listening to him discuss history, especially American history. He actually 'rescued' my interest in history, because my high-school history teachers were pretty pathetic. They often emphasized rote memorization with little dicussion of what the events meant. That's where my father came in. He provided the big picture.
Whatever my skills are in teaching and education, I owe to him. He was so proud when I received my PhD. He had an ABD ('all but dissertation' - half done, on Stephen Decatur and the Barbary Pirates) from Fordham - marriage and a family intevened - and he never finished. He would have made quite a professor!
I doubt his beloved Red Sox will win this year. And the Bruins are not en route to the Stanley Cup as they were a few years ago. Oh, how he loved watching Bobby Orr!
I miss you, Dad; I think of you each day. You're my role model.
“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” ―G.K. Chesterton
"Democracy is like a raft; you're safe, but your feet get wet." -- John P. Campana
I have previously posted a few times about my experiences at caddy camps in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and on Cape Cod, about 70 miles south of Boston, MA. My most recent posts were 26 December 2012 and 4 September 2012.
So what is this post about? Well, a reunion was held last weekend at the Maplewood Caddy Camp(MCC) site (the building still exists, is in great shape, and is occupied by a rehabilitation center) on Route 302about one mile east of Bethlehem, NH. The reunion celebrated the reconstruction of the 'Our Lady of the Fairways' shrine/memorial just outside the camp's driveway on the north side of Route 302. I regret being unable to attend - I was committed to a conference in Denver.
To finance the reconstruction, engraved bricks were sold to former campers, indicating the years they spent at MCC and other caddy camps run by Boston's North Bennet Street School. I bought bricks for my father and me.
Thanks to Fred Forte for arranging this.
"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." - Nelson Mandela
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