YoHi Freshman at Yokosuka

At a party Dad held at the house in Kamakura for about fifty or more officers and their wives, the bar tender served Chip and me any alcoholic drink we ordered. I asked an officer seated on the stairs what he was drinking and he responded, “Scotch and soda.”  After a period of two hours, that drink made me dizzy and high for the first time in my life. “You’re talking to that old naval officer two inches from his face and are drunk. Stop drinking now or you’ll get sick,” Chip said. Later people heard me calling Ralph, Ralph, Rahhhlph  in the toilet (benjo) and I staggered to bed with my head spinning and two aspirins from somebody. The next week our YoHi varsity baseball coach, Mr. Kirchner, selected me for a relief pitcher as a freshman. As the season played out, I developed a screwball, curve, saved a few games, and was proud to earn my first varsity letter.     After six months  in Kamakura we moved to a house on the Navy base at Yokosuka so we could live near Dad’s work,  had just one bus to ride to school, and enjoyed the benefits of the teen age club, gymnasium, pool, and movie theater.   The home had a huge back yard with a stone barbecue,  a basketball net, and a large tunnel located at the base of Edwina Hill. Chip and I explored the lighted tunnel that meandered around to various parts of the base. The Japanese dug and carved these tunnels in World War II for an escape from the bombing raids the Allies rained upon them. They provided teenagers like us hours of fun exploring short cuts to outlying areas or playing hide and seek. At about ten feet high, they had good lighting and the floor consisted of packed down dirt. Across the street the Officer’s club band played popular songs we could hear every night after dinner. Our house was attached to our neighbor’s. Both homes had three bedrooms and shared a patio on the second floor. Luckily our neighbor was Captain Purdum, a dentist with a family that included three children. Jack Purdum was in my grade and played football, basketball and baseball with me at Yohi. Chip and I shared a large bedroom on the second floor with two desks for homework. Dad often made fabulous barbecues in the large patio with basketball court, played his ukulele, and we sang along with him to his favorite songs after dinner. We seemed like a real family for the first time, but Dad and Nicky joined two broken ones in a marriage of convenience trying to make sense out of life’s dramas in a foreign country on a naval base that resembled an artificial America. After Jerry Cohen left his school bus and walked up my street he saw me hitting rocks with a stick that bounced off the tall wooden fence to the Officer’s Club or flew into a patio where officers ate with wives, danced, and listened to a band until 10 PM. My next hit cleared the fence into the patio. TWANG told me I had hit a metal table.   “What are you doing?”Jerry said laughing. “Pretending I’m playing baseball.” Aren’t you afraid you’ll hit someone with a rock?” “Not now, they set up in an hour.” “I’m Jerry. Can I join you?” “Sure. I’m Dan. Over the fence is a homer. Off the fence is a double except above the top slat; that’s a triple. A grounder that hits the fence is a single.” “Hasn’t anyone from the club complained?” he said snickering. “They have when I play after 5. That’s when they clean-up for meals." "Take a swing,” I said handing him my stick. Jerry smashed a rock over the wall. BONK “Shit, I broke something.” “No, you hit another table.” He glanced at our yard, “A basketball court! Let’s shoot around.” “Sure, after the game.” We blasted rocks over the fence that produced more jangles for ten minutes. “Let’s play horse,” Jerry said. “OK.” We walked into my backyard to the metal pole holding the backboard and net. I picked up my basketball and shot from the free throw line—SWISH. “How old are you?”Jerry asked as he launched a ball from the corner. “I’m fifteen.” His shot banked in. “I’ll be a sophomore at YoHi.” “I’m fourteen. I’ll be a freshman.” “What does your dad do?” “He’s a doctor and a Captain.” “Mine is in charge of Headquarters Support Activity.” I ran across the key and missed a hook shot. “He’s a Commander. Are you going out for football?” “Yeah, but I’ve never played tackle before.” He sank a jumper from the base line. “Do you play?” “Yeah. I played quarterback in Chicago last year  for a frosh -soph team and will try out for varsity QB,” and matched his shot. “I was born in Chicago, how long did you live there?” “Three years off and on. Dad transferred twice and I was born there too.” “Here comes Marsden, let’s lose him in the caves,” Jerry said with a chuckle. One could travel from Yokosuka to Tokyo if you knew how to maneuver through them it was rumored and easily get lost. “Hi guys, can I join you?” Phil Marsden asked. He was a regular for playing hearts with Jerry, Jack, and me on the long bus ride from Yokosuka to Yokohama for school. “Sure Phil, follow us in the caves in the hill behind us,” Jerry said as we raced into a lighted cave. A dank smell surrounded us, dust kicked up from our tennis shoes hitting the surface, and echoes rebounded from our voices and footsteps. We could hear Phil following while we kept darting into different directions the tunnels took us until we lost him and exited a few blocks from our homes delighted with our escapade.   Phil was one of our most intelligent friends and a practical joker who we knew would either turn around, or find his way to a near exit, but we might have put a scare into him with our ruse. Jerry, Jack, and I became good friends, went to the Navy gym often for basketball, and belonged to the Teen Canteen that had pool tables, served burgers, French fries, soft drinks, held parties, and fielded a baseball team.

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Youthful Imagination and Games in 1950

When nine I made up an indoor baseball game during bad weather, or when the Washington Senators played a game broadcast on the radio. In our playroom in the basement, I had collected many toy soldiers, cowboys, Indians, and wooden blocks and made a baseball field with the blocks as walls and my soldiers in positions around the “field.” My "ball"  was made out of a small nut and screw. To hit the “ball” I took a soldier in my right hand and threw the “ball” up in with my left hand while lying on the floor at home plate and twisted the soldier’s body my right hand like a bat. If the soldier’s head hit the ball, it traveled farther than if it hit his shoulder, chest, or other part of his body. My players made catches if the “ball” came near any of them resulting in an out. My games usually featured the Washington Senators against the Red Sox, Yankees, Indians, or Tigers. A home run occurred when a hit “ball” went over the fence. Off the fence counted as a double unless it hit centerfield fence: I called that a triple. Balls that went through the infield without touching a player were singles as were those that flew over the infielders and dropped in front of, or went by the outfielders. If the ball travelled on the ground to the fence, it was a double unless the runner had great speed, and called that a triple if I thought he could make it. Often when playing my “soldier baseball” game I turned on the radio to listen to Senators’ games The announcer in 1950, Arch McDonald, had a deep, kind voice that boomed with excitement. He knew everything about the sport, the players, and their statistics. He made a sound like a ball hitting a bat when the player hit a pitch followed by ringing a bell to indicate the batter had made a hit. One bell meant a single, two a double, three a triple, and four a home run. He kept me in suspense waiting for the bells to indicate what hit the batter made:   “Here comes the pitch to Irv Noren.CRRACK ..ding..ding..ding..ding. There it goes over the right field wall and into the night for a home run, Noren’s 14th of the year winning this game 4 to 3 in a spectacular finish. Stay tuned for the game round up when I’ll interview the most valuable player. This is Arch McDonald hoping you don’t change the station or you’ll miss hearing from the Senators’ slugging center fielder after these messages.” Our fourth grade Chevy Chase Elementary School softball team also practiced for a game against the fifth graders who boasted they would clobber us. Bigger, older and always talked a big game, the fifth graders dominated fourth graders normally, so we collectively decided who played best at each position. For the week before our challenge to the fifth grade we practiced as a team. Doug Oberlander, Bucky Brumbaugh, and I, decided the positions for our team. I played left field and batted fourth. Doug batted third up and played shortstop. Bucky batted fifth up and played first base. I also remember Donald Katz, Peter, Bob Engle, and Michael Creighton. During the challenge game to the fifth graders, we did something weird. We started naming aloud various brands of condoms we had heard of, which somehow we thought would intimidate them. I think we learned them from Bob Engle who invited me to go boating on the Patuxent River with his uncle, who was a part owner of the Washington Senators. His cousin came along with his girlfriend who spent the whole time in the cabin. When he came out Bob asked him what kind of rubber he used to embarrass him. Bob knew more than most fourth graders about such things and shared his knowledge before the game. To our credit, we beat the fifth graders, and their boasting ceased. When the Senators scored runs off the Yankees, it seemed such a monumental task that when the lowly Washington Senators actually beat them, we celebrated our heroes. Enjoying our baseball “chatter” about our Major League players never bored us. At this blissful time, our loyalty to the Senators and our noon softball game seemed one of the most important aspects of our lives. My brother Chip and I played another game in the street called "kicking goals." We filled our leather football with air from our bicycle pump and decided a spot for each goal line. One of us started from our goal and punted the ball as far as we could. If we caught the ball we could take three steps from the catch and kick it back. If my punt went past the goal I scored one point. A drop kick,, where we dropped the ball and kicked it as it bounced off the road. If the ball traveled over the goal it scored two points. Chip and I played that game for hours until we finally got tired or it got dark. That game made a competent punter from learning to spiral a punt over the head of my opponent. Occasionally a car interrupted the game but never got in the way since one of us warned the other. We did nail a few parked cars on the street but never broke a window with a football, as we all did with baseballs sooner or later. Another baseball game I created was called “step ball” that taught me how to field any hit ball and throw it accurately for hours. Variations of the game exist, because each house called for different rules. Our house lay about ten feet above the street on a raised front lawn with a concrete stairway leading from the front door to the street. One day I threw a tennis ball against one of the ten concrete steps. It bounced back to me just like a ground ball. Using chalk lines on the street to designate a single, double, and triple, made the game more realistic. If the ball traveled over my head to the other side of the street, it was a homerun. If I threw the ball to strike the corner of a step, it sent the ball the furthest. Neighborhood friends of all ages challenged me in “step ball.” We often played two against two. Catching a ball in the air made an out, as did fielding a ground ball unless it landed beyond the chalk marks for a hit. We used baseball gloves to increase our chance to make a spectacular catch. Step ball improved my fielding and pitching ability and provided many intense games that were fun and never cost a penny.

Long Beach High School Anxiety

      When we returned from Japan by plane, I enrolled at David Starr Jordan High School Long Beach, California to complete my junior year and Dad became Captain of the USS Chemung (AO-30). He rented the Long Beach home of Congressman Craig Hosmer and we arrived halfway into the football season after YoHi won the Japan Championship. Jordan High was the largest secondary school I had attended, with more than two thousand sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The campus sprawled with a massive off-pink auditorium displaying our blue panther mascot. My first day I used a map to find classrooms filled with over thirty students in attached bungalows separated by grassy areas. The gymnasium held two basketball courts, a swimming pool, showers, and lockers. A wire fence surrounded the athletic fields including the football stadium that seated thousands of fans. Intimidated by the size of Jordan and the large enrollment, I anticipated stiff competition in sports and academics.
Students unlike any I had encountered surrounded me. Most past classmates were from a military family. At Jordan crew cuts with long hair combed back on the sides into a duck-tail were in fashion as were souped-up cars that roared when they accelerated on the streets. Most of the girls used heavy make-up, wore clothes that emphasized their breasts, and slinked around the campus. Sororities and fraternities held parties, danced to rock and roll music, and some couples even made out on campus. Square compared to them, I felt nervous about it, but met with a Bible study group during lunch on a grassy area. After a few weeks of dirty looks, I kept my religious views private unlike in Japan. Since I had been the starting quarterback on my last three high school teams, I expected to practice with the varsity and challenge their quarterback for playing time. Approaching the coaching staff, I met stocky Coach Young in blue cap, coach’s jersey, khaki shorts, almost my height, red hair and light freckled skin. “Hi Coach. I’m a new student and a quarterback.” “Where have you played before?” “High school in Japan as varsity quarterback for two championships and a Frosh-Soph QB at a military academy.” “We have three football teams. You’re too big for the “B” team and the varsity is having a losing season, but you don’t know the plays. I’ll talk to the head coach.” In minutes he said, “Coach Park assigned you to quarterback the JV team.” After I learned the plays and helped the JV team win the next two games, Coach Park made me the varsity punter and back-up quarterback. Against a hot Compton team, the first kickoff went to Bobby Smith, one of the best backs in Southern California. As he raced around one of our tacklers, two Jordan defenders dropped him hard. He reacted by kicking one of them causing the referees to eject him ten seconds into the game. After a safety against us, I kicked an eighty-yard punt that hit at the twenty and rolled into the end zone. Coach Park said I had set a high school record on that punt. He let me quarterback the last game of the season in the fourth quarter. We drove down near the end zone and the captain told me to take it in, so I ran off tackle behind some burly linemen who bulled the defense back for a TD. Jordan had a reputation for one of the best baseball teams in Southern California, but I had an old glove from YoHi and decided to find a better one for serious competition. At the nearest sporting goods store, I walked up to a muscular red-haired salesman. “Could you help me find your best outfielder’s glove?” “Where do you go to high school?” “Jordan High.” “I played three years for Jordan. You’ll love coach Crutchfield. ” "What’s your name?” “Ron Fairley.” Ron was described by everyone who knew him as a baseball legend at Jordan, hitting over twenty home runs last year. Two inches shorter than I was, he had a crew cut, and freckles over his muscular one hundred and ninety pounds. The Dodgers had already drafted him making him exceptional.  He played basketball too and often scored twenty points or more a game. He walked nonchalantly to the glove rack, picked out a professional Rawlings model, beat it with his fist, put some neatsfoot oil on, and worked it into the leather. He banged it a few more times with his fist and handed it to me, “This’ll work. I may see you out there in the alumni game. Good luck, Dan.” The fog in Long Beach occasionally was so heavy one could barely see five feet in any direction. After school a Jordan High athlete arrived to give me a ride on such a day in his low cut black souped up Ford Coupe. The murky mist hung low in Long Beach when a second string halfback in my class who wore a goatee, and dated an attractive cheerleader, stared at me from behind the wheel. He had a short crew cut, good tan, and a peculiar and arrogant strut that exuded confidence on campus. He also had a turbulent temper and an insolent attitude. His girlfriend offered to have him drive me home from a church youth group we both attended when I needed a ride. She was a cheerleader with flowing brown hair and an attractive body that challenged my commitment to think pure thoughts and keep on my spiritual path. “This new student named Dan needs a ride?”She urged him. “He’s on the football team. Get in,” he muttered shaking his head negatively a minute into the introduction. “Thanks. I really appreciate this.”He pulled back the front seat for me to ride in back. I entered his car, she sat next to him and closed the door. He put his foot to the pedal and accelerated to 80 miles per hour in the densest pea soup muddle I had ever seen. Unable to see beyond the front headlights, I said, “Please slow down.” “Don’t worry,” he said and laughed with a demonic grin on his face. The car sped on as he fearlessly put us in extreme jeopardy. Thinking the car would crash into any slow vehicle unable to see, I wondered who wanted to die in a collision? My breathing increased in a panic. Afraid to show fear, “Please slow down, Jim,” I asked. He ignored me. “Slow down!”She pleaded. He turned around and looked at me without a care that his eyes had left the road and smiled at me with no concern for our safety. Life seemed too precious for him to treat us so recklessly. “Stop the car now!”I screamed fed up with the dilemma. “What do you want to do, jump out?” he teased. I stared back at him angrily but remained silent afraid to provoke him. He slowed the car down after ten minutes. “You’re a Chicken-shit Lavery,” he said with a wild expression and wide-opened eyes. My teammate had given me a ride, so left him alone, exited the car, and took a deep breath of dense air.   I tried out for the varsity basketball team that had been practicing for a month, hoping to make the varsity as I had in Japan. The first day Max Mallet and another muscular senior guard, Ron Mize, double-teamed me immediately after catching an inbound pass. Both guarded me flailing their arms and hands fouling me, hacking at the ball, and knocking me around trying to take the ball. Swinging my elbows quickly in a circle close to their chins to give me space, I jumped high and twisted to pass to a teammate. The incident awakened me to the intensity of Jordan's basketball, especially when the coach did not call fouls. Coach Palmgren disappointed me for not controlling the wildness of that practice, was a conservative, but successful coach, and accumulated a great record of wins. After a few weeks he called me into his office and characterized me as a certain “type” of player indicating he knew all he needed to know about my skills. Never explaining his terminology, he appeared arrogant and full of himself. He had pigeonholed me into an immutable “basketball personality stereo-type.” The term had something to do with high speed recklessness I think. That style of basketball, with fast breaks, out-running your opponent, and giving all my energy, did characterize my way of approaching athletics. But he then assigned me to the junior varsity that seriously thwarted my expectations. On the JV team I played every game and was the high scorer averaging 13 points a game. In one game I scored 22 points and 17 points another time when I made six long shots in a row. The hot streak continued every time we got the ball for five minutes causing Jim Milhorn, a UCLA basketball player a few years later under John Wooden, to exclaim "Oh Lavery," meaning my streak was unheard-of. Coach Young praised me as the team leader and invited me, Dick Merit, Jim Hall, and Jim Cook to his home in the San Fernando Valley for dinner. Far away in a beautiful suburb, where I would later raise a family, it permitted us to respect him and socialize with teammates without the pressure of competition. Coach Crutchfield had a crew cut under his baseball cap and a wonderful sense of humor he used whenever he felt we needed to loosen up with laughter. A football and baseball player at USC, he flew jets during military service and coached Jordan backs in football.  At 5’ 9” and two hundred and twenty pounds, his huge muscular arms, a thick neck, stocky legs carried well-defined calf muscles that bulged when he walked, and his thighs looked like they belonged to a bull. You had to love baseball with all your heart to succeed on his team.  Watching me in practice he elevated me to the right fielder after I hit home run into a palm tree 400 feet away in a JV game. The Panther Varsity was by far the best baseball team I had ever played for and the competition had pitchers who could throw at least three, but often four pitches that kept me guessing at first. Adjusting to fast balls at, or near, ninety mph led to a number of whiffs at first, but Crutch taught me to shorten my swing and spread my stance so I wouldn't lunge. Then I could slow my swing for an off-speed pitch. Despite my slow start I finished  higher than .300 batting average and was a defensive stand-out on a great team.  

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Adventure, Harmony, and Turmoil, Coronado 1953-4

Dan Jr. High Coronado, Track team(2nd lft), and class 1953(4th lft)  (Track team second in Dan, Brad Holcomb, and John Shellenberger followed by class picture Coronado Jr. High 1954 Dan fourth in top row)           (Point your mouse on all the pictures for details  and click to expand photos) When Coronado H.S. played Oceanside in football, we lost 64-0. A Black running back named C. R. Roberts scored six touchdowns. On many of his blazing runs, he carried the ball over fifty yards. Since I sat near the field as a member of the band, when the game ended I ran over to him and asked, “What’s your secret, C.R.? “Keep your nose clean and play with your heart.” He looked at me for a second, holding his head high, covered with sweat and dirt, while steam drifted from his head in the stadium lights. For that moment, he seemed like a statue of a black muscular god. I learned from the Boy Scouts in our troop that he wore the uniform of an Eagle Scout, and planned on going to the National Scout Jamboree held at Irvine Ranch in the summer. He also ran track, earning CIF honors in many events. He became a tailback at USC, played professional Football for the San Francisco Forty-Niners, and was an excellent student and respected man of character. In the high school band, a select group of musicians practiced creative music brought to us by our fiery red-haired director, Paul Hennenberg, who always wore wildly colorful shirts. He introduced us to classical, foreign, jazz, rock and roll, blues, and experimental music. I played third trumpet behind Alan Manchester, who liked to clown around. Phil Andreen, a joker, played every instrument in the band, but concentrated on trombone. Chip played first saxophone, and friends George Mardock, baritone, and Earl Barlow, the only Black musician, played base fiddle. Peter Gray was fabulous on his French horn, followed by Jan MacGregor and Kathy Stevens, and Kathy Lewis thrilled us all with her marvelous oboe solos. Dan,Tom, and Susan middle front, Kathy and Jan second row, Bob, Jack, Jody,and Brad  Mr. Charles Granzer third row Coronado Jr. High Band 1953-4 One day during a tedious band practice, Alan and Phil blurted out a few deliberately bad notes to break up the mood. Droning an off-key riff, I joined in. Paul Hennenberg threw his baton against the wall, glared, and bellowed, “I’ll dismiss the next person to mess with this band. Take a break to change your juvenile attitude.” I had seen him angry before, but never like that and slinked back in my seat.   The band meant so much to me I would have hated having our leader boot me off for foolishness. Under his intense direction we played The Planets, op.32 (1916) by Gustav Holst for many sessions until we were prepared for state competition. Each planet had its own haunting sound appropriate to the symbol it represented: Mars-War, Venus-Peace, Mercury-Winged Messenger, Jupiter-Jollity, Saturn-Old Age, Uranus-Magician, and Neptune-Mystic. Typically, Paul spent the most time working on Jupiter since jollity seemed a characteristic of our eclectic group of musicians. “The FBI March” kept us current with a popular television show from Sergei Prokofiev’s Opera, The Love for Three Oranges, op. 33  (1921), for flute, oboe, two clarinets, bassoon, two horns, two trumpets, strings, piano, and percussion. Our music appreciation teacher introduced us to classical composers in his conservative business suit when lecturing. He had a clever way of exploring many classics including Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, and George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. After playing the entire piece of music on his phonograph, he would emphasize special features like repetition of a melody by different instruments, unusual rhythms and sounds, and the crescendos, especially at the end. For our final exam he played brief parts of the pieces for us to identify. Dad paid for private trumpet lessons for me and saxophone lessons for Chip by sailors assigned to the superb Navy band. A skilled Hispanic musician made a two-year commitment to the Navy and introduced us to the jazz of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and others saying, “Theirs is the music of the future. Try to emulate their sounds and rhythms so you’ll have an idea where to take your music.” He brought us records that differed from anything we had heard, showed us how these artists created a livelier sound from an old favorite through improvisation, and  how to play spontaneously. During gym class as a seventh grader, Steve Ashworth and I laughed during roll call after Danny Clifford let fly a silent deadly one that created a stench. A two hundred pound varsity football coach with black eye patch, red face, baldhead, and menacing expression glared at us from a bloodshot eye, like a pirate in a Disney movie. After dismissing the class, he pointed at Steve and me, “You two jokers follow me.” He led us across the basketball floor to a closet, took Steve in, closed the door, and said, “Drop your pants, bend over, and grab your ankles.” A loud WHACK, “OOOUUUWWW,” followed as Steve rushed out with tears in his eyes and staggered bent over from pain while I quivered with fear. The evil bully held something behind his back and barked, “You’re next, Sonny. Get in there, drop your pants, bend over, and grab your ankles.” He closed the door. An excruciating pain from my butt ran down my legs made me tremble after the same loud WHACK that left Steve floundering. “OOOUUUWWW,” I yelled. Tears rolled down my cheeks, I gasped for air and felt nauseous. The thick wooden paddle he had hid from view had carved holes that left welts on our butts from a weapon deliberately fashioned to make bruises. Because he knew we would yell when whacked, he closed the door to hide his cruelty. The sign urging athletes that “Winners Never Quit” made me glad this thug was not my coach. Our butts ached for a week. The American Legion had tryouts for its hardball league at Coronado for kids sixteen and younger. They selected me as their second baseman. Most of the team was fifteen and sixteen-year-old athletes except for me, Jody Wesson, Walt Albright, and Robin Crenshaw. John Crawford, a muscular athlete, shot putter on the track team, was the team’s leading hitter. Coach Minnie moved me to left field and put a varsity basketball player, Wayne Nix, on second base when our shortstop brought him to join us against a strong San Diego team. Determined to succeed despite my demotion, I hit a bases-loaded double. “Don’t worry about the outfield move. You’re a good ball player with plenty of time to play infield," Coach said. We had two Black athletes that gave us an opportunity to learn about people from a different background. Willie Dickey led off and ran like a scared rabbit around the bases and with lightning speed in the outfield after balls. He made diving catches while sliding on the grass at full speed. He set fire to the base paths that sent puffs of dust like a greyhound and chunks of dirt flying off his cleats from stealing bases, making extra base hits, or turning a routine ground ball into a single. Catcher Herman Wright, ran track like Willie, stole bases whenever he wanted to, batted over .300, and had a rifle arm. I developed a passionate attraction to athletics but also became interested in girls my age with a crush on tall dark-haired and beautiful Kathy Stevens, long blond Judy Hutchinson, athletic Buffy Wilson, and sexy Jackie Stamps. Distracted by fads, the latest music, and being “cool,” I spent hours on the phone with my fantasy girl friends, raced to the beach with Chip, and had little time left for Mom. Unfortunately our Junior High Band director, Mr. Granzer, believed a hearsay report and said,"Because you started a fight on the playground, you are removed from your position as Vice President of the eight grade. No one can hold office here who acts that way. You should be ashamed." I smiled and left knowing what a farce the hearing was. Some fight! A huge seventh grader, forty pounds heavier and four inches taller, pounded me three times from behind for rebounds in a pick-up basketball game on the outdoor courts leading with his elbows in my back and shoulders. The last time I ended up on the asphalt with skinned knees. "I'll meet you on the playing fields after this game ," I said angrily to him. He chuckled at my vapid threat and met me there when the game ended. We agreed not to throw punches and to wrestle. Lunging in anger at him, I threw him down with an arm tightly around his neck in an instant. He grabbed my neck and there we stayed glued together like a pair of lovers hugging cheeks together, dogs in heat, for twenty minutes sweating in the hot sun, dust, and crab grass. "This is stupid," I finally said, tired of the farce of a fight. We got up, shook hands, and laughed. We were lucky someone didn't report us for homosexuality--a deadly sin those days. Continuing my love of Boy Scouts, I joined the Coronado troop and completed all the merit badges for Life Scout. The camping badge required many nights in a tent at camp outs in wild areas surrounding San Diego and a few nights in a hammock tent in our enclosed backyard. Hiking with my backpack with friends to the mountains, swimming in lakes, rivers, and streams, cooking over campfires, singing folk songs, hearing ghost stories, talking with other scouts in a tent in my sleeping bag, peaking up at the stars, and the camaraderie made me love Boy Scouts. On one trip Steve Ashworth brought his .22 Rifle as did a few others under the supervision of our scoutmaster, Mac. On a rugged hike I said, “There’s a rabbit hiding under that shrub.”Steve quickly shot the motionless rabbit a foot away. “Why did you do that? “That’s what guns are for.” “You should have scared him so he’d run. That takes skill to hit a fast rabbit.” “Fuck you, Lavery. You don’t even own a gun.” “Can I use it for target practice?” “Yeah, when I get finished looking for things to shoot.” Later, I enjoyed hitting a rock, fence post, can, and a tree. I joined the nation of scouts at the annual Jamboree in Irvine for three days of adventure. We met scouts from almost every state. Our leader, a muscular Scotsman, led us in executing a raid on another scout camp. My friends joined me with other scouts on the secret mission. We left our calling card to those troops we invaded at night emulating a military surprise attack, escape, and evasion. While at the Jamboree exchanging memorabilia I saw C. R. Roberts in shorts with green Boy Scout stockings. No one would dare laugh at the muscular athlete for wearing shorts. Kathy Stevens drove all the way to Irvine to see the Jamboree and for a visit with Jan MacGregor and me. I was proud to be part of an organization that cultivated patriotism, friendship, love of the outdoors, and the military values of honor, discipline, and physical fitness. (Click on the small icons below to expand)

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My Eyes Filled with Tears of Joy Today

My eyes filled with tears of joy today          (click on main image above to expand)

I found a dear prize tucked far away

The Celtic journal of my daughter

Sublime elements earth, air, water

Cover etched trisquel with sun and moon

Light sources for our vision to tune

Soul’s birth, death and reincarnation

Flowing in harmonic relation

Yin and yang balance our ancient world

Black script on parchment paper unfurled

Cape Finisterre her pilgrimage trek

Zooming humming bird’s emerald neck

On my daily nature walk for joy

Awakening dormant inner boy

Infused with nature’s timeless splendor

Time freezes my senses surrender

Receiving the energy of now

Her experience has taught her how

To live in harmony with nature

My gentle part helping her mature

The interconnectedness of life

Music, teaching, living without strife

Vibrating flowers and birds singing

Heightened senses awareness bringing

Grateful for love and astounding grace

Nurture children her goal to embrace

Her words reveal a strong inner core

Pierce into me like a meteor

My child’s heart sings an esthetic song

To the sacred trisquel you belong

    MY EYES WERE FILLED WITH TEARS OF JOY TODAY            (click to expand)                          

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