All the Difference in Paperback Now!

Hi All: My memoir, All the Difference, is now available at Amazon.com by plugging in the title and my full name in their book search window. Below is a picture of the cover. The inside has about 40 black and white photos that accompany the 40 chapters. If you have a kindle, or other e-format, the price is only $3.99. For those of you who have expressed interest in my book, please consider writing a review after reading it. Amazon has a place to do that. Thank you all for your interest and support. Peace, Love, and Joy. Dan

(Click on each image to expand in order to read or see it in full size)

Here are some Photos inside the memoir of interest:

(RA5C Vigilante about to land on Aircraft Carrier)

(Joan, Shiva, and Dan at Berkeley Apartment 1970)

(Dan on the right pitching for the Morgan Park White Sox Little League Team at M.P.M.A. 1952)

(Dan Hired by the ACLU of Southern California as Director of Farm Worker Project 1974)

(Roommates Denny Lyndon, Dan , and Rich Umfrid at the Class of 1964 Fortieth Reunion  in front of U.S.N.A. Chapel)

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Annapolis 40th Reunion for the Class of 1964 Part II

  • The famous Tailgate for the Navy Football team’s Homecoming celebration preceded the game against Delaware University. On a spectacular day, like many a perfect fall Saturday for any outdoor activity, with a clear blue sky and seventy-five degree weather, the tree leaves glistened with sparkling red, yellow, and shades of brown hues this glorious day, so different from our first drizzling grey experience upon arrival.

(Annapolis walking up Main Street toward State Circle: Click on all photos to expand)

Andy Douglas and his wife, Barbara, joined us for a walk through the city to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. We purchased the tickets from another roommate of mine, Mike Pemberton, who had to offer them to the first buyer when he couldn’t make the Reunion.  Mike was trying to sell his house in Ventura, California and had unexpected delays. He and I communicated to arrange the transfer and ever since became golfing friends.

(Famous Naval Academy Tailgate Shuckers of Oysters)

Eventually we arrived at the Stadium and walked directly to the most amazing Tailgate ever. Under large white canvas canopies, tables with everything you might expect at ritzy Hotel Del Coronado stood inviting everyone. In the middle people hovered alongside a huge salad bar with strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, melon, bananas, mangoes, kiwi, pineapple, apples, oranges lettuce, olives, radishes, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, avocado, red peppers, bacon chips, walnuts, and a wide selection of salad dressings. At the end of the salad bar at least a hundred Bloody Mary cocktails stood waiting for takers at a table where many classmates sipped them mingling with the crowd. Caterers constantly replaced the tall concoctions with celery, olives and horseradish as they disappeared.

(Sumptuous offerings of the Tailgate)

So many classmates from other companies appeared I met friends I had not seen for forty years. Next to the Bloody Mary table, a man in a Budweiser uniform dispensed ice cold Bud Light or Michelob into convenient sixteen-ounce paper cups. To the right outside of the canopy three caterers shucked raw oysters they pulled from barrels of ice. The aroma of roasted garlic, fresh herbs, and oysters fusing into rich chowder lingered beside the shuckers in huge vats. A table with Styrofoam soup bowls stood alongside with plastic spoons, forks, and knives.

(Tables under Tarpaulin for Class of 64 Tailgaters)

A carving table for prime rib roast beef, smoked turkey, and spiral honey glazed ham stood on the other side of the salad bar with a table alongside for rye, wheat, and sourdough bread. All the condiments appeared alongside stacks of paper plates and napkins. Another covered area had more than fifty circular tables that sat eight tailgaters. The next table contained soft drinks, lemonade, ice tea, coffee, and stacks of plastic cups. Across the way, an open bar with bottles of red, rosé, and white wine invited all comers. Another table with vodka, gin, bourbon, scotch, and rum with stood next to another full of mixers and ice where many tailgaters gathered with drinks.

(Kathy and Rich Umfrid enjoy ice cream bars for dessert)

Ray Snyder I knew from the Academy baseball team, sat at a table nearby. He attended Long Beach Millikan High and played halfback on the football team and second base on their baseball team. Having tackled him many times as the safety for Long Beach Jordan after he broke away from our lineman, we had much to discuss. Fast, muscular, and always full of energy during a game and cool, calm and collected afterwards, Ray played any sport with intensity and great skill. He mentioned he had served as a Marine and lived in San Diego area. “Are you going to play in the alumni softball game with the other baseball players in our class?” he asked.

“I didn’t receive an invitation and know nothing about it.”

“That makes no sense. I’ll see what I can do to get you on our softball team. I can’t believe what an incredible Plebe baseball season you had. You hit everything they threw at you Plebe year!”

“Yeah, I had a great year then but after that I had to deal with Joe.”

“Joe never gave me any trouble.”

“I know you did well under him, but he got under my skin until I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and eventually quit.”

“Look me up when you are in San Diego and we’ll play some golf.”

“You can find me at the Lowe’s if you find out I can play ball.”

Joan and I carried our plates full of oysters, roast beef, and salad with Bloody Mary’s in hand when I noticed another baseball player,Chuck Pinney, seated at a nearby table, “Hey Chuck, remember me?”

“Yeah Dan, how could I forget. I just told someone Roger Staubach beat me out of an outfield position on the baseball team that wasn’t too bad. How’re you doing?”

“I’m feeling very fine right now. This is my wife, Joan.”

“Glad to meet you Joan, I knew Dan on the baseball team.”

“Well, we’re going to sit over there with some of my 20th company classmates. Good to see you again.”As we made it to a table with Charles and Elisabeth Heath, I had to laugh about Chuck’s remark, he had such a “gung-ho” attitude that made him a natural for the Marine Corps.

(Naval Academy Cheerleaders held up high Singing and Yelling Cheers)

Halfway into our meal the Naval Academy Cheerleaders arrived to energize the alumni with a strong dose of Navy spirit in preparation for the Delaware game an hour from starting. Shapely and attractive female midshipmen, or should it be midshipwomen, performed admirably making me glad they had advanced into areas only men previously filled. Their hard sensual bodies made me wonder how smooth the transition first occurred.

(Lon Cooke Shouting a word of Encouragement Looking for Seats before Game)

Since that time, unfortunately, a number of Naval Academy Midshipmen, like Air Force Academy, and West Point Cadets, had sexually abused some women. That criminal behavior ended in severe discipline and expulsion from the Academies for some and at least one criminal prosecution. Regardless of that dark side of the relationship, these cheerleaders seemed a welcome addition to the fighting spirit of the Naval Academy Football Team. They performed a pre-game series of acrobatic maneuvers and rousing cheers and songs. When they concluded we gave them a standing ovation.

(Naval Academy Choir Warming up before Football Game)

Harmonic voices drifted through the stadium from it’s loudspeaker system magnifying the men’s choir singing“The Star Spangled Banner” a cappella. Since I belonged to two choirs and loved singing, I quickly moved to a location close enough to see the singers. The Naval Academy Choir, stood behind their director, warming up for the game, and began by singing Navy Blue and Gold. Their rendition sung with feeling in four-part harmony sent chills down my spine. They measured up to my highest expectations as I moved even closer with Joan.

(Navy Mascot Billy The Goat with Handlers before Game)

The sound of drums in cadence with the Naval Academy Marching Band signaled the Brigade had entered the stadium. The crowd had nearly filled the stadium, so Andy, Barbara, Joan and I made our way to the end zone with the alumni. By the time we found our seats through the crowd, the Brigade had filled half of the football field. We watched the precision of the midshipmen making their column right maneuver to the end of the next available portion of the football field.

(Brigade Beginning a Column Left Maneuver before Game)

Each company filed in one by one until all twenty-four filled the field. On command, they shouted in unison a cheer to beat their opponent for today’s game, the Delaware University Blue Hens. That name should not fool anyone into thinking Navy faced a weak team. First in the Atlantic-10 Conference, they had won six of their seven games and led East Coast colleges sending many graduates to the National Football League.

(Brigade Facing Choir and Home Crowd before Game)

After shouting a cheer for Navy, the Brigade on the next command made a classy about-face in unison. They acknowledged the Delaware supporters with a cheer for the Blue Hens followed by tipping their white dress caps toward the opposing fans. Joan mentioned she had never seen such an act of good sportsmanship at any football games she attended in Chicago or at the University of Florida. After the game went back and forth with neither team dominating the score, half time intervened.

By the time the players returned to the field a group of huge Delaware fans some said were their freshman team because of their size, lined up behind the alumni section. They loudly screamed for their team during the most of the third quarter. Some of them made snide and obscene remarks to the alumni fans that offended a few who had more than enough alcohol to challenge them verbally from their seats. Many of us yelled back remarks to their solid line of brutes abusing us with obnoxious taunts to everyone in the Navy end zone section.

Fortunately, Navy got a few breaks, made some good runs and passes to win the game 34-20 overwhelming the Blue Hens and silencing the despicable hoodlums standing behind us. The Brigade with the Naval Academy Choir and Band played and sang with Navy fans standing, a traditional song the midshipmen sing at the end of every football game:

(Naval Academy Choir Singing the National Anthem Facing Brigade)

NAVY BLUE AND GOLD

Now, colleges from sea to sea

May sing of colors true.

But who has better right than we

To hoist a symbol hue?

For sailors brave in battle fair

Since fighting days of old

Have proved a sailor's right to wear

The Navy Blue and Gold.

GO NAVY – BEAT ARMY!

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Annapolis 40th Reunion for a Graduate Who Became a Different Person, Part I

(Click each picture to expand: 40th Reunion Class of 1964 Parade at Warden Field, Annapolis)

My wife and I entered Annapolis to attend the Naval Academy’s 40th reunion of my class of 1964, and a flood of memories bombarded me from the past. I had entered this city for the first time with my father to celebrate my brother’s graduation from the Naval Academy and his marriage in June of 1960. My father had graduated from the Academy and wanted both of his sons to follow his example. However, at that time I tried to establish my own identity away from the Navy or any military service and searched for something I could not then define. Having serious doubts about my previous religious beliefs, and still holding on to my dream of becoming a professional baseball player, I had dropped the NROTC scholarship I had earned at Duke University that caused a temporary schism with Dad and me. Only two years later I changed course, and entered the class of 1964 at this famous institution.

But as I enter this city, I had a civil rights practice in Los Angeles County, had established a history as a peace activist, and strongly supported John Kerry for president. His message represented a hope for America to reject the failed leadership of the Bush Administration, the false reasons for the invasion of Iraq, and an opportunity to investigate those responsible for abominable human rights abuses. In the 2000 election Gore received substantially more votes than Bush but lost due to a Supreme Court decision not to count the disputed Florida votes. Tax cuts for the richest in our society, invasion of Iraq on false representations, failure to catch Bin Laden, blatant violations of our Constitution, the Geneva Conventions and basic human rights, characterized this dismal period. These major failures made Kerry so necessary to change the course Bush took our country and restore our reputation in the world.

Although I worried that some of my classmates would join with the Swift Boat crowd who had the audacity to attack Kerry as unpatriotic or, for not having earned his medals, despite clear evidence to the contrary, my wife and I entered Annapolis. Those misinformed persons appeared politically motivated for their own agenda, twisted the truth, and defamed the sincere advocate for change so many Democrats recognized in his candidacy for president. In e-mails preceding the Reunion, a few of my friends, notably Annapolis roommates Denny Lyndon and Tom Hawk, defended me against a few attacks from others when I showed my support for Kerry and his progressive ideas. I was not alone on an island of lock-step followers of the Bush-Cheney doctrine.

The beauty of quaint Annapolis with its narrow cobble stone streets, colonial architecture with spires, rotundas, Victorian homes-- the first seat of our government--filled my mind that wondered how I would relate to my classmates a different person from whom they knew? Would the torrent of invective from the presidential race make this reunion as divisive as the nation appeared?

The wind blustered wind and rain pounded so the atmosphere of the city contrasted with those enthusiastic October days when two-masted stay sail schooners whose sails billowed, glided down the Severne River next to the playing fields surrounded by fall colored trees. Their branches hung down with leaves of yellow, orange, red, and various browns intermingled with the green of fresh mowed grass covered with fallen multicolored foliage.

We checked into our hotel and received our identification tags that allowed entry through the Academy's guarded gates. The reunion staff greeted us with a bag of Class of 64 items that included a three inch reunion book that contained classmate photos then, and now, with historical data from graduation to the present. A license plate cover displayed the Class of 1964 U.S. Naval Academy logo, two mufflers for the football game in Navy Blue and Gold, and a pom pom to cheer on the team at the annual football game.

(Annapolis has narrow quaint streets with a colonial flair)

We encountered classmates who wore badges, but none were from my company. Eventually, a few familiar faces appeared. Their “hello” and smiles broke the ice. What understandings or disagreements might develop after forty years since graduation?

From Lowe’s Hotel down West Street to Church Circle we walked with the spire of St. Anne’s Church as a guide where two giant American Elms framed the entrance. Several sycamores with their mottled bark of brown, green and grey shades, stood in stark contrast to the stone structure of Bancroft Hall where we dwelt for four years. At State Circle we passed an enormous white oak, Maryland’s state tree. Two tall Norway Spruces with large showy cones, Southern Magnolias, American Hollies and a Little leaf Linden carried identity markers.

The Maryland State House, completed in 1788, the longest continuous use of any statehouse, where George Washington resigned his commission from the Continental Army after the Revolutionary War and signed The Treaty of Paris. Many classmates moved toward the P-rade (Parade) field where the brigade of midshipmen would march from Bancroft Hall at 4:00 P.M. and we followed. That dormitory housed about 4,000 young men and women from every state and many foreign countries. The massive four-story grey stone building is the largest dormitory in the U.S. A classmate told me two of my former roommates had just passed us, but had entered the main gate from the city. We would have to hurry to encounter them.

We hustled to the gate where clean-cut Marines with their rifles by their sides, demanded identification and glared at us in camouflaged green and brown fatigues. I had not entered a military facility since October 1968 when I resigned from the Navy, a Lieutenant at Subic Bay Naval Station in the Philippine Islands. Marine or Navy guards always saluted me upon entering, but after we showed identification they allowed us to enter by a simple arm movement.

(The "Yard" at the Academy in the fall during the reunion with Tecumseh in war paint for the football game)

The crowd ambled to the left towards Worden Field. Our reunion schedule informed us the parade would soon commence. A mass of people preceded us to the parade field. We passed the Naval Academy Museum on the right and the Officers’ and Faculty Club. When we reached Worden Field, a street border of ginkgos lined the area where we marched in full dress parades often when midshipmen. The viewing stands quickly filled up.

(Third row: Coach Murphy on the left Rich Umfrid, Larry Robinson,  Joan just in front smiling before the P-rade)

Denny Lyndon and Rich Umfrid, two of my plebe roommates, filled seats a few feet away where we joined them. After strong handshakes welcomed us after forty years, we introduced our wives. From e-mail messages, I learned that Denny had obtained a Harvard MBA and had become a consultant after he left the Navy. Rich had gone to Rutgers for medical school, and had become a heart surgeon. None of my roommates had made a career out of the Navy. A baseball player from our company, Larry Robinson, gave me a warm greeting and we found seats. Immediately behind a man in a naval officer’s uniform said, “Dan, do you recognize me?” His face was familiar but before I could remember where, he said, “I was one of your Plebe baseball coaches, Captain Murphy.”

“Oh yes, I recall. It is so good to see you Captain."

“You were the best baseball player I ever saw at Annapolis!” he said loudly so Joan and my friends could hear.

Stunned by his praise, it made me self-conscious. How absurd! He could not have known what an abysmal time I had with the varsity coach, or that I quit the team after two years because of his malicious harassment.This kind of praise in front of so many people at a parade seemed surreal.

“Captain Murphy, you and Coach Pastelaniak made playing baseball fun at Annapolis. That was a great plebe team as were our coaches.”

(The colors proudly displayed by the Brigade)

Drums and bugles crashed through the atmosphere with a cadence for the start of the parade at the far right end of the Warden Field. The spectacle amazed me. Women marched with different styled caps than the men.  Women could not attend the Naval Academy during my years. The whole brigade looked immaculate. Many women held positions of company or battalion commanders who marched in front of their groups. The entire brigade in fifteen minutes arrived at the Field, completed their column left maneuver, and stood in front of the reviewing stands. My vantage point differed from any I had before and was much more impressive than when I  participated.

My mind wandered back to when I was a midshipman, my childhood, and the influences that brought me here. Dad's influence was the most powerful. Many other experiences like toy soldiers, plastic weapons, BB guns, patriotic piano music, father in the Navy, and patriotic war movies added to mold my past. These activities condoned by society created a strong background of approval for anything military. Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, uniformed high school band since seventh grade, Morgan Park Military Academy, football, basketball, and baseball, contributed to my resolve. However, I was entirely different from my brother and father, and had other interests. My whole life was a search for a pathway to a higher purpose that of a follower. Many unusual incidents and experiences in my life flashed before me that made me change the course of my life into the person watching a reunion parade.

What influences made me join the military?  Military life did not provide what burned inside me that sought purpose. What experiences made me change the course of my life to pursue a different path. My father’s family expected me to follow in his footsteps and my brother's. Conflicts of conscience, major confrontations, the brutality of the Vietnam War, my personal battle against injustice, attraction to the peace movement, and civil rights protests, tested the submissive side of my personality. When challenged I responded with determination to try to do the right thing as I had been taught from parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, coaches, professors, clergy, professionals, and numerous authorities. Fortunately, some intuitive teachers planted seeds that pointed in a different direction than the military model.

I wondered if the men and women with so much potential had any idea of what the military required in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere. How prepared did this institution make them to face situations that challenged our sense of morality? Whether they know it or not, many will be professional killers with the most sophisticated weapons at their disposal. The Academy did not teach midshipmen how to act in combat. Decisions made in battle often without time to think, only react, can have cataclysmic consequences, some heroic and life-saving. Collateral damage has become the euphemistic buzzword to justify the civilian deaths caused by our military actions. These men and women must follow and give orders that involve matters of life and death. Any order we give or take in extremis has lives in the balance.

Some of our military leaders including Generals and Admirals have gone on record as opposed to foolish invasions based on faulty intelligence. But, these midshipmen will have to follow their seniors unhesitatingly unless faced with an illegal order as Nuremberg taught us. How does one teach essential conscience or empathy? When does a person in uniform learn that torturing an unarmed suspect constitutes a human rights abuse and violates international and military law despite what President Bush and his administration pronounced to the world?

When does an officer find the courage to resign and start a new profession? For me my life did not reach its purpose until I became an advocate for social justice. But the motivation to change my course came from an awakening of conscience. My story might inspire others to question their situation and determine whether they would be more dedicated to a different path.

(Front: Joan and Kathy Lyndon, with Denny and Rich behind strolling back from the P-rade)

At the end of the ceremony, we left the parade field and headed back for a formal dinner and dance at Lowe’s where some wore a tux. Joan purchased an evening dress and I wore a pinstriped navy blue suit. We found our places at an assigned table surrounded by classmates. After many introductions and a martini, they served a meal of salmon, rice, sautéed vegetables, wine, and dessert. We danced to the sounds of a group called “Retrospect.” By midnight we found our way to our room  and looked forward to the homecoming football game, tailgate, and other activities.

(Reunion Dinner first night at Lowe's Hotel) a href="http://domainsigma.com/whois/danielclavery.com">Danielclavery.com Trust

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Starting the Law School Grind after Resigning from the Navy

(Joan, Shiva, and Dan at Berkeley Apartment)click to expand

Accepted at Golden Gate College of Law in San Francisco, if my grades were high from hard study, a poverty law program might select me and fulfill my dream. Was it the right path? I was determined to give it my best shot. After paying my first quarter tuition, I went to a Berkeley bookstore to purchase my first-year books where a number of students waited in line. A female ahead of me held a book bag from Golden Gate College of Law, “What have you heard about the first-year courses?”I asked.

   

(U.C.  Berkeley during anti-Vietnam protests 1969)

“If you pass each course for three years, you earn a law degree, but to practice law you have to pass the California Bar Examination, the most difficult in the country. Less than fifty per cent pass the three-day marathon. The timed exam is brutal. Some don’t ever pass.” With a worried look on my face, I viewed first semester books: Real Property, Contracts, Criminal Law, Torts, Procedure, Legal Research and Writing. I thumbed through them, and wondered how I would measure up. Each volume was more than five inches thick. It occurred to me a long, tedious, and winding road was ahead to becoming a civil rights attorney. Classes began in September. Excited for my new opportunity, and determined, I hoped this path would help me find a new identity.

The law professors dressed in expensive three-piece suits, fancy ties, dress shirts, and three-hundred dollar-shoes. I wore jeans, a sports coat with a dress shirt, and tennis shoes. So did the majority of my classmates. Perhaps one in five wore business attire. Some students appeared laid back, others arrogant in fashionable worn-out clothing. San Francisco in the sixties reflected a time when dress codes were eclectic. The students were astute. Golden Gate College of the Law did not have the elevated status of Boalt Hall at Berkeley, but for the most part we read the same texts.

The first week I drove over the Bay Bridge and back and studied until midnight. Law book vocabulary immediately confused me. We studied appellate cases that assumed the reader knew procedure, evidence, and the law that applied to the facts of each case. Absorbing legal concepts like a sponge, I only saw Joan for breakfast, dinner, and in bed.

Wondering if I could persuade Hastings College of Law to reconsider my application, as their classes didn’t start for another month, I contacted the Dean of Student Admissions and asked for an appointment to discuss why they rejected me. Dean Muenster responded. Fortunately, a former naval officer, he invited me for next morning.

(Hastings College of Law)

With transcripts in hand, in a three-piece dark green suit, white shirt, narrow blending tie with a Windsor knot, and shiny black dress shoes, I appeared an hour before my appointment at the Dean’s office and sat on a maroon leather couch. He opened his clouded glass door and said, “Are you Mr. Lavery?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Please take a seat.” The Dean’s desk was surrounded by legal texts and research. File cabinets lined the back wall. He sat in a high back black leather chair across from his neatly arranged desk with a folder containing my application materials, and rifled through my transcripts scribbling notes on a yellow legal pad. After fifteen minutes he said, “Mr. Lavery, I’m impressed with your background. Why do you want to become a lawyer?”

“I had an early interest in the law from a close friend who had attended Boalt Hall, received A’s on research papers at Cal State Long Beach in History and Psychology classes, which involved legal issues, had a double major at Annapolis that included English as well as a B.S.E.E., and achieved A’s in most History, and English classes as well as in my electives."

“I am impressed with your background and frankly don’t understand why you weren’t admitted, but since there isn’t an opening, I wish you good luck at Golden Gate Law School and for your future.”

Shaking his hand I said, “I enjoyed speaking with you Dean Muenster. If a position appears for first year would you please consider me?”

“That seldom happens, but if it does I will consult the Dean.”

Exiting his office and down the flight of stone steps to the streets of San Francisco, I drove across the Bay Bridge and glided into Berkeley where Joan had just returned from class. “At least the Dean spent an hour looking at my transcripts and listening to me.”

Her hazel eyes and smile consoled me, “You never know. Stay positive.”

(People's Park Berkeley1969)

After I arrived home at Berkeley from Golden Gate on October 1, 1969, the phone rang:

“This is Dean Muenster,” rang out a familiar voice. “I have good news for you. I have reserved a spot for you in our first year class!”

“Hallelujah!” I exalted, “What fantastic news!”

“We’re proud to have someone of your background at Hastings.”

“When can I pick up the class schedule and purchase the texts?”

“I shall put all the paperwork in the mail unless you happen to be in the area.”

“I’ll be there in an hour and save you the postage.” I drove over the Bay Bridge, parked close to Hastings, ran to the entrance, and announced my presence to the secretary.

“Dean Muenster wants to see you.” He came out of his office with an envelope under his arm and a smile on his face,

“Welcome to Hastings, Mr. Lavery, I am pleased to have you join us.”

“And I’m so glad to be here.”

“We expect you to study law with the ‘Old—Navy’ enthusiasm.” After completing the forms, handing them to the secretary, locating the books for classes, reviewing each course syllabus, I registered at the health office. Since Hastings was a part of the University of California, residents of California paid a minimal tuition that included health insurance.

(Auditorium for Law School Lectures)

I wandered through Hastings’ campus, their lecture halls that seated over one hundred and fifty students, the moot court with high bench and counsel tables in front of over a hundred seats for the audience, and finally the huge law library that dwarfed Golden Gate’s. Breathing in the atmosphere where I would be spending three years learning from some of the best legal minds in the country, I thanked my lucky stars.

(Law Library) While driving back to our apartment in Berkeley, I sang at maximum volume, “I’ve been waiting so long, to be where I’m going,” from Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love.” At our apartment, I walked past the German shepherd who guarded the landlord’s property, patted him on the head, jolted up the steps to our second floor dwelling, and swung open the screen door. Grabbing Joan for minute-long hug, “We’re going to celebrate. Hastings accepted me! They cover me for most health issues, have a medical staff, and the law school is fantastic!” We turned up the music, opened a bottle of wine, and danced.

My smile was permanent as I attended classes at Hastings the next week. The opportunity to improve myself, gain knowledge of the law, and become a lawyer made a giant leap in my self-esteem. If I applied myself, I would be an authority on legal problems and could assist any cause or person with my knowledge and enthusiasm. It was a dream come true.

(Hastings College of Law)

Reality set in as the grind of reading countless cases, briefing them on a specific set of facts, and understanding how the holding impacted the law, was the most difficult task I had ever encountered. Our professors had earned fame in their field and all but one belonged to the “65 and over club.” Professor William Prosser in Torts, Updegraff in Contracts, Green in Civil Procedure, Perkins in Criminal Law, and Faulkner in Evidence comprised the team. Rene Rubin taught Legal Research and Writing and was the only female on the faculty. Every professor but Rubin used his own treatise. Despite my eighteen years of education, I had never had a teacher lecture me on his own treatise. A bounce in my step remained even in tedious explorations.

(Hastings College of Law Emblem)

Each text of five hundred pages required us to use a back pack and a brief case for notes. Fortunately, my schedule included only three courses a day. When I stacked my books at the apartment, it occurred to me that I would not be the same person after a year. There was no time for watching sports, movies, or late comedy on TV. a href="http://domainsigma.com/whois/danielclavery.com">Danielclavery.com Trust

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A Tearful Kiss of the Hands

     

She gracefully glided to the ebony grand, stretched each of her slender fingers

In a La Jolla retirement hotel rotunda before an aged piano donor with cane,

Filled with confidence, joy, and peace. Silence greeted her classical music recital.

Striking of the keys invigorated all with her passionate Bach invention.

Player and piano combined musical motion. The audience swayed with elation.

Young artist enthralled seniors’ senses. Melodies burst forth flowing freely.

Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, Bach and Chopin flooded the air with rapture.

At twenty two she undulated with lyrical rhythm, limber digits  liberated harmony.

Like fairies or graceful hummingbirds. Black dress shimmered long piano.

Elderly hands clapped syncopated joy. The donor arose with eyes ablaze,

Enthusiastic for a brief enchantment, held her hands and gave them a kiss.

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