Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your book. I jotted down a few things that resonated for me.
My dad was a Beta at University of Cincinnati.
Reef Points! How can we ever forget them!
Rifle range. Who can forget those Marines!
Heinz Lenz was still there for me, too. (I think he died only in the last couple of years?)
Joe Duff. He still coached baseball, but he and I never crossed paths. I made the plebe and varsity sailing teams while I was there (1967-1971), but was not the athlete you were. But those T-tables plebe year were a Godsend! And for the sailing team, it was for BOTH fall and spring sets.
Joe Bellino. I loved watching those games. And Roger Staubach, how lucky you were to be there during his era, too. Roger came and talked at our pep rally in 1967 before the Army/Navy game. (He was trying to make it with the Cowboys at that time.) We won that year and received "carry on" like you did.
Like you, I thoroughly enjoyed being on the "plebe detail" second class year. As luck would have it, the very next summer the Academy decided to put first class in charge of the detail, so I got to do it again!
Pensacola. Great times! I certainly wasn't the "ace of the base," but finished high enough (4 of 30 that week) to choose any pipeline I wanted (helos, jets, or props)---and they were all open that week.
My A-7 primary instructor in T-34's nearly shot me for picking helos, but guys from '68 and '69 were telling us how much fun they were having flying them (while we were still back at the Academy). Plus, I found that whenever I climbed above 5000 feet, I lost the real sensation of flying. I also found that to be true as a second class midshipman flying in the back of an F-4 at Oceana (the "Diamondbacks"). In helos I knew I would spend most of my flying career at 500 feet and below. (In Desert Storm we frequently flew at 10 feet and as fast as that Blackhawk would go!) I never regretted my decision.
Army helo pilot Hugh Thompson. What courage! (I used his example in my first book, Inspiring Leadership: Character and Ethics Matter, now used in the Leadership/Ethics curricula at Villanova and Regent Universities.)
Olongapo! Amazing place. If you closed your eyes, you actually thought the Rolling Stones were playing---or any other big name group for that matter. And those kids diving for pesos! The helo hangout was the Roofadora Club, as I recall.
Our helo squadron aboard the USS Constellation in 1974 made three daily trips ("liberty runs") to Bagio, Manila, and Clark AFB while we were in port at Cubi Point/Subic. We charged a dollar per person (which went to the rec fund). Needless to say, we were the most popular squadron on the ship, especially among the Filipino stewards! LOL.
And last but certainly far from least, your amazing work as a lawyer for the UFW. What a legacy for you! You can be justifiably proud of those years!
Anyway, Dan, thought you should know how much I enjoyed your book. One of these days we'll have to meet for lunch.
(Dan bottom left played second base for Coronado American Legion team at 13 with mostly 15 and16 year-olds)
How could I have made the impulsive decisions that rocked my turbulent youth? What made me change from a fad-loving teenager collecting popular songs, memorizing major league batting averages, and dreaming of becoming a professional baseball player, into a solemn born-again fundamentalist? That deflected me from my own purpose. I almost claimed conscientious objector status, and then quit Duke N.R.O.T.C. to enter a pre-ministerial program, only to find the more I studied religion the less I wanted to preach it to others.
(Duke University Chapel and courtyard)
My father said he could not afford the steep tuition and said I should try for an appointment to the U. S. Naval Academy despite my lack of interest in the military! Since he and my brother graduated Annapolis I did the craziest thing to afford college, and entered Columbia Prep School in Washington D.C.to study how to score high on entrance exams. After three months I took the exams and was only one of 75 people to receive a presidential appointment from Dwight Eisenhower in the United States! Dad took me to see a patriotic movie about the Battle of Midway that changed the outcome of WWII in the Pacific due to our naval power despite Pearl Harbor that did so much damage that brought determination to build a strong military to protect our freedom.
(Midshipmen at the U.S.Naval Academy march into Bancroft Hall)
After entering Annapolis much forced me to realize this journey into a naval career had many negatives from my perspective. During my plebe year an upperclassman in revenge for the way my brother treated him, ran me into the ground with harassment until I developed mononucleosis and was sent to the hospital for five weeks ending my chance to quarterback the plebe football team as my coach and I wanted. Later I had the worst varsity baseball coach ever, who wrongly believed my father "got me into Annapolis" so kept me on the bench after I had a great year leading the plebe team with a .516 batting average. After graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy I wanted to fly airplanes but my eyesight dipped slightly and I could only qualify as a navigator. My plane was called the "Flying Coffin" by aviators because more than 50% were lost in accidents, and mishaps and was an easy target in Vietnam. After three close calls in training both my pilot and I transferred into ships and I navigated 300 marines to Vietnam.
(Dan flew in the RA5C Vigilante and was Carrier Qualified)
Forced to scrutinize my journey, filled with mistakes, nearly killed by a train on a trestle at 10 hitting rocks with a bat; dodging two trains after leading high school football players into a narrow train tunnel in Japan: escaping from two thugs at a beach, having many confrontations with brutal and malicious bullies at Annapolis and one officer in the navy; surviving the “flying coffin” Mach 2 jet in Florida; I rebounded by earning a Reginald Heber Smith Fellowship for two years as a community civil right lawyer after law school at UC Hastings in San Francisco. Selected as Director of the Farm Worker Project by the ACLU I won my first trial for six picketers accused of disturbing the peace; won many motions and appeals in 17 class actions and other police misconduct cases against growers, prosecutor, a sheriff and the Teamsters. I worked for one of the most effective civil rights organizations battling against some of the most powerful forces in America.
(Dan at his civil rights law office in Encino California)
From a Naval Aviator, to a Navigator of an Amphibious Ship to Vietnam with 300 marines, I eventually resigned, found my purpose and after law school when I went from a legal aid attorney to a staff attorney for the United Farm Workers and then director of the ACLU farm worker project. I had been propelled into a powerful movement that was an answer to a dream. I submerged myself into the cutting edge of civil rights and consumer litigation as a member of a team with all the energy I possessed. Meanwhile, Joan and I raised a family that fulfilled my vision coupled with my quickly learned advocacy skills that enabled me to continue a profession on a path others said would be impossible—it was one few traveled—but I met enough dedicated individuals whose life shined that I knew it was right for me. Recovering from each fiasco and having learned a lesson each time, I began to define a vision of what might occupy the rest of my life: a pursuit of social justice in whatever way I could find appropriate. The pieces fell together through hard work, determination, and a future with a woman who inspired me and calmed my wildness from swirling rapids to a deep river that refreshed and enabled me to continue against all odds. Once I found a path that consumed me with passion I aimed as high as I could. No matter what confronts the reader, my story demonstrates an ordinary person can survive major conflicts, disappointments, injuries, risk of death, and still flourish.
During bad weather, or when the Washington Senator's game was broadcast on the radio, I often played an indoor baseball game in our basement. My toy soldiers, cowboys, Indians became baseball players on a baseball field I created with wooden blocks as walls. My soldiers stood in positions around the “field.” Using a small nut and screw for a ball, I took a soldier in my right hand and threw the “ball” up with my left hand while lying on the floor at the home plate. The soldier’s body became a bat I swung with my right hand. A soldier’s head hit the ball the longest. The defensive players made outs when the “ball” touched them.
(Griffith Park Stadium Washington. D.C. 1951)
My games usually featured the Washington Senators against the Red Sox, Yankees, Indians, or Tigers. When a hit “ball” went over the fence it was a home run. Off the fence counted as a double unless it hit center field fence; that was 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 traveled on the ground to the fence, it was a double unless the runner had great speed. It was a triple if I thought he could make it based on their speed on a baseball card.
(Washington Senator Baseball Cards)
Often when playing my “soldier baseball” game I turned on the radio to hear Senators’ announcer in 1950, Arch McDonald describe the action. He had a deep and kind voice that boomed with excitement and knew all the players, their stats, and baseball history. Using a sound like a ball hitting a bat when the player hit a pitch, followed by ringing a bell, he indicated hits. One bell meant a single, two a double, three a triple, and four a home run. I waited in suspense for the bells: “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 the game 4 to 3 in a walk-off finish.” It was fun using my soldiers as the players in the Senator’s game as if I were there watching the action.
(Irv Noren was my favorite player)
I devised a game called “step ball” that taught me how to field any ball and throw it accurately. Variations of the game exist because each house called for different rules. Our house lay ten feet above the street on a raised lawn with concrete stairway 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 home run. 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.
Hi Friends: Just finished watching what may have been the best World Series ever. I loved the Kansas City Royals, their manager, Ned Yost, and amazing fans who stood up through the games, cheered their beloved team, and made baseball a much more interesting sport this year. I also happened to love the San Francisco Giants, their amazing players, and especially MVP Madison Bumgarner who set many pitching records for his magnificent performance of pitching the most innings ever in a World Series, and his gutty 5 innings, 67 pitches, in relief on 2 days rest. But both teams have much to celebrate. Hunter Pence smashed the most hits in a series. Sandoval was right behind him and made many spectacular plays at third and was a magnetic leader for his teammates. Rookie Panik made the play of the series in the last game spearing a ball going into centerfield one handed and using his glove to toss it to the shortstop for a double play instead of runners on first and third and no outs. That play could have saved the game for the Giants. Finally, the Royals had a great opportunity to tie the game with two out in the bottom of the ninth when the batter hit a line drive to centerfield that Blanco should have caught but misjudged as it went by him to the wall way out in deep centerfield. The left fielder almost retrieved it for a moment but in the process kicked it away and stumbled while the batter Gordon rounded second and was almost to third.Unbelieveably, the Royals coach played it conservative and held the runner at third. So Bumgarner just went back to work and finished the Royals. That was a time when an aggressive approach would have removed Bumgarner from being the difference, and I felt the runner could have tied the game for the Royals. I doubt if Bumgarner could have kept going for another inning but who will ever know. Glad a controversy ended the game because it was just that close. Both teams were really fantastic. They put on a great World Series. I'm sorry it had to end. It did give a number of relatively unknown ball players an opportunity to show their skill. These teams were both Wild Card teams who had to play more games than any other just to get into the World Series, and made baseball far more interesting because they were not the favored teams at the end of the season.The Angels had the best record, and the Dodgers seemed to me and many others to have the best talent. I for one will miss the excitement of this unforgettable baseball season.
Dan after the series concluded with a cold Bud in his hands and a Giants jersey!
All the Difference: A Memoir by Daniel C. Lavery ( in paperback at http://www.amazon.com/All-Difference-Daniel-C-Lavery/dp/1482676532/.It is available for a free look inside of the first 6 1/2 chapters at Dan's website at http://www.danielclavery.com and for Amazon's Kindle version at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BNXHV9Q.)
On one hand, this memoir is the story of a civil rights lawyer with 30+ years of experience litigating wrongful termination, defamation, police misconduct cases, and appeals. On another hand, it’s the story of a child who was ordered at age five to leave his mother and move in with his naval officer father. Lavery went on to become a Duke University two-sport athlete and frat brother, Annapolis graduate, naval aviator, ship navigator, and peace activist. This is a true success story that encourages readers to make the most of their own lives, no matter what trials and tribulations they’ve faced. For more information on Daniel C. Lavery or All the Difference, please visit www. danielclavery.com
Pg. 84 scenesarasota.com
Ryan G. Van Cleave
Writer, Speaker, & Professor at Ringling College of Art + Design