…what do we talk about? give me some direction. serious or light? politics or religion verboten? sports? hobbies, dogs, gardening? d.e. (David E. PHS ’66)
There are innumerable tales of people long out of high school using Facebook and tragically or joyously reconnecting with old friends and classmates. My experience has been less dramatic, but more satisfying. With the safety of cyberspace and 2,800 miles I was able to confess my attraction to Karin, the attractive, bubbly girl I was in awe of forty-plus years ago at Pennsauken High School. Still radiant in photographs, she is happily married, a grandmother, and a teacher, living in North Carolina. I can also add modest and gracious. In her reply, she even pretended to remember me although we never spoke.
Dave and I were friends from seventh grade homeroom until driving age, when we could actually have visited each other. Dave was a wickedly smart “good student” with a subtle sense of humor weened on comic books and Mad magazine. I knew him as a very good bowler, but I did not know he was a bowling alley mechanic who bowled for free and racked up over a hundred games a week. Nor did I know he and a mutual friend had a math study group that could have saved my life in Algebra.
We got back in touch this past June and it is fascinating to share remembrances with him. In my adolescent haze, I did not even know about the South Jersey jazz club Dave patronized. He wrote recently, “…i drove there in my ‘58 ford. a beautiful girl kissed me during a concert, precipitating a lifelong interest in music. we saw jazz legends like buddy rich, gene krupa, woody herman, cal tjader, lionel hampton, erroll garner, chick corea, cannonball adderly, dizzy gillespie, dave brubeck, pete fountain, stan getz, and others with their attendant bands and entourages. we sat two or three rows back from these giants and legends for the price of a few dollars.”
He studied medicine while in the Air Force and was somehow able to keep his subversive wit under control for an entire career in the military. “when we went into Iraq the second time i spoke out against it. i saw the photos Powell showed the U.N. and i was not convinced they were what they said they were. i was told to shut up. i’m not sure running around Afghanistan constantly killing the number 3 Taliban leader is doing us any good. Sad when soldiers would rather go back to the war because they find it more meaningful than life in america. america seems so angry and empty. hard times used to engender a pulling together and a positive approach to solving problems. now everything proposed is enveloped in roiling invective.”
“….we are in iran/afghanistan to prevent terrorist attacks on the u.s. we’ve been there for 9 years and there is no end to the threat. with the military maxed out in their efforts, one can extrapolate a forever war. sort of one like the british fought while maintaining their colonies in india and elsewhere. to leave the mideast , we are told, would lead to numerous and more severe attacks on the u.s. earlier in our lives we were told that losing in vietnam would lead to a victory for communism and, in keeping with eisenhower’s domino principle, a toppling of one country after another to the red menace. we got out and now we can buy clothing from vietnam, and from our greatest trading partner, china. we knew who the terrorists were before the tower attacks but we fell victim to our own bureaucracy. we know who the likely suspects are now, which makes the job of subverting their activity easier. i just hope the huge increase of government security and intelligence layers doesn’t create a wall against information transfer. we seem to be horizontally challenged at crucial times. in regards to the economy and the solutions offered. we are hamstrung by political party rhetoric and posturing. look at the oil spill as an example. the company and its engineers fashioned a solution that has apparently worked and nature is seemingly working its magic in erasing this mistake by man as it will ultimately do with mankind itself. did the political visits to the site or the various beaches, or speeches screaming this or that provide anything of substance? except now the conspiracy theorists now think obama and the government set fire to the oil rig. i’m going down to louisiana to apply for compensation to offset the damage done to my brain by listening to all the crap spewed into the airways. i guess we should be thankful there can only be a 24/7/365 news cycle. thank god we don’t live on pluto. one hell of a long year and a horrible climate. ( i do not agree with the current lack of planetary status for pluto. any heavenly body named after a lovable dog is a planet in my book ). will stop for now. i’m getting winded. cya. d….
Dave and Sylvia, his wife of 38 years, recently retired and live in San Antonio, Texas. My admiration grows for him with each correspondence. I do my best to keep up, but his rants and pearls reveal his wisdom and irreverence. It is a delight to turn on my computer and receive an Andy Rooney/Will Rogers dictum. What follows are a few more of Dave’s reminiscences occasionally combined and edited for space.
my dad used to take me to the park across the street from camden high and hit many a baseball to me when i was 7-8 yrs. old. eventually i caught some. my first dog, topper, a border collie, got the rest and would run them back to my father. afterwards we would walk to the top of a rise where he showed me the tomb of walt whitman. he said he was a great poet and that i should read his poetry. i did, in college. i always was taken back to the times on that hill. i’m there now.
i never complain. i have no right to do so. my childhood and adulthood have been more than satisfying. i wish i had done more for others. part of the catholic ethic i guess. thinking of my parents and friends i will see no more stops me in my tracks. i am inadequate to the task of describing their greatness. when he was dying, my dad asked me whether he had been a decent father. i was stunned and burst into tears. how can you put into words the importance people have on your life?
i loved comic books. i had spiderman #1 that my brother bought me when i had the flu. i gave it to my brother to pay for college tuition.
“…the social security system is solvent. leave it alone. medicare has been tweaked. do people want to return to the times of dickens. okay, i guess, as long as you’re not the kid in the bootblack shop researching plots for novels. if the tax credits expire, we all sacrifice very little. the very wealthy would theoretically pay 3K more b.t.c., before tax consultants. i had a next door neighbor who owned a summer house, a boat, and put all his kids through large universities, took European vacations AND always paid less income tax than me. why do people who have the most complain the most. year. a sign of divine intervention?. maybe our situation in life is a sign of the existence of a mediocre being. peace bro’. cya. d…….
i always think back to english class when we were told to write 500 words about an ash tray. i could never do it. and now i can’t help but do it.
8.5% unemployment is ok. 9.5% is politically catastrophic. 90% of the population is employed. not happy, but employed. a short time ago the stock market was 8500. now it is 10,500. nobody is happy. growth is 2.5-3.0%. a disaster. 2.5-3.0% during the previous administration not even mentioned. tax cuts had a seven year run followed by an economic collapse. answer to the economic crisis; more tax cuts. trillions spent to outweaponize russia during the cold war. trillions spent to prevent terrorists from crashing a plane into a building. in the future build more spread out, smaller buildings to house command and control of the government, finance and military. we have computer systems now people. we borrow a billion dollars a day from china to use for defense against china. we buy everything from china. we are supporting china to be our adversary. things are blown up out of all proportion. everything will end our society as we know it. it must be true because everybody is saying it. other than leading to changes of faces in congress, i don’t really see any realistic actions being taken. since i see no sense of urgency being taken by our leaders, i can only assume things aren’t that bad. so when somebody gets into your face about our country becoming socialist; our economy collapsing; attending the wrong place of worship, just smile and go to the park with a good book. take a deep breath; it’ll all be over soon.cya d..
Tom H. Cook is returning for his fall pilgrimage and hopes to go to a Twins game, and bore the life out of as many old friends and neighbors as possible.