WHAT HAPPENED THE YEAR YOU GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL? – BLOG YOUR DASH PART IV

This is another installment of “BLOG YOUR DASH” – by now I guess I should star calling it a “series” since this is part four and it looks like there may be more to come. If you want to read the other installments of BLOG YOUR DASH, here is the list:

      To check on the events of any given year, I go to Brainy History and select the year that I want.


      Here is a short list of the things that happened the year I graduated from high school:

      1. Roberto Clemente gets his 3,oooth hit
      2. 1st scientific hand-held calculator, the HP-35, introduced for $395
      3. 1st NBA to score 30,000 points (Wilt Chamberlain in 940 games)
      4. 30,000 attend Mar Y Sol rock concert, Vega Baja, Puerto Rico
      5. George Wallace shot and left paralyzed by Arthur Bremer in Laurel, Maryland
      6. Chile president Allende forms new government
      7. Bobby Fischer (U.S.) defeats Boris Spassky (U.S.S.R.) for world chess title
      8. Summer Olympics resume in Munich Germany after massacre
      9. President Nixon (R) re-elected defeating George McGovern (D)

      There’s a lot to talk about here so bear with me. I’m from Puerto Rico so things that happen there or to people from there are important to me.

      Roberto ClementeTo this day, Roberto Clemente is a hero in Puerto Rico; he was black as coal, from a poor family and had difficulty speaking English but, he elevated the sport of professional baseball to an art form. I remember him wearing the #21 from the Pittsburgh Pirates making these unbelievable catches and always playing his best when he felt at his worst. Roberto always complained about chronic lower back pain but, the worse he felt, the better he played.

      I only vaguely remember his 3,000th hit but, what I remember vividly was the day he died. When he has not playing ball, Roberto was doing charity work and in December, there had been a large and serious earthquake in Managua, Nicaragua. He organized a drive for food, clothes, blankets and such to send there and, from his own pocket, paid for an airplane to take him and the cargo to Nicaragua. On December 31, 1972 the overloaded plane crashed into the sea just after takeoff – Roberto’s body was never found.

      HP-35 Electronic Calculator The first time I saw the HP-35 was in my first year of college. I had heard about “electronic calculators” but, up to that point, never seen one. What we used to do calculations was our trusty old-timer, the slide rule. The slide rule has always been a ‘best guesstimate’ kind of tool and there were even competitions to see how close to an actual calculation result result you could get. For example, what is the most accurate result of π times e (3.1416 times 2.7182) to 6 decimal places? Then along comes this ‘calculator’ that gives an answer accurate to eight decimal places, all you had to do to get this kind of accuracy was shell out four hundred dollars! To give you an idea of what four hundred dollars meant in 1972, a brand new VW Beetle was $1,845.00.

      Richard NixonRafael Hernandez Colón

      1972 was the year that the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 and, lucky me, I was going to get to vote for the first time! Of course the local politicos forced me to show my voting registration card, my birth certificate and my parents had to vouch for me because my 18th birthday happened to be on election day. While Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, it cannot participate in the federal elections; however, we do have local elections on the same date as the U.S. Presidential election.

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      A TIME OF PONDERING – A TIME OF RECKONING

      Dennis Prager, one of America’s most respected thinkers, wrote wrote an article in Jewish World Review titled Baby Boomers owe America’s young people an apology. This article is a group apology for what we Baby Boomers have put the younger generation(s) – our children – through. In his blog, Dennis Prager, Baby Boomers, and the Signpost to Hell, Ben Bateman adds divorce to the list of things that we should apologize for. To be sure, both articles make for interesting reading and gives much food for thought. I admit that I am fairly new to blogging and when I surf the web for ideas to blog about, I am amazed at the amount of resentment I see towards the baby boomers by the younger generations.

      You can see an example of this resentment in Boomers set to retire; the rest of us set to hear about it. Check out the reformated art on the AARP magazine cover and, what is most telling – the ‘Filed under’ categories (Filed under:Baby Boomers, We’re so sick of you, please die). At first, I thought that I had just stumbled upon a small group of disaffected youngsters but, as I have continued to surf about Baby Boomers, it is clear that this feeling is quite pervasive and I am sorry to say that I had no clue at all! As I ask myself what does all this mean to me, I realize that I have children in their twenties and thirties and I don’t really know if they resent me for being a baby boomer. Even if it is right, it is still a very sobering thought to realize that your whole generation is resented and blamed for many of the social problems we have today.

      I’m a guy, and as a guy, my brain is screaming “What do I do?! I gotta fix it! How do I fix it?!” The truth is, the more I think about this, the more it resonates within me. My sense is that more than being selfish, immature and not wanting to grow up; the resentment speaks to something deeper and more fundamental. Each generation has a duty and a responsibility to pass on a legacy to the next generation; more than just a legacy, it is a covenant between generations, between parents and children. The resentment may very well be the younger generation’s way of trying to tell us that they feel that we have broken covenant with them and left them to fend for themselves.

      If this is the case, we owe them more than just an apology, we owe them the relationship that they had a right to expect from us and we never gave them. We owe them the moral plumb-line that we were supposed to be for them and they never had or never saw in us. We owe them the love they had a right to expect simply for being our children and the next generation. In one word, we owe them ourselves.

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      BLOG YOUR DASH – PART III THE ARMY YEARS

      I guess I just can’t stop with the “Blog your Dash” theme which I first saw in Lorelle’s blog Lorelle on WordPress.  Here are the other ‘Blog your Dash’ blogs:

      As with many young men that have gone into the U.S. Army, this was only the second time in my life that I was leaving home on my own to leave the island (Puerto Rico). The first time I was fourteen years old when I flew to New York City to visit my grandparents. This time, however, the trip was much longer even though I was only going to South Carolina. Since the Army was paying for the tickets, they went with the cheapest fare which meant three layovers. A group of us new recruits left San Juan at noon and arrived at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, at three o’clock in the morning! We were exhausted, hungry and very cold – up until that day, the coldest temperature I had ever seen was 70° F (21° C).
      Army Drill SergeantThe first two or three days were spent in the processing center, I remember thinking “hey, this is alright!”, boy was I naïve! After being processed in, we were bussed to our training barracks – and life as I know it changed forever! “YOU HAVE FIFTEEN SECONDS TO GET OFF THIS BUS – MOVE IT!” The yelling did not stop for the next 9 weeks – it went on right up to graduation!

      Of all the things that I did in Basic Training, the one that, to this day, I absolutely hate was having to do KP (Kitchen Police). Kitchen Police is a glorified name for ‘kitchen aide’; the kitchen aide is the one who cleans the pots and pans, washes the dishes, peels the potatoes, cleans the floor and does all the menial kitchen work. The menial work includes cleaning (Yeech!) all the grease traps. As if this were not enough, when you do KP, you start at 4:30 AM and end at 11:30 PM – a very long day! Of course, since I hated KP so, I was stuck doing it twice during Basic!

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      A MERRY CHRISTMAS? NOT SO SURE…


      As a father and divorced man Christmas and new year’s does not necessarily have the same meaning as it does to most others. Even though I have family that live relatively close by (parents, siblings, Etc.), Christmas for me is a time to remember that I have not been able to be with my children in over fifteen years. The feelings are less intense now, less crippling but, they are still there; the pain, sadness, shame and weariness all come back to remind me and to haunt me. While my children are grown (my youngest is eighteen), there is still this emptiness that wells up this time of the year. Time after time I find myself daydreaming that my arms are cupped as if to hold a child only to feel the emptiness and ‘something’ that slips through my arms and my fingers like water – I can never hold on to it.

      By now, the hope that someone, anyone – maybe even my children – would see the sacrifices that I’ve made is all but gone. In fact, by now, most all my dreams and hopes concerning family are all but gone. I feel like I’m trying to crawl out of a deep pit and every time I try, I slip back further and further. The one sliver of hope – and it is diminishing day by day – is the notion that my children, as adults, would want to reconcile and I can have a family again. But, it is another Christmas and I get no messages, no phone calls, no indication that I am even remembered. Day by day, time slips by and I’m so weary…


      MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

      To each and every one of you – Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

      The LORD bless you
      and keep you;

      the LORD make his face shine upon you
      and be gracious to you;

      the LORD turn his face toward you and
      give you peace.
      Numbers 6:24 – 26

      Here is a song to remember that CHRIST is the reason for Christmas:

      What happened the year you were born? – Blog Your Dash Part II

      This is part of the “Blog Your Dash” series that I have been writing.  Below is a list of the other blogs in the series:

      If you want to know what happened the year you were born, go to Brainy History and select your birth year.

      Here is a short list of the events that happened the year I was born:

      1. 4 Puerto Ricans open fire in U.S. House of Representatives injuring 5 representatives
      2. TV Dinner was 1st put on sale by Swanson and Sons
      3. Robert Oppenheimer accused of being a communist
      4. School desegregation law, Brown vs. Board of education
      5. President Eisenhower put forward a plan for an interstate highway system
      6. Air Force One, 1st U.S. Presidential airplane, christened
      7. Ellis Island, immigration station in New York Harbor, closed
      8. Nobel prize for literature awarded to Ernest Hemingway

      Being Puerto Rican, the event that clearly sticks out is the assault on the house of representatives. The plan was, at the same time the assault was taking place on the house of representatives, other members of the group would assault Puerto Rico’s governor mansion and take it over. Unfortunately, the Puerto Rico part of the plan never came to fruition because one of the members ran a red light.

      As cliché as it sounds – it is very much true! The members of the group that were going to do the assault in Puerto Rico were moving the weapons by car and it ran a red light. The police stopped them and, upon inspecting the car, found the stash of weapons. Although Puerto Rico is a territory of the United states and anyone born there is a U.S. citizen, this one event threw the local government into a panic and they proceeded to implement one of the strictest (if not the strictest) gun control laws in the nation. To this day, if you want to legally purchase a handgun in Puerto Rico, it requires a license that can take up to three years to obtain. If you want to be able to carry the gun, that is another license that can take another three years to get.


      I suppose that a lot of people would have found the decision on ‘Brown vs Board of Education’ a more memorable event but, we never had segregation in Puerto Rico so this just was not an issue for us. The races had been mixing in Latin America since the arrival of the Spaniards 500 years before so, by the year I was born, and to this day, you literally cannot tell what is the race of a Puerto Rican.

      BLOGGING AGAIN

      It has been a long time since my last post. I was fairly naïve believing that I could have a blogging business quickly; I came up against the reality that blogging every single day is hard! Providing content every day is hard! Making it interesting is very hard! I’m smirking at myself now, I guess that is why they call it “business!” You actually have to work at it, really!