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Learning Helping and a Job By Volunteering by
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(15 Stories)

Prompted By Volunteering

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Experiences in volunteering in, especially in youth soccer and Kiwanis.

Volunteering became a two way street for me. Not only did I help others, I learned many things that I would not have been exposed to without these experiences. I grew in maturity and knowledge, and even got a job when I was unemployed.  Here are a few of my experiences.

I started volunteering in college.  Both Cal Poly SLO and San Jose State offered volunteer tutoring classes. You got a 1 unit credit even though I did not need it.  The class paired you with a middle or high school student. In addition to helping them with their class work, we did a few recreational activities such as hiking in the local area.  I learned later that the man coordinating this activity was doing this work as alternative service to the draft. I had a few mixed feelings about this, since I was against the Vietnam War, but knew peers that were in the military or had been killed in action.

Marriage and family initially slowed down my volunteerism. However, when my older son was seven, he joined a youth soccer team. He loved it.  The next year, they needed a coach, and I finally stepped up to the role. Part of the reason I took the coaching job was I was unemployed from my paying job.  I told them my soccer experience was limited to a few PE classes in high school and college.  They immediately offered training, which I took. It was taught by a local high school coach, and he could fake you out when he dribbled the ball and shoot it by you as it curved into the goal.  He was great, but his best piece of advice was “You don’t need to be an expert to teach it, just good enough to demonstrate it to the kids”.  It turned out to be very true.  In the end, I enjoyed the experience and soccer.  Also, one of the players on the team knew a man whose company was looking for a chemist.  I ended up working at that company.

Later, I took the referee class.  Refereeing has its own set of experiences.  Nobody likes the referee, but that did not bother me.  I told both coaches that I would do my best, and they accepted that.  It was the parents that I had a few problems with.  One game, a parent threatened a coach after the game ended.  I knew that coach and could only see trouble since this coach had a quick temper.  He wisely said the game was over, and he was going home now and did not want to engage in any other discussion.  This parent’s wife came on the scene and told her husband he could come home with her or have the police bring him home. Meanwhile, the other referee called the Milpitas Police.  By the time the police arrived, he had left.  Later, we banned him for the next three games.

Coaching later led to being on the local Milpitas soccer board and finally being the president of the San Jose soccer area board.  I learned that I could administer approximately 75 teams, and speak in front of all of them with confidence. Part of my success was most of the people I worked with were good people interested in the organization’s success.  Of course, there were the standard problems with such an organization. I got some practical lessons in politics, something that is true in all organizations. One must find a good compromise between many competing interests.

My younger son also played soccer, and I coached some of his teams.  However, the bulk of the experiences were with the high school he attended.  He was in a special academy, the computer academy.  Some parents like me volunteered to mentor a student in the academy.  I would take them to various museums, outdoor activities, etc.  I also took them to the laboratory at Lockheed where I worked.  This lab was the best lab I ever worked at, and had about 75 scientists and engineers.  Most of the mentees had never seen much of a laboratory. I still remember the student I took to the mechanical engineering lab where structures and parts like bolts were tested until they broke.  He remarked that he could not believe we were paid to “break things”.

There was one student I still keep in touch with from this program.  He came to America when he was ten, and only spoke Vietnamese.  His father had left the family, so his uncle and I filled this role.  Today, he is a junior at San Jose State University majoring in biochemistry. He hopes to go to graduate school, and I expect he will since he has done some research there and his GPA is 3.8.  While I helped him with some chemistry classes, I spent most of my time helping him with his English classes.

My wife did a significant amount of work for the American Cancer Society. Most of the work was their annual Relay for Life fundraiser.  I assisted her, but she deservedly got most of the credit.

Shortly before I retired, I joined the Milpitas Kiwanis Club.  Its emphases children.  While it is a small club of 23 members, it does a lot.  For example, we take approximately 100 kids to Kohl’s for back to school clothing shopping in August each year. Each member and some volunteers we recruit help a student pick out clothes, and we end up giving about $130 of clothes plus a back pack with supplies per child.  Some of these kids have never been in a department store. This year, we could only give out gift cards and back packs due to Covid-19. As a note for the future, 20 of the 23 club members are white, but the community is only 20 % white. I hope it recruits more members and becomes more diverse in the future.  It would strengthen both the club and the community.

Finally, I think these experiences added to my life.  Without them, my life would have been different, and not as satisfying. I thank all the people I have helped.  Lastly, the company I worked for would give awards for volunteering.  The award was tied into the Presidents Volunteer Award, fortunately President Obama.   I got a pin and a free lunch, but the rewards far exceeded a pin and lunch!

Holidays in California, By Car, Train or Plane by
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(15 Stories)

Prompted By Pandemic Holidays

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Like everyone else, this is my first pandemic holiday season. I certainly hope it is my last pandemic holiday season. To increase my odds to experience more holiday seasons, this Thanksgiving will be with my girlfriend and I, and no one else.  It’s sad, but it’s the best choice. Of course, I will miss my sons and granddaughter and special friends. I will think of some of the past holidays I have had, and I will summarize some of them now.

My previous holiday travels

When I was a young boy, I remember Mom cooking the turkey as the aroma filled the house.  Of course I and all others stayed out of the kitchen that day.  No need in risking Mom’s wrath or even worse, especially since there were fire and knives in the kitchen.  Dad would get an early start on the feast by eating the turkey neck and maybe the giblets. We would watch various football games and engage in interesting conversations and banter.

Off to college and the work world, and generally, I went home for the holidays before I was married. After marriage, my family generally went to  Los Angeles where my wife’s family lived.  Sometimes we flew to avoid the awful holiday traffic. San Jose Airport was often a better choice than Interstate 5. Of course, ticket costs sometimes prevented this option. When going by car, many times we would stop at my Dad’s house since it was on the way to LA. Other times, when we were in LA, we went to my step-mother’s house in LA (Mom passed away shortly after I left college). It was always a nice break from work.

After my wife passed away, I generally had dinner with my brother in Sacramento or with friends in San Jose. I always had a nice time with my brother. I would travel by BART to the Oakland Coliseum station, then by Amtrak to Sacramento. The trip takes about three hours, versus two via car. However, on Thanksgiving day, the car trip is much longer. My brother from the San Jose area drove it once on Thanksgiving day, and it took over five hours.

One interesting story about my train trips to Sacramento happened shortly after I meet my girlfriend. We had just met, and I informed her that I would be taking the train to Sacramento.  She was surprised. Why would anyone take the train?  Maybe, there will be lots of alcoholic beverages, and he is just using good judgement.  After all, he is part Irish-American (an unfortunate stereotype, but sometimes true). Little did she realize that this was the smart choice, no matter what type of beverages were served. In subsequent years, we both took the train to Sacramento.  In fact, last year, we took Amtrak to New York City. As San Jose State alums, we got to see SJSU beat Army and I saw my first New York Broadway play.

Finally, Christmas and New Years will be the same this year. However, it’s the best choice, and it’s a choice I hope most Americans make this year.

The best thing I am thankful my family, girlfriend and my friends are healthy now. Also, I give thanks that 2021 will end Trump’s residency in the White House

Pet Rock by
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(15 Stories)

Prompted By Fads and Trends

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In 1974, the Pet Rock was the pet to have. It did not need to be fed or walked, was never sick and did not need a litter box.  In fact, it came in its own box with air holes, feeding straw and a care and training manual.  It was popular, especially in San Jose where it originated. It was the perfect gift for the person who had everything.

The Pet Rock, my favorite fad.

As a side note, much of the packaging was done in at Agnews Development Center in Santa Clara California. The Pet Rock was more than a pet, it also did job training.

Three Crazy Elections: 1968, 2000 and 2016 by
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(15 Stories)

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The biggest electoral disappointments to me were in 1968 and 2016 with 2000 being a runner up.  With the 1968 election, I worked very hard for Eugene McCarthy.  First, his opponent was Lyndon Johnson.  When he dropped out, Robert Kennedy decided he wanted to be president.  People had begged Robert Kennedy to run earlier, but he declined.  After Johnson’s poor showing in the New Hampshire primary, he jumped into the race.  Too bad he did not have the courage earlier.  Since he was late to the race, my opinion of him was he was a man of no courage, and I continued to do work for McCarthy.  Finally, after Kennedy was assassinated, Hubert Humphrey decided to get into the race.  He did not run in a single primary, but still got the nomination and ran against Nixon.  Both my parents voted for Humphrey, mainly because Nixon was so bad.  We ended up with five more years of the Vietnam War under his leadership.  Some of my friends died there when Nixon was president.  Others only suffered PTSD, most of which was not treated.

My reflections of my elections disappointments of 1968, 2000 and 2016.

After the loss in 1968, it reaffirmed my decision to continue my chemistry major, even though history and political science were the most interesting subjects to me.  I figured that while science is not always logical, it is certainly more logical than politics, especially the politics of 1968.

2016 was another lesson in reality, and not democracy.  Ironically, I was busy until about 8:30 pm PST on election night.  I had not heard any news, so I called a friend Russ, and invited myself over for a beer.  He told me things were crazy now, Trump looked like he could win.  Russ was more upset than me.  Even though we were both chemists, Russ was black and could trace his ancestors to a Louisiana plantation where they were slaves.  His experiences in life were certainly different than mine. This was personal to him.  His brother was at his house too, also upset.  All of us could not believe the news.  To make matters worse for Russ, his super religious sister voted for Trump.  After all, the church told her that was the correct way to vote.

As a side note, Trump did not win the popular vote, but would have won it if California’s votes were not counted.  I certainly wondered about the rest of the country.  My explanation was that the wealth of the country had doubled in the past 40+ years, but so many people did not share in this wealth.  They voted for the unconventional candidate, but I was certain that the only group that would prosper under Trump was the one percenters.  It’s turned out to be true.

The year 2000 was another disappointment.  Who actually won the Florida vote?  We will never really know, thanks to the Supreme Court.  Their fumbling of the decisions about the Florida count and final decision left me with the impression that most of the justices should be replaced. I think kangaroos would have done a better job.  Unfortunately, the latest justice is no better and probably worse than the justices on the 2000 court.  In her conformation hearings, she could not even answer if Medicare was constitutional. Not the type of thinking American needs in the twenty-first century.

My final hopes for this year is the Supreme Court does not steal another election.  If they do, the country’s opinion of our government and the courts will sink even lower than it is today.  That would not be a good thing.

A Few Small Tokens and Buttons by
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(15 Stories)

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My association with buttons, pins, etc. is thin.  It starts with my memory of my father’s Stevenson button, then my Gene McCarthy button, and finally my “I Voted” sticker today.

I describe a few buttons and tokens from my past, and today’s sticker, “I Voted”.

As a boy, I remember my father’s Adlai Stevenson button.  Dad was an engineer at Boeing in 1956 and Eisenhower was running for reelection against Stevenson.  I asked if he thought Stevenson would win, and he said it was unlikely.  I imagine that he was one of the few engineers at Boeing that voted for Stevenson.  Many years later, when I worked for Lockheed, I could understand how engineers vote, especially since I was at Lockheed when both of the GHW and GW Bush ran for president.

In 1968, I was a freshman in college.  With the Vietnam War at its peak, and no credible candidate running against Johnson to oppose the war, Eugene McCarthy stepped up to the challenge.  Even Robert Kennedy refused to run.  McCarthy’s victory in the New Hampshire primary ignited many people’s involvement in politics, including mine.  While I was too young to vote (18), I started campaigning for McCarthy.  Buttons, posters, etc.  California’s primary election night  was a disaster for America.  Robert Kennedy, who had belated entered the race, won, then got assassinated.  Hubert Humphrey finally ended up with the nomination, even though he did not run in any primary elections.  I did a little for George McGovern in 1972 (another loss).

In 1970, I decided to do some volunteer work for some local candidates for congressional offices.  I could not vote for them in the primary election since I was only 20, but I turned 21 by the general election and could finally vote.  It was another disappointing loss.  After that, I limited myself to local politics with the exception of McGovern in 1972.  As a side note, if proposition 18 on this year’s California ballot passes, I could have voted in both the primary and general election of 1970.

In the years past 1970, I have done work for local candidates and issues.  The candidates I have worked for, I have known personally.  For issues, they have been matters I have felt important to me such as nuclear power safety.

The other buttons in my collection are from various organizations that I have done work for their efforts.  Included are the American Cancer Society, Kiwanis, youth sports, Toastmasters, etc.

Finally, these are the two latest buttons that are important to me.  I received “The President’s Volunteer Service Award”. Fortunately, it was from President Obama.  The other one I will receive today, “I Voted”.  I hope it helps retire  the current resident in the White House, a man that does not respect people, has no understanding of public health or economics and despises the US Constitution.  Hopefully, happy days are ahead.

 

My Computer Life, BC and AC by
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(15 Stories)

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My life can can be divided as  BC (before computers) and AC (after computers).  While my life and work became easier and more productive with personal computers, there are things I miss.  I will list a few of these, both plus and minus, that I have seen.

My history with computers, both plus and minus in my life and work

My introduction to computers was an IBM 1620 at Cal Poly, the only one on campus.   It had 16K of memory (even the old flip phones have more), and the input and output was done with punch cards.  These cards were run in the computer each night.  My first program was simple, with an expected output of a few answers.  Unfortunately, I made a programming error.  Since I was there when it ran that night in the computer lab, I could watch the output of punch cards.  Too bad there were dozen of cards coming out the machine, and as the computer manager said to me “did you expect this much output?”.  After my “no” answer, he terminated the program.  Off to the punch card room to add more cards to my program.  Finally, it ran correctly.

In the early 70s, the hand held calculator became affordable.  It was great!  No more addition, subtraction, etc. errors.  In fact, the thick books of Standard Mathematical Tables were almost obsolete.  To determine the sin, cosine, logarithm of a number, just punch it into the calculator.  The answer was there before you could find a set of math tables.  Later calculators could be programmed to determine special problems, such as interest on a car loan or work calculations to determine the necessary pH needed to run a chemical analysis.  I loved it!

Finally, the personal PC came.  It stored data, names, addresses, and solutions to problems.  In the chemistry lab where I worked, one example shows its power.  An analysis done by an instrument that gave an output as a squiggly curve on a chart.  The more of the chemical in the solution, the more area of the curve.  Generally, one measures the area a a triangle (1/2 base x height).  However, this curve could not be measured that way since it was so odd shaped.  Therefore, we xeroxed the curve from the chart paper and cut out the curve.  The cut-out curve was then weighted on very accurate analytical balances.  The heavier the cut-out curve was, the more of the chemical was present.  It took 20 to 30 minutes to do this entire process. Computers shorten the time to less than a minute.

With the internet, more great things happen.  No longer did I have to run to the dictionary to look up a word.  If I wanted to know when a song was released, just look it up on Wikipedia.  In fact, my old World Book Encyclopedias went to the trash.

Finally, computers are everywhere now.  My new car has a built-in GPS system.  It’s computer remembers my seat and mirror positions so when I get in it, and after it scans my face, it moves the mirrors and seat to my position.

There are things I miss.  Yesterday, I found a letter my mother wrote me 50 years ago.  It was fun to read it.  I doubt I would have it if it was on e-mail.  The telephone has lost its utility.  Most calls are junk calls, and when I call a vendor, I generally go to there computerized answering system hell made possible by computers.  I have waited up to 50 minutes to get a real human who can help me with my problem.  Sometimes, there is not even a phone number.  A month ago, I had some problems with Federal Express.  No phone number and their web site did not help.  I finally got help after I wrote the Channel 7 News’ consumer reporter.  It’s like the phone has been weaponized against me.

Computers have added a new dimension for criminals to harm you.  I still pay most of my bills by check and using the US Postal System.  While it is not fool proof, stealing mail to cash a check is a federal crime.  Most computer crime comes from people overseas, and they are hard to punish.  Spending 55 cents is a small price to pay for added security in my opinion.

Overall, the computer revolution has been a blessing.  Unfortunately, like most things, a few people and organizations have exploited it and not all things have worked out well.

Birth Order, Family Size and Its Influences by
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(15 Stories)

Prompted By Birth Order

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I was born at the start of the baby boom in 1949.  I was the first of four offspring in my family with twin brothers born two years later and a final brother born eight years later.  I think being the oldest does have some unique experiences but other factors influenced my childhood since I was born shortly after World War II.

Being first born, I got to do things first. Generally an advantage, but not always.

Being born at the beginning of the baby boom, most of my friends were the oldest in their family, or certainly not the youngest.  In addition, most of the baby boomer’s fathers were veterans from World War II.  Today, the average child has friends that are a mix of family birth order, and very few have a parent that was a veteran.

Since I was the oldest, I generally got to do things first.  For example, I got my first bicycle for my eighth birthday.  However, my two brothers got their bicycles on their seventh birthday.  Why didn’t they have to wait to age eight?  Another advantage of being first, I got my parent’s exclusive attention for two years.  By the time my twin brothers were born, Mom had to split her attention three ways.  Unfortunately,  Dad had started flying in the Air Force during much of this time, and Mom had to do much of the child care alone.  Living in South Dakota, it was not a fun or easy place to be in winter, especially with three boys.  I am still in awe of the job mother did when we were very young.  When my last brother came while living in Seattle, the three older brothers needed less attention and my parents were starting to get worn out raising children.  However, they did have a play book of what worked in child care so maybe that was not bad.  A great example was Dad came home one weekend after flying on a US Air Force B-36, and had three model B-36s, one for each boy.  He needed to put them together.  Of course, I got the first one after about an hour.  The next two only took Dad about 30 minutes each to put together, but did not have all the errors I had in mine. I may have been first, but my brothers’ planes were error free.

Not all things were great by being the oldest.  I was constantly reminded that I needed to set the example.  This was emphasized when I did something bad.  Also, by the time the youngest was born, I was frequently  did some of the child care of my youngest brother.  Of course, I would have preferred to play baseball, but the youngest brother was not very good at it at age 3.

Finally, I think that having fathers that were veterans influenced my friends and me.  We were very interested in planes, ships, etc and “what did Dad do during the war”.  Also, Mom’s trials and tribulations on the home front were not only interesting, I was awed at the stamina she displayed.  Unfortunately, sometimes what Dad did in the war took a toll on some of my friend’s families.  For example, my girlfriend’s father suffered from PTSD since he landed in France on June 6, 1944 and eleven months later, his army division was liberating a Nazi death camp.  I and his daughter thank him for what he did for all of us.  However, there was a price he and his daughters paid.

I think that birth order does have some influence on one’s life direction.  The oldest gets the most attention and is first to try things.  Those that follow do have some of the path cleared for them.  Good parents, which I was blessed with, give enough attention to all their children without favoritism , and the younger children get the blessing of the parent’s previous experiences.  Finally, the times one is born in has an influence.  I wonder how Covid-19 will affect the children growing up now.

Too Many Covid Changes by
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(15 Stories)

Prompted By Pandemic Summer

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The summer of Covid-19, I will remember it for the cancellations, isolation and reinventions.  There were many big changes to my plans that I never expected.  All my summer and fall plans changed.

All my plans change due to Covid. Yosemite, Seattle, Pennsylvania, and G

The first victim was the Texas musical festival in March.  Delta Airline refunded the money, but one of the two musical festivals decided not to refund my money (it was the more expensive festival).  They were going to reschedule it and offer free tickets to the new date; or if you could not go, they were going to set up a site to sell one’s tickets.  Not satisfactory!  I wrote to Chase Bank, and after a couple of months, they refunded the money to my credit card.

The next cancelled event was  a camping and hiking trip to Yosemite Park in May.  It has always been a goal of mine to hike the Mist/Panorama trail, from Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point. My younger son and a close friend were planning to go one this journey. Unfortunately, the reservations were during the park closure time.  The money was refunded.  At least the bears were probably happy without the tourists.

The third change at least got reinvented.  My girlfriend has always wanted to see the Grand Canyon.  My plan was to fly to St. George Utah, see Bryce Canyon, Zion and the north rim of the Grand Canyon.  American Airlines cancelled the flight, and refunded the tickets. We reinvented the trip by extending the time, and drove to the parks.  It was worth the time, and almost nobody was at the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon.  However, Zion Park did have plenty of visitors, but I did get a good picture of a bighorn sheep.

Finally, the two September trips were cancelled.  It was a two part trip, Seattle and Pennsylvania.  Initially, I planned to go to Seattle and visit an old college friend.  We were going to visit reminisce and hike, probably around Olympic Park.  Then, it was off to Philadelphia to see my alma mater, San Jose State University, play Penn.  I went last year to New York when SJSU played Army, and had a great time (SJSU won 35-28).  Part of the trip included Amtrak. The game was cancelled so I cancelled the trip to Seattle and Philadelphia.

Finally, the biggest restriction has been no trips to my older son and five year old granddaughter in Simi Valley, California.  She recently had chemotherapy which leaves a compromised immune system.  The last thing I want her to get is Covid-19 from me or anyone else.  Weekly FaceTime helps, but it’s not the same.

Have there been any pluses from Covid season?  A few.  My girlfriend has given me a good introduction to art.  I rekindled my interest in flying radio control planes, so I purchased a small plane and been flying it at park in an area dedicated to this hobby.  Finally, I gotten some joy from writing, a new experience for me.  However, I hope this Covid season ends soon.  I miss the interaction with my friends and family.  I keep telling myself that “this to will pass”.

I Still Use My Cursive Skills by
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In third grade, I was taught cursive letters and for writing.  I was in Bellevue Washington, where some of the cursive letters they used included modified print letters.  For example, the capital “Q” was basically printed, instead of looking like a question mark.  Another letter that was printed was capital “S”.  However, most letters were in the standard cursive script.

My journey from cursive to typing while keeping a little cursive writing skills.

In the middle of fourth grade, I moved to Los Angeles.  Of course, they used the standard cursive script letters.  While I made to switch to the standard cursive letters, I did occasionally revert to the modified Bellevue script.  It is a habit that still happens.  Fortunately, I never got marked down when I used the modified script.

Off to college, and I still wrote my papers in cursive script.  Since most of my classes were in the sciences, this was not a problem.  Occasionally, if a wrote a major paper, it was typed by another student and I paid for their efforts.  In my senior year, my roommate said his raised the grade of his papers by “B” to “A” by typing his papers, and doubling their length by citing more sources and examples to support the paper’s idea.  Maybe it’s time to learn typing?

I went off the pharmaceutical industry, and initially I worked in various laboratories.  Observations in lab books was printed, especially since they were legal documents.  Later, I had a office job writing test methods and procedures.  It was before personal computers were wide spread, and I had a secretary type the final drafts.  I made certain that my cursive writing was clear so she could read and type it without errors and questions.

Then, unemployment hit.  I had started taking a few computer classes, and typing was required. In addition, I loaded a game on the computer that taught typing skills.  A letter would appear on the screen, and you had a limited amount of time to type it on your keyboard.  As one advanced, more letters appeared and the time got shorter. I finally got good at typing.

My next job, in the aerospace industry, and there were computers everywhere.  Very little was done without a computer.  I arrived there in 1988, and for a group of approximately 80, there were four clerks/secretaries.  When I retired in 2015, the group was about 40, but there no clerks/secretaries.  Quite a big change due to computers and word processors.

I still use cursive today when I write the occasional letter, and occasionally I get a letter in cursive script.  The exception is when I write my granddaughter, since she is only five years old and  I don’t think she will learn cursive writing skills. My biggest reason I like script is it is fast, and I do not always use a computer, phone or tablet to record notes to myself or others.  Also, cursive script adds a personal touch to a letter.  I know it will slowly fade away, and that is too bad.  After all, America’s Declaration of Independence is in cursive script.

From Conservative Cal Poly to San Jose State by
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(15 Stories)

Prompted By Protests

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Starting college in 1967, protests were part of the experience.  Initially, I went to California State Polytechnic College in San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) since it was close to home, and as an 18 year old, I did not have many ideas for my future.  All I knew is I wanted a college education that emphasized science and engineering without scrimping on the liberal arts.

My protests at San Jose State. After two years at California’s very conservative college, Cal Poly SLO, I went to San Jose State to get a more complete education, including some political action .

However, I did not realize how conservative Cal Poly was at that time.  It had the largest Army ROTC unit in California, and this was during the peak of the Vietnam War.  Being a school with a big agriculture department, most students did not think much of Caesar Chavez and his United Farm Workers (UFW) union.  The UFW was leading a boycott of non-union table grapes.   One of the San Luis Obispo supermarkets refused to carry non-union grapes.  That lead to a protest in front of that market, complaining that all grapes should be available.  In fact, one of my roommates was pictured on the front page of the local paper with his sign at this protest.  Finally, then governor Ronald Reagan came to Cal Poly for a meeting of the California State College trustees.  After the meeting, he came out on the balcony of the building was held, waved to the students, and received a warm greeting. It was so tech oriented, the English degree was a Bachelor of Science.  It is now a Bachelor of Arts degree.

After two years at Cal Poly, I decided it was time to move on and transferred to San Jose State College (now San Jose State University).  It was a college with most student’s political views that were closer to mine.  SJS had many other advantages for me too, such as good liberal arts departments and a more diverse student population.

When I arrived at SJS, within one month, there was a big march in San Francisco to end the Vietnam War and bring the troops home.  Another followed in a month.  I went to both of them with students that I lived with at the time.  These friends were chemistry and engineering students.  At SJS, very few of us wanted a vacation (?) in Vietnam.  Some other students were veterans, and certainly gave me a clear view of the insanity of that war.  Additionally, many of us knew peers that had died there.  Then, in my final year, Cambodia was invaded by American troops. More protests erupted. Most were contained to the campus, and were mild.  The administration tried to do their best to accommodate the students and it remained peaceful.  One of the unfortunate things was the president of SJS decided to retire, since he did not want the head aches any more.  By the time I graduated and started working, very few protests occurred.

Today, in my 70s, I rarely go to protests now (I went to one anti-Trump protest in San Jose). However, my younger son has been very active in anti-Trump and Black Lives Matter protests.  I am happy he cares enough about America to go to and organize these protests.  I am certain his late mother would approve too.  I guess I can say to him “Carry It On”.

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