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The Joy of the Season

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            Tis the season to be jolly. That is after hand-to-hand combat at Black Friday sales, cooking, cleaning, decorating, dealing with kids hopped up on sugar, stopping the political debates, and escorting drunk uncle George outside. OK, maybe there is some additional stress in the season. But there is stress in everyday life as well.

            There are jobs, and in-laws, and the expectations of others. Parenthood is stress. There is never enough time or money. It can cause friction with your spouse. No matter what you do, you will always be wrong according to someone. And everyone has an opinion. All you can reasonably do is your best; and keep your kids alive until they turn eighteen. Even after that, you can’t help but worry for them.       

            Then, don’t be surprised if your grown-up kids blame you for how tough life is. I used to do the same thing. Over time, however, I realized that my parents struggled as well. They did the best they could and always loved me. Besides, part of being an adult is realizing that, what happens in life each day is totally up to you. Time spent blaming others is wasted time. As Anne of Green Gables was fond of saying, “Every day is new with no mistakes in it yet.”

            One of my daughters recently sent me a rather “New Age” book on how to live and take care of yourself. “The Four Agreements” offers a wonderful perspective on how to address life’s challenges. The agreements are: “Be impeccable with your word, Don’t take anything personally, Don’t make assumptions, and Always do your best.”

            I have been working on applying these to my own life. I think I’m getting better at it. However, there have been occasions, even with my own Mary Poppins family (practically perfect in every way), which made me question the theory. Let’s just say that, some things were taken personally, assumptions made, and no one was doing their best. Occasionally, an impeccable four-letter word may have been uttered.

            I believe the basis of that particular disagreement is that, we are all in different places in our lives, and can no longer relate to each other’s circumstances. Unless you have a common frame of reference (walking a mile in someone’s shoes), you have trouble not taking things personally, or making assumptions, or being impeccable of word.

Self-improvement is always a good goal. However, looking inward for answers is difficult and often painful. We may have to admit that we are imperfect. But we all are. Admitting that will help make us more tolerant of others. That includes those we love, and who love us.

            One final point of the book was, none of us are guaranteed one more day of life. Therefore, it is best to live each day as if it is our last. As I will soon begin my seventh decade on earth, I am increasingly aware of my mortality. I do want to enjoy as much of my remaining time as possible. I plan to stop wasting time on petty people and arguments. I want to contribute only positive energy into the world, and leave no loose ends. That includes helping those who must continue their earthly struggles. That is especially true for those I helped bring into the world.

            Another book, the Bible, has helped me through numerous tough times. Jesus, and this is where the Christmas message starts, had some answers as well. His ministry was all about giving grace, patience, kindness, and forgiveness, doing onto others, etc. He went on further to promise that, in this life there will be tribulation. AMEN! But He has overcome the world. And, as we are called, we should attempt to do the same. Maybe it won’t stop the fighting but, it can possibly speed up the healing. I believe that love is the ultimate answer, no matter the struggle. Love has the power to end bickering, bring people together, and heal any riff. You may still have to deal with Uncle George.

Have a Very Merry Christmas and/or Holiday Season

Our Thanksgiving get together. It’s getting bigger all the time.

Women!!! Tell me about it. (One man’s perspective)

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I know I’ve written about this subject before, but there is sooo much more to say. Women are such a complex species. Many, many years ago, I asked God to teach me about women. He answered that prayer by blessing me with a (usually) loving wife and three (mostly) wonderful daughters. From all of that experience I have drawn a number of conclusions. First and foremost, be careful what you pray for. The song “Long and Winding Road” comes to mind. Second, actually understanding women is beyond my pay grade. But I’m OK with that. Appreciating them is what is more important.

So, what put me back on this soapbox? I am currently watching a TV show which, Elizabeth (my oldest daughter) told me to watch. I asked her whether the main characters would reconcile at the end. She refused to tell me. She only would reveal that the series ending made her cry.

As I thought about this, I realized that she actually told me absolutely nothing. I cry when I hit my thumb with a hammer. Women cry for any number of reasons. They are happy or sad or just contemplating something. Crystal can wake up from a dream crying, and blame me for not doing more in her dream. How do I respond? I’ll try to do more in your future dreams.

Women have so many more words than men. Unfortunately, as Crystal can testify, my ability to actively listen is far exceeded by her ability to talk. We are constantly having the ‘I told you…No you didn’t’ conversation. She probably did, but she had already lost me. This frequently occurs when we are watching TV, and she tries to talk over the show I am trying to watch.

 When they believe I am wrong about something, my girls will use all of those words debating. However, I also know they care deeply about me. If anyone else says anything negative, they quickly and vehemently jump to my defense.

They also, apparently want me to live forever. If I have health issues, they all do the research, and tell me what I should and shouldn’t be doing. Crystal, in particular, becomes like one of those relentless flies buzzing around my head. While it can be annoying, I know that’s woman speak for ‘I love you dummy. Don’t you dare leave me.’

            Then there are the emotions. Women feel very deeply; and that’s OK. They can also be unpredictable (Ex. Liz crying). I can almost get used to those. But the ephemeral (quick) changes! There was a time or twenty, I would hear the joyous sound of laughter coming from another room. I would start smiling just hearing it. Curious and drawn, I would head in that direction. By the time I got there, everyone looked like they were going to cry. I would quietly sneak away.

            However, as much as I know it sounds like I am complaining or confused, I’m not. Yes, I wish I could keep up with the occasionally rapid mood changes and preponderance of speech. When I do keep up, women have a great deal of worthwhile information and opinions, which I often find thought provoking and interesting. As for emotion, another word is passion. At times it can be bad or even very bad, but when it is good, it can be great. I believe that, life without passion is a pretty poor life.

            In conclusion, I am reminded of that old saying. To paraphrase; Women…you can’t live with them, but God, please don’t make me live without them. I guess I’ll just have to watch the end of that TV series, to find out which tears Liz was crying.

These are the women in my life. Crystal is wearing the quilt, and Liz has the sceaming little girl (of course).

As Time Goes By

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            From the title of this blog, you might discern that, I am referring to the British Rom Com series (one of Crystal’s favorites). I am not. Instead, this blog refers to changing perspectives about life as you age.

            One of my daughters recently celebrated one of her decade birthdays. I refuse to mention her name or which decade. I have been chastised in the past for such reveals. For the purposes of this blog, we will just refer to her as E.

            I could tell E wasn’t totally pleased with this milestone. Now, from my perspective, E has a wonderful life. Of course, like George Bailey, sometimes that’s difficult to realize. She is establishing a new career where she will help new mothers and hurting people. She has a loving husband, and five “usually” wonderful children. And of course, two of the most loving and supportive parents anyone could ask for. Also, she has things so many of us take for granted: generally good health, running water, temperature-controlled housing, good medical care, etc., etc. etc.

            Still, I could feel the stress. In the back of her mind there was the thought; what now, hot flashes then death? I could have tried to reassure her, but knew that wasn’t necessary. E will get over it in short order. She is a mostly positive person, with goals and a strong faith.

            Personally, whenever one of my daughters reach a milestone, my brain returns to an earlier time. I remember carrying baby E out of the hospital and fighting with the car seat. I remember a stubborn four-year-old at a Mexican restaurant, who refused to believe that the pickled peppers weren’t the same as her favorite pickles. Oh, the face she made. Sadly, this was before social media. I could see it going viral, followed by a visit from Family Services. Then there was her teenage rebellion. I won’t go into detail. But it ended some time in her twenties. Basically, to E, daddy went from someone who knew everything, to someone who knew nothing. Fortunately, these days, I apparently know some stuff (a realistic assessment). The rest I make up as I go along. (kidding)

            When we are young, we are constantly changing. It can be confusing. My youngest daughter bumped into her old softball coach, and later commented that he had shrunk. I told her, no, you have grown. Somehow, it’s easier to believe the world is changing than, that the change is in us. I have heard it said that the only constant in life is change. I’m still not sure that makes sense. But I believe it’s how you deal with change, that determines the quality of your life.

            Next year will begin my eighth decade (70 years old) on the big blue ball. For me the number means next to nothing. The important thing is, there will be cake! The day after will be great as well, if: left over cake, good health, people who love and care about me, etc.

            My recommendation for you; As time goes by, thank God for each day, live the best way you can, and keep regrets and worries far behind thankfulness and grace. Decide each day to be a positive force in the world. Your life will be better, and the world will be a better place. 

This may or may not be a picture of E and Crystal at a B-day celebration. I think she looks good for such an advanced age (wink, wink).

45 Years of Marriage – Here We Go!

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            It’s hard to believe, it’s almost April. As you know, if you have been reading previous blogs, Crystal and I are a couple of April Fools (married April 1st). This year it will be forty-five years. My mother had a German saying, which meant ‘even sows don’t live that long’. I’m not sure what her experience was with pigs, but she did tend goats and her brother raised rabbits…soooo. She had a lot of old German sayings, which made no sense to me. But point taken, it is a long time.

            They say time is relative. I get it now. I still remember reading George Orwell’s “1984” in grade school and thinking, ‘Wow, that’s like way in the future’. Now I’m like, ‘wow that’s way long ago’. And who could have guessed “Big Brother” would be an actor (Ronny Reagan was president in 84).

            I also remember when my parents celebrated their 25th anniversary. I would have been 18. Again, I thought wow, really long time with one person. I actually gave a toast at my parents at their 50th Anniversary party. By that time Crystal and I would have been married 19 years. Still, I wondered if we would ever make such a lofty milestone. Now 50 seems right around the corner, God willing.

            But getting back to time, no one can predict the future. At least that’s what I used to think. I grew up as a big science fiction buff. So many things which seemed far in the future have already come to pass. Just take Star Trek as an example. Did you know that, originally when the doors in the enterprise opened and shut, it was because two men, one on each door pushed or pulled them. I sometimes think of that as I enter Walmart. Also, I now talk to my computer, and it talks back. It’s faster than the one on the Enterprise, and doesn’t feel the need to tell me it’s working. And Captain Kirk had to use a flip phone. What a dork. And he had to call the ship to use the computer. My phone is a computer.

            Now the beam me up, I’m sure their working on that. I can see it now; I’ll have finished shopping at the moon’s Super-Duper Walmart. I’ll call home. Beam me home Crystal. Of course, we probably fought before I left, and she would refuse. Then I will have to wait, with all the other husbands whose wives mooned them. It will mean something different by then. I’m sure the next space Uber will be along soon.

            Enough of that. The point is 45 years is a long time, and at the same time not so long. I totally get the saying, ‘the days go slowly but the years seem to fly by’. For so many years, we’ve done the heavy lifting. At least a dozen jobs, numerous impossible situations survived, a lot of joy, three daughters and eight grandchildren later, we are still here.

            But that’s not enough. After 45 years there must be some kind of lesson or wisdom I can pass on. Wisdom? Me? I know! Most of the time, going through it, I hadn’t a clue. But I’ll give it a try. Here are some rules for a long marriage. Disclaimer: Mostly learned by trial and Error

  • I know that there are some things about Crystal I wish I could change. For example, she is creative (not the problem) and keeps a lot of stuff, saying someday I will use that. I’m more of a minimalist. However, there are more reasons I love her as much as ever. Crystal is the most, almost blindly, supportive person I know. She is, and always has been, my soft place to fall. Always try to focus on the good.
  • No matter what was going on; this is where the sickness, health, poorer, etc. comes in, we made time for us. Throughout our marriage dating and planning together were a constant. Never stop making your marriage a priority.
  • I don’t think it’s possible for two people to live together for a long period of time without fighting about something. Fights can drive even good people apart. However, being able to resolve differences builds a stronger relationship. The goal is to be partners, not adversaries. Learn how to fight fair and get help as needed.
  • At our wedding someone read a quote about two great oak trees not being able to grow in each other’s shadow. In other words, in marriage there is no number one or number two. Always be supportive of your partner in achieving their dreams.
  • Finally, always try to remember why you married in the first place. Normally, if your marriage has any chance, that answer is love. The Bible tells us how to love better than I can. In truth, I admit to having a few misses on this. But I believe these Bible instructions are about direction, not perfection.  1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

As Crystal and I await further instructions from God, we will do our best keep the love going. Please try to do the same in your lives. Blessings!

Crystal and I at our nephew’s wedding. Crystal made that jacket. See creative! I bought the suit.
Category: Make Marriage Last

Mama Claus

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Tis again the season for Joy, Peace, and egg nogg that will knock your socks off. At least that’s how my mom made it. And why not. Mimi did, with few exceptions, everything else for Christmas.

My early memories of my favorite time of the year include, thumbing through the three-inch-thick Sears Catalog, and circling the hundred or so toys and sporting supplies I would need to survive the next year. Then there were the trips to the mall with mom. Once we finished the supply and uninteresting present acquisitions, it was time for Santa’s lap and the toy section. I do remember times when she would mysteriously disappear for short periods of time, and return with additional packages. Of course, I had no idea what she was doing, since I knew that Santa would do all of the heavy lifting. 

Then there would be the decorations. There would be days of new displays throughout the house. Of course, dad and I did the hard part. Every year we went out and picked out the tree, strapped it to the roof of the car, brought it home, and attached it to the stand. Somehow dad always wound up having to trim the tree to make it fit the room or the stand.

Once the hard part was done, mom would get to work with tinsel, lights, and ornaments. Then the baking would begin. Mom worked for days on baking the most delectable cookies, pastries, and cakes.

At some point mom locked herself in the dinning room to wrap presents. She told me that Santa just needed a little help. I was certain he would be there to arrange them under the tree. After all mom had set everything up for him. What else did he have to do?

Of course, then there was the food. Mom was an excellent cook, spending hours in the kitchen each Christmas day. We never went hungry. The gifts so carefully wrapped and arranged under the tree took only minutes to unwrap.

Then there was one final tradition. I believe it was 2009 when my mom and I took our last Christmas eve walk the half mile or so, to St Linus Catholic Church for services. It was always cold and snowy. We would walk briskly but, slow to enjoy some of the decorated homes along the way. Somehow the real reason for the season (Jesus’s birth) seemed buried in other more commercial trappings.

But was it really? After years of playing a meager role in assisting my own Mama Claus (Crystal), I can finally see the truth. As Christians, we are to be Jesus’s representatives to a fallen world. We are to serve our fellow man, and give our strength, our time, and our lives in that service. Often, and I’m only going to speak of myself, we fail miserably. But, at Christmas, who better exemplifies that effort than our own Mama Clauses.

So, in summary, while I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas, and Joyful Holiday season, I have two additional wishes. First, don’t forget the reason for the season. Second, give a little extra appreciation to the real hero of the season, Mama Claus. 

Go Mama Claus!
Category: Holidays

Wisdom With Age?

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            The other day, as I was on one of my ever more frequent searches for my car keys, it hit me. Why is it that as we get older, we are supposed to be wiser? From my youth I’ve been accused of being a “wise guy”. But I think that is something else. These days I’m slower, more forgetful, but wiser? As a youth, I remember thinking my parents had all of the answers. Then in young adulthood, I thought my parents were outdated, and I had all of the answers. Later, as I became a parent, I finally realized that nobody, me in particular, had all of the answers. Many times, I couldn’t even figure out the correct question to ask.

            I think that is the first step toward true wisdom. When you realize and admit your own limitation, you are on the right path. That being said, more and more our adult children seek our reassurance and advice. They know much of what we’ve been through, survived, and accomplished. Probably the best advice I give is trust and seek God’s plan for your life. Second from “Finding Nemo”: just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. From “Galaxy Quest”: Never give up, never surrender. It’s funny how much good advice you find in cheesy movies.

My own parents were always a good example of living responsibly, and always supportive with advice, and whatever help they could give. However, I never really knew my grandparents. I had some great aunts and uncles whom I loved, and saw way too infrequently. So now as grandpa to seven, going on eight young people, I am in an unfamiliar position.

I know that both Crystal and I want to have good relationships with each and every grandchild. We want to help whenever possible, and witness with our lives, words and deeds. Our daughters and their husbands are doing amazing jobs raising them, but welcome our involvement.

Our oldest grandson recently graduated from The Ohio State University. Our oldest granddaughter is entering her sophomore year at Kent State. Recently I’ve begun sending them some unsolicited words of encouragement and advice. I do remember many of the challenges, temptations, and questions at that I had at that stage of life. I remember getting similar advice at that age. Sometimes I listened, sometimes I didn’t. I insisted on making my share of mistakes. I think that’s part of becoming an adult. All I really want to accomplish is to let them know that someone, other than their parents, loves, cares about, and wants the best for them.

They don’t read this blog, so let’s keep this between you and me. I am sharing today because, there maybe someone in your life who needs to know that you care. If you can’t come up with original quotes, just pick a subject and Google. You know there were a few wise people (different than wise guys) before me. You should probably stick with historical figures. I’m not so sure you can find much wisdom in today’s leaders.

I’ve included a few of my words of wisdom for your consideration.

  1. I believe that one sure sign you are a grown-up is when you stop blaming your parents for who you are, and realize you can take responsibility to improve. Sadly, some people; you may know some; never get there.
  2. What you ultimately become in life isn’t nearly as important as who you become.
  3. In life you will face many forks in the road. Whatever fork you take, just eat what’s on your plate and be grateful. Remember, there are always people who would love what you throw out.
You can just see all of the wisdom in the eyes….Can’t you?

For Better or Worse

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            Everyone listens intently as the officiant rattles off a bunch of promises in their wedding. You don’t really think about it until it happens in real life. A lot of our marriage has been the better, but occasionally you get the worse. If you can survive that, with no fatalities, you have a good marriage.

            Two weeks ago, the tornado siren brought us together at the base of the stairs, by candle light. We sat as the wind whistled through trees and bush branches hit the side of the house. We sat on the steps to the upstairs, and our cat Ella was close by, under a chair, under the dining room table. Animals know. When the alert time passed, we thought the worst was over. That was Monday night. When I checked with the power company their estimate for repairs was late Saturday night. Remember, this was Monday. Fun Fun!

            However, I went one step further. I talked to a local power company supervisor, and he gave a more optimistic appraisal. Maybe just three days. Of course, for just a little more fun, these were the hottest days of the year, with temperatures hitting over 90 degrees with high humidity.

            The house was still relatively cool Monday night, We suffered through Tuesday night with fans. By Wednesday I said Enough! I drove into town and secured the last motel room in the city. Later that afternoon we packed the refrigerator with ice and headed to our motel. However, apparently the person who checked us in had made a mistake. Our room was rented over the internet. So, we sat in the nice air-conditioned lobby while the manager tried to find us a room somewhere. After several failed efforts he mentioned a room without a working sink, that normally he wouldn’t rent. I said sold!

            Even with a towel over the sink, its amazing how many times you automatically head toward the sink; and brushing your teeth over the bath tub is just weird. But it was cool and we slept. At least I did. Crystal had more trouble. She was uncharacteristically cranky the next day. That next morning, when we tried to reserve another night, we discovered that the room had been rented. I guess since we didn’t die, the room was now considered rentable. So, we went back home.

            At this point Crystal had had enough and was willing to swelter at home. I was not. I grabbed the food out of the freezer and drove to Liz’s (oldest daughter) house to use their freezer. They already had a full house, but enough freezer space. I also used their WIFI to find a place to stay. There was an Airbnb 25 minutes from our home with power, and it sounded nice. Normally I would check with Crystal and Lisa, but of course phones/texts weren’t working.

            As we arrived at the new digs ominous black clouds followed us. We thought Oh no, not again. Well, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a stronger downpour. You couldn’t see ten feet from the window. Trees were replaced with shadows in the white wall of water. The rain only lasted five minutes, and the power stayed on. Just then, our neighbor informed us that the power in our neighborhood had just returned. We were all happy. That is until a few minutes later when Lisa started screaming for us to get everything off the floor, and dragged a dripping wet bag across the room. Water started coming in everywhere. I contacted the owner. She was mad and almost crying when she arrived. Apparently, she had spent a lot of money fixing the drainage.

            But she had another, far superior Airbnb close by. It was really nice. We had traded up. The next day we returned to our cool dry home, with a very appreciative cat. I think we all slept the rest of the day.

The next week, Crystal and I went on a previously planned vacation, at a lake in Michigan. The weather was perfect all week. We swam, ate in some nice restaurants, explored two state parks, did a wine tasting, started a fire in their fire pit, grilled some steaks, explored a light house and of course Crystal went to a quilt shop. It was a wonderful week following a horrible one. Its all part of life’s and marriage’s for better or worse. One word of advice: Whenever you take vows, Like Aretha said, “you gotta think!”

The Worse
The Better.

Kids vs. Grandkids also Happy Mother’s Day

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            Crystal and I have been truly blessed in our lives. We had the privilege of raising three beautiful, strong, independent daughters. From that wealth hath sprung forth 7 and 1/2 (one due in fall) grandchildren.

            I recently had the privilege of visiting one of my daughters, Michelle, husband Alex and two granddaughters Ayla (5) and Ripley (2) – (3 on Monday). I marveled at the constant coordinated effort required to avoid total chaos and anarchy.

            Initially everyone was thrilled to see me. To the parents I represented needed reinforcements. To the kids I was a new and exciting distraction and playmate. However, as the reality of my presences slowly faded in the background, I started to gain some perspective on how Crystal and my roles have changed throughout the years.

            As a retired grandparent I usually meander out of bed between 9 and 10 AM and stay up past midnight working on my computer or watching TV. At Michelle’s I slept in the basement apartment, and awoke between six and seven in the blessed AM, with the noise of what sounded like an army on maneuvers above my head.

            As I slowly, sleepily emerge from my sarcophagus, I was greeted my wide-awake daughter, doing dishes and asking how I slept. In the battlefield of a living room, my granddaughters, surrounded by a room full of toys and potential activities, fighting over the same, obviously most important one. Dad enters and immediately assigns an order of play, redirecting one to another activity, with the promise of a later turn.

            Throughout the day I am amazed at the family dynamics. At various times the kids play nicely, argue, are separated, occasionally disciplined, and get one-on one time with each parent. In the afternoon I got to go with Michelle to watch Ayla play soccer. Later I gave mom and dad a break watching the kids. When I eventually left, I got a hug from Ripley and a cold shoulder from Ayla. I’m pretty sure she just wanted me to stay longer. Michelle and Alex, both told me, longingly, to visit anytime.

            When I got home after my two-day adventure, I went straight to bed. I’m pretty sure I slept well past 10 AM the next morning. There may even have been an afternoon nap involved. I realized that, the great thing about being a grandparent is, while you love visiting, is you get to go home. There is no escape for the parents.

            The experience made think, and remember a time long ago, when it was Crystal and me in the meat grinder. I had a lot more energy in those days. I would come home from work and immediately be redirected to take the kids, or on occasion (by the kids), get my frazzled wife out of the house.

            Don’t get me wrong, those were good times, maybe some of the best times. I’ll never forget some of our adventures: teaching the girls sports, helping with homework, teaching them how to shop, cook, etc. We went fishing, canoeing, camping, swimming, and jogging.

            But they were tough times as well: kids getting sick or upset, fighting with the schools, family and personal stress, and often just a universal need for extra love and reassurance.

            I guess at this point, and to conclude, I have to agree with Solomon’s Ecclesiastes, there is a time for everything. I am quite at peace with it. I love my kids and grandkids, but I (except in emergencies) have changed my last diaper. I will always be OK with play, but leave disputes and upset children to the parents. I will, however, try to always be available to help or advise when asked.

            Finally, since this is Mother’s Day, I just need to add that, I couldn’t be prouder of Crystal, Elizabeth and Michelle. If you want proof of God, you need look no further than your nearest mom. True love and sacrifice are part of the motherhood equation.

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

PS – Today May 8th 2022, our eldest grandson Keylan Meinstein, is graduating, Magna Cum Laud, from The Ohio State Universery. Hoorah!

Momentary peace during my recent visit.
This is from a few years back. The tired looking guy is me. Crystal is smiling. She must know something I don’t know. Elizabeth, Michelle, and I believe that is their cousin Matthew.

What Good Came from the Holocaust?

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            Something came to me as I researched the Richey Boys for my previous post. What good came from the Holocaust? Of course, the Holocaust itself was unspeakably evil. However, it’s possible that, if it hadn’t happened, we might all be speaking German today.

            Crystal’s recent thoughtful birthday present was an membership. I wasn’t in the least surprised that I am a full 50% European Jew, and more specifically German Jew, and nearly 50% German. Maybe that’s why I hate myself. KIDDING!!! At any rate, the results were no surprise. Both of my parents were German (Dad being Jewish) with their own Holocaust experiences. It made me think about several thought provoking what/if questions.

            What/if Hitler had not singled out the Jewish population as the scape goats of Germany’s Post WW1 suppression? First, and most important, from my point of view, I wouldn’t be here. Second, there never would have been a group of German Jews (Richey Boys) responsible for over half of America’s Intelligence information gathering during the war (see last post).

            But possibly an even more significant event, the Manhattan Project, might not have led to the creation of the first A-bomb, and the war’s end. Of course, many of the Jewish project leaders such as Robert Oppenheimer, Richard Feynman, Robert Serber, Frankel, Perlman, Weinberg, Bohn, and others, were instrumental in the project. Most were American born.

            However, Enrico Fermi, widely considered the ‘architect of the nuclear age’, emigrated from Italy in 1938 with the growth of Antisemitism. His wife, Laura Capon, was Jewish. Later that year, Fermi won the Nobel Prize in physics for the creation of the first nuclear reactor.

            I have a couple of interesting side notes. First is that that reactor is buried just a few miles from the home where I grew up. I stumbled upon the site while on a Boy Scout hike in the Chicago Area Forest Preserves. It is in the middle of a deeply forested area, with a fallen rusted fence and what looked like, a couple of dilapidated air plane hangars. A large rock with an affixed commemorative plaque is the only tribute to its existence. You almost have to get lost to find it. Another side note is that my dad took a class with Dr. Fermi, while attending the University of Chicago. He proudly shared that fact with me when I was too young to understand the significance.

            Now hear is my final what/if. If Hitler hadn’t hated the Jews enough to send many equally brilliant German physicists to his concentration camps, or forced them to flee Europe, his own heavy metal experiments might have proved successful. How would the war’s outcome have changed had Germany invented a nuclear weapon first. Food for thought, if nothing else.

            A second effect from this time was to spread God’s people from Europe, to other locations throughout the world. Hopefully, their message has followed.

            I will leave you with one final thought from the Bible. “When bad things happen to good people, God can turn them for our good” Daniel 1:3-4. Truly, God’s wisdom wins out, even when we act as idiots. Praise God.

Dad and I in October 2009 at the site where the 1st nuclear reactor is buried. Sorry about the angle. I had to set my camera in the grass. Mom wasn’t going to walk that far.

Dad Was a Ritchie Boy

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            Dad never referred to himself as a Ritchie Boy, although I know he was invited to a reunion in Washington DC, a few years before his death in 2019. It’s just as well. I wouldn’t have had a clue what it meant. That is, not until I recently saw the 60 Minutes special about that WW2 special project. Apparently, dad was not alone in being a German born, specially trained Intelligence officer during the war. Camp Ritchie, which was located in a secret and secluded former resort, in the Blueridge mountains of Maryland, served as the training ground for Intelligence services during the war. Many of those trained were, as my father, highly intelligent recently immigrated German born Jews.

            It was believed that this specialized group, who spoke the language, had shared and understood German heritage, lifestyle, and ways of thinking, would make excellent intelligence officers. From what I have learned, they were correct. According to the 60 Minutes special, around half of the intelligence information gathered during the war originated from this very special group of soldiers.

            I always knew dad was intelligent. His IQ was tested at 147 (genius min. 140). I guess that kind of smarts skips a generation or two. Furthermore, he was an excellent communicator, and could converse with almost anyone on numerous topics. On our trips to Germany, his in-depth knowledge of German lore, history, and the people was amazing. It was like traveling with a tour guide.

             I can definitely see why such a combination of skills would make him an excellent interrogator. Our book contains several very specific examples of his group’s information gathering, interrogation techniques and post-war capture of NAZI war criminals.

            After his service ended, he was offered a position in the OSS, which later became the CIA. If he hadn’t met my mom, he could have become a spy. And then where would I be? Thankfully, he met and married mom. She didn’t want to marry a spy. Personally, I think they made the right choice.

            If you would like to see the special, composed mainly of interviews with surviving Richie Boys, simply Google “60 Minutes Richie Boys”.