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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”.

Introducing Snolf!!!

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            They say necessity is the mother of invention. Well, here is one invention I just needed to share with all of you regular marriagememoir readers. You are in on the ground floor. There is no charge, and this idea could save you thousands of dollars a year. 

If you are one of the millions of avid northern golfers who feel you must travel to Myrtle Beach, Georgia, or Florida each winter to get your fix, I have great news. I have invented a great new game you can play right where you live. I call it Snolf, which is short for snow golf.

            All you will need is your favorite iron (I prefer my six iron), a dozen or so balls, a small gardening spade, and a snow/what snow, attitude. You simply go to your favorite golf course, put your ball gently on top of the snow in the tee area, and have at it. Watch carefully where the ball enters the snow, walk up to the spot, and dig up your ball. It helps if you find the entry point (be careful not to disturb burrowing rodents). Replace it on the top of the snow for your second swing, and continue until you hit the green. From there you count your score and move on to the next hole. There is none of that annoying putting involved. Since the ball doesn’t travel as well in the cold, you simply triple the normal par to see how you are doing. Also, I have decided that there is no penalty for a lost ball, as you will lose some, guaranteed. The game is over when you either finish the course or have run out of balls.

            Snolfers will appreciate the many advantages over regular golf. For one the game is free, since there is nobody at the course in the winter to collect your greens fee. You can also play at your own pace, since the course will most likely be significantly less crowded. Trudging through the snow will also help your cardiovascular system. Replacing your divots while recommended, is not required. Also, most courses are extremely beautiful, and vastly underappreciated in the winter.

            In all fairness, the few possible negatives should probably be noted. First, extra clothing, which you might be inclined to wear, could inhibit your swing or your ability to hang onto your club. Second, (my lawyer insists I add this) you could, potentially, be arrested for trespassing. And last, but not least, its freaking cold out there!!!

Disclaimer: While I have not, as of today played Snoft, I would love to hear, and gladly share, the stories from your first round.

One of my favorite Snoft Courses
Sometimes strange things happen in Snolf.

T’was The Week After Christmas

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T’was  the week after Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, almost comatose.

Months of buying and planning had come to an end, the party is over, and it’s now time to mend.

Piles of boxes and papers to recycling must go, a box from the second floor with shout, look out below.

The children stopped playing with new toys on day two, mom and dad still trapped with them and nothing to do.

The late cold and the snow shouldn’t happen this way, colored lights on the gutters might just stay up till May.

Empty stockings still hung by the chimney with care, lets take them down, no, maybe next year.

A sweater from aunt Martha and a vase from Uncle Nick, an exchange trip to Walmart should take care of things quick.

As mom sips her wine and dad drinks his beers, is it time to start planning the next party New Years?

As the normal finally returns after the Holiday respite, God can just wonder why we never get it right.

Easton Mall Columbus Ohio 2021
Category: Holidays

A Cat’s Life -by Ella Meinstein

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            Life is really simple, unless we choose to make it more complicated (and I don’t). I get up in the morning and dad (Ron) opens the door to my room. We take our shower together. I get my belly rubs and he gets all wet. I don’t understand why he needs all that water, but I think the steam is good for my sinuses. Then, once dad is dressed, I get my food. The rest of the day, I’m pretty much on my own. I always split my time snuggling with mom (Crystal), dad, and Lisa. Sometimes I will sit on the floor and stare them into playing with me.

            Sometimes I just like to explore the house, or play on my own. There are generally many things to play with. One fun game is stealing mom’s toys. She often sits on the couch surrounded by a lot of fun things. There are pins, and spools of thread, beads, and scissors, to name just a few. We play this game where I will watch her until she is distracted, or not paying attention, and I stealthily swoop in and grab my new toy. If she sees me, she will join in the game. She yells and chases me, to try and get the toy back. It’s loads of fun.

            My other favorite pastime is sunbathing. On sunny days, I spend a good amount of time following the sun around the house. I have the pattern memorized. I know where the sun will be all throughout the day. I love the way it feels on my fur. I get all puffed up, and let the rays do their thing. Of course, periodically I take a break to see what my people are doing.

            Sometimes dad will take me outside for a few minutes. I like sniffing the air, walking around, chewing on a little grass, and listening to the outside world. The other day dad opened the door, and a cold breeze hit my face. I’m not much for the cold. I gave him my, you’ve got to be kidding me, looks. Seriously, sometimes I just don’t get what he is thinking. I rubbed his leg and headed back to my sun therapy.

            At the end of the day, when it’s dark, I will generally go upstairs, where dad is watching TV. I sit on his lap. After a while he will carry me downstairs. After a quick pet from mom, he takes me to my room and closes the door. I really like my room. My food, my litter, and my bed are there.

            Life is good. Mom, dad and Lisa are usually happy too. However, sometimes they seem stressed or unhappy. I try to comfort them. I think they just worry about silly things. I try to tell them, the key to happiness is just enjoying what you have each moment, and not worrying about the small stuff. Also, and this is important. Spend as much time as possible lying in the sun, and relaxing each day. Boy, they could learn a lot from me.

Ahh Lisa’s Bed
I find boxes surprisingly comfortable.
I think late afternoon sun is the best!

Thanksgiving vs. Being Thankful

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            I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been one to celebrate the first Thanksgiving. You might remember, the Pilgrims invited the Native Americans, who had helped them survive, to a meal. That was before infecting them with syphilis, smallpox, measles, mumps, and bubonic plague. Not to mention, it was a few years before forcing them from their homes, and taking their land.

            No for me, and I am sure most 21st century Americans, it’s an excuse to eat too much, visit with family, and watch football, then pass out from eating too much (not necessarily in that order). My first Thanksgiving memories were of Mimi (mom), cooking for days, way too much food, for the three of us. If the Bears were playing, dad and I managed to squeeze all of our thankfulness and eating into about a fifteen-minute period. We watched, while mom grumbled her thanks, while doing dishes, and stuffing the refrigerator. God, we were soooo spoiled. To a great extent, we still are.

            Just a few things to think of/be grateful for, while we enjoy our birds: roughly 25,000 people die each day from lack of nutrition (9.1 mil. /yr.), 80% of humanity live on < $10/day, billions of people lack adequate clean water and basic sanitation. During the game you might want to think of the 1.6 billion living without any electricity. I’m not going to get into issues like healthcare, safety, security, and especially freedoms which we, for the most part, take for granted.

            Depressing, right. Well, that wasn’t my goal. I just wanted to make certain that no one reading this blog, could get through another Thanksgiving, feeling they don’t have enough for which to be thankful.

            I pray that God continue to bless all of us, and help us to be a blessing to others. Have a great Thanksgiving.

Our family celebrated early this year at Schmitts Restaurant in German Village in Ohio.
Category: Holidays

Tough Life Lessons

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            We recently had Liz (our first daughter) and Brad’s (hubby) family over for an informal dinner. We always enjoy spending time with them and our grandchildren. Of their five children, we are proud to say, their two eldest are currently in college.

            When our three daughters were young, we programed them to go. Did you know you can program your children (to some extent)? When Lisa won a state wide art contest in first grade, she won $100, among other prizes. A reporter asked what she would do with the money. She immediately answered, ‘probably save it for college’. Liz was in high school when she came home one day, somewhat disillusioned, to tell us some of her friends weren’t going to college. Somehow, she had the impression that everyone had to go. I wonder where she got that idea.

            Getting back to our dinner and grandchildren, I often ask about school progress. Our grandson is a senior and doing well in college. He is looking forward to, and questioning the next step, and the great unknowns of life. Our granddaughter is a freshman, and finding out what many find out. College is hard. It’s not high school 2.0. I know, in time, she will adjust. She is motivated, just as I was.

            Her experience brought me back to my school days. For me, as for many of my peers, I was ill-equipped for the riggers of the scholastic requirements. Surely, they had to be kidding, a minimum of two hours study per hour of class. That would make it…like a full-time job…and then some! Plus, nobody had prepared me for all of the distractions. There were sports, parties, and worst (or best) of all, girls. In addition, you took care of yourself. Mom had given me the basics on doing laundry, but I had barely paid attention. My freshman year was also, my pink underwear year. I thought I had figured out a better way. In short, it took me a while to adapt to college life.

I may have told this one before, but it’s a good one, especially for my grandkids. The first semester of my sophomore year, one of my best friends, Larry Rose and I had Organic Chemistry together. Chemistry was my major, and Larry was, like his father, going to be a doctor (no pressure there). After pulling the college classic “all-nighter”, Larry and I entered the test the next evening somewhat confident. We exited united a couple of hours later, with the same question. What was that??? Apparently, our efforts to circumvent the recommended daily school grind had fallen short. It was as if we had thoroughly learned the alphabet, and then been asked to form words. The problem was, our words came out like kat and daug.

To make a long story short, after that brief walk across campus, and the meaningful discussion about joining the Marines, we both survived. The next day, we both dropped the class. I retook it during the summer. I aced it. It’s amazing how much easier it can be when you are truly focused. It also helps when you aren’t concurrently taking advanced Physics and Calculus. I kept my major; and several years later was one of fourteen Chemistry majors to graduate. OK, chemistry was still tough.

I know, everyone looks excited. This was after dinner and playing in the park. It’s always good to have family visit.

(Money…in Marriage) The Root of All Kinds of Evil?

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            Got your Holiday shopping done yet??? Nah, me neither. But that’s what it’s all about, you know. You can’t get those sugar plumbs dancing without all the expensive toys to go with them. At least that’s what they want you to believe. But it’s not just Christmas or holidays, it’s life in general. We are a very consumer driven society. Our TVs and phones constantly tell us what it takes to be happy in life. That includes a constant bombardment of new things, distractions, and pastimes. If you fail to get them, you can’t be happy, and are Failing at Life. That’s a lot of pressure.

What precedes the Bible verse in the title of this post is ‘The love of money’ (Timothy 6:10). While in itself, money is not evil, the love of it can cause big problems, even in marriage. On, Financial Problems is listed as the number one cause for divorce, narrowly beating out Infidelity and Adultery. I believe it’s a subject definitely worth talking about, on a blog site dedicated to marriage and family issues.

In some ways, the next two infidelity and adultery are also related. It’s all about unfulfilled wants and desires. But for this post we will stick with money, and in particular, the love of it. It will help if you don’t think of money as an end, it is only a means, or better yet a tool. You need tools to maintain and to build. First assess where you are at. What tools (financial resources) and skills do you currently possess. Then, you and your partner should decide what you want to build in the future. What do you have, and what will you need? Patience and planning are keys. Never borrow more tools than absolutely necessary to achieve goals. Debt is the devil’s playground, and a major source of unfulfillment in marriage. Life is unpredictable, so frequently reassess your plans. Also, there are many sources of additional sage advice on financial planning. Make it a lifelong goal, as a couple, to continue your education on personal finance.

That’s enough about the basics of money and planning. I believe a second source of money related discord in marriage results from, a failure to appreciate all with which we have been blessed. Too often I see couples living for a future, which might never come. They convince themselves they need certain things to be happy. They spend their lives so busy that they are unable to appreciate each other, or the gifts each day presents. I have told my daughters, ‘Money comes, and money goes, but time only comes once’.

After his experience living an isolated life at Waldon Pond, Thoreau said about life, “Simplify, simplify”. He realized that, to some extent, your wants dictate what you consider needs. I know this has proved true in our lives. When I worked at a pizza place, in between career jobs, I would bring home the outdated dough to make my own pizza and bread sticks. Crystal and the girls rarely complained. It was then we had more time to play, go on walks, engage in church and community activities, and in short, enjoy time as a couple and a family.

When I supervised a third shift crew at an industrial plant, ten-hour days, six to seven days a week, Crystal and I went every morning to the local coffee shop or the park to talk. After sleeping, I would spend time with the girls before going to work.

In all, I believe your happiness in life, and in your marriage, is determined by how you choose to spend your limited time, and not your bank account. Marriage is only beneficial when two people truly like/love each other, and are able to work together toward common goals.

All of the time remember…nobody is perfect…not even you (or me…man that was hard). What do you need in a lifelong partner? A quote I like, and will leave you with is, “You don’t need someone to complete you. You only need someone to accept you completely.” Author Unknown 

This is the site of Thoreau’s original cabin by Waldon Pond. Crystal and I visited this summer.
Our local Walmart. They are ready and waiting. I tried to give them a lump of coal. But they prefer cash or credit.
Category: Make Marriage Last

Remembering Field Trips

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            One of my favorite parts of school was field trips. I cared much less about where we went than that we went. I hated being cooped up indoors, in the same place, day after day. The teacher would drone on and on about dead people (History), or places you knew you would never see (Geography), or math you knew you would never use (I actually used quite a bit). And all of this, while you sat quietly (the hardest part) in the same uncomfortable, little wooden chair, and pretended to pay attention. In case you haven’t guessed, I wasn’t a very good student, at least in my early years.

            Then finally, the day circled on your calendar came, the field trip. The prison doors swung open, and, bag lunch in hand, you along with your fellow inmates, happily piled onto chauffeured limonene (school bus), on a quest for adventure.

            One of my most memorable was, I believe, in sixth grade. This was our last year at Gasteyer School, before we all moved on to the Jr. High. They actually, for the first time, gave us a choice. The trip was to downtown Chicago (about fifteen miles). The first part was set. Across the street from the Art Institute was the Borg Warner Building. At that time, they had a science exhibition in the lobby. Science was one of the few subjects I found interesting. The second part was a downtown movie. This is where the choice came in. We voted for either “Gone With The Wind” or “Dr. Dolittle”. From what I remember, it wasn’t even close. Which do you think an eleven-year-old would rather see, another history lesson about old dead people, or a guy who can talk to animals? No-brainer!

            The movie was just all right: too much singing. The exhibition however, was very interesting. I can’t remember a lot of details. I think there were a lot of sparky electrical things and a few motors. I believe one was a see-through engine. But the exhibit I found fascinating was smell-o-vision (not sure that’s what it was called). It was an actual large screen TV (probably all of 27 inches) with a repeating program. The difference was, you could actually smell what you were seeing. I thought, surely this was what we would all have in the future. I was even more certain when the camera panned over a field of flowers, and later a rain storm in a forest. It felt like I was there. Then they switched to the wet dog on the beach. Let’s just say, some ideas are better in theory. I was just glad the dog was only running on the beach, and not stopping to do anything, or discovering a fire hydrant.

            Sometimes it’s fun to remember those fun days from school, or other youth adventures. Take a minute or two and try to remember some from your childhood. If you want, write them down. Who knows, maybe that could be the way you begin your own memoir.

Crystal’s Corner

            My first school was in Roseland in Chicago.  It was a red brick tall Victorian building surrounded by an iron fence.  We very rarely went on field trips.  I do remember going to Brookfield Zoo, probably in the spring.  My brother, who was two years older than me was also on the field trip with his class.  The teachers took us all over the zoo in groups.  It was very organized and we were told to stay with the group many times.  Of course, I stayed with my group.  I didn’t want to get in trouble or lost.  Brookfield Zoo is a huge place and as a child it was fascinating but also intimidating.  I was glad we were with the teachers, in groups.

            However, that wasn’t true of my brother, Larry and his friend, Georgie.  Georgie was very adventurous, and not one to care too much about rules.  My brother was more obedient, but when he was with Georgie, anything could happen.  In the afternoon, we piled into the buses.  I thought that Larry was with his group.  I think they were on a different bus.  Then I heard a teacher saying, “Has anyone seen Larry Carlson or Georgie Bailey?”  No one answers. 

            This made me very afraid, that the buses will leave without my brother and Georgie.  This was a very strict and crowded school.  Every class was filled to the maximum.  They ran out of books sometimes.  So, I believed they could just leave my brother and Georgie at the Zoo and not really care.  I wasn’t too happy with Georgie at this point, but his sister, Debra, was my best friend so I didn’t want him to be left at the zoo either.

            Finally, one of the boys said that they were in the reptile house, and didn’t leave with the rest of the group.  So, one of the teachers had to go to the reptile house to find them, and bring them back to the bus.             I am sure they were teased about that for days and days.  I don’t think I told my mom or dad about it.  My brother and I had a code; and we didn’t always tell about stuff that happened at school.  But I told him, when I had a chance, to never do that again.  He said he knew the school wouldn’t leave them at the zoo.  They liked the snakes and other reptiles, and didn’t want to be dragged to other places in the zoo.

            After we moved to Dolton, I am sure we did go on field trips.  They took us to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.  In 8th grade we had a choice to see the play “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” or see a White Sox game.  I wanted to see the play, but there were more boys than girls voting, and we ended up at the White Sox game.  It was a really hot sunny day and we were in the sun.  We were not very close to the infield, but we could see what happened at the game.  We brought our sack lunches.  I thought the whole thing was boring.  I didn’t go to another White Sox game until I went with Ron and his friends from work.

It was much more fun with Ron and his friends. I also had a few sips of really cold beer and Ron bought me a Chicago style hot dog with all the toppings and a big pretzel.  He was surprised that I got excited at the game when the White Sox were hitting the ball.  Carlton Fiske was my favorite player.  He was the catcher, but also a great hitter.  I wasn’t a sports fan before we got married, but I decided to take an interest so we could watch games together.  I found a player I liked on all the Chicago teams: Michael Jordan on the Bulls, Walter Payton on the Bears, etc.  Then I would get excited when my guys did anything great.  I picked some really good players. 

OK, this has nothing to do with field trips, only a trip to Oregon with my parents when I was about the same age. That was the first gun I ever shot, and the first goat I ever milked….I think she liked me.