Category Archives: Past, Present and Future

Stop the beeping!

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            I recently turned seventy, and have reminders everywhere. It’s not just old hips and knees, but an old brain. Once I was a go to guy for computer problems. Now my five- and seven-year-old granddaughters know more than I. I see them on their tablets becoming smarter by the second. It’s not only young people, it’s things. I recently rented a car on a trip. The car kept speeding up and slowing down on its own. Apparently, it thought I was too close to other cars. It also kept beeping at me (very annoying) and telling me to stay in the center of my lane. It was kind of like my father-in-law had taken control of my car. He was the most cautious driver I’ve ever known.

            At one time, I was a huge Trekkie. In some ways we’ve already advanced beyond their projections for the future. We are already past Captain Kirks flip phone, and our computers don’t have to say “computing” while they are thinking of answers. Answers are nearly instantaneous. Still a transporter would be nice, although quite impossible, breaking several rules of physics. Warp speed is still in question, with some of Einstein’s theories.

            I remember my first college computer science class. You went to the second floor of the computer science building and punched out instructions in computer language on cards. It took a stack of cards about 1/2 thick for the computer to calculate a salesman’s commission. Then you took that stack downstairs to the two full time computer operators. They would feed them into the IBM 365 when time permitted. The unit and auxiliaries took up almost the entire floor. Today’s smart phone has hundreds or thousands of times more capabilities and speed.

            Today advances are happening even faster. AI has been called a new “Industrial Revolution” for good reason. They will soon affect almost every industry, from engineering to medicine. I’m just worried that someday I’ll want to get into my home, and the computer door opener will say, ‘sorry Ron I can’t do that’ (2001 Space Odyssey reference}. When the computers do take over, I just hope one of the first changes is getting rid of Congress. As Spock would say, “It’s only logical”.

            But really, with technology advances happening so fast, how will human beings keep up? We are only able to advance at an evolutionary pace. The hope is that as advances happen, uses will become simpler, as opposed to more complicated. Dictation will take place instead of keyboards. Or computers will read our minds (scary thought). Already, brain implants are allowing quadriplegic patients to manipulate keyboards with their minds. The first picture in my mind when I think about that, is a man dictating a business letter to a colleague, when a pretty woman walks by. Dangerous, right!

            I’ll let you go now. I have to get back to remembering, which streaming service has my favorite show. As Spock would say, “fascinating”. Live long and prosper. 🖖

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).

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”.

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.


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            Through the years we have broached many marriage and family topics, and even some of historical significance. However, with the apparent rise in anti-Semitism and hate crimes, I feel compelled to give some perspective on one of the greatest travesties of the last century, the Holocaust.

As a child I grew up fairly isolated from relatives. I knew my dad’s brother, Max Meinstein, and my father’s Uncle Max and aunt Audrey. I just called them Tante and Uncle. They helped raise dad when he came to the US, before the War, and before his parents arrived.  

I was probably around eleven when we visited the home of dad’s his youth, Zirndorf, Germany. One of my few vivid memories was the local graveyard. There was a section dedicated to the Meinsteins and our relatives. Row after row of relatively small, unadorned headstones, dating back to the 1700s. Many of the older ones were illegible; washed clean by the years of wind and rain.

            Suddenly I had a real sense of history, of belonging, and roots. Years later it occurred to me that, during those early trips to Germany, my parents and I visited with my mother’s relatives and friends, but never my fathers. I thought it curious, but never enough to ask a question.

            I know in his job as a CIC operative, during and after the war, dad had many encounters with death camp survivors, NAZI criminals, and other first-hand witnesses of the horrors of the Holocaust. He mentioned only a few, which I included in our book. While he never shared details of other events, except that he was present at several camps after the war, I always sensed that, the experience had changed him.

            His view of Germany, the world, and even God were changed. As a child he witnessed his nation shift from common purpose nationalism, to political unrest and extremism (sound familiar?). The quiet neighborhoods, with neighbors helping neighbors, were slowly becoming more tense. Political debates were replacing peaceful coexistence. Tensions between political ideologies grew. Fights broke out. Different groups were named as scapegoats for the nation’s troubles.

            As fascism took hold, and Jews became the focus of Hitler and his followers, there became only two options. Jews could either leave the country, or lay low, hope and pray. Dad and his family did the former. Many of his relatives living in and around Zirndorf did as well. A number moved to different parts of America, from New York, to Michigan, to Florida, and Texas. Others moved to different countries. Israel and Africa are two of which I know.

            The latter group, who chose to stay, didn’t fare well at all. Our book documents eight of dad’s relatives, who were part of the six million Jews, killed as part of Hitler’s ethnic cleansing process. May we never forget and always remember those lost. ‘Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’

            So, what can we learn from this sad time? I have been fortunate enough in my life to meet at least some of my Jewish relatives. In my life, I have also been fortunate to see many parts of this great country, and to Europe several times. I have been with people of different races, religions and ethnicities. What I have found is that, every group has it’s good and bad, but we are all trying to get by the best we can. We love, and want what’s best for our children. Our beliefs are rarely original, but subject to our environments. In summary, people are just people.

            Until most of us acknowledge that, and start focusing on what we have in common, more than our differences, we are at risk. Until we realize that God loves all of us, we will continue to disappoint Him, and fail to fulfill His purpose for our lives. When He says to ‘love our neighbor as ourselves’ (Mark 12:31), He is talking about looking out for the wellbeing of all people (think Good Samaritan, Luke 10:29). Can you imagine a world where everyone believed that?

Dad’s soccer team in Zirndorf, Germany circa 1930 (the coach has his left hand on dad).

Crystal’s Corner Registration at Bradley University

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            I came to Bradley University as a Junior.  When I was in community college, we met with our advisor and they helped us make our schedule.  So, I would receive my classes in the mail, with all the information about two weeks before classes started.

            So, when I came to Bradley in August, I thought I would be receiving my schedule the same way, but instead I think I got a letter telling me to come to Bradley Hall to register.  Fortunately, my roommate Debra, was also a Junior and her fiancé had been at Bradley for two years.  He explained to us what was going to happen.  He also informed us that because we were Juniors, we would get into the classes we needed to graduate as Seniors. 

            Going into Bradley Hall that day was stepping into chaos.  There were tons of people standing in lines and wandering about.  I got into the first line for one of my classes pretty quickly, and was accepted into the class.  Then I went to the next line.  I don’t think very many of my lines were long.  I was mainly taking my English major classes.  I did have to take a Calculus class, and that was crowded.  So, I might have just gotten in line early.  I couldn’t believe that a school like Bradley could be so disorganized with registration.  It was such a prestigious school.  Of course, this is before the computer systems had taken over the paperwork that had to be dealt with at colleges.  I was just glad that I got through the process very quicky, without any problems.  Some of my friends had problems getting into the classes they needed, and had to adjust their schedules, and stand in more lines.  I did notice some students swearing as they were refused to be accepted in classes.

            I had not found APO yet, so I didn’t know that the students that were helping with registration were from APO.  I just knew that they were friendly, encouraging and helpful.  I thought that was nice.  I may even have seen Ron that day, but didn’t know him yet.

            I think God planned the way we met and got to know each other.  I had to establish myself at Bradley, and get used to being there before I met him.  I wasn’t ready yet.  Getting to know Debra and my friend, Paula, helped me to adjust.  I was very homesick at first, and had decided to stay at Bradley for about 6 weeks before I went home.  That was a long time for me, but I think it helped me to get settled.

Ron: Some things seem so fun, and even funny, when we look back on our lives. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have the funny stories, without having to go through the stuff? My sophomore year it took all of 8 hours to register. Sophomore were low on the totem pole.

I know this has nothing to do with Registration but I like it. Brandywine Falls near Cleveland (we were just there celebrating our 43rd anniversary}.


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            Ok, it’s time for a fun story, from the past. Because APO, our fraternity, did community service project throughout the whole school year, Bradley University’s administration loved us. We helped give the school a good name in the community, and beyond. Our reward was, they gave us more work.

            However, as opposed to our usual volunteer status, they paid us. It really wasn’t a lot of money, but it was nice to know we were appreciated. One of our jobs was helping out at registration.

Unlike today, where so much is done on line, back in the 1970s, everything was manual. You sat in a large auditorium, and the classes, which still had seating, appeared on a large screen. You would write down the classes and times you desired; then the fun would begin. As hapless students wandered back into the halls of the ivy-covered Bradley Hall building, they were directed. It was somewhat similar to cows being herded. They were directed from room to room to pay their various fees, and verify their class selections. Occasionally, by the time they got to the signup room a class had been filled. Then it was back to the auditorium to start over. Of course, if one class changed it might conflict with other classes. So those needed to be changed as well. By the end of the day, many students were wandering around in a daze.

That’s where we came in. We were the directors. Basically, we stood in the hallways on all three floors, and answered student’s questions, and helped to direct them to their next room. We also provided moral support, and some minor psychological therapy. We would say things like, ‘I know it seems impossible, but you can do it. Just one step at a time.’

I don’t know how it happened, but my first day on the job was assigned the most important job of the whole event. I made the coffee. I had never made coffee before. However, I quickly mastered the basics. Turn on the giant percolator. Water goes in the bottom, grounds in the basket, and push the on button. They were so impressed; I was assigned a primo post. It was on the third floor by the payment office. Since everyone needed to stop, all I needed to do was direct whoever made it that far into the office.

About the third day I had a brilliant idea. I used a table to block 2/3 of the hallway. Then I put up a sign on the room door at eyelevel, with a large arrow, saying everyone must stop here. Then I simply stood in back of the table and watched. I thought my plan was fool proof. However, in there dazed and confused state, I watched as about one out of every three college students simply dodged the table, and the sign, to walk past. I then caught and redirected them. I spent the rest of the day sitting on that table and pointing into the room.

Of course, when my time to register came, I don’t think I did much better. At least I knew that I had to stop in that room.

I got this picture of a couple of my fraternity “Little Sisters” working their assigned posts at Bradley registration. Ahh, don’t you miss the short skirts of the seventies?

Dad’s Germany

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            For me, writing our book was an act of love, a remembrance, a tribute to our parents and times long past. By the time I was nineteen I had visited Germany, and Europe four times. Dad was like the greatest tour guide ever. He drove around Europe, and spoke about its history, people and places as if it were his home, and he had never left.

            The red brick two floor, slate shingled building, on the Zirndorf cobblestone side street, looked so typical, and unremarkable. It had been, so many years earlier, the home of his youth. The graveyard, in the same town, served as a reminder of things past. I had previously, no idea about the depth of our family’s heritage, or how deeply German we were. I walked all the way back, in the section dedicated to our family, until the tiny (by American standards) headstones were illegible from weathering (around the 1700s).

            Even as I scribed, to the best of my abilities, his accounts of his youth, I could barely imagine what it must have been like. I was thirteen once; a spoiled, carefree, all American boy. At thirteen, he was torn from his small-town home, and sent, alone, to a foreign land, to Chicago, to live with relatives, until his parents came a few years later.

            Even as he assimilated well, there was a certain irony about his story. His return during WW2 must have been extremely difficult. He would be fighting a fight, which he knew had to be fought. However, he would also be fighting against some of the friends of his youth, members of his old soccer team, family acquaintances, teachers, etc.

            Even as he mouthed dirty krauts, and other derogatory wartime slurs, he knew better. I remember a 1985 song by Sting, “Russians”, where he asserts, ‘there is no such thing as a winnable war. Mothers love their children’, no matter what the politicians do. We are all, basically the same, at least in God’s eyes.

            I never thought about that, as I cheered for John Wayne, and the rest of the Green Barats, as they killed all of those Krauts on the silver screen.

            Even as it was his job to interrogate German prisoners, dad spoke, with some pride about those prisoners, drafted to service, who hated the war, and what their homeland had become.

            Sadly, these days, as our own country seems similarly divided, I am concerned. There is a saying; ‘those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it’. Also, ‘those who stand for nothing will fall for anything’.

            America was founded on principles of freedom and democracy for all. That is what our fathers fought to protect. What seems lost today is, we aren’t always going to agree with each other, but we need to respect those who disagree. I think that’s what is missing today, in politics, and on the streets of our country, mutual respect. I’m certain, if they were still here, our parents would have agreed.

            Someone once said, “love your neighbor as you love yourself”. I’m sure I heard that somewhere?

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We want to thank you in advance! Have a blessed day.

Dad’s youth soccer team Germany circa 1930: Coach’s left hand on dad.



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            I believe I have a somewhat unique perspective when it comes to the racial protests and rioting occurring currently. Peaceful protest is a right and privilege given to us by our ancestors and protected by our constitution. The violence is not. However, I feel like I’ve been here before.

            I didn’t understand in the 1960s, when race riots were occurring. Being from an all-white community, I never had any relations with non-white individuals. All I knew was that everyone was supposed to be equal. After all, it had been 100 years since all of that had been solved. I didn’t understand when I heard Dr. King and others speak. He seemed so passionate, but why? When friends, who also had never been with non-whites used the N word or other racial slurs, I didn’t get it. I suppose they were parroting their parents. My parents, being German, and my father also of Jewish decent, knew a little bit about prejudice. I was raised to consider each individual separately.  To this day I am very grateful.

            If you are still reading, consider this. What is the most important commandment? Jesus believed it was to Love God with all you are. The second is to Love you neighbor as yourself. Who is your neighbor?

            When I went to college I was exposed, for the first time, to a variety of cultures. While in the seventies, there was still some tension, it never got bad on campus. I made an amazing discovery. Every person of another race or ethnicity, who I interacted with, through classes, the dorms, socially or sports was unique. Almost everyone with whom I spent significant time, I got along with, and found mutual interests. They were just people, fellow students, trying to better themselves.

            When I got out of college, my first job, as a chemist, was on the south side of Chicago, in a not so nice area. Stores were in cages; fast food was handed through carousels in bullet proofed glass. Murders, street violence, and drugs were not uncommon. Most of our plant was black as was the neighborhood.

I was lucky to find some really great people working there. Some became close friends. They cared about me and I them. We often ate together, went to parties, played sports, and watched games together. They also told me who I could trust, and people and areas I needed to avoid.

People in the neighborhood also treated us well. One day, when another chemist and I hit a few tennis balls at lunch, in a nearby park, a nice older lady brought out some lemonade and talked to us for a while. Another time, when I accidentally plowed my car into a snow drift, a group of kids who were off for a snow day, grabbed shovels and dug me out.

The point is simple; people are people. Some are good, and as my mother-in-law used to say, ‘some must have had a rough life’ (her excuse when people acted badly).

My skin is a little darker than Crystal’s, but I don’t think she holds that against me. Jesus was probably much darker skinned than most pictures depict him. We are all God’s creations. We are all the neighbors we were instructed to love.

No, I didn’t get it fifty years ago, but now I do. Sadly, not enough has changed. But I am ever hopeful. The answer is not in violence or vengeance, but in change of hearts and acceptance. So, continue to peacefully protest injustice, advocate for right and justice, and be tolerant of those who are different but peaceful. Be the good Samaritan. Live and let live.

We’ve learned to fly the air like birds, we’ve learned to swim the seas like fish, and yet we haven’t learned to walk the earth as brothers and sisters. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black. Robert Kennedy

A nation divided against itself can not stand.        Abraham Lincoln quoting Jesus

June 6th 2020 Coshocton Ohio Courthouse square – There is hope.