Feb 28th 2017 by dcretiree • 14 Questions • 367 Points
I was quite sure my AMA from 6 months ago would be my last for two reasons. First, at my age, you never know when the Grim Reaper might appear. But, more likely, I felt that after answering 1,000 questions, there would be no more. Yet the young people of Reddit truly surprised me with 1,000 more. I had the time of my life – really – responding to all manner of queries: so thoughtful, relevant, studious and often meaningful to me and (hopefully, my answers) to the questioners. And so (as jazz artist Count Basie said with his classic ending of “April in Paris,” One more once! PROOF
My life in brief:
Born lower middle class in San Antonio in 1925
Public school grades 1-11
Joined Marine V-12 program in 1943, but was spared deployment to Japan by the atomic bomb
After the war earned three degrees in Illinois and Michigan through the G.I. Bill
Spent my working years in education, teaching from kindergarten to university level - but the most meaningful work as as a junior high school principal in an inner city school for 15 years
Moved to Washington, DC for retirement after my wife passed away
And I'll preempt two of the most frequent (and interesting) questions I get:
On my attitude towards DEATH: I was amazed that people felt so deeply about it. Yet my honest response was that it's a subject that I've given almost no thought to it – and never have. It's something that I can do nothing – or little – about so why worry? And I generally added that I that see my life as a (beautiful?) flower that remains that way for some time, and then, when life no longer has meaning, returns to the earth.
How I've maintained my health: 1. Lifelong support of a caring family and friends. 2. Continued interaction with young people throughout my life. 3. Enough income to satisfy my somewhat simple wants and needs but not so much that I worry about the accumulation of wealth. 4. The help of a supportive, caring government. 5. A positive outlook on life, and 6. Satisfying and meaningful employment.
I will do my best to answer every single question! Should there be another deluge of questions, it could take me the full six months, as it did previously, to answers them all. I use a weekly blog to share some of my thoughts so I'd encourage you to "tune into my (usually) weekly blog at
You'll not only find the status of my responding, but also to learn more of my attempts to reflect on 90+ years of living.
Hi Grandpa! It's Jake. Here's a question for you: What was the biggest challenge you and Regina faced raising a family?
Oh my, is there nothing sacred in my family? Must I disclose all of my – and my wife's – peccadilloes? My first thought (and safest answer) was the difficulty in leaving an idyllic lifestyle in Ann Arbor with children loving their elementary, junior high and to a lesser degree, high school and moving to Washington DC (where we only stayed a year). But since I am pledged to honesty, further deeper thought reminds me of several aspects of the cultural change in lifestyle – particularly having our offsprings cohabitating before they were married. But how utterly wonderful has been the result. One is never too old to learn!
My grandpa died 2 years ago. He also joined in 1943.. the air force. He had no flying experience, and his training was literally getting in the plane, and told what the joystick does. His instructor flew with him the first few rounds, and then he practiced on his own... always flying around flag poles. He told me the instructor never thought he was any good at it.
But he also was spared deployment because of the bomb. He ended up getting a job as an artist for soup cans and buying a house, getting married and had a few kids.
I know all of this because I stayed with him the last few years of his life due to his failing health. It was rough, but I got to know him better than I ever had.
So, my question to you is, can you believe how much the world has changed since then? And, how do you view today's wars going forward, in comparison? I am asking this in the context that it must have been scary to not know which way the entire world was going to end up in 1943... and I feel that way today where it seems like the world is going to change significantly in the next 50 years, and I am not sure it's for the better.
Yours is indeed a heartwarming message. Thanks. How fortunate your grandfather had you around to help. I feel the same way with a grandson now living here in DC who has helped me with my "blog problems". I'm curious, where did your grandfather get his flight training? San Antonio?
Indeed the world is tremendously different from the much more simple, slow-paced confident "small" world in which he and I grew up. While there were dire times during the war (I particularly felt this when Hitler and Stalin join forces in an alliance), I never really recall being scared. There was a confidence that good would win over evil.
I believe that this resulted in our truly believing in the truth of American exceptionalism! In spite of our slow progress toward justice for all I've always felt this way – until now. I am dismayed that Trump was able to find at least 40% of Americans ready to follow his type of leadership that renounces so much of what I believe it.
However I am heartened. I believe that young people and women are finding their voice and that with patience and determination the next 50 years can even be better.
Interesting that your grandfather and I shared so much of the same – including being spared by the bomb. I was getting ready to invade Japan.
hahaha 'America first' 'keep American culture alive' 'working with Russia to keep peace between our nations' 'America is a christian nation'
god, what a joke.
I hope you saw my response – I truly feel it important that we have meaningful dialogue rather than deprecating a person with a different idea than ours