My friend Richie Escovedo, who also is a school communications/PR guy here in Texas, had a pretty cool post on his Web site today with a link to Facebook. The topic: Seven Things You Don't Know About Me.
His seven things are pretty funny. I don't know that I can be as comical, but here is a try:
1. My first public speaking opportunity came in 1976 when I was 10 years old. Out school put together a Bicentennial program involving the flags of the United States. I did the research for the opening comments of the show and presented them. At this moment, I can still remember the glare of the lights and the sensation of walking out in front of the parents, etc. of the program in my Cub Scouts uniform and delivering my speech. At the end of the program, when we got to the flag with 50 stars, I came back out with a classmate and delivered that talk as well. In a safe place, I still have those felt flags we made back in 1976. This was at Leo P. McDonald Elementary School at K.I. Sawyer Michigan.
2. As a child, I wanted to do nothing more than be a pilot. In fact, I went to sleep most nights with thoughts of flying an airplane in a youth air force in a plane that I'd helped fashion using yet-to-be invented by me technology, where the plane was powered by electromagnetic energy and polarizing against the earth's magnetic fields–thereby making my plane FAST. As you know, the earth has magnetic fields. So my thinking, even as a 10-year-old kid was that you could make an engine in a plane that would put off the opposite charge of the respecitve magnetic field you were in, much like what happens when you try to push two magnets together at their same ends. I've flown more fictional Cold War era missions into the USSR than I can count.
3. In the first grade in Kansas at McConnell AFB in Wichita, I dressed up one day with a blue shirt on, and taped all over my shirt were various U.S. Air Force insignia. At one point in the day, I went to the bathroom to take them all off. I can remember my teacher talking to another teacher and laughing, but not in a harmful way. They thought it was cute. Of course, at that age with my toadstool mop, I was.
4) In Mrs. Reid's eighth grade newspaper class at Mitchell Middle School in Atwater, CA in 1979, I got an F on a paper and a D in the class because she wanted us to write a fictional short story for the class and I refused to do so–after all, we were in a NEWSPAPER class and supposed to be presenting the facts, not making them up. My "short story" became a news account of how we weren't supposed to be writing fiction in a newspaper class. She gave me an F on the paper, but I didn't waiver on my belief that it was the wrong thing to be doing.
5) I didn't know my dad had been shot down in an Air Force Huey Green Hornet unit helicopter in Viet Nam until about 6 years after it happened. We were in Indiana, passing through on our way from Michigan back to California and Grandma Claxton said one day as we were getting out of the car, "You remember that time when your dad quit writing your mom every day because he'd been shot down…." Uh, remember what? Dad never has talked about that. Even with my 20 questions that followed. I found his incident report years later in his papers in our shed out back in Alabama. They were flying low over the jungle one day, he saw something and immediately began to bank the chopper. As he did, both of his door gunners got shot and cut in half by the shells. One shot went between my dad's legs and up through the ceiling of the aircraft. They crashed, but he was able to destroy the radios in the chopper and thankfully, another chopper swooped down and picked him up.
6) I got up one Christmas morning in 1970 while we were back in Indiana and dad was off to the war, and my late Grandma Sheptak says I walked out into the living room, looked at the tree, didn't see what I want and said, "No Bike!" And turned around and went back to my room.
7) In Kansas in 1971, we were staying in a small house before moving into base housing at McConnell AFB and my brother and I came running from down the street because we thought we were hearing fire crackers. As we raced toward my dad, I remember yelling, "We want to see the firecrackers!" He scooped us up and got us inside. As we were taken inside, I remember seeing my neighbor trying to get into his car kinda jumping into the air with one leg up as his wife stood at the front door shooting at him. She'd caught him fooling around on her and she'd met him at the door with a gun. I remember being sent to our rooms with the window shades closed so that we couldn't see the police cars. They found the guy about an hour or so later in a grocery parking lot, having been shot in the leg.
I could go on, but this will do for today. Tell the world seven things it doesn't know about you. This has been fun.