Friday, November 30, 2007

The Aloha Kid

The chronology of the photos will be wandering from now on, since it is so difficult to pin down exact dates. This one, though, was taken on a tip to Hawaii with my parents in 1962. I look happy. I was.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Friends and Family

The years blur, so I'm not sure exactly when this was taken...before or after I left for the Navy. But here is Russ Hogan, my best friend from college, long-time family friend Marg Scott, with my folks and I at our 1720 School Street house in Rockford (the house in which my mom was born, btw). How can I be the only person in the picture still alive?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Two Grads

My two graduations...high school and college...were six years apart, but only the flick of an eye when looking back. Sorry the college photo with Aunt Thyra was damaged. I treasure every photo I have of her.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mother and Child Redux

From the moment I joined the Navy, I was away from home more than I was there. I lived at home during college breaks,and tried to get home weekends whenever I could, as in this 1957 photo with my mom on Hutchins Ave. Dad, as usual, was behind the camera.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Time, time, time.....

The feeling of love, and of being part of a family, is truly priceless, and this photo, taken in 1951 or 1952 with my ousin Jack, his wufe Veda, and my beloved Aunt Thyra and Uncle Buck show it clearly. Uncle Buck died in 1953, Aunt Thyra in 1975 or 1978, but Jack and Veda are still major anchors to the past. Veda has never forgotten my birthday in nearly 60 years. That alone, to me, defines the word "family."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Backing Up a Bit

So many photos, it's impossible to keep them all in chronological order. Backing up a bit here, it's Christmas, 1951 or 1952 at my folks' home at 2012 Hutchins Ave.,Rockford, IL. And Stormy and I are sharing a little quality time.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Holding Court

Another college-gang-at-the-lake shot, and another sadly forgotten name, made the more frustrating because I knew these people: they all were my friends. How can one forget the names of friends? I remember Louise Emenheiser, behind me, and Ken Swanson to my left. But why can't I remember the girl to my right? She was a good friend. Shame on me!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Why Some?

Though I like to think of my memory as being sharper than this cottage sleepover photo from 1957, I am ashamed to realize that names fade over the years. The fact that I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the guy here with me and Dee D'Isa disturbs me: especially since I can't imagine I could forget someone so good looking, on whom I undoubtedly would have had a crush.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Have I mentioned how much I loved college? Here I am with part of the gang at a sleepover at my folks' cottage last weekend. (What? It wasn't last weekend? It was 1957? You could have fooled me!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Old College Gang

College is friends and fun, and I loved every minute of it. I had a "gang" of friends mostly revolving around the drama and English departments. Here a group of us are at my folks' cottage in 1957, though for some reason I look like a teenager again. But then, I've always felt like one.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Civilian Life

Released from the Navy in August of 1956--an honorable discharge, in case you were wondering--I returned to college (newly renamed Northern Illinois University)in September. I was, as indicated by the look on my face while greeting an old friend at the Gilbert Hall dorm, glad to be back.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Athens Redux

A cropped version of this photo of Lloyd Meyers and I at the Acrpolis appears on the cover of my Dick Hardesty Mystery, "The Paper Mirror." The fact that the Navy does not look kindly on homosexuals within its ranks kept both it and Lloyd (who was hopelessly straight) from knowing how I felt about him.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

All Roads....

There are, on reflection, worse things than spending 8 months on an aircraft carrier in the Mediteranean. I took advantage of a group trip to Rome in January 1956. and the memories it provided are priceless. The group posed in St. Peter's Square before going in to an audience with Pope Pius. I'm the one kneeling in the right corner.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sea Change

The U.S.S. Ticonderoga (CVA-14) became my new home when, in August of 1955, I left the Naval Aviation Cadet program: they wanted to get rid of me, and I wanted to go. I had become, quite seriously, convinced that if I stayed in the NavCads, I'd be killed. The details, again, are in my A World Ago blog ( ). And thus a new chapter of my life began.

Friday, November 16, 2007


I wrote a poem (it's in my Chapbook) once, in which I said that I was my father's sun. He was so proud of me, and I'm sure it hurt him when I later left the NavCads without getting my wings. That story, too, is all in my A World Ago blog.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

And the Band Plays On

Being in the Naval Aviation Cadet Band was one of the highlights of my life, and after all these years, every time I hear a march that we played, I'm swept with the thrill and pride of being part of it, and in my head and my heart, Im still marching.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Recherche du temps perdu

We very seldom wore our dress whites, but they sure made us look snazzy. Who WAS this kid? And why do I miss him so?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"Are You an Admiral?"

This rather grainy shot was taken in a photo booth in New Orleans, where I went on a three day pass over Labor Day, 1954. Two little boys approached me, obviously impressed by the uniform, and one said: "Are you an admiral?" "Not yet," I replied.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Anchors Aweigh!

At the end of my sophomore year I left college to join the Naval Aviation Cadet program. The above was taken with my grandmother, Gertrude Ameely, and her husband, Al, on Christmas leave, 1954. I was already working on my letters home journal, which resulted in my A World Ago blog,

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today is my mom's birthday. She was born Odrae Lucille Fearn on November 11, 1909, and would be 98 years old today, had she not died of smoking-caused lung cancer on September 9, 1971 at the age of 62. I wish you could have known her as I did. I still miss her. I always will.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Play Time 3

Oh, youth! Yossel Neiman and I dressed to the nines in the period piece, Berkeley Square. The word "fop" comes immediately to mind. But hey, I was 20 years old and having an absolutely wonderful time. I apologize that the close up came out larger than I intended.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Play Time 2

Have I mentioned I loved college? Here's another shot with some of the cast of Berkeley Square, during my sophomore year, 1953, and it saddens me that the only person in the photo whose name I can recall (other than my own) is Yossel Neiman, right.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Play Time

I'm wobbling a bit on chronology, and this photo probably was taken before the NavCad application shot posted yesterday. But nonetheless, without doubt, my college years were among the happiest of my life. Here I am with the cast of Barkley Square, 1953. Dear Lord, how could so many years have passed since then? I want them back!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Mugshot 2: Off to the Navy

This is the photo which accompanied the papers I submitted for acceptance to the Naval Aviation Cadet program at the end of my sophomore year, 1954. The G.I. Bill, which offered financial support for college, was being cut off in January of 1955, so I decided to join up to take advantage of it for my last two years. I entered the program in August of 1954.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

College Man 2

Off to college, on my own for the first time, I peer happily out the window of my room at the then-recently built Gilbert Hall men's dormatory at Northern Illinois State Teacher's College. When I returned to NIU in 1999, I found Gilbert Hall--once surrounded by expansive green lawns--is an office building cheek-to-jowel with 400 other buildings. It is true one can't go back again, but it hurts to realize it.

Monday, November 5, 2007

College Man

In September of 1952 I enrolled as a freshman at Northern Illinois State Teachers College (now Northern Illinois University) in DeKalb, Illinois. I had no intention of becoming a teacher, but I could not afford to go to my first-choice school, Northwestern. The NISTC student body numbered, I believe, around 2,500. Today, NIU has far in excess of 25,000. I vastly preferred it the way it was.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Punk Days

I really have no idea when this photo was taken or why, but I rather expect to see a police blotter number under it. Terrible when I can't remember. I suspect it may have had to do with my application to the Naval Aviation Cadet program in 1954, which means we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves here. But, hey, I saw it and decided to use it now. Okay with you?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Future LIes Ahead

High School graduation photo? Already? Good Lord, but the time flies! I've been trying to keep these in somewhat chronological order, but have missed many. Anyway, you'll note the clip-on bow tie (I am nothing if not debonair) and the happy smile, brought on mainly by my finally getting the hell out of high school. So many adventures lie ahead. Bring 'em on!

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Mills of Time

The mills of time slowly grind us away, day by day, year by year. This photo, taken probably the same day as the one in "To the Manor Born" since the same Christmas tree appears in both shots, was taken when we were living for a short while, again, in Loves Park, around 1950.
You look at these people and probably have no idea of who they actually were as individual human beings. You never spent time in their company, heard their voices, or their laugh, or felt the comfort of being part of them. But I do, still.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Oh, Family!

The four most important people in my life were...and still mother, my father (as usual taking the photo), Aunt Thyra, and Uncle Buck (Fearn), here with me and Grandpa Fearn and cousin Judi, somewhere around 1950. Even today, nearly sixty years later, my chest aches for them.