Sunday, December 28, 2008

Twenty-Five Years Ago

I looked back into my work life a quarter century ago to December 1983.  I found myself on the front row, second from the left in an archived photo taken at a service awards luncheon.  I was recognized for 10 years. Others were honored for up to thirty years in increments of five.

My age was 36.  My wife was home with our son whose age was 8 and our daughter who was 6. The group in the photo probably represented 15 to 20 percent of the corporate staff for the company where I was employed.  My job was exciting. The future was bright and a look at my profile on this blog shows, in part, how my future turned out - up to the present.

Now my days are in high school classrooms as a substitute teacher.  I retired from my career job three years ago and changed direction. Instead of pursuing retirement time with adults, I turned to teenagers.  I believe my future is equally as bright today as it was twenty-five years ago.  I believe the future for teenagers and other young people will be filled with exciting opportunities.

Twenty-five years from now, it will be 86 years after my year of birth. I am excited about what lies ahead and hope I can help make the future years positive.

Click on the photo to see if you recognize my former colleagues. Click on the documents below to see a list of their names and the logo for the company where I worked.

Where were you in the twelfth month of eighty-three?

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Home for the Holidays

One hundred forty-eight combat wounded marines and soldiers received checks last week at Camp Lejeune and Fort Bragg to cover transportation costs to their homes for the holidays. 

These active duty patriots are recovering from combat wounds received while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.  The checks came from donations made by citizens to the Military Order of the Purple Heart. MOPH is a service organization whose membership consists mostly of combat wounded veterans from WWII forward.  A women's auxiliary is also part of the organization.

Check amounts ranged from $300 to $1,559 to each of 61 marines and 87 soldiers.  The amount was dependent upon the distance to their homes.  The total amount hasn't been tallied, but will exceed $50,000.  Our local Chapter 638 contributed over $1,200 which represented money raised from donations by members and non-member citizens in the five county area.

The picture above shows Patriot Jim Casti dispersing checks.  Jim is the program organizer for the Wounded Warrior Christmas Leave Project in North Carolina. 

State Commander Patriot Jesse Torres is in the next photo.  Both Jesse and Jim were wounded in Vietnam combat and understand the experiences of today's wounded warriors.

I thank the readers of my blog who contributed to Chapter 638 which helped this cause.  

Read the letter below which further explains the program.

Click on the letter to enlarge it.  Their address is under the name if you wish to contribute.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What Do You See and Feel?

These four pictures were taken along the parade route in Mount Airy, North Carolina on December 7, 2008.

The hometown of Andy Griffith is located thirty miles north of Winston-Salem along the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountain range.  The parade route started at the Veterans of Foreign Wars facility on W. Lebanon Street and proceeded to Main Street where a right turn took us into downtown.  The total route was about a mile long with spectators on both sides of the street.

Our Military Order of the Purple Heart float was near the front of the procession.  I joined fellow members of Chapter 638 on the float and took these pictures. The photos show views as seen through my eyes.

I looked at the spectators and saw people young and old waving. Some mothers assisted their babies with an arm movement, many children and adults waved or gave a "thumbs-up" sign. An occasional man saluted us as we passed while some women shouted the words "thank you"!

As I watched these townspeople, I thought about the economic situation in the Mt. Airy area. I reflected upon the recent months and years of news about the high rate of job layoffs in factories that made socks, knit shirts, or sweaters. Some factories are closed permanently. Most jobs were sent "offshore" for reasons of costs and profits. Offshore profits that swelled executive bonuses and lowered costs which kept prices low in some retail stores.  (In theory, investors in common stock prospered also.  We all know how those investments paid off.)

I wondered about our past ideals and institutions of governance. Our institution of capitalism became unbridled and allowed unethical and greedy people to put other people out of work. Many who lost jobs were patriots with ten or twenty-plus years of devoted service to their employer. Now many can't afford the goods and services even at the low prices.

Somehow, it just doesn't feel right to me.  How does it feel to you?

Have a good week!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Credit Crunch

"Take the panic of 1907, a bad year for for the entire United States. The fall of the Knickerbocker Trust Company in New York caused a panic that affected cities everywhere, including Atlanta.  In Atlanta, the Neal Bank, which had been in business since 1887, fell and more than nine-thousand depositors stood to lose their savings.  That is until in stepped Asa Candler, president at the time of both The Coca-Cola Company and the recently reorganized Central Bank and Trust Company."

This quote is taken from pages 108 and 109 in the book The Real Ones by Elizabeth Candler Graham and Ralph Roberts published by Barricade Books, Inc. in 1992.

Asa Griggs Candler, born in 1851, started the company after buying into the fountain drink business in an Atlanta drug store where he worked.  The story of this man, his family, the times, and the drink are documented in this book by family descendants.  Asa Candler, in 1888, jump-started a medicinal and refreshing drink that later became Classic Coke and The Coca-Cola Company.

The economy in 1907 was similar to ours in 2008 but on a smaller scale.  People were losing jobs, home prices were declining and homeowners were losing their homes. Asa Candler backed the bank in Atlanta, bought a million dollars worth of homes around the city at market value during the panic, sold the houses to buyers of modest means at a low down payment, and financed them for ten years at a low interest rate.  His method became a model for the FHA program that would later be adopted by the United States.  The recession of 1907 lasted around one year.

Our problems in the economy today are enormous compared to the economy of 101 years ago. The global markets of trade, debt, politics, investments, news, and information make our problems today harder to solve.  Solutions will involve more than the actions of a few wealthy individuals.

Have a good week!