The Amateur Eye – Lessons learned

At the foot of my mom and father memory chats, etc.  I was born in 1938 and by age three America had gotten involved in a great world conflict against the Axis powers of Germany, Italy and Japan.  The allies had to face not only a gruesome foe on the field of battle across the world both on land and sea and air but especially here in the USA– a very powerful undercurrent of German sympathizers having both secretive spying going on as well as acceptance because of our granted Constitutional Rights for public pockets of American haters who cherished their homeland roots especially coming from German influence.  So being watchful was really the only thing Americans could rightly do.

Mom was well educated. Father was a WWI vet and with a very artistic photoengraving career and music background.  They taught me to read very young and my brothers and sister all shared in this learning environment.  In those memorable times, we met many families and shared longtime friendships. Sunday group picnics was common to avoid hunger among the community. Sharing was utmost in all minds.

Since starting my blog I wrote of my age 3-6 period describing a bit of one’s childish memories that absorbed my every being. I was thought to be very smart and mature for one so young.  I was a leader among my chums.  I had always felt that during the summer school break the school had hired a youth summer teacher.  She espoused a strong favoritism with me and when I think about it even today, I recall having suspicions of her patriotism.  She was constantly talking up the reading of the war maps in the newspaper and how we felt about the conflict.  Per father and mom I was told never to discuss anything about the nature of what our family thoughts were and this was rather commonly brought up at our playground sessions.  Still, I liked the lady and simply avoided discussions about family.  We played war games, actually raiding the trains as I commented previously amid the dangers of actually kids climbing on the moving troop and ammo trains going through Ithaca.  Lets face it.  It was great fun and God only knows how we managed to avoid getting into real trouble if caught.  As I said, it was great fun and I think we wanted to experience the dangers that our older kin were engaged across the world.  My  brother Ray was training troops in Florida and later Fort Benning, Georgia which made me very proud of his service and patriotism.  Maybe this had much to do with my own participation in these endeavors.

Oh, I was occasionally spanked by father who stuck a comic book in my butt before bringing on the punishment which mom insisted was father’s duty. Tears would come to both their eyes and even my brothers and sister tried to console me after the punishment was rendered.  Father used to wink at me for our little secret.

It was happy times for children in general, I think. But mom was always worried because of my generalship of kids in war.  She hated war and did not like Ray in the military per se.  She was so scared that she took me to a carnival that came to Ithaca and had my palm and life read by a gypsy who told mom that I was going to lead great armies someday which brought us home rather quickly.  I was drafted but never became a general so I guess maybe the only thought this gypsy saw in her globe ball was that I was destined to lead armies across the 64 squares.

Of course I have related the great tales and adventures with my pal Roberta.  She was a true blue friend and we had lots of adventures together a little like Mark Twain might write about.  These are contained within my huge web file.

My life suddenly changed–like father taking a job in a new city; it really left me quite despondent because Ithaca, East Hill, was the only real connection to my life up to then.  I was really not happy living in Rochester.  The environment was totally foreign to me.  I think it was the nature of youth controlling neighborhood blocks by kids and teenage gangs.  Well, at ages 6-8 (latter part of 6) I only remember two very dangerous incidents. One was my pal Joey was always being beat on my this ruffian down the block. He could run very fast and mostly avoided the much heavier foe. But I said to him: “Why do you fear him so?” Of course I was not familiar at all with black eyes or bloody noses.  I told him to stand his ground and when this kid came up to us and began to badger Joey, I told him to get lost. Joey took off for home and he went for me.  I beat him up because my grandfather on visits to Ithaca taught me to box.  I left him on the ground and started to turn away to go home also.  He picked up a brick and was about to throw it at me when a lady working in her garden let out a scream. I turned and got a glancing blow off my shoulder and I took after him all the way to his back porch where he screamed for his mother’s aid.  Well, to make short work of this, I told her what her son had done and she chased me away and said she was calling my parents after I gave her my name and address.  Mom came right away and said she never remembers Donnie ever fighting with anyone.  A neighbor woman came over having seen mom coming and spoke on my behalf.  His mother got the truth then from him and she said in modern terms: “You’re grounded young man permanently and you will see further punishment when your father gets home.”  Was it save face in light of the lies he told?  Maybe.  But he never bothered little Joey anymore.

My mom and I found a kitten terribly burned around the face.  She caught this Italian kid with a small fire over which he was trying roast this kitten.  He had tied it up over the fire by the tail and meant to kill it of course.  I never saw mom so angry and she grabbed him by the nap of his neck and we dowsed the flame by kicking away the small twigs.   The kid started to cry when she severely scolded and shook the life nearly out of him. But then something strange happened. She took him in her arms and talked to him.  I don’t know what she said.  But whatever it was seemed to change the spirit from one of anger to one of heavy tearing as he calmed down.  He just looked at her and lay on the ground kicking amid many tears and whimpers.  He accompanied us into the kitchen and helped her give care to the kitten.  Then he left.

But that was not my second story.  One day my teenage brother George who liked girls (he was so handsome and she attracted them like flies with her flirtations) was lying on the ground being beat on by one gang member of teenage ruffians who had knocked Georgie down and I saw red.  I ran on the porch, grabbed my baseball bat and ran into the circle threatening to hit him with it.  They went to grab me and the leader, who just happened to be the kid mom got after jumped in and told them to leave me alone.  “I like that kid. He was willing to die for his brother.  Anybody who ever touches him now or ever will answer to me.” I still think of the threat that came with those words after all these years. As it turned out, his girl was just trying to make her boyfriend jealous and tempted Georgie with her pretty face and charm.

Well, the story doesn’t exactly end there either.  Years later I learned that this bad boy became a police officer, detective and good citizen.  I don’t know what mom might have done to bring about this end of this tale but I always felt that she did much in that little space of talking time, altered this kid’s whole demeanor and life.  Maybe the Lord had something to do with it, too.  His later conduct surely advanced such change.  I learned one thing if nothing more from all this: Words have meaning and strength to alter and enrich our lives when given careful thought in love and to smother out hatred from our vocabulary.

My sister was not free of harassment either.  A young mafia pretend boss was always after her while she walked to school.  She ignored his advances.  He was so angry that he put a barrel of leaves he set on fire and placed on our porch which was a double house. Luckily our neighbor quickly threw it outdoors and no damage resulted.  I told Nino who was the kid who mom in Christian love saved I believe said he was going to talk to the fellow and that she needed not be frightened anymore.

What are the things that really matter in life?  I know the Bible does.  I know the truth of the Ten Commandments.  I know the history and record of our Father’s Son on earth and both He  and army of Disciples who give us guidance until Jesus comes again as promised in the Holy Book.  But mostly I see it in the character of people like my parents who in just sometimes the simplest of lives, lend credence to the evolution of thought, character, and individualism.  The beauty of American culture is a heritage of the great thing called freedom.  Yes!! Let us keep it ringing in our great Land forever.

The alternative, the very enemy of what I hold true–atheism lives and must be ever held in jail being kin to communism and the fakeness of socialism as viewed by many politicians today as in the past, and likely to continue into the future.  It necessitates our constant check like in chess whenever it raises it’s ugly head.  It lives and breathes as a Satanic religion.  It is a deadly poison for our very being human.

God Bless and safeguard our President Trump and all who seek the freedoms granted in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.  Perhaps I should add it for those who practice and follow the richness and truisms of the Ten Commandments.  God Bless Us Everyone.  Thank you Tiny Tim.

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