Southern California is many things to many people. A continuous influx of new people, new ideas, new interests, and different life styles creates a mind-boggling diversity. This story covers the life of an individual who is part of that diverse mosaic - an East Coast transplant who comes to Southern California by way of the US Marine Corps and San Diego.
This book is a chronology of indelible memories that begin with family life in the depression thirties and the early-on impact of Catholicism from elementary school to mid-college. It provides a unique insider's view of life in a near monastic setting when the author, at age 15, commits himself to a religious order. Leaving the order in mid-college, he joins another highly disciplined organization - the United States Marine Corps where, as both an enlisted man and officer, he sheds the earlier mold of the religious life. After military service, years of mainstream jobs follow including city halls, county government, and aerospace - all blended with a heavy dose of politics and teaching. His engagement with entrepreneurial undertakings follows with responses to critical needs such as jobs for displaced aerospace engineers when space programs are cutback, creation of a charter school to meet the need for better public schools, and his expansion of academic programs to engage older Americans in mentally stimulating and life enhancing learning experiences. All these experiences are couched within the context of events that highlighted each decade.
This multifaceted career takes its toll on a marriage of thirty years whose continuity has been sustained in large measure through a family- shared hobby of dancing. But even dancing can't hold together the strains put on a marriage by a roller coaster life of continuous change. Divorce and the premature death of 3 of 4 children mar a life absorbed with programs designed to benefit the community. Despite these losses, the author continues to lead, teach, and dance.
This book reflects so many facets of southland life that many readers, especially long time residents of Southern California, will identify with one or more aspects - the military, former aerospace workers, city workers, teachers, and the retirement community. It provides a unique overview of Southern California's dance scene especially in the Los Angeles-Orange County-San Bernardino/Riverside, and San Diego areas. Dancing has long been central to the author's family - ballroom, country, folk, and swing. The hobby continues to fuel the author's energy and pleasure.
To those in or about to enter the expanding ranks of America's seniors, the author sets an example of an age-impervious effort to enhance a community's learning resources. His current efforts involve formation of a senior think tank whose analyses of current events will be shared with schools and the community.