Friday, April 27, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Home Doggy Dog"

I have arrived back in the area for a few days.  Posts will resume next Tuesday.  My buddy Stewart says I will be "Home Doggy Home" and I will attempt to squeeze in a month in 6 days.  My daughter, Mackenzie, is getting married this weekend, so I will have some mandatory commitments and will try to be where I am supposed to be and at the same time try and catch up with some old friends.  

I have a line I have rehearsed non-stop.  Like any great actor I am attempting to do what I can with a small but important role.  My line is, "Her Mother and I."   Method acting states I must find the emotional center of the character and present the line after having fused with the character and his motivation for uttering the line.  Now then I can do a Brando "conflicted" presentation dripping with moroseness or a cerebral Olivier.  What will probably happen is a bumbling awkward Jimmy Stewart.  In the interest of full disclosure it should be said that I forgot one of my lines last time I was required to speak at a wedding.  

My chronic social shyness will be put to the test as I greet family and friends for the wedding and reception.  Hopefully I will keep my gaffes at a minimum.  I'll be the one hiding in the corner with a beer in both hands.

This is one of those watershed events that mark the passages of one's life.  My thoughts range from extreme joy for the newlyweds, to being home, really home, and of course, reflecting on my own life.  A mixed bag of emotions will rule the day.  But, I think, sadness and self-contemplation must take a back seat this weekend.  A ceremony that joins two people and witnessed by family and friends trumps all other thoughts and feelings.  Much happiness to the new couple.  

I plan on "making the rounds" while home to catch up on some friends and perhaps a few of the foods and activities I miss.   Tomorrow I'll post the Decorah Eagles that should get you through till Tuesday.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Mary Davis Home - Part 2

None of these pictures were taken by me,  they came right from the MDH website.  I am posting these so that friends who have never seen inside where I worked can gain access.  After 27 years I have many stories, tales and acquaintances.  But, I wouldn't know how to express them appropriately in a few paragraphs.  I enjoyed 98% of my stay there and hope I made a difference in the lives of a fraction of the kids who entered. 

The original MDH at this site was just the front part.  The large red-roofed area in back was added on in the 90's.

This is the Jerry Carlton library.  It was unofficially named after one of the counselors who truly loved the place.   He passed away around 2002, I think.  Mr. Farber looks like he is explaining a few things to a client.

The classroom.

Activity area with the gym behind the windows.

Another shot of the classroom.

It was a little different area to teach since we had 2 classes and 2 teachers in the same room.  

The outside court area.  Volleyball, basketball, and whiffleball were the most popular activities.  Is that my old buddy Mr. Luken putting up the net on the right? 

The gym.  That looks like Mr. Gullstrand about to pass the ball into play.

Special Mention to the Following Great Co-Workers When I First Started:

Jeff Sutor, Counselor
Marilyn Tapper, Counselor
John Pogue, Counselor
Jim Glasnovish, Counselor
Robin Glasnovish, Counselor
Rose Medina, Counselor
Cathy Sargent, Youth Worker
Kevin Webber, Counselor
Nancy Woods, Counselor
Rebecca Simmons, Counselor
Pat Johnson, Adminsistrative Assistant
Mike Johnson, Youth Worker
Flo Billings, Cook
Bob Mason, Teacher
Tanny Storm, Youth Worker
Randy Storm, Superintendent
Jim Grundel,  Chief of Probation

If I am missing anyone it's probably because I accidentally forgot you, forgot your name, or didn't like you.

There were, of course many many many people who came on board in the years that followed.  But the people above were around when I started or shortly after.  

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. – Henry Adams

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Mary Davis Home - Back In The Day

I have never really said too much about my time at the Mary Davis Home on this blog. How do you encapsulate 27 years working with all manner of people - staff and client in a couple of paragraphs. You don't. Here are some pictures of the old place and the new one we built along the way.  I started on Halloween night, 1977.

Your blogger as a young Counselor, and yes, that's probably a cigarette.  We even handed them out to the kids for awhile.  Boy, that certainly dates me.  This was taken in the rec area and dining area.  The Girls wing is behind me along with the ping-pong table.  I suspect we had just had a staffing to discuss the behavior and level of the kids, and were dinking around.  When I started we even had a pool table but was removed when we discovered the balls were lethal weapons.

My boss, Randy and his boss, Jim.  Randy is now in Rio and just started getting Social Security checks.  He and wife Julie operated the Blue Rose for a few years after we all took the Early.  Jim is now retired as well after working in Springfield for a few years. Another shot of the rec area/  There's the pool table and the TV set is against the wall clear in the back.  The tables were where we ate.  And yes, we didn't have a cook when I started and the counseling staff was required to do the cooking.  I had a few masterpieces and a few disasters.  I took a tray back to lock-up once and when I slid the tray through the small fold-down door, the kid asked "Who the Hell cooked this shit."  It was me, and that kind of response usually required consequences.  Not this time, however, as I was the cook who fixed that shit.   

Me posing with Pat Johnson in the conference room before we renovated.  Pat still makes a difference in this world by heading out to disasters for the Red Cross.  When she isn't out chasing tornadoes, floods, hurricanes and other acts of God, she works for Red Cross finding places to stay for fire victims.  And when she's not doing all that she works at Bridgeway and when she's not doing that she is babysitting her great-great granddaughter, Addison Mae.  Oh Pat can I stay with you in April?   

Marilyn Tapper, a damn good Counselor who was there when I started along with Jim Glasnovich and John Pogue.  I learned a lot of my skills from them and then Jeff Sutor came along and I learned even more from him.  Many other staff members came and went in my time,  some who were naturals and some who weren't.  Rose, Tanny, Cathy, Some incited, others calmed.  Others rushed, some took their time.  Me?  Well, I was awful good at times.  I once calculated the number of kids I came in contact with and thus, had some effect.  It came to around 23,000-27,000 kids.  Some were repeats, some were only in for a day, but many others were there for extensive counseling and I hope some remember what I told them and have had good lives. 

Randy hired me as a Counselor, Supervisor and Program Coordinator.  This is me in overthrow mode in my office.  We had a lot of fun in the front office.  We had a lot of laughs and still got the work done.  We were a damn good administrative team and hopefully affected for the better many thousands of kids who were entrusted in our care.  Here's to Pat, Randy, Becky, Julie and Kris for making the years fly.  

Flo, our cook.  I had more laughs with her around than anyone else.  We all drove beat-up old wrecks, but she drove a Lincoln.  Every noon after she was done she'd go to the break room and I would too, if I had the time.  She would hold court and spin the greatest stories and had us all rolling on the floor with laughter.  She passed away a few years ago.

I have no idea who this is, but if it happened now would be a fireable offense.  However, when this was taken it was sanctioned by the front office that because there were only two people on the late shift and we were working all shifts, then as long as one person was awake, then it would be OK for the other to nap.  As soon as more people came on board on the night shift and we began working steadier shifts, then we were to stay fully awake.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mugshot Monday

Freaky, spooky, eerie, crazy, ugly...

Hey man, you see the tattoos on that dude's face?

DOB:          09/18/1983
Booking #:    12018028
Arrest Date:  04/15/2012
Race:         B
Sex:          M
Ethnicity:    N

(In case you missed it, check the sex.)

And this guy is really a girl.  I'm confused.

This guy's name is listed as John Doe, and he was arrested for stealing a car and resisting arrest.  What makes them think they can get away from LEO? 

Steady,  Steady!

This expression says it all.

This guy's name is General Crook.  I kid you not.

Jesus, Mother of God, why can't you clean 'em up first?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Revisiting the Decorah Eagles

The eggs have hatched and we've got 3 healthy bald eagle chicks. This is fascinating stuff, until Papa brings home a snake for supper.

Live stream videos at Ustream

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Trip To Palmetto

Just felt like a ride today so I went over the Skyway and drove around Palmetto for a while. Not too far from the dog pound is this cemetery. I don't know the name of it, but Hard-Scrabble might be appropriate.

It is a very unattractive piece of ground.  Those who live up North are certainly used to lush green grass and nice landscaping.  Here there is sanely soil with vegetation more akin to weeds than grass.  If dying is bad enough you have to endure resting in this place.  

I think I'd rather be in Philadelphia, as W.C. once exclaimed as his epitaph.  Looking at this place, me, too.

This is a home-made canopy to protect it from, well, whatever.  It never rains so must be the harsh sun.  A little shade for the plot.  

Here is a homemade cross made out of PVC pipe.  Classy.

Some of the older plots and perhaps more well-to-do have these cement slabs, apparently to keep animals from digging at the remains.

Cemeteries down here certainly do have the slabs, something Northern plots do not have.  

It is a little creepy, but, I suppose, it's what ever you are used to.

A well cared for plot, if a little gaudy.

Once back on the road, these birds lined up along the Bay ready for a snack.

The majestic Skyway.

Nice day, and it even rained on me.  Just like home.

Waders fishing.

I might not be brave enough to go too far into the Bay.

A freighter heading to Tampa.  That's St. Petersburg in the distance.

A rain spout, and it did rain on me.  Only time that's ever happened down here.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pics And Stuff

Florida has its share of zanies, but being a nudist down here doesn't make you crazy, it just makes you warmer than your nudist in Rhode Island or Minnesota. 

Saw this guy walking down 34th Street with, evidently, everything he owns in the world strapped to his back.  Old, regal, world-wise looking face.  There are photographers who walk the streets of cities with $5.00 bills ready to give to these types so they can take their portraits.  I'm not that rich or brave. 

I saw this lady, or rather clown, at the bus stop near the Mall.  Oh come on, people!

Kudos to these Mall cops.  In front of us were two gentlemen sagging (wanting us to see their boxers with their pants below their ass-cheeks).  These two cops approached and told them to hike up their pants.  Nice to see some civilization down here.  They also tell me there is a new policy that there is no sagging in public schools.  Apparently Florida got tired of being lumped in with Arizona and Illinois for scuzziness and elevated their game.  Send your emails lambasting this writer to  Sorry, Illinois but when your last two governors are in the pen, your state is scuzzy.


Saw this recently.  Hang on!

Neat video of the evolution of our Moon

 I am now in month 5 of my NO WAL-MART lifestyle.  Five months without dropping them a penny.  My life is so much better.  On a recent drive-by I did spot this warrior bird nesting in a Wal-Mart light stanchion.

What bored people end up doing for fun when their significants take them shopping all day.  

Yup.  My feet.  Took a dip last week and just had to show you the poor conditions upon which I must exist here at Shawshank.  I'm in day 940 of my captivity.

I spotted this guy while at the gas station the other evening.  I was a bit speechless but I asked him what kind it was and he told me but I have forgotten.  Something like a "Yellow-Crested Thing-A-Ma-Bob" It started to whistle and fluff its feathers and the guy said she liked me.  Apparently it comes from Australia, and I just bet you'll never see something like this at a gas station in BFE.