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My Turn

March 29, 2010

My Turn: A retired pastor reminisces


We had sandlot baseball, Boy Scouts and nearby streams and woods to explore. The day after the 1932 election, I asked my father who had won the presidency, and he replied over his oatmeal without missing a spoonful, "Hoover didn't." I got the message.

I built a soap-box derby racer and competed on a hill in Syracuse. I served as mayor of the city for a day in a Boy Scout project, which was fun. A couple of years of high school baseball taught us the role of teamwork. It was great to travel to New York City and see Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth play.

I enlisted in December 1941 after listening to FDR's "Date of Infamy" speech to Congress, serving three years in the Pacific in the Army, mostly in the Philippines (I wasn't wounded and didn't get malaria, praise God). My service was followed by a degree in chemical engineering from Syracuse University.

Remember rationing, and women in defense industry jobs? I remember walking through Harlem with Mayor John Lindsay in the late '60s to calm riots.

Nancy and I, married 62 years, have done a lot of traveling _ Alaska, southern California, Florida, the Maritime provinces, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Italy, Sicily, Israel, Bermuda _ it's wonderful to taste other cultures and locales. She deserves a lot of credit _ pastors' wives sometimes take a lot of guff.

Oneonta is a fine small city here in the western Catskills. Let's all appreciate it and contribute in ways large and small, to help it grow and flourish far into the future. May there be many sturdy and prosperous years for all.

To write for "My Turn," contact Editor Sam Pollak at or 432-1000, ext. 208.

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