Every great person, despite their culture, religion, tribe, or ethnicity, believes in certain words of wisdom.Those words transcend the differences among people. This code of living forms one’s character. It molds every culture to be unique and unrepeatable.
The first Valentine’s Day I can remember takes me back to third grade at #2 school on Wyoming Avenue in Audubon, NJ. Audubon was a Jersey suburb of Philadelphia, just four miles away from the Walt Whitman Bridge. Using my fingers to count on, I’m guessing I was eight years old at the time.
Mrs. Lippincott was my teacher. I googled her and learned she died in the year 2000 at age 98, she taught for 39 years. When not in school I always called her Aunt Grace. There were a lot of male and female family acquaintances back then that I called Aunt and Uncle this, and Aunt and Uncle that. They weren’t relatives mind you, but that was what I was expected to call them. Even my mother called Aunt Grace, Aunt Grace, she taught my mother also.
In early February while in third grade there was a note sent home saying something like this; “All children are encouraged to bring in Valentines to share for Valentine’s Day. There should be 24 Valentines brought in to pass out. Please send in the Valentines in a bag and I will store them until it is time to hand them out. Here are the names of our students if your child would like to personalize the cards.”
My mother bought me several sheets of punch out Valentine cards. I’m guessing 12 cards to each sheet, I don’t remember there being envelopes. On the back of what ever picture or saying was on the front were dotted lines labeled To:, From: and Message. I can remember there were one or two girls in the class that I was sweet on, but if I wrote a message, that I can’t remember. I do remember addressing the cards though.
Through the years, almost 75 of them, I’ve sent cards on Valentine’s day, given jewelry to my little lady, sent flowers and taken herself out to dinner at a fine restaurant.
I remember twelve years ago, I was in Florida for a Hurricane Conference. I was working for a County Emergency Management Office at the time. My oldest daughter happened to work for the Health Department in the same county, she was a nurse and that departments Emergency Management Coordinator. We both were required to attend the same conference, so we traveled down and back together.
On the last day of the conference we got together for breakfast and agreed we’d make every effort to make Savannah, Georgia on the way back north to Maryland. We would break early from the conference, around 2:00 I believe and head north. Our bags were stowed in the car and we were checked out of the hotel right after breakfast, we were not going to hesitate.
The conference ended around 2:00 PM and we were headed north on a five-hour or so journey. Savannah, here we come, tomorrow night we shall sleep in our own bed. We chatted about our individual training and informational sessions which were both quite different. My daughter being a nurse was learning a lot of medical and triage stuff. I learned about mitigation and disaster recovery. We even got to see Jim Cantore reporting from pool side while we were there. Jim happens to have a Twitter account if your interested. A little bit of a coincidence is that Mike Seidel from the weather Channel graduated from the same university as my daughter, Salisbury, University. Eleven (11) national championships in Men’s Lacrosse by the way.
We arrived in Savannah without a hitch around 7:30 or so, checked into our hotel and immediately went on the hunt for some food. Our first stop I remember being an Olive Garden. After parking in the back forty we found a line snaking out the door into the lot. The ladies, mostly young, dressed to the nines, with many wearing flowers, all seemed to have love in their eyes. It was February 14, we had had no clue.
We left the Olive Garden and tried numerous other restaurants, all were booked solid. Finally we settled on a Mom and Pop southern comfort food diner. There were no young’ns at this eatery, no love in any ladies eyes and only starvation in our eyes.
I swear, once we perused over the menu there was nothing on it that wouldn’t slip right down to your belly with lard or some other type of greasy digestive lubrication, or it was fried. The daughter got a salad, I had Salisbury Steak, real home food for me since that’s where I’m from, Salisbury. We toasted with water, “Happy Valentines Day my daughter.” No liquor on this menu, Bible Belt country was in vogue here. We both had been looking forward to a Manhattan to close out our adventure.
So, that was one Valentine’s Day that will always be remembered. There are many songs out there that depict love that could be appropriate for this day. I’ve picked one that I consider extra appropriate and suitable for the occasion, “The Sea of Love.”
There are many “one-hit wonders” who spend the remainder of their lives in frustrated efforts to record another hit but who are never able to recapture the magic. To some, the disappointment of failure is overwhelming. Phil Phillips is not one of those. Born John Phillip Baptiste on March 14, 1926, in Lake Charles, Louisiana, he had only one hit. “Sea of Love” it crested at number one on the R&B charts and number two on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the charts for eighteen weeks in 1959. I was a sophomore in high school that year and I remember cuddling up to my girl at the time on the dance floor to that great song. Every Friday night just about every teenager in Levitttown, HS could be found at Christ the King, Episcopal Church on Charleston road for their weekly sponsored dance. Levittown is now Willingboro, just a short drive from Exit 5 of the New Jersey Turnpike.
Contractual disputes between record companies effectively killed Phi Phillips career, but the song lived on, selling two million copies and earning Phillips a gold record. Moreover, the song appeared in the soundtracks of half-a-dozen movies, including the Al Pacino Universal Pictures film Sea of Love.
In 2007 Phil Phillips was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. Although he needed a hand of support in the beginning, once he got back into the rhythm of the song, he was in 1959 all over again at that induction. Phil Phillips is still alive today, age 91. Take a moment or two and go swimming in a “Sea of Love.”
After you listen to Phil, click on Emily West’s rendition, she does the song proud in her version of this classic that I remember so well.
Credits: Google images, NBC, Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, Weather Channel, Twitter & Wiki
I wish for each of you to fall into a “Sea of LOVE” on this Valentines day. Thanks for stopping by, and don’t forget to check on the elderly.
Things you remember.
Fifty years ago I was a Marine Sergeant assigned to MAG-15 and a resident of MCAS Iwakuni, Japan. A bit of history of the unit: Marine Aircraft Group 15 (MAG-15) was a United States Marine Corps aviation group established during World War II. MAG-15, a transport and photo-reconnaissance training group, was commissioned on 1 March 1942, headquartered at Camp Kearny, San Diego. In addition to radio and photographic training, the Group also conducted a navigation school. Additional roles included West Coast aircraft acceptance and transport service for the Marine Corps.
Marine Aircraft Group 15 was commissioned on 1 March 1942 at Camp Kearny, San Diego, California. For the next two years the group remained there as the transportation, observation and photo reconnaissance training group. They trained pilots and crews to serve in the South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command (SCAT). From its commission in 1942 until 1944, MAG-15 trained and dispatched the following unit for overseas deployment: VMD-154 and VMD-254; VMO-151 and VMO-155; and VMJ-152, VMJ-153, VMJ-353, VMJ-952, and VMJ-953.
MAG-15 shipped out from Camp Kearny to the South Pacific on 2 March 1944. They arrived in Apamama on 1 April and operated from there as part of the Transport Air Group until October 1944. In October they were ordered to establish the Air Transport Group (ATG) in order to provide transportation services to units in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands. ATG was redesignated the Troop Carrier Group (TCG) in November 1944. MAG-15 then became part of Task Unit 96.1 which was disbanded shortly thereafter on 25 March 1945 as its responsibilities were assumed by the
Headquarters Squadron 15 was sent to Marine Corps Air Station Ewa, Hawaii in April 1945 and was quickly joined by VMR-953 and VMR-352. They stayed there through the end of the war becoming part of the TAG again and controlling the transportation units for the Marines throughout the Pacific.
In January 1947 the group became dual role when they also had fighter squadrons attach and in May 1947 they became all fighter squadrons. In March 1949 they returned to the United States and were based at Marine Corps Air Station Edenton, North Carolina.
MAG-15 moved to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in July 1966 and included VMCJ-1, VMA(AW)-533, VMFA-334 and VMFA-232.
On 31 December 1988, MAG-15 stood down after 46 years of service.
50 Years Ago Today
February 7, 1968
Shortly after midnight, the Battle of Khe Sanh and the Vietnam War took a new turn as the North Vietnamese Army attacked with tanks and other armored vehicles for the first time.The 304th Division of the North Vietnamese Army overran the U.S. Army Special Forces camp at Lang Vei with 11 Soviet PT-76 tanks. In all, 316 defenders of the camp would be killed; all but seven of them were Montagnards fighting for South Vietnam and members of the Royal Laotian Army.
“It became necessary to destroy the town to save it” became one of the most famous quotes arising out of the Vietnam War, as a news story by Associated Press war correspondent Peter Arnett was published worldwide about the death and destruction caused by American forces during the retaking of the South Vietnamese coastal city of Ben Tre. At least 1,000 civilians had died and 45 percent of Ben Tre’s buildings were destroyed in the bombardment by American airplanes and shelling by U.S Navy ships, a measure taken as a last resort after 2,500 Viet Cong had taken control of the city. The quote (often restated as “We had to destroy the village in order to save it”) was attributed by Arnett to “a U.S. major”; later in the story, Arnett referred to his interview with U.S. Air Force Major Chester L. Brown, who had directed the bombing. The phrase, however, was actually coined by the reporter; Arnett asked the question, “So you had to destroy the village in order to save it?” and then attributed the words to Major Brown.
There is an in-depth story told on Historynet.com. should you wish to learn more about Khe Sanh. Check it out @: Battle of Khe Sanh: Recounting the Battle’s Casualties
Where in the world is Jeff Berthiaume?
He is in Ho Chi Min City of course, and things have changed drastically in fifty years. Fifty years ago this was Saigon, the capital of South Viet Nam and deeply involved along with the United States and it’s allies in a war with North Viet Nam. Today, so much has changed.
Jeff made the below post today on Facebook.
Credits: http://www.seaforces.org/usmcair/MAG/Marine-Aircraft-Group-15.htm, http://pinterest.com/, Wiki, Google Images, thekitchen.com, Historynet.com & Facebook
Thanks for stopping by, and don’t forget to check on the elderly.
Forward: This morning I received the Balladeer's blog. With his permission It is being forwarded through my blog. If your in need of some interesting reading, check out the Balladeer @ Glitternight.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JAMES JOYCE! His works got me hooked in my teens when I really related to his character Stephen Dedalus as he rejected his religion and indulged what I call his “young and pretentious side” in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I wore out my copy of Joyce’s novel Ulysses and continue to mark Bloom’s Day to this very day.
Over the years Finnegans Wake replaced Ulysses as my favorite Joyce novel and I’m fonder than many people are of his play Exiles. Naturally, I’m also into his “epiphanies” in Dubliners and, poetry geek that I am, even Pomes Penyeach and Chamber Music. So, if you live in Ireland, say hello to Anna Livia Plurabelle for me today!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUNNY JEEEM!
Thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to check on the elderly, especially if your on the East Coast. It’s going to be bitterly cold tonight.
Many of you are aware that I have a son in-law who works for the Department of State.
Over the years I’ve posted blog segments titled “Where in the World is Jeff Berthiaume?” Yep, Jeff or El Jeffe as I like to call him, is a world traveler. Jeff is now in his tenth year as a world traveler and has been to some neat places, drank a beer or two in foreign lands and like culinary expert Andrew Zimmern, Jeff has tasted many different foods. I yearn for his story of each trip when he travels. I’ve often wished I could have been his traveling journal writer, it could make a great blog. He is good to me though and usually returns with area newspapers. I love the perspective I get on the good old USA from foreign lands.
On January 16 I picked up Jeff and transported him to a local shuttle service for the start of what would be a lengthy around the world trip. The shuttle from Maryland’s Eastern Shore would be the first leg to the following destinations. Should all go well on his venture we may get to hear his stories around Washington’s birthday. He does do some posting on Face Book now and then. You can check him out @ https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=jeff%20berthiaume
Places along the way.
If time allows I’ll pick up on this trip once our traveler is in VietNam. Until then I thank you for stopping by.
Don’t forget to check on the elderly.