Sunday, December 7, 2014

Random Things about Me

After all, this blog is all about me, right?

1. I was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, but my early years were spent in nearby Clark's Summit.

2. I am the youngest of 4 boys.

3. My earliest memory is my amateur photographer father posing me on the top of a step ladder to take my picture. Records show I was 2. My mother was not very happy.

4. I spent part of every summer at a camp my father ran, Heart Lake Bible Conference in Jermyn, PA.

6. The lake at Heart Lake had its fair share of leeches.

7. My Dad was a pastor and printed the bulletins at home using a mimeograph. My brothers folded them as we drove to church Sunday morning. (I somehow couldn't get the hang of folding and creasing them properly.)

8. I was on TV at 6 years old as part of a 'Cherub Choir.' (Think about what TV was like in 1953.)

9. The first movie I ever saw was "Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier."

10. A month after I turned 7 my family moved to Manhattan, NYC.

11. I attended PS 135, at that time the nearest school to the United Nations Building.

12. The church my Dad pastored there had an apartment building built around it. From the street you could not tell it was a church.

13. The church had a pipe organ and to this day, I love music played on one.

14. In July my Sunday School had a full day picnic at Heckscher State Park on Long Island. We swam in 65 degree water and thought it was warm.

15. At the corner market I once saw Marilyn Monroe.

16. When I was 10, my mother and I rode the train (The Empire State Express) from New York to Miami to see my grandparents. It was a 24 hour ride. I thought it was a great experience. My mom was just tired.

 17. I have always loved Math and Science, physical science especially.

18. My all time favorite attraction to visit is the Museum of Natural History and the Hayden Planetarium.

19. I grew up during the space race, a very exciting and terrifying time. When John Glenn orbited the earth, our class listened to it on the radio. There was no TV in the classroom.

20. When John Glenn came to NYC, a month or so later, for a ticker tape parade down Broadway, 2 buddies and I skipped school to go see him. I have never regretted the decision.

21. I attended Stuyvesant High School 9th and 10th grades. My Dad died during my sophomore year and my mother and I moved to Norfolk, Virginia.

22. While in college I hitchhiked over 10,000 miles.

23. I double majored in Math and Physics.

24. In college I had jobs in the dining room kitchen and the audio visual department (for those who remember such a thing.)

25. I learned to play guitar in college. Acoustic. I was (and am) a fan of folk music.

26. The definition of culture shock: going from life on the East Coast to rural Indiana for college.

27. From the window of my third floor dorm room, I once saw a tornado touch down. Scary.

28. I was the manager of the wrestling team and statistician for track.

29. I did not get my drivers license until I was 19.

30. The first car I owned was a 1968 Pontiac LeMans with 350 V-8. It got 12-13 MPG.

31. One of my favorite meals as a kid (and still is today) is fried calves liver and onions.

32. As a kid I loved PB and marshmallow fluff sandwiches ( I had one last week.)

33. My first year of teaching I had to break up a fight in my classroom.

34. I saw the aurora borealis while teaching in Ohio. That's the only time I have seen the northern lights.

35. The summer after my first year of teaching I worked in a peach orchard picking peaches. By the end of each day, I itched terribly from the peach fuzz that worked its way down my shirt.

36. I have traveled in 47 of the 50 states and 6 Canadian provinces.

37. I have been to 15 national parks.

38. The darkest , most star-filled skies I have ever seen were at Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah, where I spent 5 weeks one summer leading stargazes for the public.

39. During the first 10 years of our marriage, my wife and I moved 9 times.

40. Last year my grand-daughter talked me into climbing a tree with her. I can't remember the last time I did that.

41. I love to read. The first author (in grade 6, 7 and 8) I went for in a big way was Walter Farley and his "The Black Stallion" series. I first read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings in the 1960s.

42. Thomas Cahill is another of my favorite authors. I especially like his Hinges of History series.

43. I read a lot of Isaac Asimov and C.S. Lewis when I was younger (still read Lewis).

44. Birding is another of my interests. I have seen over 500 species of birds.

45. A sixth generation great uncle, Captain John "Mad Jack" Percival, commanding the USS Constitution on its around the world trip in the 1840s.

46. I have made two stage appearances (at high schools where I taught), each time as a father. First, as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof and second as Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew.

47. Space shuttle launches were spectacular. My wife and I traveled to see at least 10 of them. Night time launches were particularly grand. Delta IV launches look pretty good, too.

48. I was in Times Square New Year's Eve to bring in 1961.

49. At age 65 I became a certified SCUBA diver.

50. I have traveled to see 5 total solar eclipses. Everybody needs to see at least one.

51. I like word games. All kinds.

52. I love the English language. Homophones, homonyms, word play, puns, you name it.

53. I enjoy fishing. I enjoy catching more.

54. Teaching Astronomy is wonderful.

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