On achieving 80 years

Staff Writer

When I was a boy I used to consider life’s years ahead.  I actually recall these thoughts; they occurred in the Ryan House on Ithaca Street, in Elmhurst, Queens, New York. I used to imagine future life in ten year increments, say fifty, or sixty, maybe seventy, maybe even eighty.  So, I’ve made it, made something…

Now much has happened in my short (to my memory) lifespan. When I was five my Father died.  He was thirty-one.  That was some seventy-five years ago.  My Mother and I moved in with my Grandmother.  My Mother, who had been a Rockette became a single mother.  The Nation went to war that year.

I remember that all the young men and women on our street soon went off to war.  Luckily all that I knew came home, years later.

I was a lucky lad, on Ithaca Street.  I went to Saint Bartholomew’s School, right down the block.  The Dominican Sisters were our teachers – fine they were too. My family, besides my Grandmother who I guess raised me consisted of Tom the Fireman and Sailor , Lucille, my sort of big Sister, and all the kids in school and on the street.  There were few cars when I was a lad, rationing, and constant news of war.  I recall those days; I recall Victory.

I went to high school in the Bronx (a long subway ride every day).  The Irish Christian Brothers , at All Hallows took over our education for this phase.  These were task masters, but fine gentlemen.  They taught us well.  Peace came to New York – with cars, gasoline, airplanes, and even television. New York, then as now, was a wonderful City, a grand place to be young.  I think, I know that the Brothers were instrumental in my further education at Notre Dame.  They supported my Mother’s plan to send me there.  I was, after all, the child of a single working Mother.  She provided that education working in the City (as all New Yorkers called it.)  Notre Dame was, and is, marvelous.  Life in Indiana was different, and colder. Courses in Engineering were rigorous.  I didn’t realize until after graduation just what a good fundamental education we received.  I graduated fifty-nine years ago.

My naval career began there that May day at Notre Dame.  My Mother was there –  only her second trip to South Bend.  My world opened from that day  in Indiana.  I guess that I never looked back – there was so much to see, to learn. Listing of my duty stations, just to jog the memory:

Port Hueneme, California Grand Turk, B.W.I. Davisville, Rhode Island, Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico

Back home again in Queens (1960 – 1965)     

The Port of New York Authority and a Naval Reserve Officer. As the Vietnam conflict heated up I returned to active duty, Naval Submarine Base New London, Connecticut. Officer in Charge of Construction RVN, Danang and Hue’ Naval Communication Station Washington, Cheltenham,      Maryland and Sugar Grove, West Virginia Thirtieth Naval Construction Regiment, Okinawa Officer in Charge of Construction Far East, Deputy for Okinawa Naval Construction Battalion Center, Davisville, Rhode Island Naval Air Development Center, Warminster, Pennsylvania Officer in Charge of Construction Trident, Bremerton, WA Retired, U.S.N.

Our beautiful children:  Nicholas, Sean, Timothy, Maggie, Patrick, Eileen joined Pat and I through these travels. Pat, of course was a fine Navy Wife. THANKS to Her.

Graduate Student, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Upon completion of graduate program in Public Administration worked for several firms in Boston, in construction management.

We lived in the seacoast town of Cohasset, Massachusetts.

Our five children attended Cohasset schools for fine educations they all recall and cherish.  Pat and I loved our adopted “hometown” and all our other towns, from Elmhurst to LBK.

Relocated to Florida.

Joined my folks in the wonderful Town of Longboat Key. I was fortunate to be involved in local government on Longboat Key.  I learned a lot, maybe did some good.  The progress towards eighty was almost painless on this Gulf Key.

I’ve suffered the expected ailments.  I managed to escape any wounds or sickness in my life overseas.

I’ve had the usual: heart attack, prostate cancer.  Fortunately our Navy cares for us – a grateful Nation, as they say.

My classmates, and ‘shipmates’ are fading away.

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