Monday, September 25, 2017

WWII Atomic Veteran on His 90th Birthday

Norman Robinson, just before his 17th birthday enlisted in the U.S Navy, August, 1945. He sold his car and waited to be called up, which didn’t happen until October. After basic training at Great Lakes, he and his fellow seamen boarded the train to Camp Parks, Shoemaker, CA for assignment.
He boarded the USS Cobra, LSM 258, its destination Lake Charles, LA to be decommissioned along with 15 other LSMs. The Cobra sailed from Treasure Island, through the Panama Canal (where the guys were jumping off the ramp on the bow into the water while they waited, until the Captain hollered through the speaker to knock it off: ships emptied their bilges before entering the Panama Locks, and the waters were full of snacking sharks). The men were kept busy while they waited in line to enter the Locks by washing the ship down with fresh water.
The LSMs were taken to Lake Charles, LA, and the men entertained themselves along the Calcasieu River, shooting cottonmouths as fast as they could reload. The ship was in dock during Mardi Gras. There was a fight during a Coast Guard decommissioning party in a hotel, and a couple of guys came flying over the edge of the balcony as our 4 sailors walked by. The 3 sailors Dad was with were fighters, and knowing he wasn't, handed off their cigarettes, lighters, wallets to him. Jack Carli was a California Golden Gloves contender; The Greek liked a fight. All ended up in jail for the night. Dad said “you're not taking my buddies without me” so in the brig he went. Shore patrol picked them up in the morning and took them back to the ship where the 3 amigos stood a Captain's Mast.
Back on the Streamliner to Camp Parks in Shoemaker CA for reassignment. Dad bumped into Fred Bauer (brother’s wife’s brother). The war was over, but the Navy wanted 3 more months of active duty out of the enlistees. Fred said he was embarking on a “Magic Carpet Cruise.” Dad doesn’t know where he went.
Dad was assigned to APA38 USS Chilton, a Bayfield-class attack transport, along with four other sailors and a chief. A smallboat took them out into the bay and no Chilton. Back to shore, went through the battery of shots they'd had the day before already, back into the smallboat out to the Chilton, which had been delayed picking up supplies. Dad came aboard in need of a haircut. He immediately got extra duty scraping paint.
First port was Pearl Harbor where 1800 troops were dropped off, and then USS Chilton was its way to participate in Operation Crossroads.
 Eniwetok. Dad said it was bombed out and desolate, the waters laced with sunken ships, half submerged. The crew each got a Short Snorter chit which allowed them 2 warm beers apiece, and 2 hours to run around the sand on shore leave.
Dad had his mates sign the back of his Short Snorter.

Back aboard enroute to Kwajalein, Dad was at his station, turning valves on the lowest deck below the engine room. It was 120 degrees and he couldn't hear anything. Engines, fans, boilers, steam. Sailors served 4 hour shifts only – what the Navy determined a human could stand.
On to Bikini Atoll where the ships (and tethered cows, chickens, sheep) were awaiting the Able bomb in Operation Crossroads. The ship was positioned next to the USS Skate. Dad could see the Nevada (painted orange) the Prinz Eugen in the distance, and the other ships shown below. She was ordered out of the target area, and on to its assignment - move Bikini residents off the atoll to Majuro. The atoll had missed the total destruction some of the other islands had endured and its shore was closed up with vegetation. A smallboat took a shore party to hack out an area to settle the people and their animals ashore.
Steaming from Majuro back to Bikini Atoll, they saw the damage inflicted by the Able bomb. Military personnel were washing down the ships still standing: using radioactive sea water. U.S.S. Chilton continued to Pearl Harbor, then on to San Francisco to unload. The ship was not in the area when Baker was detonated.
From California Dad took the train back to Great Lakes Naval Station, and was discharged 6 August, 1946. Recruiters were thick on the base, encouraging sailors to reenlist. Dad was talked into joining the reserves, which turned out to be fortuitous. Drafting for the Korean War was underway; he could have been shipped out as some of his mates were.
I bought Dad a VHS recording of the first dive in the area. Baker bomb had sunk some of the ships still marginally afloat, and since it was detonated underwater, actually brought back up some of the boats. U.S.S. Tuna had been sunk with Able, resurrected with Baker, and ended her life as target practice near Treasure Island after being towed there. Yay, Tuna! Dad had witnessed the Nagato with the superstructure melted and dripping onto the deck before Baker. The divers in the video reported that the superstructure had been squished because of landing on the ocean floor upside down. Dad saw otherwise. Without eye witnesses, history belongs to the late players
For those who need an ending, here are the final resting places of the vessels.

For Dad on his 90th birthday, with love.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Community Meeting on SSLDL Expansion

17 September, Sunday was the first community meeting to discuss the expansion of the Salem-South Lyon District Library. The next meeting is Tuesday 26 September 7:00 p.m.

The discussions are preliminary; the purpose of the community gathering to assess program needs, gather input from district stakeholders and patrons, and involve the community in moving forward.

SSLDL has added new programs for children. The ongoing mission is to support every child at every level to contribute to their success personally and professionally, from birth to middle school and onward, with program opportunities to meet, study and collaborate. This growth and future planning require space to implement expanding services.

Programs from birth forward are in place at SSLDL. Baby Bounce (0-11 mos. with caregiver), Wonderful Ones (12 mos.-23 mos. with caregiver), Terrific Twos Storytime (24-35 mos. with caregiver). Check the SSLDL events calendar for other storytimes, and literacy programs. http://ssldl.info/calendar

The library currently has one large meeting room (layout at left) with a priority scale for scheduling. Library business is first, other community usage (art shows, children's events) second. The large conference room is then not always available for collaborative children's events. Storage space is limited. Defined needs are for another large collaborative space and more storage at minimum.

This is your opportunity to contribute. What are your dreams, desires, thoughts on programs at the SSLDL? Programs will dictate the physical needs of the building, internally and externally.

On the 17th suggestions and wishes included more window space, seating for grades 3-5, adult seating for parents and grandparents, open study booths, 2 family restrooms, another entrance on the northeast side of the existing building (area shown at left.)

More modular adaptable units, an additional interactive storytelling section, perhaps iPads instead of computers.

What activities would you like your children to have available? Our district is growing, family housing starts are ongoing. SSLDL needs to hear from parents who will make use of services and programs available to our community.

The next meeting is Tuesday, 26 September at 7:00 p.m. If you cannot attend a meeting as scheduled, please do talk to library staff about your thoughts. Send an email. The future of the SSLDL can be guided by your input. Please contribute.

SSLDL Mission/Vision Statement https://ssldl.info/about

SSLDL Contact https://ssldl.info/about/contact-us

Further reading:

1000 Books Before Kindergarten  https://1000booksbeforekindergarten.org/

Every Child Ready to Read  http://www.everychildreadytoread.org

Library of Michigan Every Child Ready to Read https://tinyurl.com/y9rqlba7

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Patriot

I drew The Patriot on September 12, 2001 weeping. The world experienced one of the most horrific attacks on American citizens the day before. To this hour I have seen no images of that tragedy. The woman I worked for and I listened to the radio all day. We were locked in a building in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. A negligent delivery person had left a large package in the parking garage with no address label, and as the morning's events were seen and heard around the world, a security guard reacted, and local authorities shut down entry and egress from the building for 11 hours. It was a portend of overreach to come. We heard the anguish, shared the pain of that day with our country only on the radio. I talked with a friend on the phone who was counting on me to go to her house and keep her young children from seeing the television. We all cried for victims of that attack, and then we cried for what was to come. What the woman I worked for, my friend and I shared along with the agony was the knowledge that America would respond next day, without accurate intelligence, with political zeal, and for a long time.

I wish we'd been wrong.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Three Story Life Season 13

Been away from the blog so long that Linda Robinson Obituaries now occupies my place in google results.  Been away so long that links to all my articles are no longer available, so now I have to dig through my own files to find witty stuff I wrote about how I stop myself from writing by acquiring accoutrement to not write. Been away from writing so long it was necessary to get a new writing instrument.

Where was I? Ah, yes. Dad's in the hospital again. If I still thought it was important to have original art in all Three Story Life posts, there would be the 3sL standard with a gown drooping and 6 multicolored leads disappearing somewhere around the back of the hospital bed. The mandatory smiley face socks. The urinal so close to the water it's a classic finger wave good-bye for me - don't confuse those two.

Meanwhile back at the now 1-story 3sL HQ, still cracked was the cracked step that was noted on the Spring Walkabout repair list in...the spring. Visiting my father on Weds., my phone rang. It was the contractor letting me know the cement would be fixed tomorrow. I hung up. Cracked up. What's funny? Dad asked. I told him. He said, oh that's not a problem. I can write this script now. He's not going to respond well when I get out of the car after retrieving him, say OK, here's the not a problem, and vault myself and Scott into the house, leaving him to contemplate the not a problem part of the world where all the problems belong to someone else to solve. In this case, it'll probably be the South Lyon Fire Department Egress Team. Again.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Life With Art

An art centered night tonight which is appreciated in this time of bizarre politicking and threatening missives. Has social media really become global diplomacy? I hope not, but know it to be true. Mine's bigger than yours used to be a joke. Not so much now. I am focused on what works. Diplomacy at every level. Kindness. Thinking. Thinking. As you know, I live in a house with a 90 year old man and a 52 year old Down's syndrome brother with Alzheimer's. So, basically, Congress.

All of our issues in this house are intensifying (see the play, first go-through at Suzanne Haskew Art Center in November.)

For the last couple of years I've chilled. Don't know how to describe this, except the rage fire is banked. We have government now that is dedicated to bringing back tall black hats and those stupid collars, along with the bows, which were never good fashion. Isn't it interested that we grew up in this country being told that those doofs in wigs came here to bring religious freedom?  And the massacre of the indigenous population that was already here was, well, necessary. And here we are. 200 years later. The same fucking lie.

I digress. We are in a timewarp. 238 years later we're at 438 years ago.

And then there's art. And photography. And nature. Children, joy, the days my brother still is in the world. The days my father, even a little, understands that there are other people in his world.

My appreciation. Gratitude changes the body, ameliorates pain, restructures atoms.

More profoundly, appreciating brings more of the same. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Dollhouse Spring

Late spring in Michigan, both in the realm and dollhouse. The forsythia is blooming. The spring door wreath is up. (All the wreaths are from 4hala on etsy.) The roses bloom all year. I made the Climbing Joseph's Coat, and Fair Bianca because I had these in my yard at another house. Bearded iris and blooming hosta were made of masking tape and paint. There is an Easter basket on the bench.

A close-up of the basket, complete with eggs, chocolate bunny and marshmallow chick.

The spring set before installation. I made the White Rabbit, the egg dye cup and the baskets. The other pieces were to go in my garden shed which I haven't yet gotten around to building.

The bag of garden shed supplies. There is a receipt in here from 2004. The components included a printed set of seed packets, which I cut out, crushed seed beads [giggle] and glued together. I sold those a few years ago. As an emerging adult, I'm going to put this bag back where I found it. For now.

Spring cleanup fix-it. Noticed my garden hose was lost in the move. I'll make another. Some day.





Monday, April 10, 2017

RJ Spangler Trio with Larry Smith and George V. Johnson Jr.

You're really sorry if you missed this live jazz music appearance Sunday, 9 April at Salem-South Lyon District Library. RJ Spangler Trio. RJ percussion. Oliver Nevels, guitar. Gregory Cook on bass (5-string on Sunday.) Special guest music legend Larry Smith on alto sax. George V. Johnson Jr. brought the vocals and - wow - we are appreciative he did.

2 p.m. we got our feet tapping to Sundown, a Wes Montgomery composition. Wes Montgomery's a favorite in our house. From blues to bossa nova, we next heard L'estate (Summer) composed by Bruno Martino 1960, with "In Summer" lyrics by Jon Hendricks. Lost love and dreaming sunsets.

Stella (Stella by Starlight) featured in the 1944 movie The Uninvited. One of my top 5 favorite films starring Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, Donald Crisp, Alan Napier and beautiful tragic Gail Russell.

RJ shared that Oliver Nevels is the group's filmographer. Talking with Oliver after the concert, he said most popular jazz standards came from film. We don't only enjoy the music mastery, the group is a fountain of music history and lore.

George V. Johnson shared with us the vocals for Summertime. For composer Lou Donaldson's 90th birthday party Johnson premiered his lyrics for Gravy Train. From NYC to South Lyon. Bam.

Charlie Parker's 1954 composition Little Suede Shoes was up next, with Mr. Johnson's 1977 lyrics.

St. Thomas, a Sonny Rollins composition with lyrics also by the amazing George V. Johnson Jr. If you have a reverbnation profile, you can come close to the experience of the live performance yesterday. You can listen to Sonny Rollins perform his composition. And for other film nerds, it's the song featured in the wedding scene in the 1989 movie Working Girl.

Find out more about RJ Spangler Trio, Larry Smith and George V. Johnson Jr.

Here you can read a scholarly paper about the blues influence in Wes Montgomery's music, and his use of call and response technique.

Check here for those who missed the October concert with these music masters. You do not want to miss the next performance! Sunday, 7 May at Salem-South Lyon District Library.

The live jazz music concert was made possible by a grant from the Jazz Foundation of America and the Metro Detroit Book & Author Society 2016 James Dance Performance Grant.