: young life
the 50's America was a place very different from today.
I grew up on a farm, we prayed in school and we went to
church every Sunday. We ate apple pie and liked ice cream.
This little boy in this little Pennsylvania town thought
he was in heaven.
How quickly things changed. In
1963, President Kennedy was assassinated. 'Why is the world
crying?' I thought. What about heaven? We're supposed to
live forever! I had it all wrong, I guess.
from the farm to the suburbs of New York City. It was called
Jersey. Life was different there, but we still went to church
every Sunday, still ate apple pie and liked ice cream. It
was a good life, everyone in the family involved in Scouting
and School Events and Church activities, doing what Americans
When the Vietnam War came into our homes every
night on TV, things became uneasy. It was war. Boys just
barely young men were going away to the war, never to return.
Mothers and sisters crying. I was afraid. Afraid that I
would have to go learn to kill and maybe be killed. What
about Heaven? We're supposed to live forever! I had it all
wrong, I guess.
I didn't have to wait for my number
to come up in the draft for the Vietnam War to change my
life. One night the secure routine of school and Scout meetings
and committee meetings for Mom and Dad was brought to a
startling halt. A young man had gotten his draft notice.
He decided to end his life. He took the baby he had just
had with his girlfriend, drank a quart of vodka, got in
the car and drove down the highway at 120 miles an hour.
But Mom was in his path in a car driven by a neighbor. The
young man killed her instead.
Until then, pain was
just a passing thing. Anger was just a temporary state of
emotion. The meaning of despair escaped me. And what about
heaven? We're supposed to live forever! I guess I had it