Friday, May 27, 2011

Trail Clearing in the Sangre de Cristo

Carolan took this photo (on a little disposable camera) of her crew working on a trail in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The  Southwest Conservation Corps crew members clear fallen timber (normally with 2-person crosscut saws--hand saws!). They remove rocks on trails, improve drainage, rebuild washed-out sections, etc. It's hard work!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Carolan in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Colorado

Carolan's crew from the Southwest Conservation Corps (Los Valles office in Salida, Colorado), doing trail work in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains--probably the Crestone Trail.

Happy 89th Birthday, Dad!

Today would be my Dad's 89th birthday--my brother Kevin reminded me.

We remember you, Dad. We love you. We wish you could see the thriving lives of your children, grand children--and now, great grand children. You and Mom started a dynasty!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bob Dylan!

Happy 70th Birthday, Bob Dylan! Bob was born Robert Zimmerman in Duluth and raised in Hibbing, Minnesota. In early 1961, the man who by then called himself Bob Dylan moved to New York City and soon began playing in the Greenwich Village clubs, Gerdes Folk City among them. This Greenwich Village music scene must have been one of the luckiest, most creative places in American history: an incubator of genius. So many wonderful artists have come out of there: Dave Von Ronk, Joan Baez, David Crosby, Joni Mitchell, Liam Clancy, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, Eric Anderson, Judy Collins, and so many others!

One of the first songs I learned to play on guitar, back in 1968, was "Blowin' in the Wind." My favorite song of his to sing and play is "You Ain't Going Nowhere." I love so many of Bob Dylan's songs--what a national treasure!

Friday, May 20, 2011

My First Communion: 55 Years Ago Today

On May 20th, 1956--55 years ago to the day--I received my First Communion at St. William's Church, on East 260th Street in Euclid, Ohio. Sr. Ruth Marie, OSU [Ursuline], told us that this would be the happiest day of our lives. She was right.

I was born somewhat early in the Baby Boom, and Euclid was full of kids--and full of Catholics. I bet 60% of the residents of Euclid were Catholic back then (there were 7 Catholic churches in Euclid in the mid 1950's). Seven and eight-year-old boys were kept pretty separate: a line for the boys and a line for the girls, in order of height. I was fourth in line, being one of the shortest boys, and my partner was Randy Wohlgemuth (wonder where Randy is these days?). My cousin Tommy Fitzpatrick was much farther back in the line. I wouldn't be surprised if 200 kids made their First Communion that day.

Probably it was Fr. John Fleming who said the mass (the old Latin high mass). The church was packed to the rafters with kids, their parents, grandparents, and families. That old St. William's Church is now a gymnasium and sometimes bingo hall (sacrilege!)

We had a family party at my house on East 266th Street later that day--everybody came, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles. I received $18 dollars in presents--I couldn't believe my luck!
First Communion Day, May 20, 1956--behind our house (655 East 266 Street, Euclid, Ohio):
Denny Coughlin, Susie Brock, Maggie Brock, Bobby Coughlin; in front of Maggie is Mary Ellen Coughlin). Allen Lane's house is on the left.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Carolan in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Carolan (right) working with her colleagues in the Southwest Conservation Corps--Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Colorado

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cincinnati Peacemakers (and John Leininger's Death)

The passing of John Leininger has certainly awakened my memories of the active and courageous peace community in Cincinnati in the early 1970's. I mentioned some of the Peacemakers that John would have known and worked with in the previous blog posting. Here are some others that I remember: Andy Meyer, Joan Levy, Denny Ryan, Richard Gale, Bonnie Tomkins, Joel Stephens, Dick Crowley--and all the other folks who either lived in or often visited the Mansfield House Community and the neighborhing Orchard Street house (where I lived, along with Chris Cotter, Anne and Clare Weinkam, Peggy Scherer, and Jack Shereda). Henry Scott was for a while at the Bromley's in Gano, Ohio, and at other times in the Over-the-Rhine area. There were many others who were in and out: Maggie Jones, the local VISTA workers (Dick Crowley, John Thornton, and many others), some folks from the Bluffton College Mennonite service group, some local organizres and social workers. Jim Tarbell was occasionally there, as were some local artists. It was a dynamic, ever-changing, fantastically interesting gathering of people. Many Peacemakers, Catholic Workers, and Quakers from out of town came through from time to time. They were all offered hospitality--a place to stay and food to eat, without a question being asked. I wish I could express the flavor of this time and place better than I have. It's something that won't ever happen again in exactly that way.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Death of Peacemaker John Leininger

Yesterday I received the shocking news that an old friend and fellow Peacemaker, John Leininger,  has died from an aggressive cancer diagnosed just weeks ago. Left behind is Alice Ann Carpenter, his partner for some 38 years, step-children Maureen and Jenny, grandchildren Jocelyn, Alaina, and Devlin, sons-in-law Chris and Donal, and so many other relatives and friends.

John was a courageous and active peacemaker and will be memorialized later this summer at a Cincinnati Unitarian church.
I first met John around 1973 at Peacemaker "foldings" (where the Peacemaker newsletter was folded and mailed) at the home of Marion and Ernest Bromley in Gano, Ohio. These foldings later moved to Alice Ann and John's home in the North Avondale neighborhood of Cincinnati.

I have wonderful memories of these Peacemaker foldings (and other activities like the conferences and "gatherings").  A lot of courageous people came to these foldings: Greg Haas, John Luginbill, Kenny Przybylski, Mary Alice Shepherd, Chuck Matthei, Peggy Scherer, Chris Cotter, Annie Weinkam . . . .[I'll mention more people in further postings].

Here is a website that John Leininger and Alice Ann Carpenter maintained for their crime and murder mystery books business: Photos of John and Alice Ann can be found at that site.