Minor RootesJuly 7, 1930 ~ June 3, 2017 (age 86)
At this reading, my existence or non-existence will be in another realm, during my eighty six years of life, I look back with few regrets though I know I have some forgotten apologies to bestow on people that I have slighted. Please accept.
In my span of being I have witnessed the great depression, Pearl Harbor, WWII, Hiroshima, a relatively tranquil transition from war to peace, the assassination of Jack Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, the Civil Rights movement, the evolution of new values in the 60’s and 70’s (what a great time to break old dated traditions), 9/11, the largest war in American history, a black President, and up to our current situation. This is a large chunk of American history and I was blessed and fortunate to be part of it.
In my life time as a teacher (55 years) I have instructed thousands of students and have met hundreds of the general populace. They have really been the ones who educated me. From an eighteen year old “know it all” with a brand new high school diploma I feel that I became through time a well-rounded open-minded educated man.
Of course, there were those that had more influence on me than others and I wish to give them special thanks. I may have omitted some people but please attribute that to limited space or even lack of memory.
My mother, Christine, was the first to start to mold my actions and thoughts. She was a kind gentle being that guided me through the turmoil of infancy and early years. “Kindness to all people” were her key words. Be aware of others and their needs. Prejudice, whether it be religious, racial or ethnic was never to be tolerated. “Do unto Others.”
My father, Thomas, was a product of the Victorian age (children should be seen-not heard). He was much more stern but extremely fair and honest. He never cheated a person nor told a lie to my knowledge. If he had weaknesses, it was that he liked practical jokes….but never on him. He imbued me with a strong work ethic….a value that has served me well.
Third person that I honor is my first wife, Nelle Newton, coming from a well-cultured family from Georgia, she found that I was more of a farm boy than a cultivated personage. Basically she looked at me as a diamond in the rough….very rough. She immediately exposed me to the fine arts…music, dance, theatre, painting, and architecture. She threw these elements at me and looked to see what would stick. Theatre became my vocation. Then she supported me financially and psychologically through three advanced college degrees. She was a major director in my life.
It took my son, Richard, at the age of twenty, to jolt me out of my comfort zone. He proved to me that you did not have to be a college graduate to recognize the riches of this earth. Do not let 9 – 5 jobs dictate your life. A two story house with a picket fence does not make you necessarily happy. Enjoy what you like to do and you will reach your fulfillment. He taught me by excellent example.
My second wife, Maria Antonieta, is my jewel from the Amazon River. Maria arrived late in my life but in enough time (22 years) to have a profound influence on me. She is a happy person and extremely giving. I married her along with her eleven brothers & sisters. Her family embraced me and I learned what love can come from a communal family. Oh yes, she taught me to travel. She is the women that made my life complete.
Her children, Fabrizio and Tatiana were two wonderful gifts she included in her dowery to me. Both have been supportive and loving and have spoiled me in my later life.
I would be remiss if I did not mention several other people. Thank you Lil Campbell, our departmental administrative assistant, for always watching my back and semi-educating me on computers, while still remaining a good friend of mine. Thank you Tom Power and Bill Steele for never allowing me to take myself too seriously. Thank you Dana Williams who was the only person to understand my humor….and still laughs at it. Thank you Dr. Anna Niegowska and the staff at Mercy Hospital for keeping me alive for an extra decade…and for being my friend. And thank you, Arthur Hill, for guiding me through a perfect journey.
As I depart on my last trip, I leave you with Amazonian Indian word SAY-HOP-I-TA, which loosely translated means “Goodbye and for the rest of your life may you travel with Joy.”
P.S. Sometime this winter there will be a memorial service for me somewhere on the Amazon River. You are invited.