Tag Archives: radio

Black History Programs

With February being Black History Month I was a little busy. Actually, the way I feel about it, there should be some way Black History is incorporated into each and every month. There is too much history, up front and much, much more hidden (think about the movie Hidden Figures), that is relevant and should be remembered. I have thought about the direction I wanted to go while writing this particular blog but there are many directions and my mind was mixing them all. I think I have a grasp of it for now.

I did not want to write anything that I have read or heard about. I want to give you personal experiences, experiences that are in line with what I am writing. My mind seem to drift off the main subject and I could write much more than I post. I’ll try to make it short and to the point although it is difficult when writing history or about historical figures. For instance, when I wrote about The Last Graduating Tuskegee Airman, I only wrote about the time before he went into the military up to his graduating as a Tuskegee Airman. If I had written his entire story (I have him telling it to me on an over an hour long digital audio recording).

I was a part of one program where I was portrayed as Sen. Obama and then as President Obama. I read his speech when he was running for president and his farewell speech (I used my radio voice from my radio days). That was a nice program and I was told I did well. The audience was very small and I only counted three Black people in the place. Imperial Plaza have enough Black residents to fill the auditorium yet they come to very few programs and this was about them and for them. Yet, they complain there aren’t any programs for them, etc.

The second program was at the Virginia War Memorial. I was on the stage panel for a discussion plus a question and answer period. There were six of us and among us were Tuskegee Airmen, a woman (Army Retired) whose story would make you think of one of the women in the movie Hidden Figures), Viet Nam and the Iraq era. I can’t tell you who was more interesting, the Tuskegee Airmen or her. My input into the program did not hold a candle to theirs and I could have been listening all day to their stories.

The crowd was small and , here again, there should have been many more. After the panel stories, question and answer period, we went outside for a wreath laying. Franklin Military Academy presented The Colors and I assisted in the wreath laying ceremony. We pledged allegiance to The Flag, a female Franklin Academy Cadet sang the National Anthem and a cadet blew “Taps” on his trumpet. The weather co-operated. PBS was there and it aired the next morning and the papers were there but I did not see the article. All of it was beautiful. I could do this all year, not only during February.

The thing I am sad about is for the young people. Most are not interested in history, especially Black history. They know about some of the famous Black people but they do not know about the small things that were accomplished. Most do not want to know who did what or why. They seldom understand what the conditions and hold backs were. I have even found they have a lot of misconceptions about ancient history, like the Pyramids or the oldest operating library in the world. Things like this are important to me, personally, and it helped shape my mind and all my actions through life. The few that soak up history seem to be better because of it.

All of us on that stage at the Virginia War Memorial was a tiny sample of the history that is sort by historians. It was sad only three of four kids were there to hear about the tiny portion of history from the people that produced it. Yes, I am a part of it although I rarely talk about it. It started with Civil Rights and ended at my retirement from the military.

To those before me and/or accomplished more than I have, thank you. To those that are learning about past history, keep digging. There is a treasure trove to find. And, as I have said before, you will never know who you may be talking to because most will not say unless asked. That person may have a background that would shock you. Keep digging…

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Prince/Sayings

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the passing of Prince. In the music world he was one of the greatest icons that ever was. He will be missed as his music lives on and on. He has written, co-written and influenced so much music that I hesitate listing anything. As I understand it, he has a vault containing hundreds of unpublished music. I can hardly wait for any of it to come out. He is one artist that will never be forgotten. RIP

I was a radio announcer/DJ for many years and I have had an e-mail account since the mid or late eighties. At the end of my radio shows (since the eighties) and at the end of my e-mail accounts I always closed with a saying…”Be kind to your neighbors because you’ll never know when you’ll need them. Also, ensure your words are soft and sweet because you’ll never know when you’ll have to eat them”. There are many people that need to learn that and, as for me, I try to.

Why am I relaying this? The other day, as I was sitting on an outside bench getting a little sun, an older woman with her walker passed within a foot of me. I spoke, she glanced at me, kept walking and never spoke or acknowledged that I had spoken. I knew she heard me because she did not glance at me until I spoke. Later that same day the same thing happened with another person. I began to think there was something wrong with me. That is when I started to remember the saying. If the first and second woman were to have an immediate, life threatening or not, problem both would look to me for help of some type. I then must become a good neighbor and disregard any and all prior treatment by that person. I could either be a kind neighbor or not. That is my call, depending on my feelings at the time. I could help or, being angry for treatment I previously received, go on about my business and not help.

I looked at the evening news Thursday and saw the man knocked unconscious, robbed and run over by a cab as the multitude of people stood around and did nothing to help. If it was one of them, they would want some type of intervention. Be kind to your neighbors. The man died. I could quote many more incidents from here at Imperial Plaza and elsewhere, but for brevity I will not.

The other part is about speech. Not the sound but the content. I’ll hop on a political figure although there are many more examples but this is most recent. Mr. Trump stated, many times years ago and when he started campaigning, that he was against abortion and gay people. Period. Thursday, I am guessing it’s for political reasons, he said he is for abortion in the case of rape, incest, etc and transgendered people can use any restroom they choose. What a turnaround (can someone say flip-flop). Ensure your words are soft and sweet because it may come back and bite a big chunk out of whatever. Mr. Sanders said, at the beginning of his run and like the republicans, that he would support whomever is the democratic nominee. Thursday he said only if the nominee supported his views. Were his words soft and sweet? And, what did he say about Harriet Tubman?

All I am saying is people must be careful in what they say, how they say it and what they do because they may not have a chance to correct the oversight before they are caught in the web of regretting all that they have done. It is a shame we have people, here at Imperial Plaza, that act like it’s still the nineteen fifties, sixties or before. They may be old but this is a new age and, one day, they will need help, no matter who gives it. They would let the devil help, if he would. And, last but not least, all of the politicians have said something that they should not have said and, believe me, it is recorded somewhere.

We will all need help, at some point in time, and we all should think about what we are about to say before we say it and/or acknowledge being spoken to. Many people do not and it may not be forgotten when push becomes shove.

Elderly and Writing

Cool weather is upon us and we must prepare for the up coming cold winter air. Don’t wait because it will be upon us before we know it. Winter, like summer, is no joke, especially if you are among the elderly. Things we used to do when we were younger is no longer true now. The heat or coldness we used to endure is fatal now. The getting up at the crack of dawn is gone. Swiftness in our step is slowing if not already slowed. Soon it will come to a stop; we all must meet that fate. It’s no fun getting up in age; we all must meet that fate also. We are human and not infallible and must watch what we say, do and react to. Infallibility certainly come with age and we get older, not younger.

Have patience with those that are older than we are. Those that move slower. Those that are slower in wit (some didn’t get it with age but was there most of their lives). Not only does the body deteriorate with age, so does the mind (few exceptions allowed). Be helpful and understand. One day we all will be in the same position. How would we want to be treated?

On a lighter note…My wife and I attended the Annual Meeting (and luncheon) of The Virginia Writers Club on the 7th and it was grand, although there wasn’t as many attendees as I thought there would be. We bought a couple of books (the book I’m writing is not finished yet) and had them autographed. My wife won a prize, a book. The main speaker was great and the food was out of this world. The event was held at The Embassy Suites Hotel and the hotel have a botanical garden area that Lewis Ginter Gardens would surely love to have. It was wonderful to tour the floras and running water (all indoors, of course). We even accidentally met the keeper of the gardens. It was a great day. Now I must buckle down and write in earnest. I’ll tell you why…

The Mighty Pen is a project presented (hosted) by the Virginia War Memorial. I am in the second class of writers that are coached (taught, instructed) by some highly powered people. The class was an idea of author David Robbins and he taught the first class and drops in on the second class, my class, which have two more weeks left of a ten week course. My class is instructed by Dr. David Coogan, author and professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. There are only twelve people at each class but two have dropped out of mine. As can be expected, the writings are all about the military, fact or fiction (great majority is fact). It is a great course and I would have never forgiven myself if I had passed on the opportunity to attend (it was my wife that showed me the article about the class). I’m glad I am attending and I have learned a lot as well as rubbed elbows with a lot of influential people. I hope the younger class members realize what an opportunity it is to be there.

Mr. David Robbins is also the co-founder of the James River Writers Club and asked me to check into them and, hopefully, join. I am looking into them as soon as I can and, if they are as good as The Virginia Writers Club, I will join. These clubs, in the future, may be a help to me in my writings and will look good on my resume, when submitted to a publisher. Wish me luck.

There was suppose to be a writing course started here at Imperial Plaza. I signed up for the course about three months ago but have not heard anything yet. I heard, a couple of weeks ago, that they were looking for people to take the course but my name and number have been on the sign-up sheet for a long time. Oh well, no contact, no sweat. I’ll wait because I have plenty of other things on my plate, not counting my writings.

Remember, prepare for winter and keep a sharp mind. Be mindful of others and, as it was said in days of yore, “keep on keeping on”. And, as I used to close all my radio programs, “be kind to your neighbors, because you’ll never know when you’ll need them. Also, ensure your words are soft and sweet, because you’ll never know when you’ll have to eat them”. Bye-bye!!!

Memories

Memories are everything. It drives us as well as, sometimes, makes us cry. Some memories are happy and some are sad but any memory is what can make us stronger. Fourteen years ago, do you remember where you were, what you were doing and who you were with? Do you remember the twin towers in New York City? That is what I am getting to and I still remember it well.

It make me feel very old knowing I remember it so clearly and remember how I felt, etc. Memories can have a nostalgic effect so powerful that it can consume your entire being and overwhelm you to a point that you will cry, laugh or just see the whole episode appear before you like a picture show. The sound, emotion and every other thing that goes with it will sometimes seem so real. You can hear a song that will take you back to a time that has long ago passed. Memories certainly have a strong effect.

I remember I was in the radio studio reading my last commercial of the morning, preparing to leave for the day. I remember how a young intern ran into the room and handed me a note. I remember reading the note, while I did the commercial (back then I could do more than one thing at a time). I remember putting the note down and continuing the commercial. The intern picked up the note and gave it to me again. I closed the mike and said I didn’t have time for jokes. She said it wasn’t a joke and I froze. I only had ten minutes left at the station but it turned out to be another five hours that I was on the air. The Twin Towers had fallen.

Memories are everything. Relatives, friends, incidents (pleasure and/or disaster) and just plain craziness. At Imperial Plaza more memories, than I care to imagine, are floating around in the heads of the many people here. Stories about WWII, Korean War, Viet Nam War and just plain life from many, many years ago. When these people, myself included, are gone, so are those memories and the history that was never written. These are people that are in their nineties and early hundreds. I was speaking with a gentleman that was ninety one and he was telling me about the WWII B-29’s. First hand experience. Real life history and not the canned stuff that is shown on the History Channel. Only the stuff that makes good documentaries and the stuff that makes the government look good is there. Not the stuff that falls between the cracks and goes unknown to the generation that doesn’t know how it really was back in those days.

Let us cherish the memories of our self and of others. Memories of others may tell you something interesting as well as something you may not have known. Once that person is called away, that memory is gone forever and it can not be retold the way it was remembered.

A Little Of This, A Little Of That

When I was on the radio I had a closing saying at the end of each and every program. “Be kind to your neighbors because you will never know when you will need them. Also, ensure your words are soft and sweet because you will never know when you will have to eat them”. Since I have been at Imperial Plaza I have met many people that have had interesting lives and people that have been or still are of importance. The other day I met a gentleman that was a squadron commander for an aircraft maintenance unit in the air force. We had an interesting conversation and not once did we speak badly about anyone or even turn our nose up at anyone. It was as if we have known each other for years. Yes, I was in the air force but not as a commander or anything like that. That is why a person should not assume anything of anybody until you get to know the real inner person.

There are many people at Imperial Plaza that assume things without getting to really know what is going on or the person that they are talking to. False assumptions cause many, many problems that could have been avoided if a softer approach was acquired and an unassuming mind was vacated. Living here are people from many walks of live and may know many people that are more powerful than you, me or they are. Speak kinder and be unassuming. That way you will have a better life because there are no repercussions from something you have said or have assumed.

The singing and dancing at the White Squirrel last Tuesday was fantastic. The party was on! A bug with a rumor have whispered in my ear that the party may move. Wherever it moves to, I hope there is quick access to the same food and drink as there is now. That is a large part of the party because, like me, people eat their supper during the party. I have been told that the White Squirrel make more money on Tuesday than it does all week, that is why. I know the place is small and can’t hold everyone that come but I hope long, hard thought was in play before there was a decision to move. I will bring this up at the Activity Committee meeting tomorrow for opinions. I may be missing something and I am not always right, far from it (my wife tells me, LOL), but, in this case, I think I am right.

One last thing before I close. At the last Town Hall Meeting, last month, we were told the tree trimmers were working and to not enter the taped off areas. I walk the area and never saw the areas but I have seen a lot of dead tree limbs in the trees. In fact, where my wife and I park our cars is where a lot of work need to be done. There is one tree that is half dead and, when I leave my car, I duck my head. If tree work is being done, it’s sparse or invisible. I choose invisible because, after two years, it is still the same. I can tell you when the work will get done. When this place is sued because of tree damage. It’s coming.

Communication

There is always something going on at Imperial Plaza. Sometimes it’s good things and then there are the behind the scenes bad things. It’s like the phrase from the Bible book of Revelations. Wars and rumors of war. From what I gather it all started when the person that volunteers to handle the packages for pick-up was asked who she worked for and she replied that she works for no one because she is a volunteer. That may be true, however, everyone work for someone. The question is what department and who is in charge of that department. Also, as far as handing out the packages that come in the mail and is too large for the small mail boxes, what department would that fall under?

Another thing….we now have, on the apartment cable system, channel 970 on which we can see the daily schedule of upcoming events, etc. It is in it’s infancy but should get better soon but I think I have a solution that will greatly improve the system and many other things here at Imperial Plaza. There should be a Communications Department. The department I am thinking of will handle the cctv, fliers, news, ads to radio, tv, and papers. The department should have at least two people (Mass Communication educated) because there will be more than enough work for the two. I know from experience that handling the daily routine of the input into the cctv takes a lot of energy and time to do it right as well as coordinating with the many individuals that have the needed information.

I can see the communications people having a desk with a computer unlike everyone else. This computer will also have graphics and formats that will expedite making the designs needed for the different publications that will go out on the cctv and all other print and video work. I can also see the constant changes that is inevitable in this type of work. There must be constant contact with the executive branch of the administration as well as the other departments in order to put out exactly what is desired to be released. A communications department is a very important arm of any large administration and I wonder if Imperial Plaza have one or is considering one?

Communication is very important for a church also. My Pastor want me to handle this and I am having a hard time getting started because I have a lot of other things that I am doing but, with God’s help, I will get it done. Most people really don’t realize how much work go into doing something like this. I have done this when I was in the military and when I was at the radio station at Virginia State University. The work at VSU wasn’t that hard because there were many people that could be called on and the equipment was at hand. There is no one to call on at the church and the equipment does not exist.

So you see, communications is needed in both places and that is only an example. These are only my thoughts, a couple of things that will hopefully get my mind in gear for a project I must complete. Wish me luck with this communication project and wish Imperial Plaza luck with whatever they are doing. Without a full-time communication department, they’ll need a lot of luck.