Tag Archives: The Mighty Pen Project

A Week of Delectation

I am still on cloud nine from all that I have seen, done and went through this week. In a nut shell, I interviewed the last graduating airman from the famed Tuskegee Airmen of Tuskegee, Ala. Myself and Len Rasmusen, with Len driving, went to northern Virginia to meet with (Ret.) Col. Carl Johnson. He was the last to graduate because before his class graduated he had a bout of appendicitis and was hospitalized. When he got out of the hospital, his class had graduated and he was all alone. He was thinking he would be sent home but, instead, he was allowed to finish his training and graduate as the Last Tuskegee Airman.

At 91, he is clear voiced, full of spirit and was eager to talk about his storied career as an Army Officer although he did time in the USAF and the Army National Guard. Through him, I found out about Tuskegee Airmen flying bombers, although it was after WWII. He also flew in Korea and Viet Nam and was posted at the Pentagon, among many other places. Len and I viewed a number of scrapbooks and saw pictures of many people of note, such as Gen. Chappie James as a lieutenant. We were told that he was good friends with Chappie James, because he was his co-pilot, and they remained friends for years.

I have it all recorded so I can refer to it as I write a longer, more precise, work for The MPP (The Mighty Pen Project), the Virginia War Memorial and self-gratification. I love history. Everything about history. I love to dig deeper as I ask the question, why? I don’t mind the research nor do I mind the inevitable self induced trance I fall into.

In the middle of the week Imperial Plaza took us to the new Afro-American Museum, officially entitled, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. After lunch in Washington, D.C., we traveled the very short distance to the museum, which was very crowded. A word of caution for anyone that is planning to go there. Go on-line and get tickets first but plan to wait a few months before the tickets will allow entrance. Getting tickets now will allow you entry in April or May although there is a line for people that arrive without a reservation but there is not a guarantee that you will get in that way, even if you wait all day.

There is no way you can view the entire museum in one day so I concentrated on the lower three floors (basement) of the eight floors. I quickly went through most of the displays, not spending too much time on any one thing. I had three hours and almost didn’t make it although three hours seem like a long time but when you are engrossed in the displays, time flies and there is so much.

The thing that bothered me most were not the displays but the kids. Most of the kids were either running through the place, playing with each other or mindlessly texting. The great majority were not interested and, I will make a bet, could not tell you about anything there. What a shame. What a waste.

In that section was a short display on the Tuskegee Airmen and, I noticed, one of the pictures on display was one that I took a photo of from Col. Johnson’s scrapbook. There, on display, is one of the planes that the Tuskegee Airmen flew (The Spirit Of Tuskegee) and a few other pictures. I wish the display had more but you take whatever there is to take. The photos of some of the grotesque hangings done to my people where very haunting to say the least. The display of an actual slave house really show how small they were for the number of people that lived in them, or should I say survived in them. That’s all there was then, survival any way you could.

That was my week and I am overjoyed to have lived it. Col. Johnson and the museum made my entire week and I’m happy for it. Imperial Plaza’s Activity Department get thumbs up for the work in getting tickets, getting us there and getting us back safely. Praises to Kayle, Ron and Jerome.

See you next blog. Don’t forget to check out my other blog, although it will automatically pop up on other sites (twitter, google, etc). The weekend is coming and my wife and I are off again. Our schedule is full and we have a lot of fun and adventures to catch up on. Bye-bye and remember…Be kind to your neighbors and ensure your words are soft and sweet.

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MPP and Casinos

You should have been there. The third class of the Mighty Pen Project had their graduation ceremony, of which I was a part of, on the 6th of April. There were at least eighty five people in attendance and food in abundance (after the ceremony, of course). And, to top it all off, there were six or seven readings of some of the pieces written during the ten weeks of intense university level instruction. This was my second class and I loved this one most of all. The next class will be starting in a week or two (I forget which) and Mighty Pen Project (MPP) will begin to take applications for the fall class that will start in September. Those of you that can make it should sign-up for this ten week course. You’ll be surprised in what you can accomplish. Registration is taken through the Virginia War Memorial (our partner in this endeavor) on their web site, www.virginiawarmemorial.org I am still working on our web site (I finally made a break through in getting it started) and it’s located at www.themightypenproject.org I finally have a few photos from the graduation and a couple from NPR when they were at the second class (I’m in both of the photos which ended up in the papers also). Keep looking at both sites because information change often.

I love going to the casinos but I am out with Charlestown Casinos in Charlestown, West Virginia. The horse racing was good (they can’t rig that) but the slot machines are brand new and set to not pay. Maryland Live and Horseshoe (Baltimore) is much, much better. You may not get a jackpot but you will make and lose a little with the occasional jackpot or near jackpot. West Virginia must want us to pay for the new machines. Not on my dime. But, on the other side of the coin, my wife love to play Roulette and does pretty good on the table. It’s hard to rig the table but the machines are another matter. Therefore, we’ll go to Maryland Live for a week, starting Monday, and my religious blog will be late if at all (it’s not like I’m getting paid for this blog).

I see we have the typical Virginia weather…wait five minutes and it’ll change. Seem as though we are getting March in April, therefore, we may get April in May. Either way, our Virginia weather, in my opinion, is the best in the USA. A little of this and a little of that with not too much of any one thing. Here in the Richmond, tri-cities area, the very bad weather either go around us or skip over us. I love it and try to enjoy it. It’s never too hot nor too cold (three bears?) and I don’t like the cold although I spent most of my military career in cold places. Oh well, there is nothing that can be done about it even if you don’t like it. We all have to suck up the bad weather and hope we are never in it.

Take care, be good and I’ll see all of you when I get back.

It’s That Time Of Year Again

Aah, spring is right around the corner and the heat is on. Not too hot and not too cool but just right. I love this time of year. What is even better is the fact the fish are getting ready for me. They are just waiting for me to come for them and to bring them home. Aah, my time of year. Plus, I love retirement and all that it brings. The problem is I don’t have enough time. There are not enough hours in the day for me to do all the things I want to do. Fish, bike, walk, travel, gamble, read, write and other things I just can’t say at the moment. Hell, looking at the list, that’s a lot. No wonder I don’t have time for anything. I didn’t even include sleep or The Might Pen Project (themightypenproject.org) (or go to the Virginia War Memorial web site). The MPP is keeping me very busy in itself but it is a good organization and more vets should try it. Not because it is free but simply try it and let the inter self flow.

Besides my fishing, I have quite a few trips planned. There is so much to do and not enough time to do it and work my part-time job also. First on the list is to Charlestown, W.V for two days at the casino. Next on the agenda is Puerto Rico for a few days. June is the ten day cruise, sponsored by Brookdale Imperial Plaza. July is my grandson’s wedding in Colorado. I’m not sure about August but September is the jazz fest in Hampton Coliseum (not The Hampton Jazz Festival). This should be three days of great music and fun and it’s only an hour away. I’ve already booked my tickets and hotel space (can’t be driving home drunk on I-64 ). This is as far as I’ve gotten, so far, and the year is covered except for August. At least, I don’t remember what will happen in August. I’m sure there’s something. Oh yeah…there is a family reunion in Penn. coming up. Forgot about that. Oh, well!!!

What I really want to do is go back to Europe next year. My wife have never been (like I’ve never been to Puerto Rico, where she is from) to Europe. I want to show her Germany, Holland, Austria and then England before returning home. I may stop by France but that would be a side trip while we are there. Most of the time will be in Germany and Austria. That is only a plan at the moment.

Retirement is great and I’ve worked all my life to enjoy my waning days. Just as well spend what I have because I can’t take it with me when it’s my time to move on out of here. When it’s that time, I can’t say wait, give me more time because I want to do this or that. And, years have been spent working to do this.

So, all of you out there, have the fun I am planning to have. Don’t let grass grow under your feet. Move!! Have fun!! Go places, do things!! Life is short and will not wait on you. And, if my blog is late getting out or it’s not out at all, you now have an idea why. Don’t hold it against me and, on second thought, join me. We can have fun together and just live it up.