I recognize how fortunate I have always been as a member of America's white middle-class. Serving my country in World War II,  I look back on a charmed life. With few unavoidable setbacks, I've had a fulfilling and satisfying life. I've doted on raising a family of four children and nine grandchildren, two "marriages" and a profession as an educator. As a school principal I've had a satisfactory income and felt richly rewarded by making a difference in young people's lives. I've lived through a Great Depression, a world war and a variety of police actions and other  world crises. Unfortunately I've seen my country make mistakes - above all its failure to provide freedom and equality for ALL citizens. Yet I have always felt that the trajectory of progress has been in an upward spiral. That a “New World,” a "promised land" has been the goal of my beloved country. That is until the past election!  Now living within two miles from the headquarters of the swamp—the White House—I found it difficult to avoid depression in my terminal years.

Yes, I'm now a 92-Year-Old Optimist Who Almost Became Depressed Thinking About the Future of My Country I'm appalled by the leadership of my country. It's inconceivable to me that my fellow country men and women have chosen a president who represents and exhibits the worst of what I've known America to aspire to be. I once thought "American exceptionalism" was a positive seeking to provide equal opportunity and freedom for all. Now the executive branch of government  projects a aura of leadership by wealth and power bordering on the fascist model. And equally frustrating is a divided second branch of government, the Congress, which is paralyzed by divisiveness putting party over principle. And I fear where the judiciary might soon take us.

The status quo seemed hopeless until I saw first hand two recent events that gave me hope for the future. Truly I see a REVOLUTION: a turning away from stale male led divisiveness by involving: *The long ignored leadership skills of women, and *The enthusiasm, resilience and idealism of youth as shown by youth of Parkland and Stoneman Douglas High School.

Yet in these turbulent times there are at least three other ingredients from my experience that I feel are vital for securing change. 1. The wisdom and insights of sages, prophets and solons bringing historic perspective and advice from the past to solve new problems. 2. Finding new or restored groups and activities to bring citizens together in constructive and meaningful ways. The malaise of separateness that exists in our country today, far exceeds anything I have seen in the past. 3. Exposing hypocrisy and demanding truth from all segments of our society.

      My lifelong optimism has been fueled by continuing to have communication with young people. Indeed, that was enhanced by four previous AMA's! I hope this fifth attempt will continue this conversation with the youth of  Reddit that has been so meaningful to me. 

Proof: https://i.imgur.com/TmyOLi4.jpg

My short bio: Enter stuff here

My Proof: Enter link here

Comments: 145 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

ChaoticScott159 karma

There's a Greek proverb that goes: A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

What "trees" do you believe you've planted in your life?

dcretiree155 karma

What a lovely thought. I must digress, however, by saying that my grandfather planted a Linden tree in Germany before he left in the 1800's and while he never saw it again, I climbed it as did my children and grandchildren. Certainly my life - and I truly believe the world's condition - have benefited from them and their work. I've increasingly felt we should recognize that their are really just two reasons for working - for the pay we get and the satisfaction the work brings. Unfortunately many have neither.

Broketographer29 karma

What are your thoughts on charter schools? The Betsy Devos appointment seems to ensure their prosperity for the near future.

And thank you for the AMA and your years of service in the education system.

dcretiree48 karma

The pleasure was all mine, I need no thanks, but thanks anyway. I most enjoyed my last 15 years. Although I did everything from kindergarten to teaching at the University of Michigan except drive a school bus. I'm retired for 32 years but I stayed up to date for a while by volunteering in a charter school. I have many concerns about charter schools especially as I read about those in Michigan. I'm especially concerned about their control and the quality of leadership in many. However, I do think they provide an opportunity for creativity and reaching difficult to teach children. I think my major concern is the demands upon teachers and the toll it takes on them.

Thanks for asking. Dictated but not proof read.

MichaelBridges822 karma

I've not got any great question to ask, just thought I'd ask how are you?

dcretiree54 karma

How thoughtful of you to ask. Except for the condition of the world, I could be better. Linda and I have moved to a apartment building. So we have an apartment on one floor that aids my getting around and I found a new community of over 500 apartments to engage with mentally and in community. I feel I've gone to heaven. I only wish that I wasn't required to change the title of the article to have it published. I wanted to focus on my recent change from depression to optimism, but (wisely perhaps) the emphasis on depression was not something they encourage going on for publication. Ask away. If you think of something further. Dictated and not proofread.

Jude77592 karma

You certainly are an intriguing person and I’m finally old enough to know how beneficial others experiences can be in my life. Thank you. Can you focus on your depression for a bit here? BH becomes a headline when certain suicides occur and more recently with addiction. This just reflects a small part of the population affected by underlying depression. Your hindsight, insight and especially your new found optimism may be just what someone needs to make the call, reach out, look for the help they probably know they need.

dcretiree0 karma

OOps I guess I better proofread. I meant to say I could NOT be better, and that has been the position most of my life. I did have a brief episodic after my wife died. It certainly gave me insight into mental health problems and a cause that we need to work at much more diligently. To think that a vice presidential candidate discredited because he is seen a psychiatrist. And think of the positive results that could be secured if Presidents Clinton and Trump would've admitted that they had/have certain psychological problems. We just don't want to honestly face problems of the human condition.

coryrenton19 karma

Who is a massively popular celebrity in your youth that you are surprised to see is still popular today, and/or you are surprised to see has passed into obscurity?

dcretiree41 karma

Love the question. He wasn't massively popular, but made a tremendous difference in my mind in so many ways and is little known today. James Bryant Conant, a Quaker who graduated from Harvard at a very early age as a chemist. Entering industry he was called upon by the government to develop poison gas during World War I. At the age of I believe 40, He became president of Harvard and was instrumental in beginning to provide a more diverse student body. During World War II, he helped develop fabricated rubber to replace the natural supply during World War II as well as again being asked not only to develop poison gas, but the atomic bomb. Following the war, he became High Commissioner of rebuilding Germany. But I remember him most one our country panicked because Russia was getting ahead of us in developing `Sputnick and blamed it on the lack of good science education in our high schools, he was asked to study the high school in America and make recommendations.

T that's more than you wanted to know, but a recent book by his granddaughter brought him to my mind. That's my personal choice, but of course the best known one would be Charles A Lindbergh. Thanks for giving me something to think about before going to bed and returning to questions. Hopefully tomorrow. Dictated but not proofread

maxo3D13 karma

What books do you read? What movies do you prefer?

P.S. hope to see more AMA from you in the future!

dcretiree1 karma

Thanks for the encouragement. I prefer biography and then history. I enjoy my section at the movies from serious and dramatic portrayals. I recently saw the little the one picture, First Reformed, or was it first united - sorry my mind is like for a moment and remember I'm 92. Don't be scared by its religious theme, it really quite dramatic. Oak Hill see it, give me your react

maxo3D1 karma

Thank you!

dcretiree2 karma

Sory to missstatet, the movie wasFirst Reformed. Guess I should proofread

FerryWala13 karma

Thank you for another AMA. I have a couple of questions.

  1. What is your advice to today's earn-and-burn generation?

  2. In what way an young adult may contribute to society, apart from conventional institutions already in place?

  3. You have seen a lot in your lifetime - from world war to massive technological advence. What has left the most profound impact on you?


dcretiree38 karma

As perhaps you can tell, it gives me great pleasure to communicate with (mostly) young people. I really hate to generalize about generations, and I disdain "the greatest generation" moniker for mine. Was what we put up with, endured in the way of race relations and LGBQ, we are not entitled to it. However, 1. When I look back in my life, I can be thankful Ford deferred gratification. My life has been fulfilling and meaningful in each era. And I know that some of it is because I was fortunate to have retirement planning almost thrust upon me, and simple pleasures. A major part of my life. I can only wish the same for the future, but I recognize that conditions in the world are such that there is much uncertainty for the future. 2. I'm amazed at how my life is enriched in my retirement years by being more open to ALL people. As I walked down the street I look people in the eye and we greeted each other. I've also said found happiness in learning to thanks to all who provide service or anything for me to express my appreciation to them. 3. I puzzled about this one a great deal of previous AMA's, but the computer that I first used to schedule students in Junior high school to being able to dictate this on the screen has given me immense joy. Dictated but not proofread

Chazmer879 karma

Do you feel like the world is in a better or worse place than say... 30 or 40 years ago?

Also, any countries you've visited you'd like to see again?

dcretiree30 karma

Easy first. I'd love to go back to them all as well as those I haven't seen. Belize, Mexico, Canada, Egypt, Bahamas, (Hawaii), All of Western Europe and some of Eastern. I regret most not seeing China and Japan. Oops, I forgot. Let's see, so much of the past blends together. I recall that we needed healing after the Viet Nam war, 1'2 the students in my highly integrated middle school wondered in that period how horrible life would get with Reagan as president, we were still in the middle ages in so far as LBGUQ and we were really forgetting LBJ's encouragement of building a great society. YET as you may have observed in my writing, I have faxced dispair about the direction of America today. Hastily typed and not proof read.

datboy19868 karma

As a fellow Wolverine, I'm impressed to see our university's renewed commitment to diversity, civil rights, and educating the poor. What will it take for this model to spread across the country once again?

dcretiree2 karma

I'm not so sure that the Wolverine model made a lasting impact, however I do see it as a part of the trajectory toward goodness that I have seen throughout my lifetime. And one that I hope will soon overcome this momentary glitch that was brought on by the present occupant of the White House

mikedmann7 karma

Thank you for doing another AMA. How many things are in your bucket list, and which one is next?

dcretiree30 karma

So very thoughtful of you to ask. I've changed my residence to an outstanding apartment building in DC. It's one that reflects two aspects of American society, upper and upper-middle-class. I year and that it might include more of the "bottom 2". And my thrill is organizing discussion groups, beginning with men who almost never talk over coffee the way women do. And yes I have been accused of being a Sexist.

Thanks for remembering me and asking a question. Dictated but not proofread

HmmWhatsThat6 karma

How do you feel knowing that we Americans stopped the continuation of the murderous Obama regime, a regime which in 2016 alone dropped over 26,000 bombs in 7 countries and killed an untold number of innocent victims, by keeping his Secretary of State (the President’s chief foreign affairs adviser) out of the White House?

dcretiree8 karma

Obviously I have a totally different perspective of the world situation then you. I can truly welcome your sharing unassailable facts with me, particularly realizing that Obama inherited a war we had no business being involved in.

Thanks for sharing your viewpoint. Dictated but not proofread

HmmWhatsThat3 karma

I can see that you do have a different perspective. You are absolutely right that Obama inherited a criminal war from Bush, who is absolutely complicit in the death and destruction meted out. We agree 100% that Obama in no way started the war he inherited, regardless of how much he expanded it.

Though it strikes me that inheriting a slave is no excuse for keeping him working, and ensuring that the plantation isn't then given to the owner's head slave driver upon the owner's retirement is the responsibility of any person who has any power over the outcome.

Thanks for sharing your viewpoint. Written, proofread and edited personally.

dcretiree2 karma

Good proofreading and editing. Time flies by when you're 92. To compare the action of freeing a slave by an individual to the complex work of redirecting action and policy in a democratic society has no comparability at all. Unless you're a Putin are one of the other dictatorial leaders that are present president finds great role models.

I'm so glad we can consider this topic from differing points of view. I sincerely believe that civilized discussion is too much lacking in today's world. That's really what I intended to initiate in this AMA, but the fact that I had to change the headline to avoid using the term "depression" pointed things in a different direction.


HmmWhatsThat1 karma

Fair enough, in which case let me spell it out without making a comparison. In my opinion inheriting a war is absolutely no excuse for massively expanding that war over 8 years and murdering thousands of people, and the responsibility of the electorate is to do their absolute best to keep a war criminal President's corrupt chief foreign affairs advisor who directed the policy of murdering thousands of people across 7 countries from being elected.

I think that for people to have a civilized discussion they need to come to the discussion without using hyperbole like calling the other side fascist. I think if one truly wants to discuss, they come to a table with the recognition that those who believe differently than they do are not evil people but simply have different policy prescriptions for the problem.

But that might lead you to look at what I wrote before in a different light.


offer_u_cant_refuse3 karma

I think that for people to have a civilized discussion they need to come to the discussion without using hyperbole like calling the other side murderous. I think if one truly wants to discuss, they come to a table with the recognition that those who believe differently than they do are not evil people but simply have different policy prescriptions for the problem.

But that might lead you to look at what I wrote before in a different light.


dcretiree3 karma

Thanks for expressing this thought, it's a good one

offer_u_cant_refuse1 karma

Hey Ron, thanks for responding. I read your blog sometimes and find it insightful. Your opinions represent a sanity much needed in today's world. Hope you're having a good day.

dcretiree1 karma

Thanks, every days a good day when you are 92 and in reasonably good health. The best way I know to keep going is to at least keep trying to make a difference.

HmmWhatsThat1 karma

Exactly my point. Which has seemed to fly over your head to within inches of the stratosphere.

dcretiree1 karma

I like living with the stars!~

bizaromo0 karma

Is the US bombing less now that Obama is not president?

dcretiree2 karma

Good point, thanks for entering the discussion.

friendlymarmite6 karma

Genuinely curious as to why you put ‘marriages’ in quotations?

Highlander174 karma

Me too. There were some interesting arrangements in the past, it was something folks didn’t pry into. Look at Warren Buffet. He lived with two women for the better part of 50 years and then married the other officially when his first wife passed.

dcretiree3 karma

I was wondering how many people would catch my "teaser". Raised in a traditional family structure, I've seen – and mostly welcome – changes in society. One of the most surprising responses in a previous AMA was someone asking me how I could possibly live with someone else after a happy marriage. The answer to your question is quite simple. After Regina died, I "waited the appropriate time." And started dating and Linda and I have been together for almost 20 years. We had what we called and "amalgamation party" to celebrate while finding no convincing reason to take the official marriage step.

All the hypocrisy in our lives. While I didn't know about Warren Buffett's relationships I have read about America's hero in my early years, Charles A Lindbergh. You might check him out.

Thanks for conversing with me – dictated but not proofread

TheSlipweasel5 karma

If you could spend a day in your 20 year old body one more time...what would be the first thing you would do?

dcretiree5 karma

Play a game of 21 on the basketball court

ohwell2hell5 karma

What's your favourite question to be asked? Favourite topic to discuss? Thanks for your time doing this, and previous, AMA's!

dcretiree15 karma

Thanks for coming back. It's almost impossible to rate favorite question. There have been so many good ones. I love the ones that were deeply philosophical (in my simple understanding of the term) about the meaning of life and what's really important. The thing I would most like to discuss with young people, but I'm afraid it's a turnoff is a new way of looking at. Religion/spirituality. I firmly believe that religion as practiced has caused many of our problems but that it is only through religion that they might be solved. Yet that would call for a "new" Reformation – looking at churches, synagogues and mosques the place to unite people in search of community, the meaning of life and meditation. Thanks for the question. Dictated but not proofread

poop-machine4 karma

What is your stance on anime and furries?

dcretiree6 karma

I find that the present world I live in contains enough of interest and challenge that I do not need to go into further make-believe.

Snicket-VFD4 karma

What are your thoughts on Bernie Sanders sir?

dcretiree29 karma

I still think too many people misjudged Hillary. Except for her primary failing of marrying Bill (but who can control one's heartstrings) I felt she represented much of the good of America. Yet, in hindsight, I guess I should've gotten on the young people's bandwagon and supported an idealist that I thought America was not ready for. That's why I put my hope in women and youth abetted by the experience of insightful elders, the basic goodness of America and the readiness to follow our ideals. And certainly the primary election New York State is the further reason for hope. Dictated but not proofread

BradBrady4 karma

You say you had two marriages, What is your opinion on love? And what advice would you give to someone is heartbroken about their first love that they they really wanted to marry?

dcretiree5 karma

Indeed, my first love, died at a too early age of 65. With her I had what in that era We considered the perfect family and family life. After moving to Washington two years later, Linda and I "discovered each other" and have had a marvelous relationship ever since, but never felt it "legally feasible" to "tie the knot."

Each began with a love relationship, a feeling that there was much in common in our lives that we can enjoy together. In between I did have one relationship that I felt was destined to end in marriage, but after some trauma and counseling, it was apparent that things worked out much, much better. But damn, that first one with Regina was difficult to overcome when she felt she needed time to live life on her own before marriage. What a happy day for me when we then grew back together. Hang in there, love arrives in various ways and broken hearts can be mended.

Never thought I'd be in Ann Landers, but I hope this helps. Dictated but not proofread

BradBrady1 karma

Awwww thank you so much for the reply! And I’m so glad everything worked out for you in the end!

dcretiree0 karma

And then you have the same good fortune.

Mirrirr4 karma

I must tell you, your story and your energy are inspiring, and I think these AMAs are really important. We are losing the wisdom of our elders and we need to reach out to one another and pass that wisdom to those looking for the guidance of experience. Thank you for giving so much.

My question: where did you serve during the Second World War, and what was thing you turned to in those dark days to keep you going and headstrong in the face of such calamity and unrest?

dcretiree3 karma

Although I was in the Marine Corps for over three years. I was never sent overseas, just out of high school. I was sent to college, boot camp and officer training to prepare me for the invasion of Japan. I firmly believe that I and most others felt that – after Pearl Harbor – we were united as a country and that our cause is just and we had a shared responsibility for(as the song goes) "keep your head up high and don't be afraid of the storm, at the end of the……" Oh yes, and then it ends. You'll never be alone

cantbebothered_tk4 karma

Who are you favorite artists and what are your favorite songs of all time and why? Thank you for taking time out of your day to do this! :)

dcretiree3 karma

There's nothing I enjoyed more than recalling the music of the 40s. I love jazz and can even recall some of the V Discs that were a part of WWII. That's when I first heard Wildroot And Tippin' In. But I love musicals as well, particularly Sweeney Todd and in beginning to be able to hear Hamilton! Ardis is a pretty broad term and I could go on and on, but I'd like to call to your attention. Several are artists of a different vein, there's Gordon Parks, Edward Curtis and Winslow Homer. But I enjoy almost everything except the oak of modern and I don't understand Burning Tree.

throbcock3 karma

Thoughts on the 'No Tolerance Policy?'

dcretiree2 karma

There is such a gray area in almost everything. Judicious interpretation of meaningful rules is an important aspect of administration. Sorry I read this as a school administrator where some schools have a "no tolerance policy" for breaking rules. On the larger current immigration scene. I have nothing but disgust for Trump's direction.

Stormtrooper-853 karma

Hello sir, thank you for sharing some life experience with us. My question is where were you when Mt. St. Helens erupted in May 1980? We're you close enough to get any ash? What was the news coverage like? Newspapers, talk of the town?

dcretiree3 karma

Living in Michigan, we had no physical evidence of the eruption as far as I know. Certainly did not get the attention that it would get today with the 24 hour news cycle. And I must admit that as a busy school principal and family man. I read about it in the Detroit Free Press and Muskegon Chronicle and saw it on NBC news, but it did not have much of a personal impact on me.

celocanth133 karma

Hey, long time fan from the DC subreddit! What's your favorite Smithsonian museum?

dcretiree1 karma

Thanks for hanging in there with me. I'm really quite a fan of the portrait Museum, but as a volunteer at the White House Visitors Center. I hope you had a chance to look at our Museum across from the Willard Hotel. Be sure to see the 10 minute film on the presidency shown every 20 minutes. It used to be even better when it was introduced and closed by the Obama's. Fortunately, in my view, there are no signs of the house is present residents.

AeroUp3 karma

My Question At 92, do you wish you had more time, or does knowing you won’t live forever not scare you anymore?

Why I Asked This Question I’m 28 and my first son is about a year and a half old, I love him so much. I feel like when I have grandkids (I pray I get to see them, that would make me so happy) and I’m just not physically the same as I used to be, I’ll start to accept it and I’ll be able to be calm knowing that, “this is just the circle of life”. It’s hard for me because I lost my mom when I was 19 and my dad when I was 24, so I feel alone sometimes and I never want my children to feel that way. I just want them to know everything will be ok even when I’m gone.

Damn it, I’m trying not to tear up while I’m writing this...

dcretiree4 karma

I'm glad you didn't tear it up because I find it touching and very pertinent. I also appreciated it because it gives me a chance to leave life's daily routine and ponder sensitive, meaningful questions in a world that too often focuses on the mundane. "Just" the circle of life with its joys and sorrows lets me recall a loss that I endured. At age 65 with four grandchildren and more on the way, my wife, Regina, died shortly after a kidney transplant. In the midst of the trauma, whether she heard me are not, something inside me led me to say, "Regina, I will attempt to be both a grandmother and grandfather." It was her most meaningful role, the sanctity of being a mother and grandparent.

I'm not positive how this relates, but I believe the enduring meaning of life is found in the love and joy of each day and our relationship with people. While your time with your parents was brief, their care and love makes you the sensitive person you are and that will enable them to continue just as you have.

Please don't hesitate to write back if you would like to discuss this further. Dictated but not proofread

SeaWhole3 karma

Do you play video games? If so, what game(s)? Also, how did you hear about Reddit?

dcretiree7 karma

Sorry, no video games for me. I love the old-fashioned times, and I fear that I disclose my age by worrying about their potential for completely absorbing some minds. But I am eternally grateful to my grandson for introducing me to Reddit which is given me enormous pleasure.

Dictated but not proofread

SeaWhole1 karma

Yo how old is your grandson? I'm guessing late 20s or early 30s

dcretiree1 karma

Early 30s.

doktormane3 karma

How does one deal with getting old? Does it ironically get better with age? The thought of growing old kinda terrifies me...

dcretiree2 karma

Perhaps it's a cliché, but I truly believe that living life fully in the here and now is the best way to prepare for the future. But carry that one step further, living life fully to me means finding meaningful things to do. Hopefully in one's occupation, or in one's hobbies, and finding others to relate to in meaningful mutual activity.

Highlander173 karma

If you could go back to 1986 (noticed your comment from earlier that you retired 32 years ago) and know then that you would live to be 90+, would you have still retired?

I think about growing old and ultimately feel I can’t expect to live past 70 with all of my faculties intact. I hope for it, but I too will strive to retire as early as possible and spend time with family.

That being said, if I knew I would retain my mental acuity into my 90’s, I might work until 70. What are your thoughts?

dcretiree4 karma

A fascinating question, but one that is somewhat related to my personal situation. There were three things that spark my early retirement: 1. My wife was having a kidney transplant and I felt it important that we have more quality time together. 2. I had been principal of an inner-city junior high school for 15 years, felt we had made substantial progress, but felt that the renewed emphasis on testing rather than doing what's best for children no longer fit my style of leadership, but, and least actually, but very important in my family was that my youngest daughter was going to have a her wedding in our home.

I think the most important thing in retirement is to find involvement that makes life exciting and meaningful. Fortunately, I feel I've been able to do that.

Certainly it is an individual saying and I must admit that I gave no thought to how long I might live, but only did that which seemed appropriate at the time. It is one of my regrets that uncertain world conditions – above all in our own country – makes it difficult to see what the future might bring.

Dictated not proofread

TurnipFire3 karma

If you would go on an adventure, where would you go?

dcretiree5 karma

Since I've been up the Nile/or rather down the Nile, I'd like to sail the Yangtze.

mclean-rs2 karma

As a 92 year old, are you able to do things other 92 year olds cannot?

dcretiree4 karma

Fortunately or unfortunately, I don't know too many other people my age. I do feel fortunate to have all my faculties and ability to enjoy life as it is. While I have a 93-year-old friend who still participates in track running dashes, I have seen too many people of unknown age in care centers that I am fortunate to avoid

diegojones42 karma

It makes me sad that you feel so much despair. While I agree that the conversational tone has changed (the last civil campaign I remember was Carter's and maybe Reagan's.) but do you really think politics has changed much?

dcretiree17 karma

My sadness is been largely alleviated by the hope of women in young people. Certainly the recent results in the New York primary point in that direction. And yes I really do believe the vindictive tone, the loss of respect by the rest of the world – except perhaps Russia – is for more hateful and divisive than anything I can remember. Certainly in some campaigns there is anti-Catholicism and other discriminatory expressions but nothing like the leadership I see'from the president presently. Thanks for the thought, dictated and not proofread

mtrld2 karma

What has changed during your lifetime in the world? What have you found most amazing?

dcretiree4 karma

I hope you had a chance to read some of the other answers to question similar to this. It would almost be easier to say, what has changed. Perhaps there's a constant in almost everything – speed. Everything is it such a faster rate. And certainly the means of communication through the Internet has to be at the head of the list – that I can talk into my headset and see the words printed before me is totally amazing.

RealOtaku2 karma

What is a simple thing that most people in life should be doing more often?

dcretiree2 karma

I know it sounds simplistic, but I have learned to really enjoy looking at people in the eye as I walked down the street and say hello to them and they usually do the same with a smile in return. Maybe it's my age, I don't know. I also think extremely important to thank you for any service from being served a hamburger at McDonald's to having someone hold the elevator door open for us..

somaRM2 karma

Where'd you serve and what rank? Any good war stories? Join the Triple Nickle club?

dcretiree18 karma

While I was in the Marine Corps for over three years, half of it was in preparing to invade Japan. I was discharged as a first lieutenant. When people thank me for my service, I thank them for the opportunities my country is given me. My only war stories of note are 2.

  1. During a rough game of touch football, I pulled a muscle in my left leg. When the medic left the room with my leg under the heat lamp. He told me to stay there until he returned. Naturally, I followed orders. In spite of smelling flesh, I remain there until he returned. I still bear the scar.

  2. As perhaps the only Marine who neither drank or smoked, I was put in charge of a BOQ. Bachelor Officers Club. Knowing nothing about alcohol or slot machines, I was dependent upon a Master Sgt. to do the work and all they needed was my signature. It gave me a lot of time to learn about horseracing at Santa Anita and watching radio shows at the studios in Hollywood. Dictated but not proofread

JTC802 karma

Thank you for continuing to do these AMAs. I teach media analysis at a U.S. college and one of the things we focus on is how the mass media (television, music, film, books, and news reporting) shapes our values as a society. Sample topics include mass media’s impact on race relations, gender roles, the evolving concept of the American family, the counterculture, and the normalization of such subjects as mental illness and LGBT issues.

Can you tell me any stories of how the mass media shaped society’s values throughout your life? Any professor can teach from a textbook, but I’d love to share your personal memories and experiences with my students.

Thank you.

dcretiree1 karma

What a thoughtful question about a vital issue. And it is of course heightened now by the social media and the impact it is having in all of the areas you mention.

From my earliest days in education as a teacher and coach, I highly valued athletics and sports for what they contribute to forming the well-rounded individual. Yet I have long despaired with the direction first newspapers and then television have taken the athletics scene.

Newspapers have extolled gifted athletes projected to have promising futures as early as the Junior high school years. Recently the Washington Post glamorized "2018 spring all met players of the year" with full-page portraits. Excellence in sports is so glamorized and valued that families devote extra time and resources with year-round participation in one sport. Achieving publicized stardom at an early age has been difficult for many immature youth to handle. Television coverage of high school, middle school and even elementary school All-Star teams and rivalries nationally have both resulted in burnout and/or extreme adulation to children who are ill prepared for it. By the amount of ink devoted to men's versus women's sports, there is a signal given as to which is more valued.

Thanks for enabling me to "just scratched the surface." Of a topic that I feel deeply about. I hope you find it useful. Dictated but not proofread

Tacotruckheaven1 karma

What is the biggest mistake you made as an educator and what was the lesson that came out of it?

dcretiree1 karma

That's very interesting, but personal question. Both were as a result of being in a prestigious position too soon and without confidence of my beliefs. Very early in my early 30s, I was the executive director of the Michigan Association of secondary school principals. We were just in the throes of establishing a reputation as one of the first states to have collective bargaining. Our state association did such a good job that I was asked to be the associate director of the national Association. Very heady! I was asked by the head of the Danforth foundation what "big idea" I brought to the national scene. I know now what I would've said, let's bring every eighth-grader in the country on a trip to Washington DC to appreciate the services of the government.

My personal choice. I only stayed in that position a year and knew I had to be backward children were. Once again, I was asked to be on a committee at the school of education at the University of Michigan and we were asked for ideas on the best method of raging rating teachers. As a principal of an inner-city school. I keenly felt we need to look at input from students and their parents. That ended my career on the panel. But I firmly believe I was on to something.

Dictated not proofread

Spiesinthedark1 karma

Of all the things you've eaten in your lifetime, what's one meal you will never forget?

dcretiree2 karma

There are so many factors to consider in trying to make this choice. Certainly the culinary world is one that has expanded tremendously in my lifetime. I perhaps remember most of all when the world of plenty – overabundance of fine food was made available in my family. Because of his health my father's job was to serve as the lowest rung clerk at a military base in San Antonio. I tradition. There was a Christmas meal that had an overabundance of everything. Desserts like I had never seen before and the crowning gift was a package of three cigarettes for every family. That of course is not an acceptable gift in our household. Thanks for letting me recall a part of a very happy childhood

The_Oldboy1 karma

As I spend time with older people I notice how they typically feel comfortable and in fact favour the silence; quiet lulls in everyday conversation.

My generation (I'm 20 years old) has a tendency to feel agitated or 'awkward' when there is an awkward pause or break in conversation, and we feel a need to overcompensate, perhaps due to feeling insecure that the other person does not find us engaging enough, or due to the misguided belief that people have to constantly be talking to be communicating.

Do you have any insight, or any advice to how to have more meaningful, and real interactions, when everyone else is terrified of making things "awkward"?

dcretiree2 karma

Certainly an interesting question, but I have difficulty making generalizations about people in groups. However, your question causes me to reflect on changes I have seen in my life through the years. I distinctly recall the awkwardness. I think it was a result of focusing on myself. It was only some 20 years or so ago that I really started focusing on the other person in trying to find out more about them. This is paid off for me personally is. I even extend this to saying hello to strangers on the street as I look them in the eye. As I find out about other people, I seek ways of finding things that we have in common that can lead to further conversation.

I hope this helps. Dictated but not proofread

thedunstin1 karma

What do you think of the millennial and baby boomer generations in relation to inflation and opportunity in our current market? More specifically, what do you think about how a single worker in a house hold used to be able to support an entire family and now that's next to impossible in today's standards

dcretiree3 karma

You brought to light one of the major changes in our society that I have seen in my lifetime. While I have always been a strong supporter for women in the workplace, I have regretted the change in family structure that no longer has one of the parents at home at least to the Junior high school years. And while there are many aspects to this, I think much of it is driven by making more and more consumer products necessary for all. And of course the other aspect is the unequal distribution of wealth.

We have solved so many problems, and in my mind. While this may not be a problem. It is a style that had much value. I have further reason for despair when I see that other developed nations, even where both parents are wage earners in the family, there is a much simpler lifestyle and vacation time provided.

Sorry this is a rather disjointed answer, but even though it is one that is close to my heart, I have no ready-made answer. Thanks for the comment. Dictated but not proofread

venti_no_whip1 karma

What top three things do you feel younger generations should focus on, to see change in our political climate?

I have so enjoyed reading your answers tonight. I found an article that the Washington Post ran about your Reddit AMA’s and just wanted to express how grateful I am for your words, stories, and optimism in these times.

I am lucky to still have two living maternal grandparents, one of whom (at 95) has difficulty expressing his thoughts. I sometimes feel guilty I didn’t ask him more questions when I was younger, that I missed out on troves of knowledge. Reading your comments helped with that and I wish you many more years of health, mobility, and happiness. I hope you’ll do a 6th AMA in the future!

dcretiree1 karma

Thanks so very much for your kind words. I think most of us have the regret of not talking to our grandparents, I know I certainly do. However, don't overlook your parents – they'll have insights that might amaze you. I'm glad you picked up on my political concern. Three things that come to my mind are: 1. Don't despair, remember the change does not come easily and calls for patience more than is often displayed by young people. 2. Don't look for easy answers, take time to study issues, read books and reputable sources of information. 3. Don't limit your conversation to people that agree with you. Engage in civil conversation.

Dictated but not proofread

n______c1 karma

Thank you for taking the time to share!

As an educator, what do you wish more parents would do?

As a parent, what do you wish more educators would do?

dcretiree2 karma

One of the most deeply felt concerns of mine as an educator is what we have done with sports. At an earlier time as a high school principal. I felt there was an overemphasis on football. My concern now is how we have pushed children into excelling in one sport. However, as I say that I see how individual my concern is with different parents: some putting too much emphasis on grades, on popularity, on being number one, on getting it just the right school and as I say that I think of how much some students are being pushed in everything from grades to looks. I know that's a bit rambling so excuse the frustration.

As a parent I would want teachers to be able to be more honest with parents and try to make their subject matter more stimulating to their students.

Indeed, as you can see it is hard for me to generalize because I've been apparent and an educator in so many different situations. Thanks for the question

Wichitasnagglepuss1 karma

Have you had contact with people who work in Pupil Referral Units, or alternative provision? I'm not sure if they have anything like that in the US or the technical term for it, but I'm talking about schools where children with challenging behaviour are sent if they can't settle into mainstream schools.

Also your passion for life is inspiring.

dcretiree1 karma

It's the only life I'll have, and I want to make the most of it. Indeed we do have school such as you mentioned, and they go by different names. In my experience, they started about in the 1960s and play a very vital role. Some of them begin as early as middle school, but I remember before we had them, as an alternative to suspension of students, I is principal tried to have a small group that use the newspaper as our textbook. Because of other demands. It was only moderately successful.

In retirement in Washington DC was so many, many free intellectual and cultural events throughout the day I tried to get such schools interested in having students attend these events. Unfortunately I was never successful in recruiting students even though I made a list for five years of free and easily accessible cultural events in the city. From my personal experience I know that schools have difficulty incorporating volunteers in their services.

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JohnnyLoccke1 karma

Are you worried about the retirement of Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy? This could mean a sway in the political bias of the court. Any optimism in this situation could help us young people cope a little better. It could potentially go as far as reversing all progress we had with Roe V. Wade.

dcretiree1 karma

That's exactly the point I was trying to make in this AMA. It's observing the enthusiasm of young people and the leadership of women they give me hope. I truly believe the direction of our society. In my 90 years has been in expanding opportunity for more and more people and that this is the true American spirit. We have overcome difficulties in the past

kittnmittns11 karma

What is the best piece advice you could give? Or the best life lesson learned? Thank you!

dcretiree2 karma

Don't get too wrapped up in one's own accomplishments or failures. Prepare as best you can, seek advice of others and move on. After making a decision. (That's a tough one, but the best I can do off the top of my head). Interestingly enough, I can't think of anyone bit of advice that was given to me. However, early in my career as an administrator, a very insightful, respected superintendent that I served under told me to always make sure the door to my office had a plane glass window. I guess superintendent Bill Taylor of Vicksburg, Michigan had insight well ahead of his time. Interesting to think about. Thanks for asking. Dictated but not proofread

JustHere4Memes0 karma

Will this be the last one?

dcretiree2 karma

I really don't know for sure. It's all conjecture. I really wanted this one. However to dwell more on the political aspect in my once again becoming an optimist, but the powers, probably appropriately, feel that "depression" is not something that should be in the introduction. Truly I do worry about the future of America for my children and grandchildren. I can't believe what our leaders are doing

LessLikeYou0 karma

Do you enjoy TheReportoftheWeek and his insights into food?

dcretiree1 karma

Sorry, but TRTW is not on my radar, and it my age food isn't as important to me as it once was

scheuf0 karma

This warms my heart to see, and I’m comforted by the fact that you too are upset with the place our country is headed. Makes me feel like my head’s on straight.

As a former educator, what do you believe is most instrumental in relating to your students?

Thank you for coming back for a fifth AMA!

dcretiree1 karma

Thanks for the thoughts. Next year's election will show if America can profit from its mistake. I am truly betting on the women and youth of America. Truly enjoying young people and showing that love and enjoyment is number one in my book, but I don't mean to slight knowledge and skill in sharing subject matter and learning

Omniferum-2 karma

In this moment, as per my own customs, I defer to you as the elder of my moments.

We live to teach so that we may enjoy the inspections that left us greater than before, and the greatest teacher asks for no name save for seeing their ways of teaching continue.

Do I gift you that moment, elder? If the construct confuses you then please forgive me, for I am the eldest of my youngest... and for that, I am sorry.

dcretiree1 karma

I'm sorry the construct does confuse me, but I firmly believes that each of us is called upon to relate to and be a part of the world community. And it begins with our neighbor, helping others where there is a need. I am truly concerned with leadership of this country at this time

Omniferum1 karma

As am I, elder. The joy of teaching a moment without selfishly fearing that person to take all that you know and abandon you is strong in a lot of people.

To my mind it is a lack of spiritual or inclusive narrative for a people. Too many souls screaming, "Why is my preferred salvation story not happening sooner?" Or, probably worse, "Why would it ever happen to I?"

Thank you for being my teacher-neighbor. Aboriginals just talk funny to westerners is all. For us language is about healing and any words of kindness from a person of years gifts me hope.

dcretiree1 karma

Thank you for clarifying and providing further insight. I fully agree that more of us need to find time for "nurturing our souls." And then using our skills and peace in helping others.

frenchhorngod-5 karma

Did you know that Bitcoin is the revolution you speak of?

dcretiree3 karma

You'll have to convince me of that!

casprus-9 karma

Do you believe antifascist activists are your valid spiritual successors?

dcretiree19 karma

Sorry, I am not up-to-date on who and what are the "antifascist activists." But I am certainly antifascist! And I don't see it as anything spiritual.