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Excerpt from Chapter 7: Graduation… Going Forth

Like the founding patriots of our county, my generation was influenced by the English philosopher John Locke’s Social Contract with its “age of enlightenment” philosophy that all rights and powers not given to the government remain the rights and powers of “We the People,” free from interference by our government. Although we renounced violence in our social protests, we stood by the principles of America’s founding fathers that, as true patriots, “We the People” in a true Democracy were obligated to protest against our own government’s hypocrisy and injustice because, like America’s founders, we intuitively knew “bad things happen when good people remain silent.” We brought our founding father’s philosophy to the streets of America for all to see because we also intuitively knew that the more robust the ideological debate in the American market place of ideas, the greater the chance America had to make the right decisions, follow the right path, and take the right course of action.

Where we saw injustice and hypocrisy, “We the People” of my generation held a mirror up to the face of America and demanded change. America’s 200-year-old political promise set forth in the Declaration of Independence forcefully proclaimed that it was “self evident” that “all men are born equal.” Yet in the 1950s and the 1960s of my youth, the right of “We the People” to vote was taken away from millions of American citizens, mostly black and mostly the poor and uneducated, because those American citizens could not afford to pay a poll tax to vote or because those American citizens couldn’t pass a literacy test as a prerequisite to casting their vote. With President John F. Kennedy and later President Lyndon Johnson, the Children of the Greatest Generation changed that.

Excerpt from Chapter 8: Al “The Kid” Moran… Major League Ballplayer

Casey Stengel? Need you ask? After eight years of Dominican nuns at St. Scholastica, and, after four years of Basilian priests at Catholic Central, both driving home the complex structure and use of the English language, Al must have been as cross-eyed as the “Aflack Duck” when he first heard manager Casey Stengel’s “conversation by obfuscation.” When it came to the spoken language, Casey was a master of linguistic disaster. He could stupefy and bewilder the most proficient interpreters of double-speak. Casey was the originator of the Yogi Berra malapropism method of communication – “if you come to a fork in the road, take it” or “a verbal contract is not worth the paper it’s written on” or, “if you think you’re going to hit a double play, strike out” or “if you fall in love with a homeless woman, don’t move in with her.”

Excerpt from Chapter 10: John Argenta… Major League Artist

Giovanni Argenta was one of 28,867 immigrants who entered America through Ellis Island in 1918, down significantly from 1.2 million immigrants in 1914. He was one of 5.2 million Italian immigrants who entered America over a 158 year period from 1820 to 1978 – a half a million more than the Irish immigrants. Giovanni Argenta joined the ranks of such notable immigrants as: Frank Capra, the great Italian movie director; Knute Rockne from Norway, the storied Notre Dame football coach – Knute “win one for the Gipper” Rockne; Al “Blackface” Jolson, the “Jazz Singer” from Russia; Father Edward Flanagan, the Irish Priest who established Boystown in Nebraska on the slogan that: “There is no such thing as a bad kid;” and Irving “God Bless America” Berlin from Russia.