Baseball, Golf, Wars, Women & Puppies
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I started my autobiography -- "Baseball, Golf, Wars, Women & Puppies" -- with a "grabber page" from my first trip to the Vietnam War on board the USS PERKINS (DD-877). Then, I followed with a chronological rendition which covered a trip to the Korean War and another to Vietnam during my 20 years in the U.S. Navy on three other different naval vessels, but began with the chronological format of a life of a river rat born somewhat infamously in 1932 on the banks of Memphis. My life in sports, approximately 16 years "moonlighting" as a photojournalist, my college education, followed by 12 years as executives with the Chicago White Sox (5) and Cubs (7), concluding with one of several ownerships of small companies rounded out my interesting career. I originally planned to continue with my three trips to the Vietnam and Korean Wars, including my injury and sad losses of shipmates and friends. Then, go to my childhood, parenthood, many exciting careers, etc., etc., etc. However, it didnt take too long for me to decide the categories overlap in too many places. Hence, A few years later Elvis Presley arrived on the planet and eventually became internationally famous there. Memphis, long known as the Home of the Blues, was to become also famous as the home of the King of Rock n Roll. My first high school, Whitehaven, is only a few blocks from Elvis Graceland. And, my Southside High bride and I began training our dancing shoes to the big bands of the 40s and peaked with the rocking and twisting of the 50s and 60s. Although only a senior-to-be in high school, the Korean War found me an early enlistee. Why? Because I was a youngster almost entering teenage during World War II. Everything was thrilling about the big one for a boy that age. All the toys were guns, tanks, jeeps, warplanes, etc. The war movies were always exciting and, in most cases, the hero ended up with the female star. As I was a young budding teenager, females were becoming of more interest in my life. I have never met any male whose sex life began earlier than mine (older girls are great teachers). Also, the U.S. Navy aircraft pilots were my idols. Landing airplanes on a sea-going vessel was my kind of challenge. I was so hooked that I joined the Navy to become a fighter pilot. The recruiter was surprised at how I could identify all aircraft of nations involved in WWII. I even memorized the horsepower of power plant(s), plus the cruising and maximum speed, of each airplane. My favorite was our Corsairs F4U, a gull-winged propeller fighter. It never occurred to me until this moment, recalling this tidbit, but one of these planes almost killed me. However, the moonlighting (working a civilian job at night) on shore duty between these wars helped prepare me for my career highlight era in Major League Baseball. There is no doubt about it, my leash of life is anchored to the sportsworld. My youth was playing or inventing sports orientated things. It gave me a second glance by people in the sportswriting and sportscasting fields. This all led to sports columnist and sports editor jobs in the newspaper business. This, along with learning the print business, was not only a challenge -- which I always relished -- but was mucho fun. The many hours and stress involved led to more and more alcohol. Which definitely made a honky tonk man out of me where there is plenty of wine, women, and song. The latter threesomes were like a personal little cloud that follows me throughout most of this autobiography. I wasnt able to attend college fulltime until I finished my 20 years in the U.S. Navy. Then finishing With Honors gave my mother extreme pride after her total education was a small (12 total students) high school in sticks of Mississippi. I had almost completed by Masters Degree and CA Lifetime Teachers Credential when I got into Major League Baseball and went to Chicago.