Category Archives: My Backyard

Zeugma the Bridge of Empires

I saw this ad for the five star Hilton hotel in Gaziantep for $27 a night. This was after the August 2016 wedding massacre, by ‘some people’ as Ilhan Omar would say but I pitched Jane Marie the chance to visit the $30 million Zeugma Mosaic Museum, while I helped myself to the best cuisine in Turkey.
We made it to Mersin the first night but driving without GPS and language skills makes for multiple WTF situations
roman-mosaic.jpg

The Zeugma Story

Extraordinary Roman mosaics such as this image of a girl or perhaps a goddess once decorated wealthy houses in Zeugma in southern Turkey.

It wasn’t good policy that saved ancient Zeugma. It was a good story. In 2000, the construction of the massive Birecik Dam on the Euphrates River, less than a mile from the site, began to flood the entire area in southern Turkey. Immediately, a ticking time-bomb narrative of the waters, which were rising an average of four inches per day for six months, brought Zeugma and its plight global fame. The water, which soon would engulf the archaeological remains, also brought increasing urgency to salvage efforts and emergency excavations that had already been taking place at the site, located about 500 miles from Istanbul, for almost a year. The media attention Zeugma received attracted generous aid from both private and government sources. Of particular concern was the removal of Zeugma’s mosaics, some of the most extraordinary examples to survive from the ancient world. Soon the world’s top restorers arrived from Italy to rescue them from the floodwaters. The focus on Zeugma also brought great numbers of international tourists—and even more money—a trend that continues today with the opening in September 2011 of the ultramodern $30 million Zeugma Mosaic Museum in the nearby city of Gaziantep. 

But Zeugma’s story begins millennia before the dam was constructed. In the third century B.C., Seleucus I Nicator (“the Victor”), one of Alexander the Great’s commanders, established a settlement he called Seleucia, probably a katoikia, or military colony, on the western side of the river. On its eastern bank, he founded another town he called Apamea after his Persian-born wife. The two cities were physically connected by a pontoon bridge, but it is not known whether they were administered by separate municipal governments, and nothing of ancient Apamea, nor the bridge, survives. In 64 B.C., the Romans conquered Seleucia, renaming the town Zeugma, which means “bridge” or “crossing” in ancient Greek. After the collapse of the Seleucid Empire, the Romans added Zeugma to the lands of Antiochus I Theos of Commagene as a reward for his support of General Pompey during the conquest. 

Hasan Yelken/Images & Stories)
Much of the ancient town and its modern counterpart of Belkıs now lie under the reservoir created by the construction of one of Turkey’s largest dams in 2000.

Throughout the imperial period, two Roman legions were based at Zeugma, increasing its strategic value and adding to its cosmopolitan culture. Due to the high volume of road traffic and its geographic position, Zeugma became a collection point for road tolls. Political and trade routes converged here and the city was the last stop in the Greco-Roman world before crossing over to the Persian Empire. For hundreds of years Zeugma prospered as a major commercial city as well as a military and religious center, eventually reaching its peak population of about 20,000–30,000 inhabitants. During the imperial period, Zeugma became the empire’s largest, and most strategically and economically important, eastern border city. 

Roman Officer’s quarters complete with 2000 year old mosaic carpeting.

However, the good times in Zeugma declined along with the fortunes of the Roman Empire. After the Sassanids from Persia attacked the city in A.D. 253, its luxurious villas were reduced to ruins and used as shelters for animals. The city’s new inhabitants were mainly rural people who employed only simple building materials that did not survive. Zeugma’s grandeur and importance would remain forgotten for more than 1,700 years. By MATTHEW BRUNWASSER

The Battle of Issus occurred in southern Anatolia, on November 5, 333 BC between the Hellenic League led by Alexander the Great and the Achaemenid Empire, led by Darius III, in the second great battle of Alexander’s conquest of Asia. The invading Macedonian troops defeated Persia. 

How’s That Savings Account Doing?

American Express National Bank Personal Savings @ 1.7% Tops the list 1 Best High-Yield Online Savings Accounts of January 2020

My 60 year Boomer Bank account currently pays 0.15% APY on balances of $10,000 or more. Even if I switched to American Express at 1.7% I come up short.

The annual inflation rate for the United States is 2.1% for the 12 months ended November 2019, compared to 1.8% previously, according to U.S. Labor Department data published December 11, 2019.


The Individual Sovereignty Solution

The Doug Casey’s prophecy on the Phil Donahue Show 1980/1981

In 1980 Gold was $594.90 ; 1981 $400; the Dow Jones around 3,000; bank interest rate in 1970 7% after Nixon closed the Gold window August 1971 bank savings account interest rate jumped to 12% in 1980.

Doug Casey the ACE of Spades: The Card of AMBITION now 73 and living in Estancia de Cafayate in Salta ProvinceArgentina.[3 goes by the moniker “International Man” and continues to practice what he preached on the 1981 Phil Donahue Show. Here he talks about the financial path to Individual Sovereignty.

After four years of living here, I like Antalya, Turkey

Travailing to Houston

Abundio saves me once again.

Goat Farmer‘ Meetup

Currently billing my 3rd Life: ‘Fortuneteller’ upgraded on LinkedIn as a Astro-Psychometrician – A psychometrician is someone who practices the science of educational and psychological measurement, or in other words, testing. An Astro-Psychometrician is a 1st Life Architect- 2nd Life Goat Farmer who asks you: When’s Your Birthday?

Travailing to Houston with an expired driver’s license and without Jane Marie, meant I had to find a way to get from George Bush to Wharton. A 78 mile 1hr 23min one way taxi ride in Turkey might cost $50 versus $250 in America. MaryKarmen and Abundio the entire workforce of the Anala Goat Company, now living in Inez, saved me both ways, and better yet, hosting me at the best Mexican restaurant in Wharton.

MaryKarmen Lopez Loredo with Abundio and Abundito (Diego) Loredo

The Loredo family and I share Expat status. After I flashed my Turkish Green Card (Kimlik), I inquired if they were still waiting for adoption by their 18 year old daughter? Claro que si!

Diego now 14 tells me in non-denominational Tejano English that he goes to a ‘white’ kids school in the little town of Vanderbilt, TX, plays on the football team and loves to fish.

Abundio gave up goats for hourly game warden duty on a deer ranch, where he camps out at night to shoot coyotes with his night vision rife. Getting paid for hunting sounds a lot better than milking fifty goats and three cows.

Travailing to Iowa

Rabbit Ears Pass. The summit has the shape of rabbit ears, which displays two large columns of basalt rock formations from the second volcanic episode. 

… With an elevation of just over 9,400 feet, Rabbit Ears Pass is lower than many other mountain passes in the area, but it is still inundated with heavy snowstorms during the winter, making avalanches, icy roads, and low visibility all too common.

Auto Bound Therapy

The week before Thanksgiving until the first business day in January was my emotional demilitarized zone. Since 2008, first in Mainland China and the last four years in Antalya. Turkey, I had avoided crossing the Happy Holidays DMZ.

The Karmic gods finally caught up with me when Jane Marie and I were reunited with her ex and their oldest daughter, with the mission of driving the daughter-father gifted car from Santa Rosa California to Iowa City, Iowa.

To add spice to the journey there was to be a stopover in Salt Lake City to break bread with the ex’s son from an previous marriage.

The Siri GPS experience worked well all the way to Salt Lake and back on our I-80 East route to our next stop Sidney, Nebraska, except when Siri suggested an alternate route via Baggs, WY. A turn left at Howard Street led to a road closed November-May blockage and asking the Baggs-lady what do we do now?

Best Baggs advice: go straight to Craig, take Hwy 40 to Steamboat Springs then over the Rabbit Ears Pass to rejoin our I 80 East route at Laramie..

Jane “The Caretaker” doged the deer to Craig, turned north to Steamboat in time to catch the night skiers and then passed the Siri baton to Willie “The Loner” for the Rabbit Ears Pass Challenge. As the recently gifted owner of the car – a 7th of August Leo SIX of Diamonds, the Card of “Financial Responsibility” and the only even numbered card of our auto bound therapy threesome, Willie “The Loner” got the call.

Even numbers do better in the mundane world, odd numbers weigh-in matters of the spiritual realm. Jane and I, both JACKS (the eleventh card), as well as definitely odd, prayed for Willie.

The Christie Peak Express high-speed chairlift whisks you to top of Christie Peak (8000′) to embark on your night adventure across 5 trails.

Willie proceeded with caution but ever upward – Steamboat Springs at 6,732′ already had enough snow to ski but neither Siri nor the locals knew what lie ahead. Not too worry, Willie took care of the ‘NOW’ and within an hour we were over the top and our way to Walden.

Rabbit Ears Pass in the daylight I’m sure would be beautiful but even a half moon night scape was a slow yet scary trip.

Willie, energized by passing the pass with flying colors, was eager to continue on to Ft. Collins for a hookup with I- 80 but for the grace of Walden, we were destined to spend the night..

The Town of Walden is a Statutory Town that is the county seat of, and the only incorporated municipality in Jackson CountyColorado, United States.[7] It is situated in the center of a large open valley called North Park. People from Walden and the surrounding area refer to themselves as “North Parkers”. 

There were four options on Main Street in downtown Walden. Jane Marie turned down the first three b/c of the $75 room charge. I, “The Avoider” got the 4th and last chance to get off the road. The clerk was not in a negation mood b/c the motels close down from Thanksgiving until May and he was leaving in the morning for Florida.

The Walden population was 734 at the 2000 census and reduced to 608 at the[8]2010 census. The town sits at an elevation of 8099 feet (2469 meters) and is the only still incorporated town in the county. It was established in 1889 and was incorporated 2 December 1890.[3] Mark A. Walden, an early postmaster, gave the community his name

My Corps logo USAA credit card got me a 20% discount as the Millennial ‘Jarhead’ showed me this triple triangle tattoo representing the 37 brothers he lost in his tour of Afghanistan and participation in the documentary Combat Obscura.

Just out of high school, at the age of 18, Miles Lagoze enlisted in the Marine Corps. He was deployed to Afghanistan where he served as Combat Camera — his unit’s official videographer, tasked with shooting and editing footage for the Corps’ recruiting purposes and historical initiatives. But upon discharging, Lagoze took all the footage he and his fellow cameramen shot, and he assembled quite simply the very documentary the Corps does not want you to see. COMBAT OBSCURA is a groundbreaking look at the daily life of Marines in a war zone as told by the soldiers themselves. More than a mere compilation of violence, the edit ingeniously repurposes the original footage to reveal the intensity and paradoxes of an ambiguous war from an unvarnished perspective.
The Bad news: “The Caretaker” and “The Loner” didn’t think the Walden accommodations merited even one star. The Good news: once back on I-80 East at Laramie, they almost forgave me.

A May-September Romance

Akkaya Gardens

A sign along the road told us the villas nestling in the hill below were part of the Secret Valley complex and we’re presuming the area is called Akkaya. Beautiful river and mountain views – and you can’t help but wonder how long this place is going to be ‘secret’. We got back in the car and continued to follow the signs, down the hill towards the river and the restaurant.
We were greeted by lush greenery, ponds, streams, the sound of waterfall and the breeze rushing through the dense treetops. A friendly waiter greeted us and pointed us to the different seating areas.
A family from Samsun has been operating the Tree House Restaurant since 2012 from May to September.
A steep climb up the steps and we were soon in our very own stork nest, sat amongst the treetops, loving the seclusion. We couldn’t see or hear the other families enjoying their  Turkish Breakfast.
Friday nights are Turkish cuisine with entertainment.
This is the development at the top of hill.
118 meter two bed rooms, two baths, two balconies and therapeutic views.
East view with fire observatory on top and a one cylinder Mosque down below.

Egirdir Lake

Eğirdir is the name of a lake and of the town situated on the shore of that lake in Turkey. The lake lies in the Turkish Lakes Region and is 186 kilometers north of Antalya. With an area of 482 square kilometers it is the fourth largest lake in Turkey.

Jane Marie & Mehmet Pasha Do Lunch at the Vanilla

Mehmet (Pasha) Ates represents a five generational Silk Road enterprise in Antalya’s Old Town.
Mehmet Pasha, for those who don’t know, is the man to know in Antalya’s Old Town. Jane Marie and I met Mehmet shortly after we got off the boat back in 2015 at his carpet shop.
Every visitor friend soon ends up spending time getting a mini-seminar on kilim rugs.
The Vanilla restaurant is ‘the’ dining experience in Kaleiçi (Castle Gate) or Old Town in expat speak.
Jane Marie gave the curry-vegetable dish 5+ stars..
Vehbi Koç was a Turkish entrepreneur and philanthropist. He founded the Koç Group, one of Turkey’s largest groups of companies. During his lifetime he came to be one of Turkey’s wealthiest citizens.

Jane Marie got a sneak peek at the hotel that the Vehbi Koç family is building in Old Town. The glass floor entry covers the ruins of the previous city center when Alexander the Great came ashore in 333 BC.

BOTH ENDS OF THE SILKROAD

Rule of Law, Accountability, Property Rights & Strong Government

Empires of the Silk Road, by Christopher I. Beckwith separates the history of civilization into trade by land over the Silk Road from the Bronze Age until Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. After the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and English colonized the entire world. everything went by sea, and the Ottoman Empire ceased to be.

Xi’an Begins the Beguine

We spent 2008 to 2013 in Zhengzhou midway between Beijing and Xi’an (now famous for the terra cotta warriors) and Xi’an the Beguine was as far as we got. However, this video professionally tells the story.

Urumqi it must be

Urumqi is the air exit to Baku and beyond. The Turks get on the plane in Istanbul when we get off to go visit their families in Urumqi. We never got out of the airport concourse in China but we never wanted to leave the Baku one.

Cruise the Med before your dead

Jane Marie gave up on an African safari and sleeping on the ground for a 12 day cruise around the Eastern Mediterranean in style at half the price.

The Vatican

The Holland America cruise started in Rome so Jane Marie added a four day prequel and a must tour of the Vatican
We needed to join a tour to weave our way through the tourist season crowd.
Janette our Vatican guide, clustered our flock under a shady spot to show pics of Michelangelo’s paintings that we were about to see. She began her presentation in Toastmasters 101 with a rhetorical question. Who is the guardian of our soul? I responded with my first and best smart-ass remark of the tour – “Oprah!”

Then Janette got to this pic of St. Bartholomew from the Last Judgment (1536-41) and I listened-up b/c I had been doing Bible study in Armenia.

It was in the figure of St. Bartholomew, the martyr who was flayed alive, that Michelangelo chose to create a tragic and anguished self-portrait. He depicted his own face in the empty envelope of skin that hangs grotesquely from the saint’s hand, a metaphor for the artist’s tortured soul.
St. Bartholomew is listed among the Twelve Apostles of Jesus in the gospels of Matthew, Mark & Luke. Old Bart was on the scene of the Ascension and the Armenian Apostolic Church honors Bart along with Saint Thaddeus as its patron saints. At least that’s what Father Vatcheh at the Geghard Monastery and Wikipedia told me.

The Pantheon

Since my history of architecture class was 8 to 11 Saturday mornings I vaguely remembered what the Pantheon looked like.

The Tiber

The Tiber is the third-longest river in Italy, rising in the Apennine Mountains in Emilia-Romagna and flowing 406 kilometers through Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio, where it is joined by the river Aniene, to the Tyrrhenian Sea, between Ostia and Fiumicino. It drains a basin estimated at 17,375 square kilometres. The Tiber is the third-longest river in Italy, rising in the Apennine Mountains in Emilia-Romagna and flowing 406 kilometers through Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio, where it is joined by the river Aniene, to the Tyrrhenian Sea, between Ostia and Fiumicino. It drains a basin estimated at 17,375 square kilometers.

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is a square in Rome, Italy. It is built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built in the 1st century AD, and follows the form of the open space of the stadium. The ancient Romans went there to watch the agones, and hence it was known as “Circus Agonalis”.

The KONINGSDAM

“Painters, Painters, Man Your Brushes” – the good news: we had a starboard balcony cabin on the 4th level, the bad: you had to stand up to see over the life boat.
Holland America Line – Koningsdam 12 – Day Ancient Empires 7 July, 2019 – 19 July, 2019
Jane Marie puts the Koningsdam’s 3,000 guests and 2,000 crew into perspective.
When’s Lunch? Anytime you want sit down dining, room service, buffet, coffee, tea and lemonade all free. My AA card saved me from the 8 Euro drinks and I lost three kilos with a strict keto diet of pork, lamb & beef.
Ever so happy Jane Marie let me come along. with that “Gracious Ease” smile we never had to sit in the corner by ourselves.

Athens

Although there are many other acropolis’s in Greece, the significance of the Acropolis of Athens is such that it is commonly known as The Acropolis. I swear it had a roof in my 1963 history of architecture class.
Are you ready to climb the steps to the Acropolis?

Mykonos

IMAR Gallery Mykonos – Georganta: oil painting on aluminum
Mykonos is an island in the Cyclades group in the Aegean Sea. It’s popularly known for its summer party atmosphere. Beaches such as Paradise and Super Paradise have bars that blare thumping music. Massive dance clubs attract world-renowned DJs and typically stay open well past dawn. Iconic landmarks include a row of 16th-century windmills, which sit on a hill above Mykonos town.
The island of Mykonos is one of the most popular Greek islands and it belongs to the Cyclades islands group. Mykonos island, the Ibiza of Greece as it is called, is particularly famous for the picturesque town and the fantastic beaches. It is also famous as a gay friendly destination.
It does have that “Let us entertain you attitude.”
Jane Marie the collage artist discovered collage aplenty on the walkways of Mykonos
Catch that real rope hanging over the side of the boat. How much do you think they want for this beauty?
I’m eyeballing these statuettes 6 to 24 inches tall 50 to 100 Euros each. Didn’t bother asking about the boat rope.
Two thumbs up for Mykonos: artsy-crafty and a doable two to three hour shop around.

Kusadasi

As five-year expat residents of Antalya, Turkey, we were proud that Kusadasi, the port for Ephesus, was the cleanest, most presentable of any on the cruise.
Turkish Pilot coming to guide the Komingsdam to dock at Kusadasi.
Jean Pierre & Nelly debriefing us on their visit to Ephesus at a city center cafe in Kusadasi.

During the 2nd century BC, Ephesus was the fourth largest city in the eastern Roman Empire, famous for, the Library of Celsus – The library was “one of the most impressive buildings in the Roman Empire” and built to store 12,000 scrolls and to serve as a mausoleum for the Roman Senator: Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, who is buried in a crypt beneath the library in a decorated marble sarcophagus. The Library of Celsus was the “third-largest library in the ancient world” behind only Alexandria and Pergamum.
Jane Marie took a pass this time on revisiting the Library but recommended to everybody on the cruise that Ephesus was at the top of her must see Turkey destinations.

RHODES

Rodos looked the same save for five jillion more tourists than when we visited in out-of-season November. The arch entrance has been there since the Knights of St. John but the bougainvillea?
It’s somewhat challenging to rent a car and drive around the island in time to get back to the ship by four o’clock.
Seven Springs is about midway down the coast and up the bicyclist’s hill.
A must walk-around of the Knights of Saint John fortress which finally fell to Suleiman the Magnificent’s invasion force of 400 ships and army of 100,000 men in 1522. The sultan allowed the Knights to relocate to Malta so they could create future tourist attractions closer to mainstream Europe.

Santorini

We call this Nelly’s table and submit her photo as the Best in Show for the Komingsdam’s Santorini port of call.

Crete

Nelly, a ‘Walloon’ 36-year resident of Palm Desert, California, owner of Democracy@democracypd, with the maiden name Koningsdam graces the oldest mosque on Crete with her charming aura.

Straits of Messina

Jane Marie touched off the Mt.Etna & Stromboli Island volcanoes on our return to Rome.
This photo of Stromboli spilling over was taken by Nelly’s husband Jean Pierre, who was voted ‘Most Popular’ passenger on the cruise.

Thank God My Father Moved Us to Cincinnati

When I was at least 12, Marion and Esther, my G.I. generation parents took me to Coney Island. I was still too scared to ride the roller-coasters but the ‘Dogems’ appealed to my passive-aggressive nature. Once back home Marion asked me if I noticed the black kid I had banged into several times? “No, why?”

Well, for more than 65 years, Coney Island and its Sunlite Pool had been a riverside playground for most of the people of Cincinnati; it boasted cleanliness, thrilling rides, a place to swim and dance, a whisper of bygone days.  But it was closed to blacks. The pool, even longer.  That a place of public accommodation would remain a pocket of segregation as long as it did — especially in a Northern, industrial city — surprises many, astounds others.  After all, the Supreme Court had ordered schools desegregated in 1954.  The park finally opened its gates to blacks in 1955, and by the time the pool was integrated — May 29, 1961 — the civil-rights struggle was well under way, punctuated by sit-ins and demonstrations around the country.

I was a Baby Boomer enjoying my childhood midway through Act I (1943-1964) of Neil Howe’s 4th Turning a four-generation live action, socio-political-psycho-economic histo-drama, I call, “Apocalypse Soon, Armageddon Later.” Starring fellow Boomers; George ‘W’ 1946, Hillary 1947, Bill Clinton 1946, Trump 1946, Xi Jinping 1953 and Putin 1952.

On my street, Mooney Avenue, we had 70 kids in an approximate 60-40 split between Protestants and Catholics. As children of a fervent Christian Scientist mother, my sister and I tried to hide under the Protestant umbrella. The Catholic kids went to Saint Mary’s and the rest of us attended Hyde Park elementary. So, in my 1955 life experience, no black kids here, no black kids there and no black kids anywhere except for that kid on the ‘Dogems.’

Marion always bought ugly used cars like this ’53 Nash Ambassador – ‘Greg’ as Esther called him, drove us to Sunday school at the 1st Church of Christ Scientist Norwood then came back an hour later to pick us up. Norwood was a future Trump country neighborhood where everybody was white and wore blue collars to work at the GM Fischer Body plant.

Two Sundays a month, after Marion got paid, we went to Frisch’s Big Boy on Duck Creek and ate in the car. Whether it was a payday Sunday or a fried chicken at home Sunday, I’d come back with a headache from my hour-long lesson in Mind Over Matter and the evils of materia-medica. My physical remedy for this meta-physical problem, was holding a cold wash cloth to my left temporal.

Headaches: Invalidating the self. Self-criticism. Fear.

   “I love and approve of myself. I see myself and what I do with eyes of love. I am safe.”

My second wife gifted me with Louise Hay’s book Heal Your Body A-Z to teach me what I failed to learn in Sunday School.

RELIGION was my number one childhood complaint – “can’t we all just be normal kids like everybody else on the block” – number two was Marion shaming us with the only non-GM or Ford vehicle in Hyde Park, and used at that.

RACE RELIGION POLITICS SEX & MONEY

However, after Labor Day 1955, Marion drove me half way across town – to the east/west dividing line – to my first day at Walnut Hills High School. The school was smack dab in the middle of EVANSTON and from outward appearances an all-black community. I read recently that Cincinnati was the 8th most segregated city in the USA. Just looking out the window I couldn’t tell if they were Protestant or Catholic but they were the same color as that kid I bumped into at Coney Island.

But, oh Lordy, Lordy the halls of the 2,000+ 7-12th grade students at Walnut Hills High School were populated with black kids and white kids, but half of the white kids were Jews. Marion had warned me that, “if I didn’t learn anything from the Jews, I would never learn anything.” The first thing I noticed was that all the Jewish girls had breasts.

Secondly, while the Coney Island pool wouldn’t be integrated until the year I graduated, at WHHS all the boys swam naked. In my swim class everyone had more pubic hair, than I had hair on my head. Walnut Hills was an academic melting pot, my class of 305, had kids from every neighborhood in the city – places I had never heard of, let alone visited. What WHHS didn’t have was greasers or hoods.Well, we did have Marty until he dropped out in the tenth grade. Marty wore ducktails and tried to act tough-cool but the only status symbol at WHHS was your grade point average.

My favorite WHHS grad was Miller Huggins, Class of 1897 pictured with Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth. Miller’s father was a Methodist and prohibited his son from playing semi-pro ball on Sundays. Huggins graduated from law school and his professor, none other than William Howard Taft advised him that he’d make more money playing baseball.

Huggins set an MLB record on June 1, 1910 with six plate appearances but no at bats, with four walks and two sacrifice flies. Huggins, was short but WHHS smart and managed the Yankees from 1921-29. The Yankees swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1927 World Series. This team became known as Murderers’ Row, and is considered the one of the greatest teams in baseball history.

My favorite famous WHHS grad was Jerry Rubin who went off to Berkley to found the ‘Yippies’ and protest the Vietnam War.

I passed the reading/math test to gain admittance to WHHS but Latin, Trig, Physics and Chemistry left me intellectually challenged in a very competitive environment. That, plus suffering from a severe case of homework avoidance syndrome, left me at the back of the pack on graduation day in 1961.

Of the 305 graduates, the top 100 went off to Harvard, Princeton, Yale and beyond. The middle third headed for Prairie League universities especially the hometown favorite the University of Cincinnati. My application to UC’s school of Architecture was rejected because I had not graduated in the top 10% of my high school class.

Tom Thacker along with Tony Yates were our most famous classmates in the ’61-’62 year.

I was happy to just be a poly-sci guy at Miami or Antioch but Marion, the hard knocks engineer, wasn’t about to pay for any of that monkey business. So, Howard, Eddie and I entered UC’s Ding-Dong, two-year, associate’s degree program. I did so well relearning 7th grade Algebra, English and History that I was granted admission to the 1962 class of Architecture.

Cincinnati was 85% German Catholic, home to Hebrew Union College and Rabbi Silver founder of Reformed Judaism. Thus, Cincinnati was blessed with a pragmatic German education culture. This meant that even though I missed out on Harvard I was going to be a University of Cincinnati Co-Op student and go to work for a living from my Freshman year on.

The University of Cincinnati was the first university in the world to offer cooperative education. A bust of UC co-op founder Herman Schneider stands outside Baldwin Hall.

Herman Schneider (1872–1939), engineer, architect, and educator, concluded that the traditional learning space or classroom was insufficient for technical students. Schneider observed that several of the more successful Lehigh graduates had worked to earn money before graduation. Gathering data through interviews of employers and graduates, he devised the framework for cooperative education (1901). However, in 1903 the University of Cincinnati appointed Schneider to their faculty. In 1905 the UC Board of Trustees allowed Schneider to “try this cooperative idea of education for one year only, for the failure of which they would not be held responsible.” The cooperative education program was launched in 1906, and became an immediate success.

RACE RELIGION POLITICS MONEY & SEX

My Coop Job ’61 to ’67 was as an architectural “Apprentice” above the Colony theater on Shaker Square

I spent Spring and Fall quarters 1961-1967 working as an architectural co-op student in the offices of Outcalt, Guenther, Rode, Toguchi and Bonebrake, the biggest architectural firm in Cleveland. Thanks to Marion’s big sister, who got me the job after high school and Herman Schneider, I was able to pay my way through seven years of university and learn firsthand that architects don’t make any money.

Walnut Hills, the Harvard of Cincinnati’s Public Education System

Withrow High School named Ohio’s most beautiful by Architectural Digest. Designed along with Walnut Hills High School by the grandfather of one of my alphabetically speaking best friends, Sted Garber.

Marion, was hell bent on sending me to the best high school in Cincinnati, but he wanted me to make the decision. My options were Withrow, three blocks away, Indian Hills or Country Day, private schools in an aristoi neighborhood a few miles further east. The fourth consideration was Walnut Hills, where I had received an invitation because I had passed the entrance test. At Hyde Park elementary I sat behind Steve Hussey and in front of Bob Yeager, my future classmates. I didn’t copy Hussey’s answers and I’m sure Yeager, our de facto class leader, would never look my way.

What to do? When Esther asked me, now that I was twelve, did I want to join the church? I gave a near instant response, NO, I want to be a Presbyterian! But, three doors down Bob Shirley, older brother of Kathy Shirley, my Drexall drug store cherry coke first date, gave me his Walnut Hills sales pitch.

Tom, the homework’s not that bad. It’s easy to get there, you catch the 69 Madisonville at the end of the street, transfer at Peebles Corner to the 31 Vine Woodburn, walk 3 blocks in the rain, sleet or snow and you’re there.

Jimmy Fallon jokes about how 17 students from the same high school got perfect ACT scores. Our class of ’61 had 31 SAT scholarship recipients.

In 1935 the Board of Education confirmed the status of the school as “an institution specialized for college preparation.” Again in 1972, the Board of Education reaffirmed the position of Walnut Hills High School as a six-year, college preparatory school. As early as 1926 a systematic method of pupil selection was adopted. Today all students enter the school after passing a special college preparatory examination.

The Recipe for Saving Public Education

Municipal (free) Six Year (get ’em when they’re young) College Preparatory High School (everybody’s going to college) open to all (swim with every fish in the sea) qualified elementary students city wide.