Tuesday March 11, 2014
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At long last, I get to ask you about something published in the New London Day, the paper I worked for as a teenage kid and once planned to return to as a photographer-reporter after I finished college.
Here is is. It's an odd sort of case, but then New London is an odd sort of case too. :-)
Navy Commander Michael P. Ward, married and with children, was stationed in Virginia and somehow or other developed a "roving eye."
He contacted a 23 year old Virginia woman who had put her name up on a dating website in October, 2012, and had sex with her. He used a false name at first, but later told her his real name, and presumably from an e-mail that he sent her in July of 2013 (see below), also revealed that he was not, as he had first told her, separated.
How the relationship went we do not know, other than that we know that Ward wanted to break it off. One e-mail he sent her said, "I want you, but I don't know how to make this all perfect." He was at that time working in Washington in an assignment with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which he described as "Special OPS."
Apparently he had a terrible time breaking off with her, but when he was chosen to report for duty as one of the Navy's submarine commanders up in New London in June of this year he took advantage of that fact and sent the woman an e-mail which was supposedly sent by a co-worker in Special OPS called "Bob."
The e-mail said, among other things:
[Remember, this is "Bob" speaking.] "He asked me to contact you if this ever happened. I am extremely sorry to tell you that he is gone. We tried everything we could to save him. I cannot say more. I am sorry it has to be this way."
"Special OPS." Get it?
The woman's name is being withheld by the Day because she said she would not give them the story unless they withheld it. She claims she did not have revenge in mind when she traveled to Ward's home in Virginia "with family members" after she got the e-mail of his death. Once there she found that he was gone, but still alive. She says she became so ill after she learned that Ward was alive that she had to be hospitalized, and only then learned she was pregnant with his child, which she has since "lost" (her term).
After that she tracked ward to the Submarine Base and went so far as to phone a Chief Petty Officer on his ship and tell him what Ward had done. She also contacted NCIS, the Naval Criminal Investigation Service.
Ward's wife is standing by him.
Big mess, isn't it?
The Navy agrees, has relieved Ward of his command, and is now trying to decide whether or not to:
(a) Do nothing more.
(b) Reduce him in rank.
(c) Kick him out of the Navy.
(d) Both (b) and (c).
I'll ask the questions in a second post.
(a) What do you think will happen?
(b) Do you think the woman was really pregnant?
(c) If she was pregnant, how do you think she "lost" the baby?
(d) Would you want Commander Ward to be in command of a U. S. Submarine?
(e) Don't you wish you lived near a nice big military base instead of up here in a Cool Mountain Town where nothing exciting ever happens?
a) Probably an official reprimand on his Military Service record because of the public exposure of an affair that Navy was asked questions about.
b) I have no idea. No proof of even a birth?
c) Not sure there was ever a baby born. Why not prove it if you wish to make an issue of it.
d) His private love/sexual life should have no bearing on his Military ability. Same as being Gay openly in Military is ok now.
e) Plenty happens up here, but most of it never makes the media. No different than any other berg.
That was an understatement about 'plenty' happens up here. (:
I have little sympathy for males or females who cheat on their spouse. Ward has shown himself, at least 3 times, to be a liar. First, when he used a false name, second when he said he was separated and third when he pretended to be dead. In addition he completely went back on his marriage vows. That having been said, I believe that the Navy has a "morality" code or some kind of a code that applies here. I am sure that he must be aware of it. I believe that he should be handled according to the code.
Don, according to Tom, the baby was "lost." Medical records should provide evidence as to the loss. While she did not originally have revenge in mind, her actions after learning about the false death, well????????????/
I also do not give much credibility to stories that come from unnamed sources. Why wouldn't the woman tell her story to the newspaper unless her name was withheld?
I agree with Bernice. Although in today's military the Uniform Code of Military Justice is not even a reflection of the one I was sworn under. Even though I sense today's military is being used for "social experimentation", it is still a military to be proud of. Those who serve have little to say as to what the politicians and the Pentagon choose for them. Simply on a moral basis, what this gentleman did is beyond acceptance. He knows that and so do all those involved. I suspect he will eventually do the right thing if he has any character at all. We can offer forgiveness for transgressions, but first there has to be some personal admission and a significant visible effort to not repeat the wrong. Just my 2 cents, but then I'm from a different era when personal morality and character actually meant something.
"Conduct Unbecoming an Officer" Slam him and any other like him because it shows a significant flaw in character which could reflect on the persons performance.
The woman put her name on a website looking for a man ! That was enough to get her self in trouble. It was her choice to go on the website. Her choice to have sex. She didn't accuse him of rape did she? What is her background and reason for going to the paper?
Must have been desperate or could have met someone where she lived. By not giving her name the story should never have been printed. Was the story checked out before being printed?
To many empty spaces in the story.
The man has given many years to the military and should be left alone. If he is married his wife will probably hand out the punishment.
A lot to talk about! I'll take it in two parts.
First the woman:
Pat says, "Too many empty spaces in the story."
Amen to that! You could drive a semi through the spaces in it! To begin with, I have real doubts about the character of the woman.
The problem I had with this story, on which I checked more than one source was what was NOT said more than what WAS said. Ask yourself some of these questions, all of which should have been answered:
How did the woman know where he lived? Surely he did not give her his home address if he was trying to hide the fact that he was married. He'd have to have been crazy to do that. So how did she get it? He was working for the Joint Chiefs. In the first place, she did not know that, and in the second place you can't just call the Joint Chiefs and ask for someone's address. She must have trailed him home some night, or done something equally reflective on her character.
What was her purpose in going to his house after she received that e-mail? Did she believe the e-mail saying he was dead, or did she have some reason to think he was still trying to break it off?
Why did she take "family members" with her when she found out his address? As I read the article, "family members" came across like a couple of big muscular brothers, or at least someone who would support her in a confrontation over being pregnant.
How did she find out what ship he had been assigned to. Ron will tell you that the Navy does not advertise its ship assignments. She had to have some kind of connections. What were they? How in the world did she not only find out that he had been transferred, but that he had been transferred to a sub, which sub it was, and what the telephone number of the sub itself was? Think about trying to find out that number. Could you do it? No? How did she manage it?
She says, "I don't want revenge here," but if that's true, what was her purpose in finding out where he went? Why did she go to all the trouble she went to? And why did she call his ship?
As to the man, he is in violation of the Navy code regarding ship's commanders, so he may be in deep trouble. I have gone back and checked the latest news. Here's the best I could come up with:
"Ward has received a letter of reprimand for adultery and other military violations. The three-officer board of inquiry recommended he retain his rank upon being discharged. Its decision goes to the secretary of the Navy for approval within 90 days."
I don't know, but maybe Ron does, how the Navy handles the recommendation of a board of inquiry in cases like this. I would guess that if it recommends you be tossed out you might as well pack your bag.
I'll also say this: I would not trust a man who not only cheated on his wife, but lied about his military assignment as a desk jockey by hinting that he was in some kind of highly dangerous "special OPS," not even being honest with the young woman he was trying to bed. I'm hanged if I would want to serve under such a man. How could you trust anything he said? Would you stick your neck out on the word of such a man? I wouldn't. I'd be second guessing everything he said.
And having said that, I suspect the Navy will discharge him. They will probably look at what he's done, realize that he will never outlive it with the men who might serve under him, decide that he has destroyed any value he had as a leader, and get rid of him.
Submariners, by the way, are a special breed. It takes a rare type of man to work under the pressures of sub warfare. You couldn't get me in one of those tin coffins if you poked a gun in my ribs. At times on some Friday nights New London was flooded with off-duty submariners, but you can put aside those images you have in your mind of sailors going crazy on a night on the town. It was so quite in town with those submariners making the rounds that a convention of Baptist ministers would have stirred up more trouble. I just can't see men like that accepting some lying, skirt chasing weenie as their captain.
Mr. Lemon and Tom,
Let's not lose sight of the reality that today's military environment is far different than the decades ago that we served. This is post "Don't ask, Don't tell". You may be aware that there was a special day held at the Pentagon to celebrate the LGBT folks working in that place. Ever seen a "special day" set aside to celebrate normal hetrosexual behavior? Didn't think so. Now the Pentagon is threatening court's martial or stiff reprimand for any service member sharing their "faith" with another person in their ranks. No. I see little except hypocracy if they throw the book at this guy for his transgressions all the while turning a blind eye to the moral sewer they at the top have turned our military into.
Do you all really believe this woman, who wouldn't let the paper print her name?
What was her motive? Did she have to stand up in any court and swear to tell the truth?
Did she even know the man? Does she have any proof?
Women have destroyed men with lies. Never proved anything just lied.
Did the man admit to anything she told the paper?
Maybe this was her 15 minutes of fame.
"Now the Pentagon is threatening court's martial or stiff reprimand for any service member sharing their "faith" with another person in their ranks."
You're kidding! I'd like to see them try to enforce that one.
Come to think of it, I really would like to see them try to enforce it. The military enjoys certain exemptions from the Bill of Rights by reason of necessity and logic, but this is not combat, not combat related, not a matter of military necessity, and not a matter of discipline. It runs head-on into the First Amendment, which clearly says that NO branch of government, of any kind, or at any level, may make a law (regulation, ordinance, rule) regarding religion. In just writing down such a restriction the Pentagon is in violation of our most fundamental law.
So was Congress when it added the word "God" to the pledge of allegiance, something Congress will have to eat the first time anyone decides to take it to court. A dumb move if I ever saw one, a big show done during the Cold War by people who don't understand that when the law says "hands off!" and you violate it in one direction you are opening the door for someone else to violate it in the other direction. The regulation Ron talks about is an example of what happens if you don't learn to read before you start making laws. NO LAW means just that, NO LAW!
"Do you all really believe this woman, who wouldn't let the paper print her name?"
"What was her motive?"
I don't like being judgmental without clear cut evidence, but I can't help but see a couple of things here. One, she wanted to catch a man; don't ask me why. Two, she is very devious (as shown by the fact that she has information there is no legitimate way for her to have). Three, she is motivated by revenge.
"Did the man admit to anything she told the paper?"
Yes. He admitted it to the Navy and to his wife.
I don't think either one of them is a paragon of purity.
The person I feel sorry for is his wife. He has not only destroyed his career and his life; he has destroyed hers. Think of how she must feel being dragged through the mud by her husband. There's no way she could ever show her face at the O Club again.
He has kids too, by the way, and they are going to have to live with all this.
Just google his name and have a look at that face of his.
I was looking at my post to see if I should edit it and saw something that struck me as vaguely funny so I'll share it with you.
The sentence, "...but I can't help but see a couple of things here..." is wrong because "couple" means two, and I mentioned a trio of things. No big deal. We do it all the time, but I would have corrected it because I do my best to maintain a certain level of English on the forum.
However "couple" also means two people.
A trio is what started all this.
And the minute "English" popped into my mind I thought of its other definition--spin.
I'm doing my best, but I think my mind is losing it.
We talk, but whoever runs that place up there has some odd ideas. :-)
Pat, as strange and as dangerous as it seems to us, many young people post their names on "dating sites." You have probably seen adds for various dating places on TV. One that comes to mind is Christian Mingle. I also think I saw an add for a Jewish dating site. There are probably many others.
Young people do it. My grandson met a girl on some kind of website. All of his family was alarmed. However, when we met her, we were very impressed. She is very sweet, kind, thoughtful, etc. Now we wonder what her family might think of our grandson. :-)
Even though my grandson has had a good experience, I would not recommend dating websites. It is something I regard as inherently dangerous. People are not always truthful as illustrated by the Ward case.
It appears that, now-a-days, marriage vows are not respected and adhered to, by many couples. In this case, the man is clearly at fault. However, I can't help assigning some blame to the wife. If the wife had been sexually active, and contented with her husband, I doubt that the husband would have been looking elsewhere. I may be entirely wrong, but it seems that once a woman has children, she tends to put her husbands satisfaction at a low priority.
I agree with what Mr. Hamric has said above. Todays Military command administration and policy is a far cry from that of several decades past. Look at the recent news headlines about top Military brass extra marital affairs coming to light. They are allowed to quietly retire at Rank and pension pay. My opinion is that if being openly gay ON Duty in the US services is not now considered detrimental to the mission, why should a heterosexual extra marital affair OFF Duty be any different? What does it have to do with his ability to competently perform his duty's. Sound familiar? Welcome to the world of social engineering politics in the US Military. Thank you BO.....
First of all you implied all women.
Did it ever occur to you, that child raising is a very hard and tireing job with a lot of responsibility?
Seems to me a lot of husbands are jealous of thier children and instead of helping with them so thier wives can get a little rest before bedtime, they are out chasing other women that have nothing to do except practice sex? They don't care if the man is married or not.
Don't blame it on the wife because they married a jerk.
SO THERE !
I had a very good husband who loved his wife and children. We were married almost 58 years before he died.
:-)Tsk, tsk, Fred. "I may be entirely wrong, but it seems that once a woman has children, she tends to put her husbands satisfaction at a low priority." You might be right but------------------ some would say that remark is sexist. :-) However, you must be aware that there is another theory that says lack of sexual satisfaction just might be the fault of the male. But then again, that remark could be regarded as equally sexist. :-)
Pat is right. Raising children is very demanding physically and emotionally. Speaking from experience I was run ragged. One of the many things my husband did to ease my burden happened after dinner. He would read stories to the children or if weather permitted, would take them outside. I was then free to clean up after dinner without interruptions. When I was through we could all sit down together and share. I was and am eternally grateful for all the help and support my husband gave me.
I am thinking that Mr. Franz would be better off to go hide under a rock for the next week or so, as I suspect he is going to feel the full wrath of several angry women.
So, Mr. Franz, you implied that if a man cheats, it is the fault of the woman who is not giving him enough sex, and keeping him "contented". Is that correct? Is that truly what I read??
Were you aware Mr. Franz, that in the Jewish faith, one of the responsibilities of a married man, aside from supporting his family and seeing to their religious security, is keeping his wife satisfied sexually? And in many Christian faiths, Pastors preach that the most important thing that a man can do to keep his marriage happy and thriving, is satisfy his wife.
The days of the little woman meeting her husband at the door in a dress and heels and pearls, martini in hand, with freshly bathed, sweetly smelling, and smiling children lined up behind her are long gone. As are the days of the woman meekly submitting to clumsy fumblings, so as to keep her husband home and in her bed.
What happened to "in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, till death do us part"? Marriage is about so much more than sex, and to imply that if a woman does not keep her man satisfied, he will look for it elsewhere is preposterous, and demeaning to both sexes. It implies that men should not be expected to adhere to the vows they took, unless conditions are perfect.
Oh my, I could go on so much further, however, I have only had one cup of coffee, and as such my tolerance level for ridiculousness is exceedingly low, and I have no desire to say something which could get me banned!
However, in conclusion, regarding this particular case that Tom brought up: In my opinion, the man and his "mistress" are entirely to blame. The poor wife bears little or no culpability. This man is a scoundrel and is not worthy of a Navy command. The mistress? Is a devious and sneaky woman who was willing to do whatever she needed to "get" a top ranking military man. It is my contention that she knew full well that he was married and through devious methods, obtained his home address. She went there with the intention of humiliating him and hurting his wife. I believe that she was never pregnant, and used that as one more manipulative tool in her arsenal. And finally, just musing on my part: What kind of woman has unprotected sex with a man she knows so little, that she knows not that he is married, or exactly where he works and lives? I believe that at one time, these two would be called "persons of low moral integrity". I think that about sums it up.
As I know you are aware, the trouble with the gay and lesbian issue is simple. I'll give you an analogy:
There was a time when the laws of our colonies followed religious law, often the law of only one faith. Individuals were punished, and even executed, for breaking those laws.
When our nation was formed it recognized individual liberty and freedom as fundamental to a nation based on "inalienable rights." The state took a hands-off attitude toward religion, as well as toward atheism. It neither endorsed, nor punished either one as a matter of written law. However, the state did not make the error of interfering with religion by requiring that people endorse atheism. It simply took a hands-off attitude. No one in his right mind would expect anything else.
Apply that reasoning to gays and lesbians.
With gays and lesbians, there also was a time when the laws were based on religious and personal moral beliefs, and the treatment of gays and lesbians was based on those laws. Then came a time when the laws were changed to say that what went on privately between consenting individuals was not illegal.
That is consistent with the concept of individual liberty. It is not, however, consistent with the moral and religious beliefs of many people. Some gays and lesbians, by no means all of them, make the error of demanding, not just that the state and the people take a legally neutral stance, but that people endorse that which they cannot be forced to endorse. In essence, what some gays and lesbians demand is that the belief in individual freedom which brought them legal justice be tossed out. How much sense does that make?
When it comes to the military we enter into a situation where the rules have always denied Constitutional rights which men and women would be able to demand in civilian life. Just for one, no one can order a civilian to place himself in harm's way, but in the military men can be, and have been, executed for cowardice in the face of the enemy.
The military situation is not, and never will be, the same as the civilian situation. Trying to make it so is doomed to failure because any attempt to align military law with civilian law can only end up in one of two ways: In utter failure, or with a situation where the military can no longer function. Military life and civilian life are not the same. They never can be.
What to do about gays and lesbians? Be smart. Gays and lesbians have served honorably for a long time, how long no one knows, perhaps from the very beginning of our nation. Those of us who have served in uniform will tell you that we knew full well that some of those we served with were gay or lesbian. Did it make a difference? No.
Answer to the "problem?" Except for cases of overt behavior, drop the subject. In cases of overt behavior, separate the individual from the service. Military law and regulations are not the same as civilian laws and regulations, and there is no logical reason to believe they ever will be--or can be.
Summary: It is impossible to force straight men and women to endorse behavior that is contrary to strongly held moral or religious beliefs, and any attempt to do so will fail. If you try to legislate the matter you will end up having to make a choice: An all straight military, an all-gay and lesbian military, or no military. You cannot force people to be what they are not; any attempt to do it is both stupid and doomed to failure.
I think you summed up my feelings about this case better than I could. I'll just repeat that I would not voluntarily have served under a scuzzball like that character, that the quality of service you get out of the men serving under you depends to a large extent on how they see you, and that the man does not belong in uniform.
As to what Fred had to say, I think that is a two-way street. Sex is an odd kind of thing. It can be very passionate before marriage and children at times, and can lose a lot of its former glory after that. I'm not sure I know why, though there are obvious causes--the lack of novelty being one obvious one.
I don't think Fred was entirely blaming the wife, or intended to do that. His comment was just one of many that could be made regarding the relationship between two people, no more or less correct than many, I suppose. The truth is that it doesn't help to look for blame on either side of that equation any more than it does in so many other cases. Blame solves nothing.
And honesty goes a long way too.
What has sex have to do with military commanders?
How many have done the same thing and were not caught? Still commanding and probably still doing the same thing about sex !
Thanks for summing up the issue. My comment was intended to fill in an aspect of the discussion not yet covered. I don't mean any insult to women. Life in military service is sometimes a hardship on both husband and wife. Many marriages can point to it as the reason for separation. However, I don't blame the military for a mans indiscretion. Men know the restraints they will be subject to when they enlist in the military, and some of them choose to ignore morality. In that case, the military punishment can be quite severe. Ladies, thanks for your comments!
Tom, I find it interesting that you have kept your connection with New London through its newspaper. Have you family still living there? Have you ever lived there after you left as an adult?
"What has sex have to do with military commanders?"
Pat, it's hard to tell exactly what you mean, but if you are referring to the rules that the Navy lays down for its ship's captains they are very strict. A ship is not the same as--say--an Air Force or Army unit. It is essentially a small seaborne nation of its own, and the authority of a ship's captain goes beyond that of other officers. The Navy lays down the law, and when a ship's captain strays he is--properly, I think--removed.
You're right, Fred. Absence is a curse where marriage is concerned. Even where two people have every intention of staying together things happen. It's tough. I know. I saw a lot of guys stray. And--oh boy!--did I screw up. I applied for and landed a job for my last six years in the Air Force which took me away from home for as long as nine weeks at a time, and did it four to six times each year--the exact opposite of what I thought I was applying for. It was a logical error. I was applying to teach others how to teach in a base school, and had no idea the Air Force would send me to other bases, ones which did not have such a school.
No problem for me in the area we are discussing. I went by Kim's method, "in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, till death do us part." It was easy for me because Lolly I were joined in Heaven. But I saw others who went crazy the minute they were away from home.
There are people who think of no one but themselves. Some of them do things like looting a corporation for a $143 million salary each year because they can get away with it. Others are like a British soldier named Case who stayed in Europe after Dunkirk, got into the rescue and evasion of flyers who were shot down, was strongly suspected by some of those he worked with, proved them right by turning in 50 French, Belgian, and English patriots (all of whom were tortured and executed), had probably been doing it all along, and wasn't finally tracked down and killed until a shoot-out with police in London in 1946. He may have caused the torture and death of as many as 300 to 400 people. People who think like Case ("me first") are the cause of much of our troubles.
I hate to have to tell you this, but it is true, and maybe someone reading it will realize the harm that stupid politicians can do.
All of us hold a warm place in our hearts for the place that at least in part made us what we are. I remember New London as a beautiful town steeped in Revolutionary War and colonial history. I walked to school each day past a little red schoolhouse where Nathan Hale taught, and a small bronze plaque that quoted what he said just before he was hanged. Those words burned themselves into my psyche.
There were at least 15 to 20 structures in town of great historic value. George Washington sat with his staff and planned out many of his strategies right there in my old home town, and you could not turn around without seeing an historic name--Jay, Jefferson, Hale, Hamilton, Arnold (yes that one!), and many more. Walking across town was like walking through its history as you trod streets with names of those who had founded the town in 1646 and made it grow and prosper: Chappel, Ledyard, Rogers, Hempstead, Shaw, Trumball, Coit, Blinman, Vauxhall, Winthrop, Bristol, Coleman, Perry. New London and the centuries old homes in it were not a part of history; they were history.
Sadly, the New London I remember no longer exists. Venal politicians have torn down most of it even though there was no economic or cultural need to do it. Their stupidity have changed New London from a thriving town of 32,000 in 1943 when I first saw it, to the most spectacular failure in New England, a busted town which has failed to grow even though the entire country has grown, and is now (according to Wikipedia) "a small, dirty town of 32,000."
Greedy fools have put the city so close to bankruptcy that the state has had to bail them out. They began, incredibly enough, all the way back in the 1950's, slowly destroying everything that made New London, New London. Why? So they could erect housing for welfare recipients streaming up from the south and get their hands on some that "inexhaustible" federal money. They forgot that when you don't earn what you get, and think welfare isn't enough, you do things like selling all the appliances and furniture you were given free of charge and moving elsewhere. Those people have even stolen the copper pipes out of the walls. Two high rises built for them have had to be torn down as "irreparable."
New London should be called Progress City, since it is a model of what Washington calls "progress." One time, I arrived back in town and casually drove over to see the old house, which had stood foursquare and tall for well over a century overlooking the entire valley and mile wide Thames River. I got out of my car where the house had been, looked around, and found all of the old Victorians gone--over 20 of them!--replaced by garage-like, one story, six apartment shacks, which have since been torn down.
I could hardly wait to leave. I couldn't stand to see empty places where George Washington and many other historic figures had lived and worked. In 1973, they had even, though I could hardly believe it, torn down historic old Mount Vernon, the sprawling white pillared mansion of Jedediah Huntington, our own Revolutionary War colonel, and replaced it with an A&P Super Market, now torn down. All of mile-long Main Street, and mile-long Huntington Street, and all the streets running up the hill between them--Hill Street, Richard Street, Shapley Street, and Stony Hill (one of the oldest cobble-stoned streets in New England) were gone. In their place now is a vast empty nothing.
Do you remember Kelo v. City of New London? It was a 2005 case involving the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another private owner to "further economic development." It was the last nail in the coffin for New London. They won the case, spent $30 million tearing down the historic--and still beautiful--Fort Trumbull area of New London so that Pfizer employees could live in condos near the plant that Pfizer was going to build. Twenty-four states, including Arizona, have revised their Constitutions so that eminent domain cannot be used to transfer land from one private owner to another private owner. (It would be like someone taking your house to put a 7-Eleven on it.)
However, Pfizer, shaken by the resulting bad publicity, backed out, refusing to build its plant in New London because they feared the bad publicity would put them out of business. And so New London is once again nearing bankruptcy and now owns a very large, weed-overgrown area--no plant, no condos, no nothing. It is likely to stay that way, a scar on liberty and monument to greed.
John Steinbeck in the book, "Travels with Charley," asks the question "can you go back home again?" On this trip through the U.S., finally reaching Salinas, he comes to the conclusion that you really can't. Tom, I think you might agree with him. I am hoping that the historical buildings have been saved and maintained in New London.
I know that revisiting some of my childhood haunts has proved to be an eye opener. The swimming pool i used to go to is quite a bit smaller than I remember it, and the slides aren't nearly as high. And my high school??? well, the cafeteria -- heartbreak! The river is still there, however, the opposite bank seems so much closer.
By the way isn't the Coast Guard Academy located in New London?
Think how Payson changed for me in the 41 yrs I was gone. 1952-1993
Julia Randall was the only school and all 12 grades were in it. Basket ball was the only sports team and we didn't have that every year. But the last hour of school was spent doing some kind of exercises, playing basketball or workup softball. No obese kids. Trim kids learning the 3 R's.
We still had out houses most of my school years. (:
Every one had thier own wells, most with windmills and nice lawns.
One fire truck parked on a hill so it could be started by pushing it down the hill as the battery was usually dead.
" I am hoping that the historical buildings have been saved and maintained in New London.'
Sorry. A few main ones have, but most of what made New London New London is gone forever. I wish I could post a picture of Mount Vernon. In fact I wish I could post a picture of Huntington Street, with its long row of pillared Victorians that present day people would ay millions to own. You'd know what I mean.
Those beautiful homes stretched all the way from the top of State Street, the center of town, from the courthouse built in the 1700's to the curve in the road by to Ye Olde Burial Ground, where the newest gravestone is dated in the 1700's. New London was such a wonderful place to grow into manhood. Everywhere you turned you were in contact with history.
I used to go into the graveyard when it was open on Sunday and reread the curved bronze plaque set into the front of a grassy knoll. It told how Benedict Arnold, now a British officer, stood on that spot as he watched New London burning, and how the click of a musket held by the wife of a patriot across the street as it misfired sent him running. Just a few yards away sat Nathan Hale's schoolhouse. When I was 12 they let me sit on his stool and imagine what it was like to be a patriot.
The school house still exists, moved downtown where it it's nothing, sitting as it does on one side of a busy street.
You will never know what it felt like to walk to the place where your house had stood, built of eight by eight oaks beams capped by twelve by twelve beams held in place by inch thick wooden pegs hammered through great mortise and tenon joints. That house was so everlastingly strong that in 1938 when a hurricane raged through New London and dropped a 125 tall elm on it, it did nothing more than to poke a hole through the roof.
And yet greedy stupid politicians found a way to destroy it.
That day, as I looked at the spot where it stood I felt I had failed an old and true friend by not being there with my musket to stand up to the evil as had that female patriot. There are things in this world more important than money, and history is one of them.
Yeah, Pat. I can relate to that. I have the WPS book "Arizona" written in the 1940's. It shows quite a different Payson. In fact, the Payson I saw in 1983 when we finally got here from Texas, was not the same Payson we see today. I read a statistic recently that said that 97% of the residents of Payson arrived since 1990. It seemed incredible, but I suppose it could be right.
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