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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Holocaust Museum - It Can't Happen Again

A terrible museum I can't pass up is the Holocaust Museum. It is just a block off the National Mall in Washington DC. It is right next to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving - where they make our money.

When Hitler and the Nazi's came to power - they went after the Press - the Gypsies - the Gays - the Jews - the Intellectuals - the Teachers - the Judiciary. When Jews left Germany on a ship - they were turned away at the American Coast. Hitler admired the military - he loved parades - he loved people to praise him by raising their hands and saying "Heil Hitler." He had absolute power.

The Holocaust Museum documents what Hitler and the Nazis did to the Jews and others. The museum is there to remind us so that it never happens again.

The Republican party has lost its conscience. They have learned that they can vote themselves a dole out of the treasury. The party of balanced budgets that represented me is gone. They are anti-black - anti-Mexican - anti-immigrant - anti-Muslim. They make laws against gays. They run up the deficit. They vote against Social Security - Medicare - and National Medical Care. They are anti-public schools - and for funding private schools. They favor one religion over others.

In trying times - America has had pride on being on the right side of history. When they ask you what you were doing during this revolution - what will you say?

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Weekend in Washington DC With Son and Grandson

Charles Linbergh's Spirit of St Louis - the
first plane to solo across the Atlantic in 1927.

Way ahead of his time - American Robert Goddard
flew this liquid fuel rocket in 1927 - a few years
before Nazi Werner von Braun launched
the V-2 in 1943. 

The Nazi V-1 first guided missile. It carried
one ton of TNT from France to London. 

American Museum of Art on the Mall
across from the Air and Space Museum seems endless.
You could spend a day there looking at the
galleries of art. 

Liz was spending the weekend in Jackson MS - so I decided to come to DC to give Keith a hand with Max.

There is a new non-stop flight on American Airlines from Tallahassee. It took just two hours - from 7 AM to 9 AM - to get from our state capital to our nation's capital. I arrived to temperatures in the 50s and overcast skies. I had a few hours to kill before supper - so I went to the Air and Space Museum and the National Art Gallery on the Mall. The museums were not crowded and I got to see a lot of my favorites. What is nice about Washington is that almost all the museums are free of charge.

We had supper at a very nice pizza place - then Liz had to take the Metro to the airport. It was about 6 PM. Unfortunately - her plane was delayed by weather and she did not get to Jackson MS until 3 AM.

Saturday we went to the playground in the morning - then a Georgetown Hoyas basketball game downtown. Time just flew by - but by bedtime we were all tired. I slept from 9 PM to 7 AM.

We went to the airport at 10 AM today to pick up Liz - and we all will play for the rest of the day.

At 8 PM - my plane is supposed to leave for Tallahassee - at 10 PM Lulu will pick me up at home. I will probably sleep all the way - which is why I am writing this story early.

It is cool not having to stop in Atlanta like we usually do on all our trips from Tallahassee. The plane coming up was only 75% full - and I am wondering if our small city and support such a flight.

Friday, February 23, 2018

I Don’t Know Why I Love This Place So Much

One of my favorite spots in the world is the Air and Space Museum. The Wright Brother Airplane - above - is my favorite. Also The Spirit of St Louis - Linbergh's plane he crossed the Atlantic in. Chuck Yeager's Bell X-1 - Werner von Braun's V-2 Rocket - the Apollo Capsule that went to the moon. Dick Rutan's plane that circled the world without stopping. Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Vega. The list goes on and on. All the museums on the National Mall are still free. 

I will be here in Washington today - Saturday - Sunday. There is a new nonstop flight from Tallahassee to Washington. 

3 Camper Nights at St Augustine - Daytona - Auburndale - Visiting Sandi's Media Center

Harry getting scammed at gas pump
Sandi Jimmerson at her Media Center with Lulu
We slept along the marina at St Augustine the first night

Outside Frank Lloyd Wright - student built chapel

Fort St Mark - St Augustine - they fire a cannon for you

I am typing from 30,000 feet on the way to Washington DC to visit my son and grandson. Lulu and I just finished a 4 day vagabond trip circling parts of Florida. We spent our 11th - 12th - and 13th night in our camper. I use the term camper pretty loosely. It is a full self-contained motor home - only 19 feet long - but jam packed with the comforts of home. 

We started out on Saturday morning driving 200 miles east from Tallahassee to Jacksonville - Atlantic Beach - Neptune Beach - and St Augustine. We occupied the right lane at 60 MPH and just enjoyed the scenery and the comfortable ride that new tires - new shocks - and fresh wheel alignment provides. I drove - Lulu spent most of the time in her little office in back. She is busy on a contract to re-write one of her former books. 

The first night was spent in St Augustine - we found a parking meter right on the Main Street - and to our surprise - it was free for the weekend. So we paid nothing to "camp" as we did for all 3 nights of this trip. St Augustine is such a great walking town - lots of historic buildings - good places to shop - lots of reasonably priced eating places - and plenty of tourists to view. We ate at the Bull and Crown Pub - with a perfect outdoor table to watch the promenade on St George St. 

We have been to St Augustine - the oldest continuous city in the USA - many times. Each time we learn something new. Before it was a state - England and Spain took turns owning Florida. During the Revoltionary War - Florida was owned by England. They used St Augustine and its Fort St Mark as a prison to house POWs from America. Three signers of the Declaration of Independence spent time here. Chief Osceola - the leader of the Seminoles Indians was captured under a white flag - and he spent much of his last years here. 

On Sunday at about noon we headed south to Daytona Beach. We drove on A1A all along the coast. It is a wonderful road with not a lot of traffic. You pass through all sorts of beach communities. Daytona Beach is an interesting place. The sand is packed so hard - you can drive your car right on the beach. A few things have changed there. Now you must pay $20 to drive on the beach. It used to be pretty busy when it was free - the fee calmed it down a bit. Also it used to be two-way traffic - now it is just one-way south. This cuts down the danger to pedestrians. The beach is very wide - plenty of room for cars to park - traffic - and beach blankets. In some places - the beach is over 500 feet wide. They used to race cars on the beach - setting world speed records. 

Ironically - the Daytona 500 was racing just 2 miles away. In some places you heard the racetrack from the beach. Using my Slingbox - iPhone - and laptop - I could watch the race right on the beach. It started out foggy in the morning - but on TV - you could see it was sunny at the racetrack. Later in the day the sun broke through. 

Our Roadtrek is the perfect beach vehicle. We have all the comforts of home - like a refrigerator that freezes ice cream - TV - computers - Internet - wifi - music - heat - AC - toilet - indoor and outdoor showers with hot water - generator - gas stove - microwave - even a kitchen sink. There is a king size bed - and a table to serve as Lulu's desk. We carry 30 gallons of water that easily gave each of us 3 showers. 

At sunset - the police with loudspeakers - chase all the cars off the beach. Just south of the race track - we found a nice quiet Walmart to spend the night. At night the temperature dropped into the 60s - making for excellent windows-open sleeping. All windows have screens - curtains - and are tinted to keep out prying eyes. All three nights on the trip - we were pretty tired and slept well. No surprises - unless you count quiet as a surprise. 

Monday morning - we drove to Lakeland - home of the Florida Southern College. It is a small expensive methodist college of less than 3000 kids. What makes it famous is that it is the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world. Wright designed and built 18 buildings here in the 1930s - 1940s - 1950s. They have an organized 3.5 hour tour which we paid only $18 for. The reason was - we arrived 10 minutes past the 1 PM start. They let us join the tour saying we could pay later - and they only charged us half price. 

Wright is considered The Godfather of American Architecture. He had very little formal training - and he flew by the seat of his pants. His buildings are distinctive - they have a special look and feel. They certainly are not practical. They have not held up well - as a matter of fact - they were crumbling. They are too expensive to maintain - and although Wright liked to fit his buildings with the environment - they were not practical. This is all my opinion. Wright was from Wisconsin - and his designs did not allow for Florida climate. They had flat leaking roofs - lots of skylights - and the building materials did not weather well. Most of the buildings are made of "textile blocks" that were made on site by the students. The blocks had pieces of gas imbedded that caused much leakage and weathering. 

The buildings did not have air conditioning. As a result - they were hot and humid. This caused mold - a real problem in Florida. Eventually the buildings were refitted with AC and it did not work well in the un-insulated buildings. The college eventually covered over the sky lights - and many of the spectacular features. AC units hung on the outside of the buildings. The buildings are connected by esplanades - covered walkways - that are made of decorative concrete. 

During the war - tuition was waived to students that agreed to do manual labor on the buildings. They had a strong Industrial Arts Department that led the way. The kids did a lot of the concrete work and it shows. They made the textile blocks on site. Reinforcement Bar Rods were inserted through the blocks both horizontally and vertically. These rods rusted causing crumbling and decay. 

At the end of the tour  - the last building - is new. It was built  in 2013 and they used better materials but followed the original plans. It is a faculty home - from the Prairie School Style. They used stainless steel rebar and a higher quality of concrete to build the textile blocks. It includes a carport - which supposedly was invented by Wright. 

During his time - Wright was mocked by the Architectural Industry - but he was later appreciated for his imagination. His personal life was as unusual as his professional life. He married many times and there were questionable fires and deaths. 

Many of the buildings are in various states of dormancy and decay. Many need major renovation which would cost more than the buildings are worth. Let's face it - if you spend - $50,000 to perfectly restore a Model T Ford - you still have a Model T that cost $295 new - and it still performs like a Model T Ford. 

After the campus visit - we drove to Auburndale to visit Sandi Jimmerson - one of Lulu's best students. She has her own home and recently took a job at Citrus Grove Civic Academy to set up a new library in a new school. We were surprised at how lovely Sandi's hometown of Auburndale is - in the Lake District of Florida. We pulled the Roadtrek (camper - motorhome) into her yard. We had supper with Sandi and planned our visit to her library the next day. 

We had our 3rd straight night of windows open sound sleep - we didn't hear Sandi leave for work at 6:30. It took us until about 10 AM to get to the school for the library tour. Sandi's library is lovely - spacious - and has giant windows. If you look hard enough you can see Mount Everest in Disneyworld - about 5 miles away - from the library. Many of the cars parked in the school lot have Disney Annual Pass stickers on them - including Sandi's. 

There must be a great satisfaction to say you designed - setup - and operate a library from scratch. You can tell Sandi loves her library - school - and job. The kids and teachers love her. Sandi is a graduate of the FSU Project LEAD. It was a program designed to pick fantastic teachers and turn them into library leaders. In the program Sandi earned her Master of Library Science degree from FSU - the number 1 school in the nation for "schools library science" - according to US News and World Report. 

At that time I was ready to go home - but Lulu insisted on a visit to Disney World. We have become masters at the "free" Disney Tour. We visited the ticket office and purchased park tickets using our resident pass. In April - the grandkids are coming down. After that Lulu insisted on 2 hours in the outlet shopping mall. 

I would like to finish the trip on a positive note - but I have to include problems to make it real. The camper performed flawlessly. I didn't. I was the victim of a scam. We were about to leave Lake Buena Vista - the gas gauge read 1/4 tank left. The Shell Station up ahead had out a big yellow sign saying gasoline $2.47 a gallon. The place must have had 24 pumps and most of them were empty. One of the neatest inventions is the pay at the pump feature with your credit card - I do it all the time. No need to go inside to pay - we use the toilet in the camper. The screens on the pumps were hard to read - fogged over by weather. I grabbed the nozzle - put it in my tank - and proceeded to fill. Usually a fillup costs about $50 - this time it went to $75! I noticed I only got 20 gallons. Here is the scam and it is my fault. They charge $2.47 a gallon for cash and $3.47 a gallon for credit card! Yes - I did not read the fine print. I went inside to pay with cash - too late - once you insert the credit card - they got you. Fool me once - shame on me - fool you twice - we won't be fooled again :-) 

I did let them know how I felt - but they heard it all before. Shame on me for not reading. 

That was 4 PM. We entered the Florida Turnpike and we were home before 9 PM. We stopped once half way to change drivers. I do not remember the last 2 hours - I slept the whole way in our quiet - comfy turtle shell. Lulu knows that section of I-10 by heart. 

The trip covered 700 miles. 4 days - 3 nights - no fee camping. We spent $20 to ride the camper on the beach - and $36 for the Frank Lloyd Wright tour of the campus - and $20 extra  for the gasoline scam. Most of the meals were made in the camper. I am typing this story from Keith's apartment in Washington DC. I flew up here this Friday morning between 7 and 9 AM. I will fly back to Tallahassee on Sunday night. 

Lulu and her camper at the Citrus Grove Civics Academy

Sandi in her private office

Kids love using the 3D printer - 5 miles from Disney

Chief Osceola - spent time at St Augustine

Supper watching the world go by in St Augustine

Saturday night supper at the Bull and Crown Pub House

Dolphins outside our first night camper spot

Entry way to Fort St Mark - 400 years old

Flagler College - St Augustine - once a hotel

St Augustine hotel 

Foggy morning on Daytona Beach

Our day driving on Daytona beach

Second night camping at Walmart near Daytona

Frank Lloyd Wright

Wright esplanade walkways

Wright loved using plywood for everything

FLW big chapel inside

Stained Glass inside FLW chapel

Chapel reminds me of our old Tamaqua Chalet

FLW classroom building

Industrial Arts Building at Florida Southern - sky lights covered.

Inside Frank Lloyd Wright House

Frank Lloyd Wright House and camper

$2.47 a gallon cash - $3.47 a gallon credit card

Very few cars at the Shell Station scam

Harry gettign scammed at gas pump

Harry at Fort St Mark in St Augustine

Flying Nonstop To Washington

It is 7 am in Tallahassee. I am on my “private non-stop Lear Jet” to see my son and grandson in Washington. Lulu put me on the plane - she put a tag on my lapel and bag in case I get lost. The flight is 2 hours up. I plan to return Sunday night. The plane holds about 100 - I am guessing it is 75% full. Tallahassee give American Airlines a bounty to keep the flight going. Usually when the bounty runs out - the flights stop. It is $340 round trip. That only includes one small bag you must store at your feet. You do not pick your seat. I am in seat 22A with and empty seat next to me. 


Wheels up. I will be in Washington dc in 2 hours. Took off west to east.

Harry Everhart

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Camping Right Downtown in Saint Augustine

It couldn't have been a prettier name as we pulled into Saint Augustine at sunset. It was retry crowded as a prime meter parking spot opened right in front of us about 200 yards from Castillo San Marcos. We checked the meter and it said free after 5 pm. It is 76 and clear. The Saturday night crowd is timid. The Daytona 500 crowd must be farther south.

The camper was perfect today. We drove a little over 200 Miles. The new shocks - alignment - tires - really smoothed her out.

We can see the bay and bridge from our parking spot.

We have absolutely no plans except to be home Wednesday.

February in Florida is wonderful.

Harry Everhart

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Florida State Beat Number 11 Clemson In Overtime - Happy Valentines Day

At about 4 PM today - our neighbor Fran emailed to say she had an extra pair of tickets for tonight's game with Clemson. They gave them to us for free - they were great tickets with a face value of $32 each. they were in the middle half court section down low. We left the house at 6:30 for the 7 PM game - we expected a full house because Clemson is ranked number 11. We found a free parking space and were surprised the place was maybe half full.

FSU was losing by 10 at half - and the deficit grew to 18 with about 10 minutes to go. A few fans started to drizzle home - I guess they wanted to get home before the temperature dropped into the 60s. It was 71 at game time.

The Nole looked lethargic - but with 6 minutes left they were whittling the lead. With 2 minutes to go - they tied the score at 70 - and it went into over time.

The last minute of the overtime took 17 minutes to play. I know because I was recording it. We moved right down behind the Seminole bench for the second half. they are great seats down there and it just seems like a different game. You get to see all the pushing and sweating.

After being down 18 - no one expects you to win. But the Seminole did. What a fun time. It was Coach Leonard Hamilton's 500th win. He is 70 this year - just like me.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Doughnut Day - Fat Tuesday - Mardi Gras

Back home in Pennsylvania Dutch Country - today is Doughnut Day. It was the custom to make fresh doughnuts on the last day before Lent. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday.

Down here in Tallahassee it is called Fat Tuesday. Over in New Orleans tonight is the biggest night of Mardi Gras.

Lulu and I celebrated by driving to the local Krispy Kreme and had doughnuts with milk.

It is pretty cool watching them deep fry today's stock. I had a chocolate glazed with yellow custard fill - and also a plain cake doughnut to not break my diet :-) Lulu had one glazed doughnut.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Threescore and Ten - Harry is 70 - The Wheels of Life

I quote the Bible less than Trump quotes the truth. But ever since my days of sitting through the long sermons in Bethany Church - the phrase "three score and ten" - mystified me. It refers to the length of a normal good life - 3 x 20 + 10 = 70. The Psalms were probably written before 400 BC. So it confuses me that with all our new medical knowledge we have only progressed for 70 years to the current life expectancy of 78 years.

I should have been much happier to have reached 70 - especially after having cancer 20 years ago. At the time I would have sold my soul for another 2 years. But now that I have reached 70 - I feel healthy and great - but it just sounds so darn old. I have already been retired 15 years! I am living off two pensions from the state of Pennsylvania and the federal government. I am firmly entrenched at the government trough.

It has been a short and wonderful road. I have experienced so much - and have had relatively few hardships. I have been sheltered by my parents - my sisters - my schools - my wife - my job - and my government. My life has been a life of wheels. My mother always said that the Everharts had gypsy blood in them. I guess that started when my grandfather decided to leave his wife and 4 kids to eventually join the Merchant Marines and die when the tip of a German torpedo entered his station in the engine room on a ship off the coast of the Dominican Republic in 1942. I have had the pleasure of wheeling through 7 of the best decades - I was born into interesting times.

The house I was born in

The 1950s.  I was born in an old farmhouse south of Tamaqua PA - we had a television but no plumbing. The doctor arrived by horse sled in the dead of winter and I arrived about 7 hours later on February 6th. 1948. My birth cost $15. Dad was a coal miner and Mom worked at a factory in town - so I was sometimes left to the care of my sisters - just 3 and 6 years older than me. I have long romanticised those wonder years - and sometimes considered going back and buying that house to die there.

The 1960s. After one month in a one-room school - we moved into town so that I could attend a school with 6 classrooms. The 60s were my wonder years from age 12 to age 22. I enjoyed the Beatles and Rolling Stones through a telescope from Tamaqua PA. The mines had closed down and my Dad took a job 90 miles away near Philadelphia. My Mom refused to move the family there and held down the fort with 3 kids and worked in a dress factory downtown. I had the pleasure of independence in a small town of 8000 people. We had good teachers and good schools that influenced me to become a teacher. I went to Kutztown State Teachers College about 40 miles away. 4 years later I had a bachelor's degree and a teacher's license. I was set for life. In 1969 - as a lifeguard at the community pool - I met the love of my life. I asked Lulu to go to the Woodstock Music Festival with me in my new Volkswagen - her Mom said no - but I went anyway.

The 1970s. Cars were a big thing in my life - even back then. Wheels were the freedom that got us to Washington - Gettysburg - Philadelphia - New York City. In 1971 - we eloped and eventually ended in Miami for the summer. It was our first contact with the wonderful state of Florida. My bride wanted to stay there and start her new life on the beach. I chose to return to the Valley and my dependable teaching job. Lulu went to my Alma Mater and became a school librarian in town. While she was still a student - we bought a cedar home kit - and built our family home on a site where we could see the spot we met. We bought a tour bus and made several trips to Florida - enjoying Disneyworld and Cape Canaveral. We founded a newspaper in town - I was the publisher - Lulu was the editor. When the kids came - I realized how much she did and how little I did - we sold The Tamaqua Paper to Russ Funk.

The 1980s. Most of our time was spent raising our sons that arrived in 1977 and 1978. We owned buses - minivans - and campers. Someone once said the Everharts will never go to Hawaii because you can't drive there. I took two sabbaticals and Lulu earned her Master's and Doctor's degrees in Florida. I found out what it felt like to be a mother of 2 toddlers - ages 3 and 2 - while Lulu went to school and worked from 9 to 9. I will never look at a mother's work with anything but respect after that.

In 1990s. My 5th decade was spent enjoying our kids in high school - driving to see them play basketball - and spending summers in North Carolina - Georgia - Arizona - Hawaii - and New York where Lulu taught summer sessions at colleges. While she was busy building a reputation - I had the joy of touring with my sons. Whether it was a snowy motorhome trip to Syracuse to see the Seminoles play football or a long train ride to Miami to attend the Orange Bowl with Mohammed Ali - it was the best time of our lives until then. Next - it was pestering our kids as they earned degrees at  Duke - Georgetown - University of Miami - and Florida State University. Our empty nest was a really hard void to fill.

In 2000s. After 33 years of teaching in the same school - at age 55 I retired from the Panther Valley School District. Lulu already had been a professor at St John's University in New York City for 10 years - so I offered to follow her dreams wherever it would go. She was immediately recruited by Florida State University. After inviting her to come to campus as a guest speaker - they offered her a contract on the spot. We would sell our cedar chalet home of 30 years - and move to Tallahassee. It was September Shock.

September Shock is a term I made up to describe a change that people go through only once. It happens the first year you do not go back to school in September after enjoying a summer off. Some people experience it at 18 - they go back to high school to hang around. Others it happens at 22 when they finish college. When I finished college - in September I went right back to school - but this time as a teacher. I was in a classroom at Panther Valley teaching some kids that were only 2 and 3 years younger than me. It was my one real job. I retired on my 55th birthday.

2012 Olympics - Lulu teaches in London in the summer

I moved to Tallahassee cold turkey. I went from being a popular teacher in town - the president of the  school board - the owner of a newspaper and print shop - a tour bus operator - a father of two busy sons - to being a trailing spouse - a retired teacher - a lame duck - alone in a new town - where my wife was busy becoming a tenured professor at a research one university. I was "eye candy" on her arm :-)  I was a thousand miles away from my closest relatives and looking for things to justify my existence. It's a whole new world.  I now lived in a town with over 500 places to eat coming from a place where one of the top 5 places to eat had Golden Arches out front. I could still watch football but instead of 1000 people watching the Raiders play the Panthers - I was in the shadow of 80,000 seat Doak Campbell Stadium and the National Champion Seminoles.

The 2010s. Now I finish my 7th decade. I am healthier now than when I retired 15 years ago - but 70 does not have a nice ring to it. When the "Loving Spoonful" sang "a quarter of my life is almost past" I could never have imagined singing about "when 95% of my life is almost past." Lulu fills my life with wonderfulness. Grandkids grace my life now. My kids have done well and they are busy nurturing their kids through the first decade. We travel a lot in Lulu's job. In 2018 -  we will travel to - March in Belgium - April in Hawaii - May in Greece - June in Germany - July in England. We have a new to us camper that sits waiting for us to have time to see the USA in your Chevrolet.

Our camper
I have purchased 75 cars - trucks - campers - scooters - buses - and trailers. I am trying to make it through my 70th year as one without any new purchases.

The Everhart 9
If this seems a little whiney - I want to express how happy I am that I got this far. Getting cancer at 50 scares the heck out of you. I think of Babe Ruth - Abe Lincoln - Wolfgang Mozart - John Kennedy - Marilyn Monroe - Joan of Arc - Elvis Presley - Buddy Holly - Jesus - John Lennon - Robert Johnson - they have never had the pleasure of seeing the world from this side of threescore and ten.

Our sunset years in Tallahassee