An Interview With USFMAN

1. What was your family life like?

I am an only child, born and raised in the vicinity of Akron Ohio. In my childhood, I spent much time alone, playing my trombone or tending to our Pomeranian dog, Teddy. My most important role model at that time was my grandfather on the mother’s side, who spent a great deal of time teaching me to be patient in life through fishing and chess He was truly a gentle soul. At twelve years old, our family moved to Hollywood , Florida. I will never forget the trauma I faced in leaving my childhood friends, and friendly neighbors at that time. To this day, I daydream often about my happy childhood in Northeastern Ohio and relish the opportunity to visit there to continue my sports interest in Browns football and Indians baseball.

I grew up in a hard- working Midwestern family. My father worked long hours as a warehouse manager in the soft drink industry after a heroic stint as a ball turret gunner in a B-17 bomber during World War II. My mother excelled as an executive secretary in the private sector and later became a competent, record-keeping, administrator with the School Board of Broward County, Florida. Overall, I would characterize my father’s side as my wild side. My grandfather drank, smoked, and swore heavily. Two of my three, male cousins lived hard and carefree lives, rejecting their parents supportive guidance and died prematurely. The other cousin became a financial success in the oil business but later decided to reclusively withdraw from all family contact. My mother’s side of the family, on the other hand could be referred to as the intellectually neurotic side. My two aunts and six female cousins followed a more traditional path of life, pursuing education seriously, obtaining their college degrees and undertaking successful careers in the teaching or business field.

2. Briefly describe yourself as a person.

Although, I see myself as a nerdy introvert, in social situations I often behave as a warm and friendly conversationist. Witness the various, informal nicknames I been given over the years: Rockman, Augie, Jimmy Bimmy, and Eggor. A perfect day for me would take place in a sunny ballpark, chatting with knowledgeable baseball fans and coming away with a hometown win.

3. What career paths did you follow?

I have always loved to read and write and have come to consider myself a lifetime learner. In college, I majored in Applied Music as a serious performer on trombone at the the University of South Florida with the intention of pursuing a jazz/classical degree in musical performance. It was there that I met my future wife, who I have been married to now for over 42 years. At some point in my sophomore year, I became engaged by the anti- war movement and early 1970s counterculture, abandoned my musical ambitions, and felt compelled to change my college major to a liberal arts field. I subsequently earned a teaching degree in Social Science Education, a Masters Degree in Urban Studies Education and eventually entered the teaching field. My early years of teaching were filled with disappointment, languishing as a history teacher for thirteen years in poor, inner city schools interspersed with being laid off as a teacher on several occasions. My luck turned for the better, however, when I earned my Educational Specialist degree, putting me in good position to teach at the college level. Being underemployed at first as an adjunct professor, juggling teaching assignments at three colleges, I finally advanced to the position of full time professor. I then spent fourteen, contented years teaching Reading and English Second Language in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

4.What factors gave you the interest and freedom to travel?

My interest in traveling has always been connected to my desire to apply academic learning beyond the classroom. I have always enjoyed research and my interest in Social Science through geography, economics, and history has spurred numerous ideas for expanding my travel goals to visit various countries. Several other factors have converged to make me a wandering fool. Since my wife and I both were teachers, we spent entire summers to travel. Our lust for travel also became enhanced when we decided to not have children, pay off our mortgage, and diligently kept a reasonable frugal lifestyle in expensive South Florida. When we retired two years ago, our shared pensions put us in an even more advantageous, financial position for travel.

5. Why do you blog? Why are you successful at it?

Blogging to me has helped me transition from a busy educator who has thrived with his contributions to the academic writing process to one who more informally writes now for a diverse audience of educated blog enthusiasts. I began this endeavor on Word Press three years ago as a productive, and non-competitive hobby that would keep my mind intellectually stimulated and allow me to share my spontaneous impressions of travel. Recently, I have added a photography component to my blogs to visually enhance the “sensory feel” of my travel endeavors.

6. What is your most memorable blog post?

My favorite post to date is also my most popularly read blog from 8/2916- “Strong Presence to Serve Humanity”. This blog is my emotional tribute to a courageous FBI agent and dear friend who lost his life to Cancer in his mid fifties. You can find this blog at: https://onstageformyselfnow.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/strong-presence-to-serve-humanity