As hard as it is for me to believe, I was born on this very day, which was a Thursday, February 21, 1935. That was the year when the average cost of a new house was $3,450.00, a new car $625.00 and a gallon of gas $.10. On January 8th of that year, Elvis Presley was born and on January 11th Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California.
On February 13thBruno Hauptmann was convicted and sentenced to death for the kidnaping and murder of Charles Lindberg’s child in what was called "the trial of the century." On March 16th Adolf Hitler renounced the Versailles Treaty German rearmament which led to the start of World War II.
In April a great dust storm hit the South West starting the "Dust Bowl" made famous by the songs of Woody Guthrie and that same month the long running radio show Fibber McGee and Molly started on NBC radio.
In May the Works Progress Administration (WPA) was created by executive order of the New Deal president FDR. That same month T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) died in a motorcycle accident in ngland. On May 30th Babe Ruth played in his last career game for the Boston Braves.
On June 10thAlcoholics Anonymous was founded in Ohio by William G. Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith. Two days later Senator Huey Long of Louisiana made the longest speech on Senate record, taking fifteen and half hours and over 150,000 words. James J. Braddock beat Max Baer at Madison Square Garden to win the heavyweight boxing championship of the world.
In August President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act in to law and later that month Will Rogers and Wiley Post died in an airplane crashin Alaska killing both. In September Huey Long was shot to death by Carl Weiss in the Louisiana Capital Building.1935 was the year Dizzy Dean and his brother Paul won 47 games between them for the Cardinals, but each lost to the Cubs in late September to los the chance for the Cardinals to catch the Bruins.
February 21, 1935 was significant because Joe Louis, the Brown Bomber, knocked out Lee Ramage in two rounds at Wrigley field and because that was the day I was born in Anacortes, Washington. My mother had previously given birth to my sister Phyllis and then my sister Anita. When I was born at the small hospital in Anacortes, my Italian father was so excited he printed announcements and had them dropped from a plane over the city. He and mother were operating a family grocery store and struggling with the economic times. In fact the house they had so proudly built became too much for them to afford and they were forced to rent it out and move to a smaller rental near town. But, there I was. One more mouth to feed. My childhood in Anacortes was one of a wonderful place to grow up. Living on the saltwater in a small town was a blessing. I am thankful for having been born and born into such a wonderful home of supporting parents and sisters.
As to my aging, I’ve always felt like Oliver Wendell Holmes who said "Old age is someone fifteen years older then I am." I feel today, as I reflect upon the realization I am actually seventy five years old, like the lyrics from Garth Brooks county western song "Too Young to Feel This Damn Old."
"And the white line's getting longer and the saddle's getting cold
I'm much too young to feel this damn old
All my cards are on the table with no ace left in the hole
I'm much too young to feel this damn old
Lord, I'm much too young to feel this damn old"
I wish I had learned quicker and gained wisdom without it always being through hard knocks and painful experience. As my late father in law, Hollis Barnett was fond of saying: "Too soon old and too late smart" which is exactly how I feel. Once around isn't isn't enough for me as I am a slow learner.
There is much to reflect upon this day for me. As to my wife Lita, when I think of her I always think of Churchill’s letter to his wife Clementine in which he said:
"Thank you for being rash enough to marry me. Foolish enough to stay with me and for loving me in a way that I thought I would never be loved."
And there are eight wonderful children I am very proud of and love, even though I like to quote Henny Youngman’s crack "I’ve got two wonderful children (long pause) and two out of five ain’t bad." As to my life to date, I have tried to live my life as described in this quote:
"The highest courage is to dare to be yourself in the face of adversity. Choosing right over wrong, ethics over convenience and truth over popularity. These are the choices that measure your life. Travel the path of integrity without looking back, for there is never a wrong time to do the right thing."
I am thankful for the gift of faith and the graces I've been given as blessings in my life. I'm thankful I stumbled into the law profession and for the lawyers who have been my partners and associates. I graduated from Gonzaga law school after attending night classes and working for a lawyer during the day. That was in 1959 and I have been a lawyer for fifty years as of this year. I am especially thankful for my role as a trial lawyer representing people who have been harmed in some way. I am grateful my role was being a lawyer for ordinary people. I am also grateful for whatever help I've been able to obtain for deserving clients. Most of all, I am thankful to be alive on this my seventy fifth year of life.