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“THE GOOD DON – BAD DON” Two marriages, moving to P.A.becoming a Rotarian,and Living and Surviving from Childhood to Councilmen. Playing Sports to Coaching Football, and Baseball.From School Days To Employment, and Retiring. Life does come full circle when you return home to your childhood days. For now let’s say Change is Good.It makes sense,because if you grow old without it,You will Age.But you can stay young at Heart, and Age will just become a number.With some aches and pain,so just add Ice or a Diamond they can heal the pain of Two.
Like a Marriage or playing a Sport they can become the Happiest times.In turn they just become Memories that fade away,at each Nightfall.Then when Daylight breaks new ones are made. .
You were Born into this World which makes you a Gift to All.So touch as many Hearts in a Lifetime as you can, and make a difference.Everyone has had their Hearts broken we just carry Invisible Scars that no one sees.We just hide them deep inside our Souls.But we have many more to heal that we can see are visible in this World by being a Friend,Neighbor,a Coach,and a Employee.Volunteering is the utmost rewarding experience.Try it one day, one season, or one year,I Guarantee you will absolutely miss it, I do.While Rotary has opened my eyes to the World.
Now a Senior Citizen my Life has come Full Circle,with many ups and downs.You just have to see what lays on the Horizon at some point in life.In today’s World we should all be able to relate no matter our age.God has a plan for all,yes we are indeed a Gift. One that need not be opened Just an Individual’s Eyes and Heart.The success and failures we face depends on how many times you get knocked down,and keep getting back up on your feet that will make you a Winner in my book.For when I wanted to quit He saved me and enlightened me to continue on my Journey, and to Rediscover what I still need to do before the pearly gates open.For I am not a rich man,and at times my pockets have been filled with Lint. The best advice I can give:You have to Forgive then Believe before you can Achieve.You decide if you are a Good Don or Bad Don.
Until my Retirement I had been in Retail all my Life. Serving the Public and Communities I have lived in for over 45 years.Whether on salary or volunteering. I am a former Councilman,Assistant Football Coach,15 years a Baseball Coach,and now a fellow Rotarian,plus a second dad too many Athletes who are now Dads themselves.
I Believe in the Four way Test,and Service Above Self. Before the story begins I sold Insurance for a short period of time.The Public opening their doors to a total stranger.The question is will you open a book and invite me into your home?.As we turn to the next chapter and move forward Life is a Journey and follow your Dreams. Keep the Wheels turning and Build stronger Bridges.
To all that have been a part of my Life Journey.My family,children,and step-kids To co-workers,and classmates.To my teammates,players and parents.It’s been a Honor to have played or coach with your children. May we all meet one day again.While we create new Memories, and the Young can Dream.
To 1.2 Million Rotarians that continue to make a difference in this World.We are all a Gift,our Journey continues as memories fade,and new ones made. Until you lose a Teammate or Loved one. To Christy Mathewson L.L. ,Lackawanna Trail JR.Lions and Factoryville Pa.Let me not forget the Days of my youth in Totowa Borough,and Little Falls.Along with the Friends and Athletes from Passaic Valley H.S.Little Falls N.J.
Chapter 1:THE BIRTH OF A DON At near Death the Life of a Don begins. When all said and done the Bad Don begin’s.The first born son to Joyce Lafountain and George Demarest. Mom living in Hawthorne and Dad from the Stoney Rd. section of Paterson a short distance from the Great Falls. They met while mom was working at Kresges 5&10 store in downtown Paterson.They married in January of 53. I was born in August two weeks early. If you do the math,back in those days it was a no-no.Today it’s pretty much accepted but it still hurts.Until you see your grandchild smile or giggle. My dad wanted to name me Rock ,I thought maybe because his nickname was Mountain George. For the younger readers I’m sorry it was not after Rocky Balboa. It was after Rocky Marciano who was 32-0 at the time of my birth. He finished his career at 49-0. Well I’m still undefeated,and still have one fight left in me at age 63. If someone yells duck!! it’s not my Boxing skill,it was my curveball as a pitcher, plus my first name being Donald a.k.a Duck. Take a ten count or a hit by pitch please stand tall win or lose. As an individual or Team we are all competitive,and a winner never quits.
Am I A winner or was it an Angel. At the age of 18 months We all discovered the breasts of our mother’s milk,along with the bottle.No sippy cups back then.As a toddler we learned to drink from a straw At 18 months being a Toddler we all begin to search for new things to discover and cause havoc. One of my first discoveries was the kitchen.The appliance was a stove not what you are thinking,I did not start a fire or turn the gas on. I inhaled and sucked down on a stove pipe converted to KEROSENE, thinking it was a straw.Mom was hanging clothes right outside the kitchen door,which I had locked on her, in the past.Not this time, well mom found me gagging and choking turning blue behind the stove.Emergency trip to the hospital by car with mom and dad. I can still remember looking up at the different color lights.Not knowing that they were stop lights at the time that my dad drove through. After that I don’t remember a thing but I am here today. The story my mom tells me I do not wish on any young parent’s. Arriving at Saint Joseph’s in Paterson I am removed from my mother’s arms immediately and taken to the emergency room.Would it be the last time she holds me. It had to feel like sand in a hour glass,not getting an update until the doctor came out of the emergency room. The news the Doctor told them Don’t be surprised if you take him home in a box. I had a temperature of 105 and later on came down with pneumonia. Dr.Jell of Clifton became the family practitioner for many years after.(you think) Yes and I still remember house calls, and quarantine signs for measles,chickenpox, and scarlet fever at your front door.
Sometimes you just need a Flashback that makes you Believe again,like riding a tricycle down middle of Mcbride Ave. That will question why you are still here. I can thank God I survived,I never got burnt on the outside but scared my lungs for life. Chapter 2 : FIVE and ALIVE We move to West Paterson now known as Woodland Park. While having a summer get together,kind of like a block party.The Adult’s fishing,playing horseshoes,mom’s sitting at the picnic tables talking,and kids playing different games.Some of the kid’s went about doing their thing,while others decided to play freeze tag.Well I was one of the other’s.A boy named Rusty he was a little older than I, he became a little frustrated.For he could not catch or tag me.Yes I did use a pine tree as an obstacle so I could not be tagged.I stuck my head and body out from behind that tree and Bam!!. I get struck with a drinking glass someone left behind, he had picked up off a picnic table.Bull’s Eye literally nailed my forehead on my left eyebrow.The glass breaks and blood flowing down my face,chest,and hands along with tears. I can’t see out of my left eye it’s all a blur till…
His mom rush’s me into the house and kitchen.She happens to be a nurse and flushes my eye out and cleans me up.
Butterfly stitches are used to close me up.I just can’t remember how many but it was several.To this day the older I get and the more hair I lose the more evident the scar becomes.So rage at an early age begins.
A few days later I’m riding my Bicycle down the street,I want to learn before school starts.Well guess who is riding his bicycle?
Yes Rusty is and remind you I’m just learning .So I’m wiggling along like a duck to keep my balance,and mom gives me a push to get me going several times.
He is now riding up and down the street and antagonizing me.He is getting as close as possible hoping I would fall, which I did not..Along with calling me a baby and that I needed training wheels.He continued to persist.So with no assistance or hesitation his next passing came sooner than expected.I jump off my bike and ripped him right off the seat of his bike right down to the pavement. Now I’m on top of him,his shoulders pinned to the ground with my knees. One cross face to his head and then I start to pound it into the blacktop.Remind you I’m only five years old showing no mercy.My mom watching until his mother started yelling get him off,get him off, which mom did.It’s the first,and not the last time I felt the adrenaline flow.The Good or Bad-Don you Decide !!
Chapter 3:A LESSON LEARNED
Two lives were saved that day his and mine.My dad was already trying to teach me the Old testament and eye for an eye ,and tooth for a tooth or today known as Karma.It’s hard to believe I could have taken a life that day.But if I did not stand up for myself in my younger days and my dad found out it was a smack to the back of head,or a swift kick to the butt.Not once but several times so I would never forget to stand up for myself.As I got older I face those consequence’s over and over till I became eighteen.I was a pussycat on the outside but a Lion inside.Proud to be a Leo.
For the parents of young children please don’t leave your children alone,someone must be in sight at all time’s showing them right from wrong.When children are out of sight they should not be out of mind. Anything can happen in a second or the blink of an eye. We don’t have eye’s behind our head but we were given ears to listen,and discipline that needs to be learned.
Bullying and teasing will never end,it will always be here,with or without social media.Turn it off or change the channel.But I still believe a bully has to be put in their place male or female.If you walk away it does not make the situation any easier maybe for that day, but not the next.Most bullies are cowards why because they have small minded thinking people behind them like a gang.Maybe his butt needs a beating when alone.That person may just become one of your best friend.Bullies are weak without their Juvenile Delinquent friend’s.I’m sorry but this is from The Good Don-Not the Bad-Don you decide. The one piece of advice I would like to give is always have a friend beside you never walk alone.
Chapter 4: LIFESAVER FOR A DAY
At the age of eight I was starting to get active and hanging with friends playing football,wiffle ball and basketball,even organized sports.But one day I was hanging around for what reason I don’t know. It was not raining we were always outside as kids,maybe some were on vacation. I was in the house playing with H.O.scale race cars or with Lego’s and Lincoln logs.May be watching the Little Rascals on Television only God Knows.
Mom was sitting on the back step’s with the lady from upstairs.I believe her name was Carol they were drinking a beverage together, while her two year old daughter was toddling around in the backyard playing.Well I must have gotten the good old Ant’s in the Pant’s, and wanted to look for my friend’s.Just maybe it would be a good thing to let parents know where you are headed, when leaving the house just in case they need something at the last moment before you disappear.
I went directly to the back porch door, instead of walking out the front door.I get to open the screen door just enough to be able to stand on the porch,and close it behind me,There is no room for me to get down the stairs and they are sitting on the landing I can barely open the door to go back in .I’m listening to their conversation and not interrupting them.I look up and she’s standing on the small platform of the ladder.Splash right to the bottom she goes.I shout out get of my way now!! she fell in!! they get down the steps and I am pulling her out by her two legs she’s face down.Then her mom grabs her gives her squeeze and a slap or two on her backside.Once she vomits it was like a birth, hearing that first gasp of breath again.The right place at the right time.This was a three foot pool and I was only eight. I may or not be a hero, but 99 % of the time during the summer months I would be found somewhere else.Maybe I was God’s Angel that day for an Angel saved me as a Toddler.The Good Don gave back.
Chapter 5: COURAGE and STRENGTH
Age eleven my first case of someone bullying me.The incident at age 5 was karma or revenge I was definitely angry.
This time around was totally different. A neighborhood kid almost two years older me. I was warned earlier on by some of my friends that were his age,they always said stay away.But for almost two year’s he threatened me and bullied me with his friends standing nearby ,when I was alone and not with mine.
We were one -on -one a few days later finally nobody around crossing the intersection after school.He decided to challenge me to meet him an hour later.He stated he was going to stick me.I knew what it meant back then to,I went home and changed with no one to tell. Mom and Dad not home so about an hour later I go to meet him at that that corner I’m expecting him to come with his friend’s.I was scared I have to admit,but enough was enough.He never showed!! Just as I said, you have to take a chance and stand up for yourself. It may happen today or tomorrow but it will happen.
At least a few days went by.His name was Billy,he happen to passing by one day.Standing at the bottom of our driveway.I admit I started in on him where were you I think your chicken,or are you all talk.Um not knowing what to say he responded I’m not chicken!! So what are you doing down there come up here and prove it.My dad’s not here, wrong thing to say now Billy comes into the yard and the battle begins.I want to clean his clock.I won’t throw the first punch so it starts out simple with some pushing,shoving and grabbing on.
From one side of driveway to the other.Well he had to get one or two shots to my head,while he had me in a headlock.Big mistake I go into a rage.Im tossing, throwing, and pushing him like a rag doll,but won’t let him loose from my grasp.Now I have him against the house,I slammed him so hard into the rain gutter on the side of the house that mom comes flying out and hollers.She said don’t ever come back in the yard again.For the next time I won’t put a stop to it.He never came back but we became better friends.For about the next two to three year’s you could find us choosing up sides at the Mt Nebo field on Totowa Rd. Although we were on different team’s most of the time we never had a problem again. Chapter 6: FRIEND or FOE Begins on Barnert Ave.in Totowa. Now at 14 year of age,living here for about two year’s.This person was not so much a bully but a tease for sure. For the most part he Thought he was better than most of us,maybe because his dad was a councilman.We had played some football and stickball in the street’s also. This was the first summer I dated someone back in 1968 She was from Hawthorne.Almost Fifty years later I’m back in Hawthorne.With someone different and so special to me.Life doe’s come full circle,but you just start another circle and join them together Until you have formed the Olympic rings.I have tasted and seen the Bronze and Silver now it’s time for the Gold.Back to being Fourteen We dated several times with different friend’s bowling,roller skating, going to movies or going out to eat.Well you learn real fast who your friends are. Allen had asked her out. Which I did not know at the time but we were not speaking anyway,but he rubbed it in my face in front of my friend’s. Well I went right off at him,our wrestling match started with pushing and shoving.This time we are using both sides of street.Slamming each other into the sides of the parked vehicles this was pretty much a even match.Until the neighbor’s came out.They did not break it up,they actually started cheering me on.It pumped me up and I began to totally take control.The final result was me tossing and pushing him off a four foot wall into the lawn.He stood up like a man and dusted himself off and proceeded home.He was not a mouse but I was a Lion. Chapter 7:THE LAST STAND Takes place on the school bus after school my junior year.I’m sixteen at the time,and get on board to the very back seat which is the long bench across the back.Everyone getting on,and one that did not belong on the bus.This was a Friend I knew also we played a lot baseball and basketball during the summer months at the P.A.L.even horseshoes. When Pete gets on the bus no one says anything,one he is a upperclassmen and everyone knows him as mano. Except he had a girl crush.You figure he will sit by her or nearby. He proceeds to the very back of bus maybe to be just cool in front of his female friend or friends.He says move !! get up go find another seat.I respond I don’t think so go sit by your girlfriend.Pete tries removing me It’s not going to happen. Next he stands on that back bench,and gets behind me with a choke hold and tries lifting me up.Well big mistake and my instincts take over.He is lucky and I am also I stand up and flip him right over my shoulder,It’s a body slam like WWF.The problem was this floor of the bus was a lot harder than any wrestling mat.The sound still haunts me today.The largest splat you could ever hear.Yes we were both lucky ,his back,his head, anything could’ve happened. In today’s world I would have been suspended or expelled. But in today’s world he would not have been allowed on the bus in the first place.Lesson Learned a Bully or a Friend can turn in a second.Choose your friends wisely,and stand tall.It’s not easy being a child growing up,you win some and lose some.But stay strong never quit, you’re going to grow and learn.My days of playing ball are next. From the age of eight till High School Graduation, and being Drafted is a word from my ERA . Chapter 8 :FARM TEAM 1962
Age 8 turning 9, I only remember one game it must be an old age thing. But I believed it was boring,because the coach’s pitched,and I was prepared to hit real pitching.I was almost a year older than most.For I missed registration by one day because of my date of birth.That I never got back till I turned 18 and played till nineteen. So the first game playing on Farm Team I came to bat with the bases loaded.First pitch I swing and miss,the next pitch I foul off 2 strike’s . I’m praying don’t strikeout don’t strike out.The next pitch I make solid contact,I’m thinking grand slam all the way.Not the kind a twelve year old may hit over the fence at 220 ft.today. I made solid contact as I stated ,the pitcher that stands next to the coach as a fielder did not stand a chance.He didn’t even move the ball was hit so hard on the ground.That it went between shortstop,and second base.I know I have a single as I look up I see the ball go through the left-fielder and centerfielder. Now I’m thinking grandslam cool.As I’m going to third coach sends me home,I know I have this it’s going to take a good relay throw and a perfect strike to the catcher.The throw to the catcher is high I don’t slide I step on the plate as the catcher tags me on the head,and the umpire calls me out.No Grandslam but three runners did score. Never argue with the ump,It’s a lesson I learned that day.Remember they are mostly volunteer’s, My being called out at home plate did not end there. That volunteer happened to be my babysitter that lived right next store. Thanks George I gave you hard time walking all the way home with you. Then dad finds out I’m sure I took a slap
to the back of my head and a foot to my butt. I learned about sportsmanship that day.Plus my parents I’m sure did not want to lose a babysitter that day. Chapter 9: LITTLE LEAGUE Yes 9 years old and Little League.Playing on the Dodgers.Boy how things changed since I was a kid.In 1962 Little League was ages 9 – 12 with John, Rich Tom,Kevin,and Greg being the older teammates.Today there are programs and sports that under age 6 can play such as T-ball and Soccer even wrestling which are co ed.If it’s not there some parent or Volunteer out there that would start one.As a example the town of Factoryville P.A. started a soccer program five years ago.Yes a town without soccer in 2010.It took a Parent and Volunteers as I said.But the High School still has no program to this day.So Little League begin’s,being a 9 year old and playing against older kids and teammate’s it is not easy.But it is a stepping stone,if you have some talent your teammates and coaches will make you stronger and confident. A four year coach at any level is better than having different ones each and every year. At the age of nine I did play more than those my age.When I was ten I was playing 5 or 6 innings. Eleven and twelve every inning every game.As I said a stepping stone.We played by All-star rule’s or Little League One at bat or an inning or two in field.As you improved you played more.I was fortunate, I loved the game and my coach was not a babysitter. At the age of 12, I made All-Star’s it was a honor.I did not play much, but when I was called upon I succeeded even if it was a sacrifice bunt or to play a position.As we moved on and advanced I got more playing time.The proudest and happiest time I remember was the sixth inning being put in leftfield for defense at North Haledon we had lead but not by much runners on second and third and threatening our lead.The outcome was a flyball to me in Leftfield I lined it up and timed it perfectly so my motion, and throwing arm were moving forward at the same time.The opposing coach has his player tag up,he was out by six feet no slide a perfect throw to catcher double play game over.The saddest part back then when we became one of the final four to represent New Jersey I was 13 and could not play those rules have changed also now.But I got to play as a Northern N.J. State Champ 1966.At 13 we got divided up a little, even some new talent.At thirteen we were the Tri-Boro champs 1967.That September we move on to High School.
Chapter 10: The NO-NO-HITTER It’s all about getting pumped.You take the negatives and believe that you can turn them into Positives.My senior year but not high school ball. It was Little Falls Elliot Glaziers then Singac post 108.For 3 year’s I played for Little Falls.With the two town’s agreeing,and with Williamsport okay and approval.Yes I was from Totowa.No trick’s no lies it took about a month.The longer it took I wondered if I was making a big mistake,I did not!!.The Totowa team had been waiting for this game all year.Heck I was some of their teammates for three plus including my high school team. We also ate lunch together one of the guy’s Rich, was one of my usher’s at my wedding five years later.As the week and day draws nearer.The teasing and ribbings I took in silence.Finally I explode no riot no fight in the cafeteria surprise.I spoke up ,you all buy me lunch if we win but I want a dollar for every strikeout.Im going to strike you all out they agreed.Game day upon us. We play a seven inning game,after six yes I strikeout nine,and have a no- hitter in-tack.Going into seventh we are winning 1-0. I walk the first batter, next one was a strikeout. The third batter walks,and the fourth I strikeout.One more out I have eleven k’s already,and my no- hitter.Jimmy D comes to bat I work him to a full count,he fouls off three more consecutive pitches.One pitch away still,he takes the last pitch,I Don’t argue with the ump.Ball four he walk’s game tied 1-1 .Coach comes to the mound and takes me out .Lots of Congratulations and nice game from Teammates,and people standing around with plenty of cheers and clapping, feeling wonderful and happy that it’s over. What I set out to do I did accomplish. Relief pitcher comes in and first pitch is a base hit between third and shortstop by Rich they win 2-1.Afterwards the opposing coach’s son who was keeping the book’s ,was behind the backstop he said it was strike 3. Not complaining In the long term I may have done more damage than good.When it comes to today and my age.I pitched that game with a torn ACL. See what you can do when you put your mind into something.The adrenaline was definitely flowing that day even after a tough loss.I completed my mission that I set out to do eleven K”s.I never said no one would get any hits off of me.My no-no hitter yes I did Six And two third innings and one pitch away turned out to be one walk too many, a strike 3 call would have been amazing. . When I was recapping and reading this.I realized my very first and last game will always stick in the back of my mind.They were based on a umpire’s decision a tough call safe or out,ball four or strike three.Throughout life critical decisions come along sometimes we are all umpire’s you just need a good Team behind you. The Good Don. Chapter 11:DRAFTED Yes drafted,but not by Major League Baseball by Uncle Sam yes.Graduation the Class of 1971, I was still seventeen years old,But when I turned 18 that August. I had to go register Within 10 days after turning eighteen.The third week of August I was drafted to Report for my Physical.That morning I was being Operated on for My torn A.C.L. in left Knee .Today it is totally rebuilt after three surgeries.Nothing left now except to have,Two knee replacements.
Unbeknown to me that day as I had awoken from the operation still groggy from the anesthesia. My Dad went to hand me my Draft notice,and the Doctor said don’t worry about a thing.Then I knew what it was all about.Two weeks later again I receive my Draft card .I believe that Classification was 1-H only if war was to happen on U.S.soil.Let’s just say I’m too old now but I have the right to bare arms.Will there be a revolution?
Chapter 12 : FLASHBACKS I did not talk about High School ball,For our team was a little cocky after going 5-0 in exhibition games.The season started off poorly with 3 or 4 loses we became known as the Bench Boy,s.Our coach apologised at a American Legion game to most of the Little Fall’s Guy’s a little too late for some us.But he manned up.The last baseball flashback I have is a game where I was not going to play I just pitched when my turn game around. This particular game was against the All-Wags in Paterson right across the street from Paterson Catholic.It’s like the fifth inning,I can’t remember who but one of our player’s gets beamed in the head.So for all safety rules he is removed from game.That evening only 10 players showed up,Guess who enters the game as a pinch runner. Then gets inserted to play first base.Yes, me the gimp with a torn ACL.The first pitch a shot over the center-fielder’s head. Thank’s Bob Lauterhahn.Remind you I only pitch I can’t run and bunting by other team’s proved to no avail right Totowa you got zip out of me as far as hits went.Well I take off with hop skip and a jump.I fall over second and trip at third,clearly a homerun.But now it’s going to take a Good throw from the relay guy or it’s a double play at the plate Bobby right behind me.The ball sails over the catcher, I would have been out as the ball continues into the backstop Bobby is three steps behind me and safe also.A good day,a win,and pain.
Chapter 13 : MY FIELDS OF DREAMS Two years later I find out about a tryout at Rutgers University being held by the Kansas City Royals. I try to give it one more try,I grew 2 more inches and put on 35 lbs.To my advantage my fastball finally looked like a fastball and came up with a screwball I could throw away from lefties.A full day from 9am to 4pm.About 150 kid’s show up about 15 yrs of age to 25. By the end of the day,the last half was shagging some fly ball’s in the outfield.As players were being cut.One by one my odds were looking pretty good.When my number was called only one more was called afterwards.There were only about Twelve kid’s left hanging most packed up and just left.No longer a number they told me I was the top Pitching prospect in the whole organization its words you waited to hear all your life,and never forget,but I know I was cut.At least I got my day to prove to myself I was capable.They asked for my contact information and if I was playing ball somewhere or in college.I told them no I was getting married in August.The final result was on a 3×5 index card,that they showed me I had scored excellent on all categories but one.My teammates and friends know what it is I could not run a forty yard dash if a Moose was chasing me I became another statistic Buy the way I had a catcher nicknamed Moose, and today I still think he could catch me. About the D.H.rule in American League.The answer is it did not exist then.It was adopted in 1973 and became more official in 1976 with World Series play. Chapter 14 :The GAME CHANGERS The game was played a lot differently back then.We were not handed out certificates or medals back then for Participating,we were given trophies for winning not losing.We learned to take player’s out of the game.From about age 12 right to senior year.Sharpening spikes,lookout first basemen,going into second base sliding and hook and roll.As a pitcher I owned the plate especially when ahead on the count.Sure I was paid a dollar here and there back then .The most rewarding thing was a promise from an opposing coach watching A little league game one night.I will give you three dollars if you win tonight I asked for Five he said okay two dollars but I will take you and the whole team for Ice cream, Ice cream it was .We all scream for Ice Cream.Let me explain the other coach was in a tie for first place that night to the team we beat.I guess we played the spoiler that night,and I got an Ice cream Sundae.
From wood bats to metal,to pitch counts,rubber cleats ,to not throwing curve’s till a certain age.Little League Fences moved back twenty feet.Today it looks like hitter’s have the advantage today.Today I’m still a big believer that pitching and defense still wins games. That run’s can be manufactured not just by bunting,and any age group can accomplish it.That includes good pitching.Knowing the talent you have and player’s accepting their role on the Team including your right fielder that’s where I put my strongest arm.Not the weakest player ok coaches. There is no I in team but there is in El Capitan. Chapter 15:NEW COACH in TOWN Tunkhannock pa.1995 First year of coaching and volunteering here.By my third year I had everyone’s respect.Just as an example for All-Star tryouts they asked me to pitch,so they could make selection’s of how they would hit good pitching and I had control. Not many Iron Mike’s back then or should I say pitching machines.My first year Team was Good grief Charlie Brown or the Bad News Bears.Par for course I was assigned the team and knew of none of those players in the league.Had three pretty decent players and eleven that needed work.After having several practice’s.The season starts we are 0-6.How do I keep this together without anyone walking a way.Somehow I did,Honestly I was not a babysitter,and parents showed their appreciation back then.So the second half of the season we followed that with another identical 0-6 finishing at 0-12. The difference in all eye’s,we got blown out the first half by 12 or more runs.The second half player’s improved,and I got to know the talent on the opposing team’s.The second half was never a blow out.We would have one bad inning every single game the second half.These kids and parents found out we could compete. Year two now the Ten year olds started to become winner’s,We finished 4-8 and should have been 6-6 two heartbreakers.The one I will never forget I had 8 players show up and I go without a centerfielder and we are winning after two innings.The coach insisted I borrow one of his players because he knew, he would have to play him.We would have won without him. We lost by one run.The player from opposing team made and error,plus he struck out 2 times.Okay Okay, both of those times was with bases loaded. For the kids and I not Okay. Third year now moving up to 11-12 year olds.In the off season we had some league meetings.I suggested a draft by how teams finished last picking first and they adopted it.Basically it was for all ten year olds moving up to Little League. After Registrations at the end of winter.We held Try-outs indoors.With hitting pitching and fielding.Afterwards selections were made.Our third year we went 9-3 The first and second place team had to have a playoff for we had beaten them both for we did split the season with them,they both had one lost each and we had three. Year four was suppose happen but I moved to Factoryville the third season the home of Christy Mathewson and still coached. The problem before year four I started coaching football in my new town.The Kids knew it because some played football also.When baseball started in spring I went to three or four practices and handed the team over to my Assistant Coach Gene who was with me for three years.I also started with Little League The Christy Mathewson Teams in Factoryville Pa. I went back to Tunkhannock to see like 2 games, they went undefeated and 12-0 so proud of them.Andy,Kyle,Matt, Ricky, and Billy.Plus Matt and Andy combined and hit over 30 homers. Plus I heard a year ago that they still do a draft for the 10 year olds. Coaches,managers and bosses can make or break you.Choose your Field or Team – The Good -Don. Chapter 16:CHRISTY MATHEWSON LL My First Team here are 11 & 12 year old Little Leaguer’s our town had two teams.Yes we had to play for bragging rights .I believe we finished 6 & 6 . The biggest game was against our other team. We gave it our best, the bottom of the sixth one out from losing the game 7-4 . The bases loaded Johnny B comes to bat a Twelve year old who pitched and won his own game by connecting with a grand slam for a 8-7 victory with a over the fence shot a true grand slam and bragging rights.The downer was when the players came out to greet him at the plate there was a lot of jumping up and down and Ryan P. came right down and broke John’s ankle. It’s a game a player and coach never forgets Plus I got into a argument with the umpire,about a player he called out of the baselines between first and second base.I won my first argument and yes argument.I knew the imaginary line between the two bases was two feet to each side. I asked him to show me what he saw.When I explained the rule he changed his call and called him safe.After the game I apologized to him,his son played for me the following year with the thirteen year old team . I guess I was a good sport or Good Don. Chapter 17:TRAIL JUNIOR LIONS Football program from 1997 – 2003. Come 2004 walked away after two games because of a parent.Those six years were very rewarding. Rich Jackson,Yogi Roth,and John Glenn,playing on A team and started a winning tradition at Trail.As I was a coach on C-team.The second year I went to A-team as an assistant.We lost every game.The numbers were low and three injuries brought that number down to fourteen.Most players had to play both sides of the ball,we called them the Ironmen.They played harder and practiced harder but we still came up empty .The following year those that were Freshmen could stay down and Play A- team if under age.With player’s coming up from B-team in 1999 they went undefeated and won their Super Bowl.Three years to the playoffs and two Super bowls,one win one loss.The year we beat Monroe in playoffs and took a loss at Super Bowl was more important to players and coaches than the loss in super bowl.With this loss the A-team opposing fans wanted to destroy our super bowl float thanks to those that supported us on our trip there. Thanks to the senior high school players that came also to support us, the float was saved. Number 42 forever. Mike never played a High School football game and his number was retired and a Senior Scholarship Award given for Sportsmen ship.He passed that summer just before his Freshman year.He is the Twelfth man at LTHS. Chapter 18:CLASS of 2012 MY SON Don -Michael created many memories when he Started out playing sports until his Graduation.He started as early as he could when he reached the proper age.He gave Soccer, and Wrestling a Shot in his early years including Football . T-ball and Rec Basketball came along the following year or two.Baseball and Basketball looked very Rewarding for him and all involved player’s and coachs.Baseball at age 9 he was already given the nickname cotton from a former major league player.Now playing Little League with 11 and 12 years old.He definitely proved himself early that year.One by getting his first fly ball hit to him in centerfield with bases loaded to end the inning.Second the chance to pitch,but one inning.That inning took 3 pitches.A little popup to short,a ground ball to shortstop,and last a frozen rope a little scary but right to shortstop again. I guess the shortstop (Cody) returned the favor. For he was the pitcher when my son caught that Flyball. As far as Basketball went his Seventh and Eighth grade travel teams were Champions two years in a row.The last game of eighth grade travel was for the Championship.This game was played just before a varsity match that night .It was a Very special night. His best friend Lyle played on the team.His dad past two days earlier,this night was set as a fundraiser for the family No one expected Lyle to be there or sisters and mom.This is where miracles happen Varsity coach is present,getting to see his first 4 year group that would graduate under his guidance.Game time Lyle goes out and scores the first 7 points for the team.Nice momentum for team to build on. Meanwhile stands are getting packed because of the high school varsity game following ours.We are in the fourth quarter struggling with about 6 minutes left in the game my son is subbed for.Now about fifty eight seconds left in game,he is inserted back in the game.The team is down 7 points less than a minute left not looking good.The other team inbounds the ball they should be eating seconds off the clock.With about 43 seconds they shoot and miss.The ball is rebounded and passed out to the top of the key near the side lines to Anthony then sees Don -Michael down court and in two dribbles sets up and hits a Three,down 4. Now they stall and take time off the clock. But this time Anthony steals the ball and takes all the way to the hoop,and lays it in down two.Last possession for visiting team about 18 seconds left.But you have to bring the ball past half court,or there is a whistle and possession changes.They do one player takes a shot it hits backboard glass and rebounded and tossed again to my son a little more dribble and setup again,Silence for a split second and swish he hits nothing but net a buzzer shot for 3 and they win it all by one. All I can say is I’m a proud dad to see my son
being mobbed by fans like it was a varsity championship on the line. Something I will never forget along with the Sweppenheiser Family and those in attendance. Go Lions !!! #1 in my book it was the Greatest 8th grade game ever maybe anywhere.A minute left and 7 down most would quit.It was a Miracle. Chapter 19: D.M.’s H.S. YEARS The memories continue through his high school years.As a freshman his first sport would be basketball.Starting in November with practice and scrimmages.No real freshmen team.So most played J.V. Some played varsity when given a chance.They all practiced with the varsity,so most players received a chance to gain minutes playing varsity in the league.His second game he scores a basket everyone hoping it would be a three pointer,turns out to be a two.Everyone that knows him knew about his 3pt shooting ability.That week in practice just as things are looking up.He dives on a loose ball and Fractures his hip it’s all history now.Basketball season is over he never plays a high school game again. Meanwhile baseball season is approaching,he is out 8 weeks on doctor’s orders.The day the doctor releases him was opening day of baseball,no baseball all 4 years of high school.He did play town ball though till he was fifthteen.If his ego wasn’t shattered mine was. Chapter 21:LESSON LEARNED II He plays golf the next three years,along with four years of volleyball at the varsity level.This is where we both learned to keep our ego’s in check,and to remain humble and kind.His junior year of golf last match of the year.Last hole last golfer last putt.I decided to go it was a home match.I’m glad I did for this match decided who goes on to districts with one slot left.So it was really like a playoff par 3 both players hit tee shots on the green.As we get closer just a few moms and dads around and the opposing players.Our players and coach are in the clubhouse now sneaking peeks.The anticipation is mounting.Trail had not been to districts in a few years.Now the other player is lying closer about a 9’ putt and Dm’s about 15’ away if the other player sinks it Dm must also.They have the same line, the player misses,and my son drills it in.Just like the basketball game only a lot less people,the coach and players come flying out of clubhouse to congratulate him.They made it to districts and lost immediately but it was a great year overall. Junior and Senior year in Volleyball they win and go to districts too many games to think about even the AAU ones . His accomplishments were many with newspaper photos and articles.The most honorable being named first team league All-star setter in his junior and senior year. Then all Area setter his senior year. Lesson learned never quit, and never quit on your Children it takes team work Chapter 20: OVER the HILL DAY Took place recently 08/21/16 on a trip back to P.A. the month before I was asked if I wanted to play ball .Well I’m 63 years old let me think about it,my knees are shot I can’t run.Joe say’s you use to pitch let’s see what you got.I said you’re kidding me he says no!! I have gloves and a ball somewhere I will get my son also, and we can throw on the tennis courts.I”m thinking,Oh Boy,I am going to pay for this.It’s been Six years since I have thrown last,and all the kids I’ve coached will tell you I can pitch.It starts out with soft – toss and around the horn,as we increase the distance I try to fire one #%$^.I”M thinking rotator cuff. Finally we decide to do some long toss I’m feeling better,maybe I just had to work the kinks out.So the three us begin to rotate turns at 10 pitches each.just as it was getting dark we call it a night. So I got to throw about 50 pitches . Joe says you still have it .You have to come out and pitch,let me think about it Joe.The next day waiting to be sore and achy,I feel like a million bucks.Even though I still can’t run the knees feel great -no pain.So 3 weeks later I text him let’s do this.He Makes the arrangement with the team,and they agree.Now I’m getting pumped up I figured I would get to throw at least 2 more times before game day NOT.But I’m also thinking this is a 50 and above bat league Not it turns out it’s 45 and above so now I feel a little concerned. Sunday 1:15 pm game time,I don’t get to loosen up but I do get to take some batting practice.Maybe 12 pitches one routine fly to the outfield,and a solid ground ball up the middle inside second base.Okay this could be difficult.The team Joe is on is in first place, so a little more pressure to prove myself capable.A lot of things happen now. First the other team is short players it’s a forfeit good news right?no wrong.Second thing let’s play the game anyway.Thirdly Joe and I along with 2 other players join the other team.The last surprise was being asked to pitch in the fifth inning, I convinced the manager to pitch one more inning since he threw very view pitches we had like 4 double plays only a few run well.I played first for four innings,I had warmed up in between the last 2 innings just in case,but the mound being built up and throwing again from the rubber was all new again and did not feel comfortable.By the way the team won even though they forfeited 5-1. Maybe the next time guys, pitching a game is really not on my bucket list But pitching a team to victory would be. Now my first at bat was not on any bucket list either,But after crushing a frozen rope to right field batting lefty with the shift on was worth a million bucks.First item to a bucket list completed yet it was never on one.But picking up a bat after 42 years and the very first at bat, it is now!!Thanks Joe, Brenda, and Corinne for having the confidence in me.No pain next day just stiffness for 3 days.By the way on paper I scored the first run to tie it 1-1 Thanks Joe for being my pinch runner. As I said earlier never quit!! Until the tank is out of gas.Now it’s time to re-fuel and play harder and throw at a faster speed than my age. Chapter 21 GRADUATION 1971 My last summer of fun after graduation was not much fun.As I have said earlier I already torn my ACL.So I was pretty much walking about with a cane. Until late August when I had my Surgery.When I knew I wouldn’t be drafted for Vietnam,and no College.
I really wanted to be a Phys Ed teacher and coach but mom and dad could not afford it back then. It’s probably why my grades were just average.Always wanted to play pro ball.Now it’s time to get a full-time job.I just want to thank the guys and girls that came and visited me at the hospital before I forget.I Did get to play some wiffle ball with my friend Key and a trip to Lake.Hopatcong around Labor Day.When the Speed boat races were held.We were headed by boat to go over to Bertrand’s Island which was a amusement park.We had to stay close to the docks and shoreline because of the races.Then the excitement and scariest thing happens.A driver going around the cones loses control in less than 5 seconds we realize he is coming right at us.I don’t know if I can swim I just had surgery and still walking with a cane.His Dad is at the helm and mom on starboard with his sister in the middle. But Mom holding Kimmy,Key and I are in the back he’s Portside I’m aft.His dad tries to maneuver away it’s just not going to happen in time.Boom!!!.He hits us portside everyone ducks.I take a peek up as I’m down with my head tilted left.The Prop Came easily within 2 feet of the baby and his mom’s head.How do I know because the Windshield at the helm was ripped off.That Speed Boat shot right up in the air and traveled easily 120’ and came down like a missile nose down. Perfect strike it landed in a outside twin bunkhouse for boats, and took out another boat then just missed the second one in the lower bunk. Okay now where is the driver we think he’s dead.Somehow he’s in the water not hooked up to the throttle.The engine should have shut off.We all survived that day,but the driver went to hospital because he got clipped by another speed boat.Can’t remember the count but I would say at least seventy five to a hundred stitches from his shoulder half way down his back.No Amusement Park that day.Just a barbeque and no one ate we were sick to our stomachs and went home early.Enough excitement in one day to make my summer.I do believe I do believe in Miracles. Chapter 22 :JOB SEARCH First full time job is at Toys R US Totowa. Sure I had part time jobs but only two.Dean Carpet and Tile, and the Farmers Market In Paterson on Railway Ave. When Corrado’s was a tiny business and I was only thirteen.I worked on the island right next to them.Don’t ever deliver watermelons in the summer especially when the riots are happening.Fifty years later you wonder why people get a bad rap. Its Politics. First week of October I start work at Toys r Us Totowa making all new friends including the girls. (right steve).Starting pay $ 1.85 an hour take home $59.00 a week paid my car insurance and gas for the week. Eighteen years old now you know where the rest went.Food,Clothes,Shore,and Girls and sorry I was underage for Alcohol.Not able to vote and not able to drink,but you could fight a War.We were like Family back then.If we were not at work,we could be found playing softball,basketball,football,and bowling. Soon after we joined a bowling league and fast pitch softball league also.Most of the other times just fun against the other Toys r Us stores.That first Christmas there for us a lot of us that worked 55-60 hours a week.The second year 85-90 hours nice triple time Still not minimum wage by today’s standard (whoopie)We did not think it was much then either.The third year a chance to advance. Toys r Us opening a Distribution Center in Secaucus.Almost double the money.A good thing getting married August of 74. Chapter 23: WORK and GIRLS The Bad Don begins with kid gloves never knocked out 2 draws and co-champ.See what happens when you work in a toy store.Sixty three years old and still have one fight left in me.I broke the other champs nose,he would not fight again.Second year I knew where the Booze was hidden,not mine but always offered.Under a nice big box filled with Children’s sleeping bags.The answer is yes some did take cat naps working 90 hours a week.Then leaving at three in the morning,and having breakfast at the diner and coming back at six a.m. and start all over.The girl’s turned out to be best friends for three years till I married.Kris one of the guys she kept us in stitches.Bonne and Lynn they were always there.I dated both for a short time.Only one girl ever turned me down for a date her name Kathy.I never held it against her.I married her best friend two years later.Yes they worked at Toys r Us also.I had to Stay on my toe’s High School crushes were visiting after school.That big box of sleeping bags was a good place to hide. Chapter 24 : MARCH 1972 Party at one of the girls houses I did know her name at the time but I had to introduce myself,so I did get my invite.I knew that she was part-time and going to college.Day light savings time I get to stay out one hour later more.The night of the Party Three of the guys from work show up and two other girls from work Including the hostess thats a game of three on three.Remember I’m eighteen a hormone thing.There is only one other problem she has two younger sister’s. She sends them upstairs and her best friend follows upstairs that she worked and went to highschool with.Luckily one of the guys went upstairs to sit and talk with the other three. Music playing and two guys ,two girls alone.Raul says choose take your pick.I may be Don Juan, but he was a Casanova.He says pick again,so I did.I picked the Hostess the one that invited me the other girl was too much to handle.Well we must have talked and made out for about two hours.But the funniest thing that night which broke the Ice was hearing the other girl saying ooh!! Raul your hands are cold. Chapter 25:THE SHORE The next day Natalie,I failed to mention with Bonnie and Lynn pick me up by 10A.M. Natalie had just gotten a brand new Cuda.She says you drive it’s like woah!! you sure, it needs some highway mileage on it to be broken in.Fine I’m in my glory going to the shore and boardwalk with three pretty girls and a car with a great body.Yes the girls did too.Can’t wait to make the guys and girls jealous.Now I’m on the boardwalk walking,talking having fun one girl on each arm half the time. Let me remind you I dated both of them but we all remained good friends.Now the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to me occurs. We are about a third of the way down the Boardwalk and who comes walking up from the other direction.Spotted the girl and her two sisters and best friend .The one I was making out with 12 hours earlier. (Explain that) I can’t one night stand I thought just kidding.Boy was I wrong we were married in 1974 the relationship lasted 21 years, 19 married with 3 daughters.
Chapter 26: 1977 KAY BEE TOYS Leaving the employment of Toys r Us thanks Steve.Giving one week’s notice walking into the new Rockaway Mall as Kay Bee Toy & Hobby’s first Manager. The escalators were not even in place yet.But in a week we opened escalators in place and Mall ready to go.My district supervisor Dave was in and out all week.Grand Opening time Dave spent the morning and booked out.Left me four pages of notes on how to cash out registers at end of night,on my own pretty much for close to seven years. Yes it was the store with the so called trapeze with all the large size stuffed animals and also carried Steiff the Collectible smaller plush animals.Along with Madame Alexander Dolls,Britain Soldiers,Burago scaled cars,A little n-gauge, 027 and HO train sets.Lastly some coins for collectors.I even had some fun with RC cars when I dressed as Mr.Kay Bee The Toy-Soldier.Now if some of these things dont bring back memories back let me try this.Stretch Armstrong,Atari,handheld Mattel Football, Rubik’s Cube 23 seconds one time.My pretty pony and the worse scenes and mobs were when Cabbage Patch Dolls game out. Toys were fun and kept you young.Did I forget Star War Figures enough To make you want to quit.This job helped me purchase my first house,and when I left not my doing, thanks Melville Corp.I was able to put a full edition on house,and continued to have a trailer at a campground in Sussex County for twelve years.When I think of how times have changed I was very lucky to have some great employees back then.Most started when they were sixteen,and stayed with me even through the summers and colleges they selected. Bob,Glenn,Andy,Steve,Joe,Bill, Sandy, and Lisa.Even some moms from the neighborhood for extra cash during the Holidays.Never short staffed back then.We were the Kay-Bee Kids. Chapter 27:CONVENIENCE STORES
Our stores always short staffed another seven year itch.As a Area Manager for a Convenience store chain.Started in May of 1985 never a Clerk after a week’s training given a location in the Randolph N.J. area as Store Manager.Three months later I came down with double bronchial pneumonia.I’m suppose to be out of work 3-4 weeks I return twelve days later.Within a week or two a Supervisor comes in that I’m not familiar with,she’s covering the Area for someone else that’s sick.I mention that I was interested in a Area Supervisor’s position also.
That my Application and Resume mentions it.A week later a Human Resource person comes in to talk to me.She tells me one more good inventory and it is possible.Well the possible happens.After finding and training a new manager time to go on the road and six weeks of training for a Area Supervisors Position.Time spent in South, Central, and Northern N.J.The shore was nice until going to Lakewood and Asbury Park.No need to go into detail if you think it’s bad now.Let’s just say inventory control,and now it’s bad all over.My training is complete I get my tickets for my flight a two day stay, and a company vehicle to drive home on second day.The third day go to District Office met up with my Boss and assigned my territory Northern N.J. Twelve locations five with no Store Managers.Let the fun times begin.First week spent with my boss Irma great lady showing me the ins and outs.Changing locks and going to Police Stations giving them my information just in-case of emergencies.Two weeks before Christmas the stores all had managers.I had worked 6 weeks with little time off the most being 115 hrs and the least 95 hrs.Christmas was my first day off with all stores being opened.I did spend half of Thanksgiving working though.During those years of coffee, donuts and snacks.I stepped off a curb in front of a store and tear my second
ACL.during pre admission testing I find out that I may of had a silent heart attack. Almost seven years here and I could tell you stories.I quit and left walked out. Four weeks later asked to come back as a store manager and within two months I was a supervisor again Only to be fired. Boy when I think about it today I could have opened a can of worms.Well one thing that worked well was meeting my second wife and having a son.
Chapter 28:MID LIFE CRISIS Started the summer I turned Thirty Nine for twenty years it was work and family. Nothing wrong with that but I achieved everything I wanted but wanted more.She kept it all about family.I decided to start all over again.Twenty years of missed opportunities and job promotions.I could not continue this way and drinking was a problem.I wanted a house and business in Pa.along with playing softball again. So she camped and I played softball again in spring of 93.She was dead-set against it and no support of me playing in a forty and above league. She would not even come to watch a big mistake.The very first game a female manager from one of the stores came to watch and brought her kids I fell in love that day and like a kid again I wanted more,and it felt nice to see someone support me in something I loved and that was playing ball. A month later I left not before I sat down and told my kids. The hardest thing I ever did I drove two blocks away and pulled over unable to drive because of the tears and hurt I caused.
Once I was able to clear my tears and eyes I drove forward and never looked back.Call me the Bad-Don if you like it’s a lesson learned.If I had to do it all over again I wouldn’t change a thing.Twenty five years ago became a new path. Today my life has come full circle and I start a new journey retirement. Two months after walking away I find out the new lady in my life is pregnant.I have 3 daughters already and now 2 step daughters with her.In March of 1994 we have a son together and by spring of 95 we head to Pa.To start our lives over with new hopes and dreams.God forgave me. Chapter 29: SIGNS FROM ABOVE The Last two years before moving to PA were difficult, and financially impossible the second year.I never did hard drugs and smoked weed three times in my life because it was there at parties.Never purchased or went searching for a high.Alcohol was my addiction seven days a week for two years.Suicide was a choice and being planned over and over again on way to work.Yes suicide by car,by driving underneath a tractor trailer.I saw my opening a tractor in middle lane. I speed up in the slow lane,as I arrive this is it I get ready to turn left and notice I can’t fit under the tractor.So I chicken out and I’m not drunk. This happened my last year with first wife.One other incident occurs that year.My last year of camping but not hers as I said.Drinking and eating all day with other campers which we became real good friends over the years.We were like family my kids growing up with their kids.Time for a campfire more drinking kids inside watching videos.Our Fires were not normal with a few logs or firewood.We would build fires with pallets one on top of another or we would build a A-frame four walls and two for a roof.Our fire ring was huge. enough said. Pool cues used as poker sticks,and I’m getting buzzed laughing,joking and having fun.I see a Pool cue flash’s by me,the left side of my head not once but twice I’m Pissed don’t do it again someone’s going to get hurt.Well Ray a Fireman tries it again only closer this time and last time.I grabbed that cue with both hands and pulled him toward me and with all my strength I pushed him back right toward the firepit.Thank God he hung on with both hands he would have been a Marshmallow. My first wake-up call that I had to change.The second incident was with my future wife when I found out she was pregnant with our son,but did not know the sex at the time.Thank God suicide was on my mind again.I put the gun to my head and pulled the trigger saw the flash heard the bang.It was a dream that was. so-real a wake up call.I cussed and cursed out loud Jesus Christ why won’t you let me die.The bad Don .Today I see why, and Pa turned out to be a great move. Chapter 30: BELIEVE
It takes awhile to learn you have purpose here in this life.Even today I still have to choose a path.As you know Coaching is a passion of mine,along with business,politics and sports.People may laugh this may not get published but it will be read.If not maybe my words will as a songwriter.I have three written now.Retail consulting or a small business loan officer for a bank.Plus sports memorabilia and traveling about hotel to hotel on weekends.As you can see when you retire,life don’t stop .Life goes on but you have too much time on your hands.So touch as many hands and hearts as you can in your lifetime. Choose a path, so many options when you retire.But never look back,for all the things that knock you down in the past has just made you stronger,so continue to move forward.Sure there are forks in the road,but you can still eat with a spoon you make do.Even your best friend all though he or she may have four legs and moves faster still eats from a bowl or plate.But who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.Now choose man,animal or both.Both can shake hands,and greet you even kiss your cheek. Chapter 31: Achieve My son is born my prayers are answered.For I have sinned and have been forgiven.Yes I love all five girls and proud of all, but only three acknowledge me today.I tried to make amends but they have never forgiven me but God has. Another good thing happened I went cold turkey for five years not having a drink.Today a drink here or there usually if I go to dinner and my limit is two .As far as beer it may be a case in a year not in a day.Pennsylvania was a big change a lot slower pace just like Florida was back twenty five years ago.A chance to be with nature and all its creatures. A time to Reflect,and look back to what’s important.Believe me my friends don’t get me wrong my childhood in New Jersey was great. Marrying raising kids having a home and a trailer in Sussex County also.Keeping up with Joneses not so much folks.Everyone trying to be number one to impress others.Houses , cars job titles etc etc .Listen people you can’t take it with you when your time comes .Life is so much Simpler and Success is based on whose life’s you touched not how many rungs on a ladder you climbed.Or how many people you stepped over. It’s not about the income you earn,It’s about the person you become that’s equality.Because All Lives Matter.Twenty two years in P.A. has shown me there really is a Valley with a Heart.(look it up) Chapter 32: WYOMING COUNTY P.A. Tunkhannock summer of 95 time to get a job.Walmart here I come.Twenty years of experience Asst mgr ,Manager and Area supervisor.Paid like I was 18 years old.Boy I could tell you some stories.But I won’t get into Politics.Let’s just say this past election the better person won.January of 96, I become the Toy Dept.Mgr. something is better than nothing cash flow wise.The coolest thing I did that winter was work midnight madness.Thanksgiving evening 10pm to 6am .In the sporting goods department. Do you have any clue how many hunter’s showed up for guns and ammo.Let’s just say don’t mess with P.A. or the Farmer’s,and this is over twenty years ago.Let’s just say we lost the war on Illegal drugs and guns which gives no one the right.Yet to take them away from people who followed the legal system.It will be a Cold Day In Hell.The second thing I did was at home,three days of snow 42 inches on the ground state of emergency called the third night.Somewhere there is video of a Toboggan run I made. One of the guys and his girl friend came over that night what a blast .The next day walked to work and it was the talk of the store and town that winter.with the bends and turns had to be a hundred yards long.No machinery no equipment a Toboggan and shovel to shape the banks.A forty three year old man having a blast. With people half my age. The night was the best hot chocolate I ever had. Chapter 33: PRINCIPALS OVER TRUTH Started coaching the nine to ten year olds that spring of 96.This is where my 15 years of Volunteering begins coaching boys baseball. Our sponsor and thanks to Rainbow Realtor we have our shirts. Let it be known the boys were not too happy.Let’s just say robins egg blue with matching baseball cap with a rainbow.If I had to wear them the boy’s had to also.I thought it was a mix up with the girl’s softball team there wasn’t.Here’s the first year coach walking into their office meeting the owner.I introduced myself being the professional I am or should I say politician I was, and the next few years went by fine. Our shirts were changed to maroon and gray.Everyone was happy including the parents. Meanwhile life at work and home is not working out.I find out the house is being sold was I told the truth when we moved to PA. I will never know.Well I walked in and walk out of Walmart I quit and two months later an eviction notice.After Putting our stuff in storage and enough to camp out for two weeks is left in our pockets.I stuck to my guns other than the tent and car we were homeless in two days. Chapter:34 WAKE UP CALL One day left our prayers are answered. Thanks to my ex-wife we become live in full time Nannies for three children the Joseph Brother’s.They changed my life forever,plus we got to keep Beau our yellow lab and the kids had a blast with him.Living on 4 acres and a creek at the end of property line.Appreciating life and nature now knowing that God is watching over me.It was time to reflect and prepare for a whole new chapter in life which we all did.Including the three boy’s the following year or two.Had the band of brother’s outside a lot that summer learning football and catching the ball.We started with two hand touch and moved on to tackling skills.That August their dad signed them up to play football as long as I transported them which was not a problem because I was already coaching.I do have one story to tell.The boys dad was around one day and we all played some football including Beau our Lab and what a great defensive player he would even intercept the nerf football. Their dad intercepted a pass and he starts to run and Beau brought him down not physically but by his backside of his pants. Lots of laughs were had by all. Chapter 35:All WORK NO PLAY After the Football season two full time jobs.Full steam ahead.I apply for two full time jobs one being Lechter’s the other Service Merchandise.Thanks to the Manager Anthony I get his call first.Two weeks later Service Merchandise calls.Now I have two full time jobs for the Holiday Season knowing I could be let go by both companies.The result was I was kept by both.Maybe because hard work pays off or the work experience from the past paid off.But so did toys because Service merchandise wanted me in that Department.I guess 15 years of toys kept me young.Surprise I stuck with Lechter’s because they called First. I chose the better for it was not much longer,and Service Merchandise closed shop.Soon after I was able to get our belongings out of storage and get our apartment.Things even begin to look a lot brighter down the road.Anthony was talking me up to his Supervisor,maybe because I was a good Assistant Mgr. But he appreciated me .We had a talk one day and he wanted to go back and finish college he just needed a few credits.I said go ahead he asked can you work the shifts around my classes I said sure.He still worked his hour’s and put in his time.I just had a little more responsibility for the time being.The next thing I know I’m being asked to be the manager at Famous Brands Houseware Outlets in Tannersville Pa.which was another division of Lechter’s,and later on a big box store in Chester Pa I helped open. Chapter 36: MOVING ON UP Soon after I move right next store, same owners into the first floor of an older Victorian home in 1998.Later that summer on june 2nd a Tornado came through Lake Carey and destroyed 45 homes and took two lives away.Then proceeded to come over the Mountain and up a creek right behind the house.Right through the property of Keystone College then crossing over Rt.6/11. Let me tell you tree’s poles and wires down all over the place.We never heard a thing headed to basement with our neighbors upstairs Katie and her mom Ann. Everyone wanted to protect my son that’s when I knew Katie would be a great teacher and she is today in Tunkhannock. Afterwards I think we felt it was the safest place we lived and the best neighbors you could ask for. Meanwhile I am finally making the money that I earned in New Jersey with the exception that I’m now traveling 52 miles one way for six years.But It gave me the opportunity to continue coaching football and baseball which I greatly appreciated. Chapter 37: AFTER TIME I lend an ear one day to a lady named Fran no longer with us,but gave me the push toward Politics.So I register to run in the Primary for a Council position in 1999.Little did she know I registered as a Democrat.Fran happen to be the Wyoming County Republican Leader at the time.I also married for the second time in May of the Primary.She supported me throughout until Three years later and I resigned. Football, Baseball,Men’s Civic Club,and going to classes to be certified in Fire/Police and Downtown Revitalization.She even helped me with putting together Street numbers and addresses together instead of Post Office Boxes for all first responders.Then after 9/11 a emergency mgt plan.Mostly to do with Flooding and Power failures and where the Older Seniors and Handicap live.I have to give two other people recognition they were Republicans also and supported me all the way Tom and George my mentors no longer with us also.Let me say that before I Left Pa I was asked to get involved twice by different people.To run for Wyoming County Commissioner. Then later as Wyoming County Republican Leader.Well here’s the News I’m Now in Jersey as a Registered Republican what to do what to do? Chapter 38 : SETTLED IN No not Jersey but we move again,This time a house no apartment.I stay here from 1999-2015.How do I remember? The general election was held Nov 2nd 1999.I had to get down to Municipal Building the next morning to see the posted results.Yes I had won Factoryville had only a Population of 1150 people at the the time. This year was for Ward 1 Councilmen three openings four running three Republicans and myself, Two were incumbents beat the newbie which I was also. One of the few Democrats in Wyoming County at the time.What they say is True it takes a Village, of Children to teach or coach to gain the respect of our Peers and Neighbors.So if you can Volunteer,Mentor,join a Club make a difference it’s Priceless.If I was to go back To Factoryville as a Politician a name change to Factoryville Village seems appropriate.College Ave has so much potential to be one of the Best decorated Holiday Main Streets in Pa. Knowing when I left pa.it wasn’t simple I retired.But it will always remain in my heart,and will visit whenever possible. Chapter: 39 RESTLESS Back to Famous Brands Housewares Outlets May of 2001 Chapter 11 filed for Reorganization.I get a phone call soon after from my Supervisor that I have Like nine days to make over the store Top To Bottom.Remind you I’m just a store manager at the time.I have opened and closed stores for the most part. Toys r Us, Kay Bee Toys Etc.So I am up to the task.Maybe I should have become a Liquidator. So anyone that was someone was flown in from across the country.Buyers, Regionals,Vendors, and I’m sure banks and investors.Lots of Videos and Photographs taken at the time.Yes some job offers also.By September things started to look iffy.I even helped with Hersey, Red Lion, Hagerstown hoping in the end I would become a V.P. in Merchandising for the company or whoever would buy the company or invest.By October no buyer, the courts accepted a bid from a Liquidator and in December we are all unemployed just in time for the Holidays Chapter 40:SEVERANCE SURVIVAL. A nice package deal and unemployment do not last very long.I had a back up Plan also that I begun just in case there was no bailout.My own business plan with a Ten year plan.A building with a Penthouse on second floor still to this day the best kept secret in Factoryville The bank said everything looked good as long as one of us was working.We both were at the time.We are approved but, Six thousand more was needed to finalize the deal.Im pumped I’m psyched I go to owners they will not budge,I go to family the same result.I’m not down in the dumps yet.One last hope I go to one of my Mentor he decides to help me out. I present a check drawn from another bank I’m all excited within 48 hours I am not approved I learned later on if I was to have financial problems the other bank would own it because my mentor friend sat on another bank board.Well there goes your seasonal hallmark store and party supplies store.That would have serviced Lackawanna Trail and Keystone College.Not many will remember but I was certified in downtown revitalization.Now my consulting fees won’t come cheap But maybe the Donald can afford me.I really fell into the dumps this time. My second ex said I was never the same.All though she stayed another Ten years till the kids were on their own,yet our son was only a Junior in High School and she stayed in town till he graduated then she headed to Florida.Would I change anything in my Past if I could,the answer is no.As I have said earlier I may not be a Rich man and my Pockets may be filled with lint to patch the holes in the shape of a heart. For I wear them on my sleeve ,for I am a better person today.For success is just a measurement it’s not Wealth. Chapter 41:MY BAG IS PACKED Yes,my bag is packed and I’m on my way to the Rock Creek golf course.I wanted to hunt and fish when I got to P.A.,but I got to coach and now play golf what more could I ask for. Forty nine years old and feeling burnt out still a year away of turning fifty.Retail management And as a area manager was never a forty hour work week. If I crunch some numbers over thirty years the hours add up to being about 55 years old and that’s being pretty conservative at hand.Now is good time to say you can see why I retired at Sixty Two and when I turn sixty four. I hope C xoxo will still be my Valentine and sit by fire and knit me a sweater. ( A Beatles Song )The Golf game got pretty good that summer.Practice does make you better.Whether it’s sports or your tavern games pool, darts, shuffleboard.Sometimes not just for drinks!!Bowling with these guys were even more rewarding hitting a scratch pot or handicap it paid for bowling and then some.Outside of four walls I am very competitive.Even today with knee Problems.The gambling and drinking days have been gone for along time now.But a trip to New Bern,N.C. got me thinking again.Let’s move near your parent’s by Harbour Pointe.It wasn’t the drinking it was the golf.Even checked a house out on the Course.Yep thinking it’s time to make money.Realtor said buy and rent you have someone to check on home nearby and when you’re ready move down permanently.Well it never happened,and my game has disintegrated like my knees.Time to go to work 10 months off and savings gone, eight years later she packed her bags. Chapter 42 : OCTOBER 2003 Now hired as a Asst.Manager at Factory Card Outlet thanks Tammy.A pretty decent job at the time.Having to go through the seasons for about a year just like any other retail job.Learning the Operations and Merchandising of the store.What was new was taking Balloon Orders and having them ready for pickup and replacing displays. Halloween was their big season just like Party City.By 2007 Amscan owns both and uses the Party city name as some who have seen Party City moved some locations into the Factory Card Stores.I believe it was about Sept 2004 I was asked to be a Manager in the Wilkes Barre store.So five days of training in Maryland nice people I didn’t want to comeback.By December I needed a Assistant Manager and by February he was dismissed. Let’s say he was an alcoholic.The main reason to resigning from Council also. I missed two monthly meeting back to back three were not accepted.By May of 2005 my first inventory not even a year. Im terminated.What went on before I got there no clue should have been worn.I found out a lot things which can’t be discussed.But what I had seen was enough to keep you by the exit doors on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday especially busy periods.Well good for me lol more golf.Not Really. Chapter 43: TEN YEARS RETIREMENT Last and final job Ray’s Market began a week before Labor Day 2005 and retired August 29th 2015. Being the Dairy and Frozen Manager the whole time.I had almost 7 years experience with a Convenience store chain there is no Comparison to a grocery store.Since I lived in a small town I considered it a Mom and Pop or C-Store I would go in the morning for coffee and cigarettes boy was I wrong.Groceries twice a week,Milk three times a week,and Dairy and Frozen also near the end.Yes this little town had a Grocery Store!. Where everyone knows everyone, and everyone knows everything going on in Town.It was like High School everyone belonged to a Clique.Don’t get me wrong my Friends this is a quaint and quiet town,except for the campus kids up and down College Ave. for they are now renting throughout the Borough.Do I have a Problem with it, No I moved after I retired.Yet this is still mine and yours our little Peace of Bethlehem I miss it very much.I am sure the Borough and College can work this out.If not I can solve this in Less than 10 Minutes.But my Time and Travel is costly unless I’m already there.But I am watching and will see you all soon, Always Factoryville.While the First Two Years at Ray’s were not the greatest. There were two Employees that I almost walked out on thanks to Ray and George who ever made the decision I was able to stay till retirement.Only one other time I worried about losing my job.That was the Holiday order for 2014 way too much in Frozen vegetables.Yes I Ordered with a little help and approval. Someone acknowledged, it just wasn’t me I can laugh about it now so can George.As far as Ray, he was my boss, my friend,and my brother.Most of all a Rotarian along with his wife Barbara.I miss my Trail Rotary Club and District. Other than Coaching and getting the Kids to believe in themselves Rotary got me believing in myself again.That I can make a difference,and that we all can. So After Three Years of working for Ray I received an Invitation To a meet in greet.Taking place at Keystone College from the Trail Rotary Club and I accepted the rest is History.It’s also the first job that I get beyond the seven year itch thing.It became a convenience were age and travel were not going to mix any longer.Gas prices could go as high as you like I could walk to work.It was about the luxury not the money.I was happy the ex was not.I got by the last 4 years alone the last one being a struggle.Thanks to Ray and Rotary it kept me very busy. Chapter 44: DECISION TIME It starts around March of 2015 my son turning twenty one and I sixty two in August.Do I continue to work or do I retire? Will the knees hold up or will I do more damage ? Do I move or do I stay Put? The biggest question was will I ever trust another woman again?Maybe I’m too Old? Usually retirement is about Two and the two being a couple.Not about one doing it solo.Thanks to Neil,Tammy, Shamus,Judy,and Mike employee’s at Ray’s.Who have been employed at Ray’s longer than my ten years.I make my decision I am retiring. They say go back be with your Mother. What they did not know I wanted a small condo in Calabash,N.C. on a Golf Course which I was checking into so I could Write and play Golf when I felt like it,and allowed dog’s for I had Bernie a Rottie/German Shepherd mix that had turned age three.I felt a lot of stress,and thought this move would be a plus.Let me tell you through all the ups and downs Life has been good. I just recommend do not do it alone seek a New Horizon and enjoy a Rainbow once in awhile. Chapter 46: MOVING TIME Well I did not go South,I went back to Northern N.J. I took the advice of my friend’s at work.Back to Mom’s, the house I grew up in during my Teenage years.The Town of Totowa since the age of Five. See life does come full circle it’s a whole new journey.Filled with memories, photo’s and tons of Flashbacks, but that’s another Story. Mom being alone for thirty two years since Dad past,And myself for four years after my second divorce we are pretty much set in our own ways.I get up early mom gets up late.I go to bed early mom stays up late.See the early bird catches the worm.By two or three in the afternoon I’m hoping to catch the worm in a bottle of Tequilla.My day winding down mom’s just beginning,by the way I am kidding about the tequila. But I have eaten the worm in the past. I enjoy a Vodka and Tonic now and then Truth.I did what I could for the short time I was there.Trips to the food store,bank, and post office.Being there for the first Thanksgiving and Christmas that I did not have to travel for in twenty years was nice.Mom and I trying to do it as a team.Seeing my sister and nephews a little more was nice also.But I wanted to Reconnect with friends and some I have. But she was beginning to drive me to drink.Murph’s here I come she was not to happy about that.Other than writing in the morning I was becoming a bump on the Log,and giving up on myself.My Facebook friend’s kept me looking up and they know who they are because they are still my fiends. Especially after I retired and their were many of you but one in particular and that’s a New Chapter and Journey. Chapter 46: NOT ALONE December 13th 2015,as a Life comes full circle a new journey begins.A circle of new friends and family begins.I’ve had years of winning silver and bronze let this one be gold.Since these are my Golden Years.Now I have to go back Four Years ago to facebook.A family friend my mom had mentioned. That she had come over and help my mom out several times. So I decide to friend her on Facebook and she accepts our friendship.Now I’m dIvorced twice and she’s married.I still live in PA and her Jersey. I am still three years away from retirement.She now gets to see photos of my times out in Pa and my involvement with Rotary.She comments or ignores my good times and bad as we all do including me.It depends on how personal it can get.Let’s say in Pa I was known as Don Juan in New Jersey it was Donald Chump not the Trump.Little do you know and little that I knew at the time I knocked out a Hitman back then and I was recruited.A meeting in NYC on a friday night where I sat in a gas station in Fort.Lee, New Jersey. For twenty minutes waiting to be picked up,I chickened out don’t mess with this Don. I still have one fight left,and meanwhile there is no longer anyone in my opponent’s corner. Chapter 47: REUNITED Over the loss of her husband we both became lost in our little world.Her with her grief and I alone and retiring in two years.It’s about six months and we begin chatting again more and more. All kinds of crazy times,Twenty Four Seven depending on my schedule.She was not sleeping and it was just Bernie my dog and I.The whole last year before retirement I promised I would visit or let her know that I would be at Moms.That I did not do.She would call me names and we would joke around and have fun online.Neither one of us looking for a relationship.Then my ex comes back and the silence begins again.Little did she know I’m retiring in four months,and moving.Yes I tried to rekindle the relationship, but to no avail three months later she was gone.In two months I move and Jersey here I come.Thank you Corinne for being my friend. CHAPTER 48: December 3rd 2015 Chatting again and 24/7 this time I promised because I am living a lot closer. She tells me she’s been bowling at Fair Lawn lanes for years.So it’s time to meet let’s round it off to fifty years. This just wasn’t my mom’s friend, this was a daughter of my mom and dad’s friend who worked at Public Service the old bus company.I knew her older brothers and sisters before she was born.Let’s say I’ve known of her since birth.Time to meet my mom is aware, I’m going out to meet Corinne for the first time. This is basically a blind date except for our Parents knowing each other. I am all dressed ready to go with my coat on,and now standing at the top of the steps.Do I go or do I stay?getting cold feet, Lots of things going through my head.I promised and remembered the second part of the Four Way Test, Is it fair to all concerned. I now Believe in Angels and Cardinals Calling.For someone kicked my butt down those stairs,My dad or her parents. By the way I was 45 minutes late and I showed up and kept my promise.Now Her daughter bowls also now telling mom I’m not going to show.Claire now asks Mom,Is that him at the entrance mom says yes.The rest is history now.I give her a kiss on the forehead at the end of the night, and go directly home.Now were chatting even more now. I show up the next week on 12/10/15 This time on time. The first person I see is her daughter Claire.The smile on both their faces made me melt.I did Good and felt good. So giving and receiving cost you nothing.It’s finding and losing Love that’s costly.I felt so good that on 12/13/15 we went Christmas shopping at Rockaway Mall, a late lunch at Jefferson Diner one of the best in New Jersey.Along with a Christmas light show at Skyland’s which is one of the best up in Augusta N.J.and a year later going back which we did do Chapter 49: LIFE CHANGES Like the Seasons all living things change along with our Age.Like a tree and it can be much older than us when it falls.But no one will pick it up,they cut it up and turn it into ashes buy being put in a fireplace like some of us will become, Ashes. If we weather the storms we will live longer.For we have the ability to get up when we fall,and grow from our downfalls Sometimes it just takes a friend who will extend a hand to pick you up.Even a smile that’s filled with joy,and happiness can lift the spirits of someone, because you’re an Angel that God sent.The tree’s don’t have friends but they branch out and touch one another to protect other living things that God sent. As we should do also for our neighbors and nature. Chapter 50: GOOD OR BAD FINALE Or is it ? For me I say not, it’s just the beginning of a new journey after retirement.For almost half of us have gone through Divorce 42% of us,and most have gone through many job changes 5-10 in our lifetime.It’s definitely life changing for all involved. So I believe most of us can relate, in one-way or another I need to say to everyone never quit.Especially to those younger than I, When a curveball is thrown at you. Keep your shoulder in and head up,and swing for the fences or take one for the team.That’s when you become a winner.Losses and Pain can bring you strength that’s when you know your winner.As a coach I think it’s great advice. A marriage counselor I am not. But know when you’re broken hearted,because of the loss of a job, divorce, or death. Raise your head off the pillow and stand tall on your own two feet.Start with baby steps and move forward.Someone told me two years ago you never know what’s around the corner. Little did I know it would be in another state. It just took longer strides. Never thought when I retired,I would find love again.So never say never or quit on yourself you can find Love at Sixty Two. For those in their forties and fifties there is hope and people that believe in you.Search one’s Heart and you will find a Soul, it will help you find trust again.For you are a Gift. The Good Don-Bad Don Life’s Lessons You Decide.Forgive, Believe,so that you can Achieve.If you had any Flashbacks, I hope the Memories were good ones. For better or worse,or richer or poorer these words were a commitment many years ago.It’s a life lesson and you make do with those decisions.But at least stay true to who you are,and become. Knockdowns will turn into referee decisions as long as you get up, before the bell rings and move forward you are still a CHAMPION. Chapter 51: LEAVING THE RING I have never counted the losses but more wins than losses in my lifetime.Just two marriages that almost took me down. I was looking for a rematch the second time a lesson learned .I will never look back to the past again. Just the good that occurred.Having a house at 25 unheard of today. Being 22 and asked to relocate to Long Island,at 27 to pack up in 24 hours and move to Boca Raton.Well I did not at the time,I regretted then.Today I do not.I realize today it was out of respect and for the hard work I put in. At 35 being number one in district,and number three in the Northeast Region in Inventory Control.Turning 40 and being hired by a Vice President and he says, promise me you won’t leave.But I did leave Pennsylvania bound time to start over.Life was not easy but no regrets.Being asked to set up a prototype store for 156 outlet stores my proudest moment.Then a bank complimenting me on a business loan,the best they ever seen .It turns out to be a Life of giving back to community which I received as a young child coaching,baseball, football,politics and being a Rotarian.My accomplishments may be short maybe they are long.But as a Rotarian I will remain Humble and Kind.You don’t have to be #1 just be a winner.Money don’t buy you love or respect.It’s your giving and what’s in your heart and soul that earns Love and Respect.In leaving the Main Event I give a ring to Corinne,and the Key to my Heart It has brought Peace and Happiness to Us,and I hope to others in this World.To know that you are never too young or old to start over or make a difference in this world.Proud to be a Rotarian,and a *Baby Boomer* the Next Step is a New Journey for All .Starting tomorrow become a leader touch as many Hearts as possible,and Dream, maybe someday you will become President. IN ENDING :We all have Good and Bad inside of us All, that’s how Life Lessons come about. There are many mountains to climb, just find your lost Horizon.For me there is no place like coming home. I’ve crossed it many times,But I just can’t sit in the Dugout.So put me in My Coach,you have Angels in the Outfield that I played with or coached and I’m Ready to Play in New Jersey or P.A. My Field of Dreams have come true.Now the path I follow is cartways and fairways with ups and downs.Fades and draws trying to hit them straight and through the narrows.So life is still a challenge,and it may take a few more strokes but now I get a Mulligan.