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May 30, 2023

Funny Papers Again Column | Let Your Grad and My Grad Be Happy but Vigilant

Last week I submitted a few words regarding seniors who are on their way to higher education, with an addendum about financing college after the initial scholarship monies are expended. I did not have enough space at that time to add anymore to the subject of paying for and staying in college or university. Let me take a few inches of newsprint to mention of few things all seniors and parents need to keep in mind over the next few years.

Firstly, one in six persons seeking a four-year degree will attain one; that is a shocking statistic just in itself. There are varying reasons why only one will go on to get a bachelor’s degree, and I have not the room to address them all but transferable units are high on my list of things for students to watch carefully.

There are 116 community colleges in California that feed the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems and private institutions, such as University of Southern California (USC), and it is the student’s responsibility to be sure that those classes they take in their course of study will transfer to the campus where they wish to continue studies.

Counselors are available on all campuses, but many times these individuals have hundreds of students to work with and many universities will change course requirements with slow updates or no updates at all without specific inquiry from students. If a student takes three classes in a two-year period that turn out to be non-transferable, that is nine units that must be done over either at the community level or at university level; the latter quite expensive. Beware students and parents and keep atop this important aspect of attaining a four-year degree.

***

We were sitting in Miss James’ music class, “we” being about 25 sixth-grade students, on a normal Friday morning in November of 1963 when the speaker on the wall began emitting a constant static-ridden voice unintelligible by the human ear; Miss James gave the squawking wooden box over the chalkboard a grimaced glance and went on with instruction. After about a minute, the vice-principal entered the room and asked “Have they caught the guy yet?”; to which Miss James responded (for all of us) that she had no idea what he was talking about. He then informed the teacher and consequently the class that the president had been shot in Dallas, Texas.

That act of murder has, since the shots rang out in Dealy Plaza in downtown Dallas, generated hundreds of books and investigations and yet an actual account of all that took place that day and in the days and months prior to the shooting are unknown in entirety. It was for many of us what Pearl Harbor was to the generation before and what the World Trade Center bombing was to the generation after, and that is a day imprinted indelibly on the mind.

I admit to no real scholarly research of that day, but I can state that during the summer of 1965 I read “The President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy,” known as the Warren Commission Report, and over the next 58 years have read a dozen or so books on the subject and seen numerous films and documentaries that either sought to find facts or to propagate wild conspiracy theories.

I suppose it is one of the events in history that was personal enough for me to follow up as life went on, and so I have a good grasp on the site of the assassination in downtown Dallas, where the presidential limousine rounded the corner at slow speed and headed toward the freeway, past onlookers spread along the grass lined street, when shots rang out and America had for the fourth time in its history lost a president to an assassin’s bullets. It is one of those places I have always wanted to visit and now that possibility exists.

Sometime in the next few days I plan to make every effort to get to Dealy Plaza to visit the Texas School Book Depository Museum, to stand adjacent to the large white X painted in the lane denoting the spot where the limousine was when the bullets found their mark, and to stand near where Abraham Zapruder recorded the color 8mm film of the awful moments when a human being was murdered in front of his wife and the world.

I’m happy to say that opportunity will exist as I will be, for a few days, a couple hours drive north of Dallas in the city of Edmond, Okla. In fact, 24 hours from now (6:48 a.m.) I’ll be aloft somewhere over the Western USA headed to Will Rogers International Airport in OK City; just a few miles north is Edmond.

I am not headed to Indian Territory just for the purpose of a visit to Texas but for a graduation of a grandchild. Rebecca is the second granddaughter of three in a family of seven siblings; some of whom are full brother and sister, others half-sibs. This is what sociologists refer to as blended family/blended household; I refer to them by name and they refer to me as “Grandpa.”

Anyhoo, Becca will graduate and a fair amount of family from California will be there for a couple days before they return to Monterey County with the two youngest grandkids for their annual summer here.

If I find the time and equipment (I do not plan to take my laptop) I’ll get off a Funny Papers from the road and who knows it might even be interesting for a few readers. Hopefully just mentioning this little travel plan of mine will spur some into taking a road trip, train trip or any kind of trip sometime in the next few months. I am a big fan of travel for all ages, but especially the young.

Take care. Peace.

Steve Wilson
King City and Greenfield Columnist

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