Veterans Day

Veterans Day

Today is the day we put aside to honor those who serve, and have served, in our armed forces—those who have put their lives on the line to protect us and ours. While I have never served in those armed forces, quite a number of my relatives have done so.

During the Second World War, my father’s three brothers served in the US Army: Andrew, William and Charles AuBuchon. All three survived. My father wanted to enlist but the military would not take him. His first wife had died prior to Pearl Harbor and he was raising a young daughter (my half-sister Joyce) alone. He never talked about it; the story comes from others in the family.

My mother, Gladys, served in the Navy and was stationed at Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Although she never met him, a gentleman I later taught with was also stationed there while my mother was there.

One of my mother’s cousins, Clayton Roberts, perished in the Pacific as his submarine was sunk by the Japanese.

My wife’s father, FFH Charlton, served in the RAF. He was, of course, British, but flew an American B-24 Liberator.

My brother and I were in high school and college during the Viet Nam War. I still remember reporting to the Selective Service Office when I turned 18, and I still remember my eight-digit draft number. I went directly from high school graduation to college and had a 2-S – Student Deferment. At about this time they introduced lottery numbers and the one I drew (my birthday number, that is) was 342. They weren’t drafting people with numbers higher than the 100s so I dropped my deferment and was later placed in a 1-H holding category—no more worries about being drafted for me.

My best friend in college wasn’t so lucky. His number was low, and he decided to enlist in the army. He ended up being stationed at Fort Hunter Liggett, Jolon, California.

My little brother, John, had an even higher lottery number than mine—347. He, however, decided to enlist in the Air Force following a year in college. Part of the time he was stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Lompoc, California. He spent time in Viet Nam and was evacuated from Tan Son Nhut Air Base by helicopter at the end of April, 1975. Although he was not an official causality of that war, he did pick up the habit of smoking while in Viet Nam and died of lung cancer in 1991, leaving behind a widow and two young children.

Uncle Charlie, Uncle Billy, Uncle Andy, Cousin Clayton, Ferrier, Preach, Bill, John, Mom and all of the rest of you who have served—Thank You

High School Football

I get paid to watch football games – high school football games.

High School Football - VP Band HalftimeI work in Orange, California as a public address announcer and message board operator. It is work I have been doing for more than twenty-five years.

While I was teaching at Yorba Junior High, we had ninth grade, essentially high school freshman, sports. There was a sideline platform that we used to announce both football games and track meets. Originally Norm did the announcing and I picked up from him. It was fun.

The gentleman who had been doing the announcing at the district stadium retired and it was decided to hold auditions for a replacement. I gave it a try. High School Football - VP coming on to the fieldThe audition consisted of calling several plays of a football game from a taped game on television. I don’t know how many people tried for the job but it came down to two people, Fred and I. The district couldn’t decide between us and we both got part of the job. Each of us was to do the announcing for two of the high schools.

There have been changes over the decades but I do the announcing for Orange and Canyon; Bob announces for El Modena and Bill announces for Villa Park. We cover for each other when one of us cannot make a game. It seemed that every year my Back-to-School Night fell on a Thursday game night; my principal was under the impression that B-2-S Night was more important than football so Bill covered for me.

Years ago we installed a new scoreboard with a message line. We’d put in announcements, upcoming games, penalties and cheers. It was a separate job from timing and announcing. Marv started the Message Board job and I took over from him on nights I was not announcing. Soon I was doing both announcing and operating the message board (two paychecks). So between the two jobs I was seeing twenty plus high school football games each year and getting paid for it.

High School Football - VP running playThere were years when things went well and we went to the CIF playoffs and years when teams were winless. I saw my little seventh graders grow into young men who were half a foot or more taller and who weighed one hundred pounds more than me. And I saw little girls grow into young women leading cheers and doing stunts on the sidelines.

One of my boys, Aaron, became a teacher and football coach. He brought his team to play one of ours and told me that I was the reason he became a teacher. I hadn’t realized who he was until I heard his voice and the picture in my mind was as he was so many years before in my woodshop class.

High School Football - VP running playOnly one of our four teams made the playoffs this season – the Villa Park Spartans (Century League, Southwest Division). Last night they defeated the Newport Harbor Sailors in a come from behind victory 26 to 21 ( In the third round (semi-finals) they will face Tustin at Tustin (Go Spartans), so I’ve worked my last game for the year.

Next game: August 2013. Paid to watch football, who’da thunk it!