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Print | THE PAPER BOY : Part I
Unalienable Rights© - Jun 05, 2024
with Ed McKervey : ed@portervillepost.com

UNALIENABLE RIGHTS © with Ed McKervey 2209 : THE PAPER BOY : Part I

“It’s Still a Free Country”Tom Aldine

The title of this series is “The Paper Boy
The character the paper boy invokes a general idea about recent past American culture. For the younger reader it may seem outdated or nostalgic because we really don’t have paper boys anymore.

I will try in this series to describe the culture through a local prism and circumstances around what a paper boy is through my own lens. I was a paper boy and over the years had many experiences that continue inform me today.

Before I get into the details of the paper boy I will spend a little time talking about the culture from my perspective looking back fondly at a world that was full of adventure and life learning that many in my generation might be interested in. For the younger folks that read the paper, which I suspect are few if any, please come along on this journey to discover what it was like growing up in Porterville more than 45 years ago for me.

I started analyzing culture years ago as I struggled with the question what would I have done to stop the atrocities of WWII. As a young idealist I thought I was better than others and wanted to discover the patterns that lead to so much pain and misery.

We actually learned a lot of history back in the 1970’s before progressives destroyed the curriculum. When you see images of stacked bodies and concentration camps it leaves an indelible mark on your psyche.

Imaging if we showed images of dead babies in this generation. How would we react if we showed the 250 million dead babies today? In America abortion has killed more than 60 million, mostly minority babies in since the 1970’s. This dwarfs the atrocities of WWII that shocked us back in the 1970’s.

Nobody wants to believe they are part of a culture that kills innocent life of any kind. We all think we are “better than” until we grow up and realize we are not. We are not spectators of history we are perpetrators, all of us. A culture demanding we save the turtles while we murder the unborn might be best described as schizophrenic.

Leonard Nimoy Predicts An Ice Age Back In 1979
When I was growing up the big fear mongering was the return of the ice age

The In Search Of series on TV in the late 1970’s showed the snow storm that killed people in NY city caught in their cars overnight in a blizzard. The powers that be were already wrestling with how to use media to propagandize a culture. Most of it was marketing to get you to buy things but there was also a marketing of evil when truth was not presented objectively.

When I was young, kids were often told they should work hard and study hard and someday you might be able to become president. I saw some activism in H.S. and a lot of youthful rage but nothing like the radicals in this generation that glue themselves to the pavement or chain themselves to bridges. That was considered stupid in my generation. The word stupid was a very productive and helped kids growing up to understand what not to do.

Stupidity means lacking common sense.

My exposure to psychology in college served me well when applied in business for change management. I began to realize psychology affected those cultures of death that offended my bare humanity when I was a child. How could people have allowed so much misery war and death in past cultures? This is the stock and trade of progressivism in changing and twisting words and the meaning of words. We are no better than the peoples of the past and we may be worse in many ways not better. Progress to what?

The allegories of Orwell were always fascinating and in high school we watched Brave New World in classical films with Mr. Davis. Little did I realize at the time that I would be teaching bible class alongside an elder Marion Davis as an adult in the 2000’s? Kids took his classical films class as an easy elective so we could screw off in High School.

We thought the whole thing was a joke. Go to class and watch movies sign me up. This was a time before internet and before Mass media delivered us into the “Time Shifting” age of VCR’s and DVR’s. Technology was much slower back then and the first VCR we had was about seven hundred dollars in the early 1980’s and that was a lot of money back then.

Davis was a great teacher. He helped the students understand the basic equation that you cannot get something from nothing. His son had a video rental store at the time and that was cutting edge. Be kind rewind. We thought VCR’s were high tech and the only instant photos were from old Polaroid’s that could not be instantly shared. We had to put film in cameras and pictures that were taken may not get developed for weeks. Many times you got pictures back that were blurry or undesirable but that was how life was and you lived with it.

We had pay phones to communicate and all of our phones had cords. The phone junkies of that age had really long chords that got tangled in knots. Long distance conversations were expensive so you made your time count without a lot of idle chit chat. We actually had to remember people’s phone numbers back then. People had to communicate more back then and we had to rely on others to remember where to meet for lunch or other things well in advance. We had to talk in class to make plans for after class or after school.

I learned a lot in classical films and it complimented my earlier readings filling in some gaps while we watched Jack Lemmon chug whiskey in the “daze of wine and roses”. The drunk chugged whiskey then passed out in his easy chair smoking a cigarette that burned down his own house. Apparently smoking and drinking make you stupid.

The 1980’s in America was a great time to be alive.

It was the beginning of the greatest expansion of wealth and growth in the history of the world. I look back now and realize I have been MAGA my whole life because that was Reagan’s original take on America in the 1980’s in response to the stagflation of the 1970’s. Patriotism was the most inclusive value back then most people loved their country with all its warts because we were free.

Freedom used to be more important than safety or tolerance

I remember playing golf with the men from the Mexican American Golf Association (MAGA).

Joe Camarena schooled me several times on the putting green at the Porterville Golf and country club (Muni). My Adopted Uncle Mark Merjil could hit a golf ball off the top of the cement marker without a tee and play scratch, I was in awe. I still see those men from time to time around town and say hello. Some things have changed and some things have stayed the same.

Arlie Morris was a great leader promoting youth golf back then. A whole bunch of us kids would spend summers at the course and learning from him and his assistant Bob. This was before the Tiger revolution and we were all considered golf geeks. It was great fun and the paper boys played golf together and hunted for used balls in the water ditch that used to run through Murray Park. The waterfall at the park where the old flour mill used to be. We would earn change to play the video games downtown at Sandi’s arcade on Main Street.

Great stories at the golf course.

Back in the 1970’s the demographics were the opposite of today back then the “Mexicans” were in the minority and today the “white” folks are in the minority. There are some really funny observations about that time but the most important thing to remember is that those times of joy are still with us today. People haven’t really changed but I would argue without all that human interaction we have become more stupid, definitely lacking in common sense. The character carving of my youth is no longer tolerated because truth offends people.

Ray Silva was one of the leaders back then and he was a veteran that loved his country and always looked out for the kids. Ray was always mentoring, teaching life lessons while encouraging the young golfers. Another great mentor of the kids that we should mention for posterity is Fernando Martinez he was always helping the kids and encouraging them nonstop. These were real men and they genuinely loved America and served the community they lived in.

Ray was going deaf because he used to run a howitzer back in the war and there are a lot of funny stories that came out of that. Back then the men would tease him because he was going deaf. It wasn’t considered offensive. Ray was from the greatest generation that loved America and fought for America so we could all be free. Ray had a zest for life and the joyful stories of those times are many and important to remember the joy and common sense of that time.

I talked to Mark the other day about those times and he was younger than Ray and the elders in MAGA they nicknamed Mark “Cheeto”. I have known mark by this nickname my whole life but only recently found out why. Mark told me the old guys there at MAGA started calling him “Chicho” because he was the youngster in the group. We all loved cheeto’s and on TV watched “Chico and the man.” Life was simple.

After a while being that these men had spent so much quality time together the nickname got around. Ironically the “white” guys from that era didn’t understand chicho so they heard it as cheeto so the nickname morphed into cheeto and then stuck for all time.

The joy from those days was about knowing there was a line you didn’t cross but pushing the limit as to what that line was to get a laugh or provoke a reaction. Teasing each other brought you closer together in that generation because it was done in love. When you think back to those days it centers you around that feeling of joy and freedom from that time. Character carving helped to set the moral and ethical boundaries and built strong lifelong friendships.

It was a moment in time that we all took for granted thinking it would last forever. What we all begin to realize when we get older those are the times and friendships we cherish. Those are the times you look back and remember the love and the foundation of what it meant to live in a great community that protected and served the youth. A time where people genuinely loved each other and made fun of each other as they pointed out their differences expressing REAL diversity not the artificial diversity of today.

I ran into Joe Camarena at Lowes the other day and we had a great chat. We waxed nostalgic for those days when we used to tease each other and what great fun it was as we built relationships through laughter and the joy of friendship. We played for lunch money on the putting green back before the Tiger Woods phenomenon happened. Back then golfers were considered elitists. Even though I always thought of Joe more like a Lee Trevino one of his preferred nicknames is “Taco Woods” based on his golf exploits over the years.

The Golf course stories are legion but one thing we all had in common was a sense of fair play in a highly competitive culture that loved to win. We were free. There were no participation trophies and when you lost you learned humility called “good sportsmanship” and then you worked harder to win the next contest. We all loved our country and that was a given. When you got in an argument if it started to get heated you agreed to disagree and you moved on because it was still a free country.

People accepted and embraced their differences. We were stones and unique individuals. This was a far cry better than today where everyone is focused on groups and superficialities treating everyone like collective bricks. That generation would have called this generation stupid and then moved on.

A Stone Wall Is Stronger Than A Brick Wall

For kids and adults there were boundaries and folks would silence most arguments that got heated with a simple abrupt assertion about freedom.

No matter what we disagreed on it was still a free country so suck it up and move on (Grow Up).

Sure there was conflict but for the most part the prevailing culture was accepting things you couldn’t change focusing on the unity of being a free American.

We didn’t focus on our differences we focused on what united us and we respected each other as individuals.


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Part 1 • 08/16/23
Part 2 • 08/23/23
Part 3 • 08/30/23
Part 4 • 09/06/23
Part 5 • 09/13/23
Part 6 • 09/20/23
Part 7 • 09/27/23
Part 8 • 10/04/23
Part 9 • 10/11/23
Part 10 • 10/18/23
Part 11 • 10/25/23
Part 12 • 11/01/23
Part 13 • 11/08/23
Part 14 • 11/15/23
Part 15 • 11/22/23
Part 16 • 11/29/23
Part 17 • 12/06/23
Part 18 • 12/13/23
Part 19 • 12/20/23
Part 20 • 12/27/23


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