BUD BREWER

One Man's Opinion

LIVING IN THE 20TH CENTURY-CHAPTER 8

Becoming a Twosome

Bud: When I returned to the Bachelor Officer Quarters and told everyone I was engaged, my roommate said Holy Cow! My friends said, “we realized you were serious about Dottie but you have only known her for a month or two”.  I said, sometimes you just know the deal is right and I know this is the woman I want to be my wife and the mother of my children.  She has been raised a catholic and lives and behaves under the principles of Catholic Christianity.  I didn’t realize how important it would be but it was my intention to complete instruction and those steps necessary to join the Catholic Faith anyway and having her already a person who lived under those rights and disciplines added to the perceived propriety of our becoming married under its family guidelines.  I telephoned my folks and told them that I had found a girl that I was going to marry.  After the expected who what why and where questions, they asked when and where is the ceremony, we want to be there. I told them that we had talked about getting married in September and driving out to Southern California on our honeymoon.  My Dad asked; What about your plan to return to Cal after your discharge in October?  I reported that we had discussed the situation and Dottie agreed that she would get a job and earn about $200.00 per month and along with my $90 per month GI Bill income, we could handle the expenses for the two years anticipated.  He seemed somewhat dubious that the plan would not be interrupted by unforeseen circumstances but I told him, we are going to try to do it.

Dottie: My sister, Kathryn Cruz, worked on Post and she was surprised as most of our other friends that I had agreed formally to marry some GI fellow who I met as recently as only a month ago.  Kathryn asked me all the “what if” questions but after she learned Bud was from California and she met Bud, she no longer had any reservations.  In fact, I think she was kind of envious hearing that we would be living in California.  About a week later when Bud asked me to go out for dinner, I Thought this will be a good time to fulfill my promise and introduce him to Bert’s mother.  We could enjoy the good food they serve at her restaurant and he didn’t have to know anything about my relationship with Bert.  So, he agreed and said he would pick me up at 6:00 at my quarters.  It was the custom of the military guys sometimes to wear civilian clothes when off post for recreation or eating dinner etc., but when Bud showed up at my quarters in an outfit that was composed of blue pants and a green Hawaiian shirt with white tennis shoes, I was so taken back by his apparel that I suggested that maybe since I was not feeling great, we postpone going out to meet Bert’s mother and have a quiet supper at a local hangout.  Somehow in the evening’s conversation, Bud wondering why the change of plans, realized that his fashion statement did not meet the standards of we Kentucky girls and from that moment on he has developed tastes that are most admirable and suitable.  He says, “No one ever told me green and blue just don’t make it, but I’ll do better in the future”.  

Bud:  We had planned to get married just before my discharge in September but about the end of March I learned that a small two-bedroom cottage was for rent just north of the Post and after looking at it, I suggested to Dottie that maybe it would be a good idea to schedule the wedding a bit earlier and begin collecting all the things that we will need while still on post where we got good prices for everything.  Ha! Ha! That was the reason I gave her and she didn’t object so we went into see Father Gafell, the Priest at the Hospital Chapel and told him of our plans and need to schedule the event.  I rented the Cottage for the 5 months ending September 30th, and made a pretty good deal since it had been vacant for the prior four months and the landlord was a friend of my boss, Colonel Moroney. I saw to it that we spent as little time as possible at the Officer’s Club so we could chat and enjoy planning our day rather than fight off those other guys trying to get Dottie to Jitterbug with them.  My Mom and Dad flew in from Los Angeles to Nashville on Thursday before our scheduled wedding on May 23rd and stayed at the Cottage.  Dotty’s Dad and Mother came down with her brother Charles and his family. 

Dottie:  The wedding was simple but very nice, Bud wore his dress uniform and I wore a sweet white dress appropriate for the event.  Bud completed his catechism instruction and become baptized in the Catholicfaith, so we were to have a Catholic wedding before Mass at which we would say our Vows.  We both knew Father Gafell quite well since he baptized Bud and we had attended mass at his church for the prior four months.  When the Marriage service began and we both had said our part, just before Father was to say “I now pronounce you Man and Wife”, he turned to Bud and said a strange thing, “Are you Ready Bud? I was taken back a bit but he answered with complete assurance and then Father said the words that launched the Bud and Dottie Brewer Families, “The Brewer Dynasty”.  We returned to the Cottage and celebrated with a modest reception for both our families and friends. It was our plan to drive down that afternoon to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, where a friend had offered his home on Hilton Head Island for a week and where we would spend our Honeymoon. For some strange reason, we never got past Nashville where we stayed at the Noel Hotel.

Bud:  The Army was deactivating most of the units that mostly contained draftees, so I was offered the option of discharge on September 30th if I gave up my rights under my designation as “Distinguished Graduate of O.C.S.” and the automatic promotion to First Lieutenant October 31st.  That was an easy decision given my experience having seen how the real army operates and our anxiety to get going back to California. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are posts to units in which I would be a proud member, but once being assigned to the 95th, my comfort with what could happen made my continuing in the service undesirable and the return to whatever future civilian life held for me a distinct preference.

One Man and his Wife’s Opinion-

Bud and Dottie Brewer

LIFE IN THE 20TH CENTURY CHAPTER 5

Becoming a “Cal Bear”

In 1947 following the trials and tribulations of driving the B-19 across the country, I got a temporary job as “swamper” on a Delivery Truck at Abbey Rents.  Abby Rents was the largest renter of Party equipment, hospital equipment, chairs, and tables for special events. Each day I would join a big, cigar smoking Irishman of about 40 years of age, whose job was to drive a “cab over” 2 ½ ton truck to various auditoriums and hotels or individual residences where we would then unload the items the night time warehouse guys had previously loaded onto the truck.  I learned a lot about the so-called working class in this job, and some of the ways a less ethical worker would try to take advantage of their employer.  The example referenced took place one day when we had two Decker hospital beds to deliver to an apartment on the 12th floor of a building in Hollywood.  While any bed is heavy, the Decker bed at 260 lbs. was a real load even for us when we had a dolly to wheel it into a residence.  In this case, the apartment building had an elevator so all we had to do was get the bed into the elevator and up we went.  It was pretty much a normal event.  The Lesson learned took place upon return to the dispatcher’s office and my cohort slammed down his fist on the desk yelling, “I Quit, this is the last time I am going to have to break my butt because someone else doesn’t do their job”.  The Dispatcher said, “What’s the problem”, “When we got to that Decker Bed delivery, a sign on the elevator door said it was temporarily out of order so Bud and I had to muscle that ton of bolts up 12 flights of stairs.  My back feels broken”.  I knew he was lying but because he had told me to keep my mouth shut, I just listened.  The Dispatcher reached in a drawer and handed him some cash (I don’t remember how much) and said, “Maybe this will make your back problem go away.” When we walked away, he held out a few bucks expecting me to take it but I was so shocked at the story and the effect, I just said “No thanks, you keep it besides, I rode in the elevator all the way up.” Just one of those lessons you never forget.

On September 10, 1947, after a long drive of the B-19 over the Ridge Route on what was then Highway US 99, down the Grapevine Grade, through Bakersfield, Fresno, Merced, Tracy and then over through Livermore, I finally reached the Sather Gate entrance to University of California at Berkeley campus.  In preparation for my housing at Berkeley, I had applied and been accepted for residence at Bowles Hall, a prestigious gothic type structure at the top of Bancroft Avenue. The building has eight levels comprising two-room suites and a common room to house two students.  Bowles Hall also has the distinction of sitting right on top of the Hayward Fault. I was a real Plebe at Cal wearing the Cal freshman beanie as all freshman did for the first month or so of school.  Hazing was a part of leaning the decorum necessary to wear the mantel of being a Cal student in those days.  I think today’s newbies would burn down the Campanilli to demonstrate their anger against the tradition for Freshmen to wear Cal Beanie’s.

Here’s to Bowles Association.
Drink it down and then,
Drink a toast to home sweet home, Of California men.

Rah! Rah! Rah! Fill your glasses to the brim, and lift them in the air.
And drink a toast to Bowles Association,
And the Golden Bear.”

This toast was sung by Bowles students with beer mugs raised high when the Cal Band marched down from the stadium after each game the football team played in the stadium just behind the hall. It was traditional at that time that new students would “rush” the various fraternities to become members and join in the college tradition of fraternity brotherhood. My sister, in her final year at Cal, was dating a guy who was then a nonresident member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and after a few visits to the House, I was invited to come and go through the social examination of seeing if you fit in with the group.  Shortly after attending two or three affairs at “Sig Ep”, as the members called themselves, I got an invitation to Pledge the Fraternity and I was delighted to accept.  Remember, I was only 16 years old when I started Cal and only turned 17 in the third or fourth week of school.  Cal students were generally in two different groups in 1947, those that served in the War and those of us who were too young to do so.  The difference in age and maturity was anywhere from four to eight years.  It was at Sig Ep and Cal classes that I learned just how serious the senior group of students were compared to those of us who had the expectation to study and play in the tradition of pre-war college students.  As a result, it didn’t take long to experience conflict regarding behavior. Veterans populated the House Administrative bodies and they had no time for juvenile actions by the Pledges.  The form of discipline was the Paddle. The Fraternity Paddle is an Icon and it is usually decorated or carved on to distinguish it from other fraternity paddles.  Upon violation of a tradition or house rule, the house disciplinary committee would sentence the violator to one or more swats and that would be the end of the justice procedure. 

It was not long after joining Sigma Phi Epsilon that I became disappointed with the way the house was run and how the fun of being a member was slowly ebbing in part because of the difference in age of most of the members.  After a couple of months, I decided to move out of the house as soon as I could.  As it turned out my frustration led to resignation and I moved out of the House after the end of that semester. This led to my decision to attend summer school at Cal rather than take a break and go back to Southern California.  One of my good friends while at ANA was a member of a Local Fraternity, Del Rey, and they had extra rooms to rent for the summer so I moved into and subsequently joined Del Rey Fraternity as a member the following year.

After my sophomore year at Cal, I once again decided to continue studies in Summer school.  Sometime in August as I was contemplating what courses I would be taking in the Fall of 1949, I made one of my life’s worst decisions.  My friend, Richard Corwin, and I had discussed the rigors of continuous school studies and we mutually made the decision to take a year off.  We returned to the Los Angeles area where I took a commission job as a salesman for a jewelry store on Hollywood Blvd in which there was a department selling a new instrument called Television.  The Manager would place a large console inside the front window of the store.  The console had a 12 -14” round screen (actually the screen was the large end of a TV tube showing live TV programming.  People would stand on the sidewalk in front of the store watching this phenomenon in groups of ten to twenty people and my job was to entice them into the store to hear a pitch for purchase.  The big problem with TV at that time was that the TV signal was transmitted from Mount Wilson and if you didn’t have direct sight of the transmitter your picture would get progressively fuzzier.  I was not too successful selling an instrument to people living in the Hollywood Hills, Westwood or Beverly Hills.  But ever the optimist, when I got an appointment to demonstrate a set in a home up Beverly Canyon, I took a 14” set up to the family’s home, plugged it in, attached the antenna and oops, total fuzz.  Not to be denied, I proposed that the home owner run an antenna wire up to the top of the hill behind his home and he should certainly get a good picture. I didn’t make a sale that day nor the following two weeks so I realized I needed to get a real job. 

One of my Fraternity brothers at Del Rey and I got together one weekend and he told me that he was working at a brokerage company downtown LA on Spring Street.  I was curious and after learning more about the business, I decided to go down and apply for a job at one of the big firms like Merrill Lynch, E. F. Hutton, and Dean Witter and Co.  So, I put on my best and only suit and tie and applied at each of these three companies receiving the same response from all: “We will take your application and let you know when a position shows up”.  I knew that was sort of an excuse used to give hope but they probably had little intention to follow up if a job developed.

It was Christmas time and my sister and Bill Henderson had gotten married and moved to Tucson where her husband was a student at Arizona University studying to become a Nuclear Engineer. I was invited to come down and visit and after a couple of days, I got a call from my dad that someone from Dean Witter and Co. had called about a job they had for me.  I raced home after contacting the company to set up a follow up meeting the next week.  On January 5th, I began the first day of what was to be 50 years’ association in the Financial Services Industry. The image below shows the floor of the NYSE in the late 1940s. There was no video screens, computer panels or electronic displays on the floor or smart phones or tablets used at the various posts then.  The data now displayed in color on large banks of electronic displays was all kept by an individual called the Specialist who with a hand book recorded all the bids and offers for several stocks for which he was responsible to “Make a Market” The specialist was the guarantor that he would buy or sell at least 100 shares of any stock for which he was acting as the Specialist.  The price he would pay or the price he would sell those 100 shares might have a wide spread but any qualified Broker on the Floor had the right to sell or buy stock at prices in between his bid and ask.  On occasion usually following a news event, if the buy orders or sell orders became unbalanced, the Specialist had the authority to stop trading in the stock and adjust his bid or offer to adjust them to reflect the changes in demand or supply in any stock he traded to a price consistent with the then supply or demand for the stock.  When more buyers would want stock, the Specialist would keep selling shares short at increasing prices or lower his price to buy when sell orders were disproportional.  Other member floor brokers would buy or sell stock for their own account or their clients and all this trading would be modified by the Specialist certainty of making a market for each stock in his book.

My job in today’s description was to be communication administrator or as I was called, “The Ditto Boy”.  The principal duplicating machine used at that time was the Ditto Copy machine or the Spirit Copier.  You could always tell who was the Ditto boy in a company by looking at their hands.  The copy was made from a master placed on the drum and then turning the handle as each sheet of paper was pulled from a tray into the machine and a message impressed on it.  The ink was purple and the Ditto Boy’s hands would be covered with purple ink used on the Master copy. It was impossible to keep the ink off the hands and during the day, I had to use an abrasive cream to get the hands clean.  My station was in a small alcove above the Firms order desk, a very interesting area on a balcony overlooking the Broker’s desks and a large Board on which the price range or just last sale of selected stocks were displayed.  In the Middle of the Board was a transparent window through which actual trades were projected from figures on a clear tape and magnified via a mirror system reflecting the number of shares and the price of the sale of a trade made a few minutes earlier (1 or 2 minutes normally) on the floor of the NYSE.  The action was intense during trading hours and offered a real show of how capital transactions were executed.  One of the ways firms like D.W. &Co brokers on the main or second floors would communicate information or orders or requests for quotations was by a Pneumatic tube system. When a tube was sent a sharp sucking sound of the air as the tube was inserted and flap closing would occur and when the receipt of tubes from other floors happened, there was a thud as they dropped into the padded receipt box.  After a while order desk personnel could determine that something big was happening as the sucking and thump noise increased substantially and the ratta tat of the telegraph machines sending orders to the New York Office grew more intense.  I must tell you it was exciting to be a part of this display of how free market capital transaction system worked.  By showing my interest in becoming a part of the order desk personnel, I received a promotion.  From my starting position, as “Ditto Boy”, I was now elevated to the position of “Tube Jockey”. 

 Next chapter- The Korean War.

One Man and his Wife’s Opinion

Bud and Dottie Brewer

LIFE IN THE 20TH CENTURY-CHAPTER 6

Korean War.

For those of us who survived World War II, it was quite natural to live in the belief that the Political leaders of America knew what was best for American citizens and most certainly those citizens of the rest of the World.  Half of the World’s population, or even more, survived the experience only to come to realize that life was going to be significantly different in the future.  European, Russian, North African cities were in shambles with survivors barely able to live day to day.  It was the same in Asia, especially Japan where surviving day to day was an extraordinary challenge.  The United States was the only source of capital available to invest in industries returning to fundamental needs of the population. Our cities were undamaged, communication lines were in updated condition due to the war as well as our manufacturing industries were rapidly turning back to peacefully producing the pent up needs of the civilian sector and returning military forces. People living in European countries whose productive capacity had been obliterated by the destructive forces of war, were just hanging on living from day to day.  Into this developing economic disaster, came the brilliance of the American Congress with legislation passed in 1947 called the Marshall Plan, designed to invest today’s equivalent of $150 Billion in rebuilding the European economies. The plan looked to the future, and did not focus on the destruction caused by the war. Much more important were efforts to modernize European industrial and business practices using high-efficiency American models, reducing artificial trade barriers, and instilling a sense of hope and self-reliance.  The purpose of the Marshall Plan was to aid in the economic recovery of nations after World War II as well as to antagonize the Soviet Union. To combat the effects of the Marshall Plan, the USSR developed its own economic plan, known as the Molotov Plan. It was not as effective as the Marshall Plan, and in some ways contradictory to Eastern Bloc countries that served alongside the Axis powers in WWII. The reconstruction plan, developed at a meeting of the participating European states, was drafted on June 5, 1947. It offered the same aid to the Soviet Union and its allies, but they refused to accept it as doing so would allow a degree of US control over the communist economies.  In fact, the Soviet Union prevented its Satellite countries (i.e., East Germany, Poland, etc.) from accepting any funds. Secretary of State George Marshall became convinced Stalin had no interest in helping restore economic health in Western Europe. Thus, began the Cold War in which America and Russia began a period in which each Nation pursued a global plan for competing influence in the form of democratic free enterprise governments versus communistic government and its form of socialized command economic systems. As a part of this strategy, the United Nations was formed and led by the United States assumed responsibility for the survival of those member countries if invaded by a nonmember force. 

In June of 1950, North Korea allied with Communist China and supported by Russia, invaded South Korea which claimed alliance with the United Nations and as a new developing nation employing the American form of government and democratic free market economic system, qualified as a nation coming under the protection of the United Nations.  As the strongest member, America would provide assurances that it would support any proposal for military help submitted to and approved by the United Nations Security Council for military assistance in case of invasion by a nonmember nation. The action required unanimous agreement by the Council so since Russia was boycotting the UN at that time, President Truman proposed that the UN nations initiate a “police Action” to resist North Korean armies when they crossed the 38th Parallel and invaded South Korea.

As reported in Chapter 5, I was now an employee of Dean Witter and Company and well along my rookie days of a career in the Financial Services industry as a Tube Jockey, when the U.S. Congress passed a conscription law of all qualified men under the age of 30.  My draft notice came instructing me to report for duty on January 10, 1951.  Contrary to attitudes of the 1960s during the Vietnam conflict, the obligation was met with a sense of pride to serve the country that offered me and my fellow 20-year-old boys such an exciting and challenging life of opportunity (Time may have changed that attitude about serving a country run by political hacks in Washington, but the honor of being a part of that military force that saved the World from evil countries like Germany and Japan did not change).  So, I said my goodbyes to my Dad and Mom and had a friend drive me down to Union Station in Los Angeles where about 200 of us draftees boarded a troop train headed for Fort Ord, California.

The art of Military Basic Training is structured to put emotional and disciplinary pressures upon the draftee to separate those that were likely to be trainable and those that were not.  To this end, my experience with the typical text book program of hazing one who up until now enjoyed freedom of action to resist verbally or physically and normally would, came in very useful. 

We lived in 2 story wood barracks with personal space outlined by an iron spring bed, a 2-3-inch cotton mattress with a footlocker for personal items and a 2-foot wood rod mounted on the wall behind the bed to hold the new fatigues and wool uniforms we had been given at our indoctrination.  We ate uncommon epicurean delights of creamed beef on toast for breakfast, unremarkable chopped chicken mixed with pasta for lunch (usually served in the field) and something fried for dinner, if we got back from training in time.  We ran (jogged) everywhere we went and over the 6-week course, the ranks thinned out as some were deemed unfit for combat.  After Basic, I was attached to what was called “The Aggressor force”.  This was good duty as we had little ongoing personal training requirements but were supposed to take the role of the enemy when new batches of recruits came on Post for their basic in the field training.  Looking back on it, I think with the “United Nation” troops in Korea now seemingly in full command having pushed the North Koreans back almost to the Yalu River, I think the Defense Dept. was trying to figure out what they were going to do with all us draftees now that the war was almost over.

It was early October and the weather in North Korea was turning cold. Unexpectedly 300,000 Chinese troops crossed the Yalu and all hell broke loose as they over ran American Marine, Army other allied military positions in the high mountains of North Korea. I believe this development was a huge surprise and the DOD moved quickly to expand Office Candidate School in the attempt to replace the casualties developing in the War zone.  I was offered the opportunity to go to OCS if I would sign up for another two years duty.  That seemed a small price to pay for what should be an interesting experience and I had learned that officers have a better life than the dog-faced soldier.

The eight-hour flight to Fort Benning Georgia in a two engine DC3 twenty-one passenger cargo plane was not the exciting experience I expected when given my orders.  But if I thought that was bad, my first two weeks in Officer Candidate school were much worse.  It wasn’t the training, after all I was well tuned foot soldier having learned disciplines necessary to get along with spirited Tact Officers.  It was the weather, hot grubby, intensely humid air that was something I had never experienced before. Then the 1, 2, then 3, and finally 4 mile jogs before breakfast each morning were killers.  But not surprisingly by the time we got to the 4-mile run, it didn’t seem so bad.  It was bad but just not as bad as that first morning.  Even though I was in good shape that first run was made worse by not knowing just how far we were going to run.  It was on and on and on!

By Christmas, things had settled down to learning how to lead a Platoon in combat conditions.  While stimulating, this was serious business and in the role of a candidate, you better pay attention or someone is going to get killed.  By the end of training and during the last two weeks, Candidates were given Blue helmets which were evidence to other trainees that we were complete in our training and were deserved of the respect shown by the salute to an officer.  It is an odd but gratifying feeling to be in that position.  In April, I received notice that I had been selected to be one of five who would receive the designation of “Distinguished Military Graduate” in my class.  As such, I was given an option, should I choose to take it, to be appointed a “regular 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S Army with all the rights and benefits there-of. I was sure that with the appointment, I was likely to receive my first request for new station of duty at the Presidio in San Francisco.  After the graduation ceremony attended by my parents, my Dad told me that when they got a copy of the ceremony program with all the 100 or so graduates listed, my mother said to him. “Look, Buddy is not listed in the names of the graduates”, what do you suppose that means? after a moment or two they discovered my name at the top of the program with the designation of Honor Graduate.

The last thing each of us had to do before departing was to go by the Duty Office and pick up our orders for our next assignment.  It was with mixed emotions that when I received my orders, I read that I was to report in two weeks to Fort Campbell, Kentucky with the 95th Infantry Battalion.  It was mixed because while I had hoped to be assigned to some base on the Pacific Coast, the fact that I was going to join a combat unit was good since that was what I had been trained for.

On May 17, 1952, I boarded a four-engine Lockheed Constellation at Burbank Airport and began my air flight to the Nashville Tennessee airport where soon I was to make a discovery that pretty much changed any thought of becoming “real Army”.  Carrying my duffel bag, I was walking across the Tarmac toward the Terminal, when an olive drab army sedan stopped and asked me if I was going to Fort Campbell.  When I said yes, the officer, a Major in the back seat said, “toss your bag in the trunk and join us. We are going there too.”  This was a break since I was thinking I would have to take a public bus or something and the ride was about 20 miles.  After exchanging pleasantries, and explaining that I had just completed OCS, the Major asked me “What is your Unit? I proudly responded “the 95th Infantry Battalion with the emphasis on Infantry. There was an awkward moment and then the major stated, “Boy, you’re the wrong color.  That outfit is all Black!”

Living in Southern California, one rarely saw let alone spent any time working or socializing with Black people.  They were referred to as Negroes and whether you liked it or not they were thought of as a different class and treated as such routinely.  It wasn’t a sense of absolute prejudice as it was just the way things were.  Not right necessarily but truly as it was.  It never would occur to me to befriend a black man let alone a black woman but I really didn’t have a prejudicial attitude toward them as a race or group. Since I rarely saw or associated with a black person even in school, my attitude was sort of individually impartial but collectively bias.  Therefore, I must explain the shock and disappointment I was feeling at that moment and how different it was than what I expected joining my new assignment would be.

When I reported to Battalion Headquarters, I was received by a Captain who happened to be white and after some routine discussion asked me about my background, schooling, and business interests.  He explained that the 95th had been withdrawn from Korea after a mixed record and were mostly awaiting discharge from the service. At the time, he said nothing about their combat record but I learned later that the battalion had been in two or three unsuccessful defenses against the Chinese having withdrawn from positions leaving their weapons and equipment more than once.  I reported to the “A” Company Commander who was black and as a young draftee, had received battlefield promotions to his current rank.  I could feel some negative attitude operative but otherwise he was courteous and clear about what he expected. We became pretty good friends after we both had time to appreciate each other’s problems.  This job was not going to be easy as the troops had been though some uncommon experiences and I quickly realized their respect for me was limited to my staying out of their hair so to speak. (In a later chapter, I will cover some interesting information regarding how it happened that I was selected to be assigned to the 95th Infantry Battalion.)

As I still had interests in the Stock Markets, I had my subscription to the Wall Street Journal changed to my address at Fort Campbell and one day the Captain called me in and asked if after I read my copy of the Journal would I mind giving it to him.  No problem, but interestingly after that day I noticed a slight elevation of respect for me at Battalion Headquarters.  This apparently led to his empathizing with me somewhat in my position as an apparently overqualified person serving in my role as platoon leader of a soon to be discharged group of black soldiers.  At least that is one reason that I could give for the wonderful opportunity thrust upon me shortly thereafter.

It was just after Mess Call that I was told to report to the Bn. CO.  Wondering what this was all about, I walked over to Bn. Headquarters and he waived me into his office.  He reported that Post HQ had put out a call for someone thought qualified to take over the role of Post Treasurer for Unappropriated Fund Services.  He thought I would be able to handle that position and had recommended me for the job.  In that I had had little or no advanced training in that area, except for a three-month period during which I worked as a bookkeeper for a contractor, I was dubious that this would be anything but I accepted the request and went to the interview anyway.  Well, if I was dubious before arriving at the Post Treasurer’s office, I was more so after seeing that there were seven of eight civilians and one staff sergeant who acted as administrative assistant to the Post Treasurer.  The Post Treasurer had a private office with all the paraphernalia needed to do his job.  There also were numerous army manuals on the responsibility of the Office as it related to some six or seven different entities, the largest being the Post Exchange (sort of a Costco like entity).  These were organizations that operated various activities that were self-funded or funded by charitable donations. Each had a Board of Directors staffed with senior officers and one or two civilians.  The Post Commander, Colonel Moroney (a diligent man who became a good friend), served as Chairman of all the entities.  The Post Treasurer’s Office was responsible for financial administration of all these entities.  Notwithstanding my doubts about my knowledge or experience as a 21-year-old assuming this responsibility, the Captain who was interviewing me kept assuring me I would do nicely and the staff would provide any info or guidance I would need. What I found out was that the guy was due for discharge but the Post Commander was holding up signing the order until he got a satisfactory replacement. So, all my training, two years at the Army and Navy Academy, one year of ROTC at Berkeley, one year of Army Basic training and 6 months in Officer Candidate School, learning how to be a combat soldier capable of killing the enemy was put on hold and I assumed the Position of Post Treasurer along with all the responsibilities or benefits that went with it.

For all of you Brewer family members who are reading these historical tidbits of our lives in the 20th Century, the next chapter will cover the extraordinary chance occurrence that lead to the union begun 64 years ago between Dottie and me from which you are a branch, twig or leaf.  I hope you are and will always be excited about growing in the support of that tree, the shade it gives and the opportunities you have to achieve greatness in your own right.

Next time: Learning how to jitterbug.

 

One Man and woman’s opinion—Bud and Dottie Brewer

LIFE IN THE 20TH CENTURY-CHAPTER 7

Korean War, (continued) 

Imagine fighting a war in a place so inhospitable that the weather and terrain are every bit as hostile as the enemy. Imagine fighting a war amid towering, snow-clad mountains, deep in enemy territory at the end of a narrow, winding, icy road that is the sole link to your base of supplies more than 70 miles distant. Imagine fighting a war where the thermometer sinks to 35 degrees below zero and a wailing wind drives howling blizzards straight from the polar icecap. Imagine fighting a ruthless, fanatical enemy who outnumbers you by more than five to one and who has orders to annihilate you to the last man. Imagine all these things, and you have the situation confronting the First Marine Division in late 1952.

The Korean war had come down to a stalemate with both sides committing and suffering huge numbers of casualties. One of the most intense battles was that nicknamed “Whitehorse”.  White Horse was the crest of a forested hill mass that extended in a northwest to southeast direction for about two miles (3 km), part of the area controlled by the U.S.IX Corps  and considered an important outpost hill with a good command over the Yokkok-chon Valley, dominating the western approaches to Cheorwon. Loss of the hill would force the IX Corps to withdraw to the high ground south of the Yokkok-chon in the Cheorwon area, would deny the IX Corps use of the Cheorwon road net, and would open up the entire Cheorwon area to enemy attack and penetration.

During ten days of battle, the hill would change hands 24 times after repeated attacks and counterattacks for its possession. It was one of the most intense position-grasping battles for a small hill during the Korean War. Afterwards, the hill looked like a threadbare white horse, thence its name of Baengma, meaning a white horse.

Meanwhile, my contribution to the war effort was to approve emergency loans to members of the 2nd Army and 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and not serve in combat with the high probability of becoming one of the casualties that occurred to my fellow O.C.S. graduates during the intense fighting in the Fall of 1952.  For some reason, known only to God, I was spared the likelihood of being assigned to a combat ready unit that was going to be shipped overseas to fight in North Korea.  No, my contribution to this Police effort was to allocate funds from donations received by the National Army Emergency Relief Foundation.  Well, somebody had to do it (But in fact there was one other person who knew why I was assigned to the 95th.  That person was a fellow O.C.S Candidate who I ran into at Midway Airport, Chicago in 1968 quite by chance.  After all the exchanges about what have you been doing, etc, he asked me a strange question: “Did you ever wonder why you got assigned to the 95th Infantry Battalion at Fort Campbell? But more on that in later chapters”). 

One of the Typical emergencies was for something relating to a soldier’s family or expenses relating to support.  The key word in the regulations was “unforeseen” so I set a standard that required that condition to approve a loan request.  One Sunday evening as a couple of officers and I were playing pool in the rec room of the BOQ, there was a poker game going on concurrently among five or six officers, one of whom had two silver bars on each shoulder indicating his rank to be a Captain.  I noticed some distress in his manner as he was apparently losing money fast.  The following morning, who should show up requesting a $500 emergency relief loan with the explanation that he was about to go on leave and his car broke down and he needed the money for its repair before he could get home to his family.  I don’t believe he realized I watched him lose at least twice that amount playing poker the night before.  Now what should I do?  He obviously was lying on his application and seemed not to care that the funds I was administering were contributed solely for military personnel who had an unforeseen need for help, i.e. emergency.

At about 4:00 PM that afternoon, Colonel Maroney called and asked me to come over to Post Headquarters.  When I arrived, he very graciously invited me to come in and join him and another officer with whom he was having a meeting.  As I sat down I noticed that the other officer was the Captain who had applied that morning for the $500 loan from AER and had been denied by some punk second Lieutenant named Brewer.  The Colonel using very political language asked why I had denied the Captain his seemingly justified request.  “Ute Oh”, I thought, here it comes, the good old boy coverup often seen in political circumstances like this.  While I was comfortable having made my decision on behalf of the AER purpose and consistent with those who contributed to the Fund thinking their contributions would be used for real and justified purposes, I decided to explain the standards on which I was exercising my authority and responsibility.  I added “If the Colonel believes I was being too narrow in those standards by concluding that losing $500 to $1000 in a poker game last night might not be considered an unforeseen emergency, then I would respect his counsel and have an AER check issued upon his written request”.  Colonel Moroney, bless his heart, turned to the Captain, and said “Do you still disagree with the basis for Lieutenant’s decision?”  If not, I suggest you go to your bank and make a commercial loan for the funds you need and in the future, stay out of poker games risking money you cannot afford to lose.  The Colonel and I had a great relationship after that, one that included his letter of recommendation for my application for entrance to the Command and General Staff School (CGSS).  While an honor, this idea was ridiculous for two reasons: I was scheduled to be released from the Army on October 1st, 1953 and more importantly, entrance required the field grade rank of “Major”.  

In early December, a couple of my friends and I decided to go down to the Officer’s Club one Saturday evening and have a few beers.  Many of the young ladies who worked in Civil service on the Post would frequent the Club and we could enjoy music and dancing without any commitment. One of my good friends was an officer in the 101st Airborne Division which was headquartered at Fort Campbell. While I spent most of the evening just listening to Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller music, my “straight leg” friend Ben, who was Jewish, would ask one particular girl, named Dottie, to dance and they would do the Jitterbug to perfection.  Meanwhile I had to wait to dance only when we had slow music because I didn’t know how to Jitterbug. Others got up and asked Dottie to dance and so I did too but only slow beats.  She obviously preferred to dance with my friend who was really good and they would almost cause everyone else to stop and watch.  It appeared that they might be more than just friends.

I was raised under strong Christian Beliefs but never was a member of an organized church.  I will admit that during my Academy days at ANA where church attendance on Sunday morning was mandatory, I quickly noticed that the Protestant cadets, by far the majority, had to march to their church on Sunday mornings and the Christian Scientists and Catholics got to ride in the school’s bus.  So, since my grandmother was a CS, I joined the group heading to that service so I would be driven to and from our mandatory Sunday service participation. 

One thing I noticed while I lingered in my bunk on Sunday morning when I was at Fort Campbell, was the difference in behavior of certain officers in the BOQ when after a hard Saturday night at the Club and maybe one or two too many “Cevecas”, these guys would get out of bed, shave and shower and go off to Church.  It was admirable behavior and not in context with what we who were non-church goers thought made any sense.  One morning about two weeks after my appointment as Post Treasurer, one of my friends asked me if I would like to go down to Clarksville, Tennessee and attend Mass there and then see a movie.  More as a curiosity, since I had never attended Catholic Mass, I said sure and that started a regular weekly habit of going down to a beautiful but small church listening to the service which, except for the Sermon, was all in Latin. It is funny how you begin to develop an understanding of Christianity and it becomes more than a Sunday habit but you feel drawn in by some mystery of faith or a better understanding of Catholicism and its place in the history of Christ.  Anyway, I subsequently joined with my fellow Catholics in the BOQ and attended Mass each Sunday thereafter at one or the other of several Chapels which were located on the Post.

Now here is where all this ties in to something beautiful.  As I mentioned before our Saturday entertainment was typically derived from spending time at the Officer’s Club listening to music  and dancing with one or more of the Civil Service ladies on the Post.  I was feeling something for my friend Ben’s girlfriend but wasn’t sure what it was.  Then quite by accident, my buddy who always woke me up for Mass on Sunday, was on leave and so I missed the early Mass and went to a later one at the Hospital Chapel.  Who do you think I saw lining up to take Communion that morning?  Yes, it was Dottie and I was shocked to realize that she was a Catholic.  After Mass, I spoke with her and invited her to join me sometime for dinner and a movie.  She wasn’t quite sure but I persisted and she said OK and gave me the phone  number at her Civilian Quarters.

This was sometime in early December and while I had no “wheels”, the only place we could go would be the Post Theater and the Officers club for a hamburger.  Well, my plans would not include sitting in the Officer’s Club drinking a beer while some GI would be dancing with my date out on the floor.  So, I had to figure out a way to buy a car.  Fortunately, another friend was going home to Campaign, Illinois for Christmas and invited me to come celebrate with his family.  I was more than interested since he had mentioned several times that his Father owned and operated one of the largest auto dealers in that town.  I found a used car on his father’s car lot which was within my price range and after Christmas, drove back to Fort Campbell.  Now I could keep better control over the situation and prevent all those guys from spending time dancing with Dottie while I sat twiddling my thumbs.  But the real problem was that Dottie loved to dance and the only way I was going to have more time with her was for me to learn how.  Another friend of mine was an excellent jitter bugger and so I asked him if he would teach me the steps and movements.  Just picture two 6’+ guys in a bunk room learning the moves to a Glenn Miller tune called “In The Mood” played over and over.  But I learned and after that I had full control of Dottie’s wish to be out on the dance floor.

About a month later near the end of January of 1953, I had just parked my 1949 Mercury in front of her quarters and took a big breath before asking her the question: “Dottie, what would you say to our getting married?”  Her answer was logically, “Why don’t you ask me and find out.  With that seemingly innocuous response, I took a deeper breath and asked her the real question.  Now sitting with her here in Rancho Mirage sixty four years later, I am pleased to report: She said yes. 

Next time- Back to civilian life

One man and his wife’s Opinions-

Bud and Dottie Brewer 

LIFE IN THE 20TH CENTURY Chapter 4

The Turning of the Tide.

After hearing about how the American Marines were being pushed back in the Pacific and how the British and French armies were being pushed back in Libya toward El Ale Main, Egypt, it seemed to most of us that Britain would soon be invaded and our last critical location to marshal an offensive for invading Europe would be lost to the Germans.  But Hitler made a classical mistake when he delayed organizing for an invasion of England and turned his attention toward Russia where he opened a second front.  This gave America the time to make a giant effort to turn every manufacturing company into production of war materials.  The Battle at El Ale-main was raging when the German Panzer tank and supporting vehicles under the command of General Erwin Rommel simply ran out of gas.  That was the turning point of the War in North Africa.  According to conventional wisdom, Nazi Germany boasted the most highly efficient and well-outfitted war operation of World War II, including military technology (from Tiger tanks to U-boats to rocket-powered jets) that put their armed forces leaps and bounds ahead of the Allies.  But historian James Holland challenges this generally accepted view. For all its “massively over engineered” weapons, he argues, Germany was in fact far less efficient than Britain and the United States at manufacturing and supporting its tanks, airplanes, and other wartime machinery. In his view, Germany’s operational shortcomings, including a crucial lack of resources, paved the way for its defeat nearly as soon as the conflict began.  The Germans were thought to be invincible because of their highly regarded Panzer tank designed by Ferdinand Porsche that just rolled over those of France and England.  It was thought that Germany was invincible because of their highly-sophisticated industrial and manufacturing capability.  But this was proven wrong in the battles with the U. S. Sherman Tank especially under command of General George Patton.  The Panzer, as powerful as it was, also was a slow six gear machine that had frequent breakdowns.  Germany made only 1800 of them, while America made over 46,000 of the Sherman model tank.

Here at home, I graduated from Junior High school and registered for the tenth grade at the North Hollywood High School. I took the basic curriculum, for example, Algebra II, English, History, Life Science, Spanish and Oral Arts.  I joined the baseball team as a back-up infielder.  However, I never played in one league game.  In those days, the school athletic coaches always played to win and that meant back-up team members just watched unless there was an injury.  When the baseball team boarded the bus for the 26 miles ride to play our final game against San Fernando high, the first team 3rd baseman, who had been sick and absent all week, was not on the bus.  Coach handed me a uniform and cap.  I was excited anticipating as a 10th grader to be able to play in a league game.  When we arrived at the field in San Fernando,  standing over by his folks’ car was the regular 3rd base player and even with a bad cold he played the full game although we won by 5 runs and were never really challenged.  I learned something then that in competition, the message is “Kill, Kill, kill”, i.e., never give the opposition a chance, even when you are going to win the game anyway.  If you are ahead by 5 runs play to make it 6.

In the Summer of 1944, the long-anticipated invasion of Europe by Allied forces took place on June 6th.  The weather was awful and the attack had to be postponed twice.  But this probably helped the Allies as the German high command doubted Supreme Commander, General Eisenhower, would attempt to launch the hundreds of small vessels  carrying 150,000 American, British and Canadian soldiers across the English Channel in such bad weather.  In fact, Rommel who was the senior German officer commanding the Western front and its defense strategy, had taken leave for a couple of days and wasn’t even in the expected landing zones.  Of those 150,000 troops in the armada, an estimated 4400 were killed during the first day and several times that number in subsequent allied actions until Victory.  The landing of American forces was directed to the most difficult topography among which was Omaha Beach shown above.  Picture yourself exiting a small landing craft after a grueling trip across stormy skies and high waves for 20 miles with everyone experiencing nausea and then looking out at the image above just after the front gate dropped and you had to go ashore and face the enemy perched on the high ground in front of you.  I will never forget those chilling reports and Movie-Tone displays of valor and, I hope my family never does either.  As an aside, Dottie and I visited the graves of American soldiers’ never to come home as they lay in peace under white crosses and star of David markers on Normandy Peninsula during one of our visits to France in the 1970’s. It was very emotional. In February of 1945, Germany was beaten yet not officially surrendered.  All our attention was turned on defeating the Japanese empire and winning the War in the Pacific.  The news we received each day during the Fall and Winter of 1944 was gruesome but showed progress as we swept up the Mariana chain of Islands, Guam, Tinian, Iwo Jima, and Saipan. On Iwo Jima, the Japanese defenders were fanatic and fought to the death, which required the use of the flamethrower to dig them out of caves and 11 miles of connecting tunnels, refusing to surrender when given the chance when the battle was lost. U.S. Marines were taking huge casualties.  Of the 30,000 in the first day landings, followed by 40,000 over the period of the battle, 26,000 were casualties including 6,800 dead before the island was secured on March 29th.  The Japanese defenders numbered 23,000 of which 20,000 were casualties, 19,000 dead, 300 prisoners and 2700 continuing to exist living in the tunnels and caves, coming out at night to forage for food.  The last defenders were two soldiers who surrendered in 1949 four years after the last organized action.

In June of 1945, a small headline in the Los Angeles Times read: “U.S. tests a bomb with 25,000 lbs. of TNT explosive power”.  The story went on to explain “this new bomb developed by scientists at Los Alamos New Mexico was several times the force of any bomb used before and could make a major difference in the outcome of the war”.  At the time, I had no knowledge of what nuclear power was all about but, we were to learn soon what an extraordinary effect it would have on the ending of the Japanese resistance in the Pacific.  It also would lead to all the major nations of the world accelerating their efforts to develop the science necessary to produce an Atomic bomb and the even more powerful Hydrogen bomb.   Plans for the creation of a uranium bomb by the Allies were established as early as 1939, when Italian emigre physicist Enrico Fermi met with U.S. Navy department officials at Columbia University to discuss the use of fissionable materials for military purposes. That same year, Albert Einstein wrote to President Roosevelt supporting the theory that an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction had great potential as a basis for a weapon of mass destruction. In February 1940, the federal government granted a total of $6,000 for research. But in early 1942, with the United States now at war with the Axis powers, and fear mounting that Germany was working on its own uranium bomb, the War Department took a more active interest, and limits on resources for the project were removed (eventually increased to $2 Billion).  The images of the damages done by one bomb changed most of the World’s civilizations to conclude, this form of warfare will be a cataclysmic consequence, not a tactical improvement.  But after the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, the Japanese did surrender and the war in which 60 Million people were killed ended, Thank God!

In the spring of 1945, while in my first year at North Hollywood High, I had a science teacher who caused my parents to consider changing my educational plan.  In open question time, this instructor gave what seemed crazy answers to many student questions of how the body worked.  I would mention this to my Mom and Dad and they shared a concern that due perhaps to the war, LA County High School District’ teachers might be reflecting the shortages of qualified personnel.  Among the things, I remember is the answer given to my question “Why does the hair on your head grow longer than the hair on your arm?”  His reply was “It is because it is closer to the bone.”  After telling my folks of the incident, I was launched on a path to enroll in“The Army and Navy Academy” in Carlsbad California the following semester.  This college preparatory school had small classes of 10-12 cadets in a military based academic environment that not only gave me the benefit of stronger challenges for learning, but a living and disciplinary environment that proved to be a solid foundation for my time in the Army’s basic training and Officer Candidate School during my years of service, 1951-1953.  At ANA, Cadets lived in cottages of four rooms, two to a room with shared bathroom facilities.  We lived by the Bugle.  Reveille: -6:30 AM, Students to Awaken and prepare for- First Call: Assemble for Roll Call. 7:00 AM, Mess Call: Students assemble in Formation March to Mess Hall. 8:15AM Assembly: Students to report to classes.  Other Bugle calls would announce afternoon duties, call to quarters, and finally Taps: Lights out. I attended the Academy from September 1945 until I graduated in June 1947.  The best and probably most underappreciated part of being a student at ANA is where the campus was located, right on one of So. California’s most beautiful beaches. During the first year, I observed how advancement in rank was determined and how discipline was rewarded so I found it relatively easy to fit in to the program and learn under a military discipline like approach.  The school granted the highest honor, an appointment as a “Silver A” Cadet, to those who had academic excellence, high grades for disciplinary behavior and those who embraced the spirit of the military model for the cadet.  I worked hard at all those qualification disciplines and at the end of my first year had been promoted to Sargent Major and designated a Silver A Cadet.  Being a small school, 200 students, this was easier than you might think but still I was proud of the accomplishment and although in my senior year, my Silver A designation was revoked for a month due to my being a principle in a discipline procedure, I was happy to graduate as a Lieutenant and Silver A student with plans for entering the University of California at Berkeley, where my sister was already an upper division student.

During the final days at ANA, while sitting with two other fellow cadets I thought: wouldn’t it be fun to drive across America during Summer vacation, see other parts of the country we loved and work at odd jobs to pay for gas and food etc.  Since many of our co-students lived in the places we wanted to visit and we each had relatives who were also located around the country, we figured we could plan our trip in such a way as require only $30-$40 each.  We could make money caddying at golf courses or doing odd jobs for people like wash their car, or run an errand. Since the War was just over and Europe and Asia were certainly not ideal travel destinations, getting out and seeing the USA seemed like a neat adventure and a lot of fun.  In my senior year, I talked my Dad into loaning me $300 so I could take $200 I had saved and buy a car.  The one we selected was a 1935 two-door sedan with a floor stick shift and bucket seats in the front and a small luggage trunk on the back.  It was black with white sidewall tires and of course over 12 years old but it was mine and served me well for several years.  I called it the B-19, a name given to one of the obsolete bombers used in the war and a plane that had many faults in design and operations.  The car was well named as it too was a bit flawed.  Two of my fellow cadets and I talked our folks into letting us drive off one day in June of 1947 (I was 16 years old) and begin what turned out to be one of the most extraordinary adventures I had ever experienced driving to Bar Harbor, New England, then down to Fort Benning Georgia and then winding back to So California with many stops in between on our 6-week journey.  We visited relatives who would feed and house us for a day or two and in some cities, we would just sleep in the car.  In Bar Harbor, Maine, we showed up unannounced at the Brewer Hardware store and I mentioned I was Merrill Brewer’s Grandson.  They were so excited to see us that they took us out for a real Maine Lobster dinner but afterwards, they just said good luck and so long.  We had nowhere to sleep but I got the idea that maybe we could go to the city jail and ask to sleep in one of the cells overnight.  That worked but the next morning when we woke up and asked to be released, a new crew was on duty and declared they knew nothing about the deal we make the night before.  It was a little rattling to think we might be kept there, but finally with a laugh and wish good luck we were released.  I can’t leave this part of our history without reporting something that was standard procedure during those times.  After spending a few days with my uncle at Fort Benning, we drove across Alabama and after working a couple of days shagging golf balls at a country club, we set out for Saint Louis where we planned to visit one of our fellow ANA Cadet’s home in Memphis, Tennessee.  We decided to drive all night trading off driving turns.  I was sleeping when my co-traveler Bill Campbell was at the wheel for his turn driving.  Bill had a weak bladder and we frequently had to stop so he could relieve himself.  After a few hours, deep in sleep, I was suddenly awakened with a start as I felt the car hit into a drainage ditch.  It was about 2:00 AM and we were stuck with the right wheel in the ditch so we couldn’t drive the car out.  Bill’s excuse was that he had to “go” and it looked like the roadside was flat.  I was furious as was my other cohort, Peter Denman.  What to do?  As we stood there I noticed a farm house back about a mile and told Bill since he created the problem, he had to run back and ask for help.  About ten minutes later, I saw a light come on in the house, then two and more.  I saw a vehicle’s headlights come on and it backed around and headed out toward us.  When it arrived at our car, I saw that it was a flatbed truck with a whole bunch of people on the back.  I was flabbergasted but for people living in these remote parts of the country, this was an adventure not to be missed.  The whole family had come out to see what was going on.  After a brief time connecting our car, the truck pulled us out and after many handshakes and thank you’ s, we were off again.  At the moment, I only had a five-single dollar bills in my pocket so I offered it to the Farmer but he refused to take it. It was what people did in those days, help their neighbor or anyone who needed a lift-up, even at 2:00 o’clock in the morning.

Next time, a Freshman at University of California at Berkeley.

One Man’s and his Wife’s Opinion

Bud Brewer and Dottie Brewer

LIFE IN THE 20TH CENTURY, Chapter 3

The War

 

My sister, Barbara Henderson wrote a history of the World War II years in three chapters some number of years ago to have a record for her children and grandchildren so they would learn how things were during that time.  I have taken several excerpts from those files and added them in Italics to this edition of Life in the 20th Century.

 As soon as The Congress voted to declare War on Japan, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States forming what we called the Axis Powers. As confident as our government voiced statements that America would be able to defeat the Japanese, Germans, and Italian military, most of the news we received was not good.  Our Commanding General in the Pacific was General MacArthur. He directed the defensive battle of the South Pacific and Philippines for about three months until being evacuated from the fortress island of Corregidor under the cover of darkness March 12,1942.  General Wainwright took over high command of the defenses.  The persistence and valor of our marines, naval and army personnel on Corregidor was the one positive image we had during those terrible months of early 1942.  Further territory was invaded and overwhelmed in the months leading up to the fall of Corregidor.  But as long as we held out, we had something to cheer for. In May of 1942 General Wainwright sent two soldiers out with a white flag and surrendered to the Japanese.  The months following were grim as we heard of Japanese victories over more of the South Pacific.  But on August 4, 1942, the U.S Marines landed a small force on the Island of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Island Group.  The Guadalcanal campaign was a significant strategic offensive of combined arms effort l eading to eventual victory in the Pacific theater. Along with the Battle of Midway, it has been called a turning point in the war against Japan. As I was wrapping and loading my papers one morning in 1942, I looked at the headline which was, “Crossing the T”.  I was curious what that meant and read the article which described the Battle of Cape Esperance, the first United States night naval battle victory over the Japanese. A U.S. force of cruisers and destroyers under Admiral Norman Scott crossed the “T” of a cruiser–destroyer force under Aritomo Goto.  Gotō’s force was approaching Guadalcanal on October 11, 1942 to bombard Henderson Field in support of  a reinforcement mission when it was surprised and defeated by Scott’s force in a confused night battle. Goto died of his wounds shortly after the battle, and lost the cruiser Furutaka and 3 Destroyers.  I was so excited to learn finally of a victory over the ‘Japs‘ even though I didn’t entirely understand how this crossing of the T made it possible.

Our lives on the home front changed considerably regarding food and necessities.  No one argued that the armed forces did not need these items.  Those men were sacrificing their lives.  The most we had to do was rearrange our lives to use the amount of food and goods in the best way. The Office of Price Administration was formed in 1941 to control civilian supply of foods and materials. At first the concentration was on raw materials, but later Ration Boards were set up in every county and manned by vollunteers.  A ration book was issued to every man, woman, and child in the U.S.   The books had little stamps in them.  The first item that was rationed was sugar.  Every person was allowed 8-12 ounces per person per week.  Unless you did a lot of baking, this was enough for the average family.  If you took sugar in your coffee and tea, you had to change your habits.  Some people turned to substitutes like corn syrup.  By summer, it was necessary to ration coffee.  This amounted to 1 pound of coffee per person every five weeks.  Again, it was manageable if you were an average drinker but care needed to be taken not to waste the coffee. By 1943 the ration book contained rows of red and blue stamps marked A, B, C, D.  Blue stamps were for processed foods, Red stamps were for meats, cheese, and fats.  There was a point system to account for the discrepancy in price.   Housewives saved all the grease from cooking and turned it in to the butcher in exchange for red stamps.  Everyone who could had a” victory” garden.  The more vegetables grown at home the better meals you had because with the “Relocation” of the Japanese from California (who produced 40% of the vegetable crops), a vegetable shortage was created.  They were no longer available to do that at which they were the best.  Many people also had chickens in their back yard.

 In addition to raising certain vegetables in our victory Garden, I got my mother to buy 4 or 5 bantam baby chicks at a poultry feed store and I built a hutch in our back yard so that we would have some fresh eggs from time to time.  I was curious how the chicken would lay an egg and sometimes abandon it and other times sit on it for hours at a time.  I wanted to have them lay eggs for eating and to have the hen and rooster fertilize some of the eggs so we might increase the flock.  When one of the hens became broody, I fixed up a box in my bedroom and placed the hen in the box with a straw nest along with four or five eggs.  I covered the box and   placed a 60-watt light bulb through the top of the box to keep the eggs and the hen warm.  This was a very bad idea.  After a week or so when they hatched I continued sleeping next to this box and tending to the chicks.  I cleaned up the mess caused by droppings and other matter, but the next thing I knew was that I was in a hospital room with a nurse tending to me.  What had happened during the meantime was that I had contracted Spinal Meningitis, a very serious and death threatening disease.  I was in the Contagious Disease Ward at the LA County Hospital.  I felt terrible but due to the fast diagnosis by our family doctor. What he did to make the diagnosis was to place his hand under my neck and when he lifted my head, my whole body rose stiff as a board.  After a couple of brief telephone calls, he convinced one ambulance company that by wrapping me in sheets, they had no potential danger from the disease. There followed a speedy trip in the ambulance to LA County CD Ward.  After two or three days, I was awake after receiving huge injections of antibiotic sulfonamide (sulfa), a relative of penicillin discovered in 1928 but not commonly used until 1942.  For three days, I had been given massive injections of Sulfa, and was just coming out of a coma.  I was later transferred to a ward with 6-8 other patients in some stage of recovery.  The disease usually causes the loss or deficiency of some part of the cognitive, physical, or sensory capabilities.  I was one of the lucky ones who, perhaps questionably, had no ill effects after 45 days of care in the CD Ward. During my stay, every 3 days I was wheeled to a surgical room in which the doctor would tap my spinal fluid to check its condition.  Not a pleasant experience.  Upon release, the doctor advised my folks to not have me return to school but for the remaining months of the Spring school year and Summer to spend as much time as possible in the outdoors (sans chickens) especially participating in some sport.  As disappointing as that instruction was, my folks decided that Dad would take me to the Griffith Park golf course on the way to work and I would spend the day playing the unlimited number of holes allowed by the $5.00 monthly Green Fee.  He would then pick me up on the way home. It was a tough life as you can imagine.

One of the things we enjoyed doing at that time to get around during the period of gasoline rationing was a ride on the Pacific Electric Street-Car. Powered by overhead trolley pole riding along on an electric powerline, these trains ran on a vast network of tracks that went from San Bernardino, to San Pedro, to San Fernando connecting all the communities in between.  For ten cents, you could travel as far as you wanted within each fare zone. Each car had a motorman and a conductor.  After school, I would sometimes take this train down to Hollywood and hang around in my dad’s typewriter shop.  He had a young man who he was training to be a typewriter repair man.  Whenever he would speak to my dad, he would call him “coach”.  After a while I started to use the nickname also and for the rest of his life, I always addressed my dad as coach, a proper thing to do since he was my lifelong adviser in so many things.

 A little bit of history: In 1919, My grandfather, Merrill Brewer, who lived with his wife and son, my dad, in Bar Harbor Maine, accepted an offer to move to Southern California and open a franchised Corona office machine store.  With a pioneer spirit, he loaded his wife and son into a used touring sedan and began a 3-month journey driving across America in a used Franklin automobile eventually settling in Hollywood California. My Dad, 14 at the time learned a lot about how to deal with difficulties on that trip as it was made long before there were real highways connecting the east and west coast. Although a good student, he left high school after the 11th grade, and went to work in my grandfather’s typewriter shop on Hollywood Blvd.  In 1926, he and my mother got married and he began a new role in his father’s business as the principal outside salesman. In 1938, Merrill Brewer retired and my dad, the Coach, took over the shop. 

When the War started, Pop realized early on that with no new typewriters being manufactured, he would be out of business also.  However, he figured out that he could rent used typewriters from wholesalers at $5 per month per typewriter and re-rent them for $10 to the studios and the defense industries (The birth of the middleman). At one point, he had over 1000 machines out under lease. This not only made it possible for him to stay in business but enabled him to develop an active contract repair service and increase his related stationary and supplies business. It not only enabled him to stay in business but provided a platform for continuing the leasing of typewriters and adding machines business after the war. The studio relationships also led him to expand into the Art supply business and it became a fast-growing part of his gross sales after the end of the war (very high margins).  (But more on that in future chapters.)

 Dottie’ life in Kentucky during the early 1940s was pretty much the same as everywhere else.  Become more self-reliant by growing more of the food you ate, save everything useful in the war effort and pray a lot.  In fact, they got most of their news about what was going on in the war effort while attending social events at the church. Of course, there were a lot of rumors going around, most of them telling something not true about what was happening in the war. She lived most of the time at Mrs. Webb’s since it was closer to Saint Vincent Academy, the Catholic school she was attending.  The Nuns held Catechism classes every day but on Thursday the priest would come in and talk and ask us if anyone had any questions for him.  Since they were all in that middle teen-age area, and were sensitive to and curious about what the church said was consistent with the rules of proper behavior when dating a boy.  One of the serious questions was, “is it a sin to kiss a boy when he brings you home from a date?”  This brought numerous chuckles and a smile to the priest’s lips as he answered that it was not a sin unless it went too far.  He told them in clear words repeated by nuns and parents what too far was.  We really didn’t date like most kids do in today’s world. While popular music was enjoyed by all, Teenagers in our day would go to a popular youth club called “The Barn” each Saturday night and have nothing heavier than a Coca-Cola or a milk shake to drink with a hamburger or hot dog..  The Club was run by one of towns respected families and the rules were very strict. The popular activity was to dance what was called the “Jitterbug style.  Dottie took dancing lessons from the time she  was about 8 years old and she told me “even if I say so myself, I was a pretty good dancer, so I never had to sit waiting to be asked to dance”.

 

One of the amazing phenomena’s that occurred during the 1930s and 1940s was the growth in the card game of Contract Bridge. It became the central activity for socializing among couples and people unable to afford or attend other types of entertainment.  Mrs. Webb ran a bridge club at her home every Tuesday and Thursday.  Dottie told me “I suppose this is where I got the seed of motivation for learning how to play this game. When they had one of the ladies unable to attend, Mrs. Webb would sit me down on a book or two and with some help from others I slowly learned the fundamentals of the game. Being a small-town, Waverly or Morgantown didn’t have much entertainment for young people.  I mean it was a big day when we got to go over to a school chums home with elegant design and furnishings.  We rode bicycles all over the County and would spend hours dreaming about the outside world.  One day I just knew I would get the chance to travel to the state of California”.

Next time we will share some interesting times ending the World War II

 

One Man and his Wife’s opinions—

Bud and Dottie Brewer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIFE IN THE 20TH CENTURY Chapter one

A series of stories and some experiences for sharing with our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  Life is Good!

In September of 1935, at the age of 5, I was enrolled in Kindergarten at the Oneonta Grammar School in South Pasadena.  My family lived at 1124 Beach Street in the left side of this 1200 sq. foot duplex shown below with one bedroom and a sleeping porch behind it where my sister and I slept in Bunk (stacked) beds.  When guests or relatives came to visit (not very often), they would sleep on a “Murphy bed pulled down from a closet located in the dining room.  What I remember about that period is that as a small child I had freedom to wander all over the neighborhood if I was home by dinnertime.  Among the more popular pastimes in our neighborhood was the game of hide and seek or “Kick the Can” as it became known in which each participant would have 60 seconds to hide and try to race whoever was “It” to the can in the street first.  A player would get home safely if they were able to kick the can before the person who was “it” did.  In this period, it was common for kids our age to play baseball or “kickball” in the street of a residential area. Or other times to just venture around the neighborhood exploring alleys, vacant lots or even wander up into the then undevelopped foothills above our home.  How I kept time to know when I was late is unknown but it seemed natural to just be sensitive to my stomach to guide me when I had to start moving toward home.  Life in those days was simple.  We were called or sometimes pulled out of bed and dressed for school, every morning and fed our cereal or oatmeal for breakfast, told to brush our teeth and patted on the behind to get moving off to school.  Fortunately for us we only had to walk about a mile to school. My sister was in charge to see that I crossed the railroad tracks (then running down the middle of Huntington Drive) safely but for the most part I was responsible to take care of myself.  Our kitchen appliances looked something like those in the image here. We had a small nook with built in benches on each side of our breakfast table.  Every day or so a truck would pull up out front and the driver, usually dressed in white, would carry a 20-pound block of ice to our back door and place it in what we called an “icebox”.  To this day, I often reply to a question asking where we kept something cold with the response, “It’s in the ice box”.  Refrigeration was expensive and available then only in a bulky piece of equipment that was too large for our close quarter living.  Of course, we had no TV, Cell phone, Tablet, Disc Player, computer access to the Internet, Facebook page or any of the other gadgets todays youngster live with. We had a bicycle and treasured the mobility available thereby.  We had to make do with what our imagination would construe.  And sometimes that got us into trouble.  Saturday afternoon movies were a standard with cartoons, and double feature films about cowboys and Indians. For 10 cents, a parent could get 4 hours of baby sitting in a movie theater, deemed a safe place.

At my home, we had relatively modern plumbing and heating, etc. when compared to that available to my wife Dotty’s family in her childhood.  She grew up in Waverly, Kentucky, a small village in the northwest part of the state.  She was the 7th child of her mother, Mary and father, Charles Cruz.  They lived in a modest log framed house built in the late 1880’s like in the image below (but the dormer windows in the roof as shown were for ventilation only as it was a one story home). and while it had three fireplaces, it had no indoor plumbing.  Water for drinking, cooking, washing up, laundry, or even bathing was available only by depressing a pump handle up and down 20-30 times and collecting water from a well located under or near the house in a bucket, glass, or tub of some kind. Then it could be heated by placing it on a grate over one of the fireplaces or over grills of a coal or wood burning stove.  Of course, without plumbing one had to use what is called an “Outhouse”, typically located 30-50 feet to the rear of the home, to empty bladders or do more serious voiding. While the central house was connected to a source of electricity, most of the evening interior light was obtained from kerosene lanterns.  The electricity did provide power for a radio and limited illumination in the Living or Great room.  During the winter, Dotty’s dad would light all three fireplaces before going to bed so the family could keep warm at least for most of the night.  Dotty ‘s two older sisters, Anne and Kathryn, influenced her behavior most. Their early training caused her to spend only one day in the first-grade classroom before the teacher told her to report to the second grade class the next day. The family couldn’t afford nonessential play things like dolls, so Dotty would make her own by cutting out figures from the Sear’s catalogs. Her sisters taught her to study, do her homework every day of the school year.  Her father, a college graduate, checked on her math and science studies daily and made sure she completed every assignment, often begrudgingly.  But math and science were not her best subjects so she directed most of her free time to recreational reading.  This practice is something Dotty has done for most of her life thus gaining knowledge fast and becoming one of the best students in her Catholic schools.  But Anne was 7 years older and Kathryn was struck with Tuberculosis and had to live in a hospital for persons recovering from such a contagious disease.  Dotty found her good friends at school to be most influential for what she did and how she behaved during her teenage years.  In fact, her best school chum, Jeannette Webb’s mother, a good friend of the family, sort of took over her disciplinary teaching during those teen years and became a seregate parent.   Ms. Webb was a kindly woman raised with strong Catholic standards and she would come down hard on both girls when they stepped out of line.  This strict religion based influence has served her well even to this day.  For young girls living in the Mid-west or anywhere in the country for that matter, one of the important influences on their lives was generated by the Motion Picture Industry in Hollywood and the Stars or screen idols seen in the movies every Saturday night or Sunday.  It became a dream for Dotty to visit Southern California and walk down Hollywood Boulevard (hopefully to see a Movie Star or two).  During her teen age years, her dreams were just that, but little did she realize then that one day soon she would face the realization that it just might not be so much of a dream but reality.

But more on that Next Time when we talk about life in the 1940’s   

Sunday, December 7, 1941: After returning from Mass, Dotty turned on the radio before joining the family at the mid-day meal and heard an announcement by the newsman that a Japanese fleet of dive bombers from aircraft carriers had bombed Pearl Harbor. He reported Several Battleships had been sunk or were seriously damaged and Hickam Field had suffered serious loss of planes and pilots. Dotty’s mom screamed with fear stating, “now Charles (Dotty’s older brother) will have to go off to war!” That is the way American mothers thought when another nation attacked the USA in that time. It meant that we would be at war and all eligible males will be subject to military service and full wartime mobilization of the American Economy changing a peacetime economy into a wartime economy.

“One man and his wife”s opinions”

Bud & Dottie Brewer

What Are These People Doing

 

April 10, 2017: The image here is one of a typical high level duplicate bridge tournament in which people of all ages, particularly those in their retirement years play under the rules which are administered by the ACBL (American Contract Bridge League).  (Excerpts from Bridgebum.com) Bridge is derived from the seventeenth century card game whist, which was in vogue among the English nobility of the time. In whist, four players (who comprise two partnerships) are each dealt 13 cards from a 52-card deck, with a partnership’s objective being to win as many tricks* as possible. There was no auction to determine the trump suit** as there is in modern bridge, and the scoring was vastly simpler.

Though Whist may seem crude in comparison to today’s bridge game, its popularity spread to other parts of the world, most notably the Middle East. In Turkey, it is believed that Whist originated and evolved into Contract Bridge, which ultimately has become the most popular card game in the world. The calls “double” and “redouble” were added to even quadruple any betting stakes, and the concept of a declarer opposite an exposed dummy also emerged at that time. By the turn of the century, the game evolved into plafond (“ceiling”) in France and auction bridge elsewhere in the world. Plafond was an offshoot that required each partnership to state the number of tricks they were going to take, while auction bridge introduced the element of bidding to determine which suit, if any, would be trumps.

In 1925, the game that we know today was derived from auction bridge and plafond. Contract bridge was invented by the American Harold Vanderbilt, who had some invaluable idle time on a steamship cruise. Vanderbilt’s brainchild incorporated several new features, most notably a sophisticated scoring table and varying modes of vulnerability. “Contract” was so named because it required a partnership to commit to a contract of a certain number of tricks. Failure to fulfill a contract resulted in a scoring penalty; success, in an award. Contract bridge quickly became more popular throughout the United States, where it experienced its Golden Age in the 1930s.  During this time, famous expert matches were conducted, including the 1930 Anglo-American match and the 1931 Culbertson-Lenz match. The Anglo-American match featured a team headed by Col. Walter Buller of England against a squad captained by Ely Culbertson of the United States. Buller, who had vowed to beat the Americans “sky-high”, lost – by a humiliating margin. The result of this event bolstered Culbertson’s status as an authority on the game, and his Contract Bridge Blue Book of 1930 became a best-seller. The following year, Culbertson challenged fellow American expert Sidney Lenz to a 150-rubber team match, contending that the Culbertson method of bidding would be a cinch to triumph. The match did much to spark even more public interest in contract bridge, and by the time Culbertson claimed victory over Lenz, the game was vying with baseball to be America’s favorite pastime.

In the following decades, bridge fever lessened, but interest in the game remained. Sports Illustrated included regular bridge columns and articles, and Time featured expert Charlie Goren, “Mr. Bridge”, on an issue cover. Bidding systems and conventions, which attached special meanings to certain bids, also continued to proliferate during this time. There is controversy over whether the increased complexity of bidding has hurt the game’s appeal, but these advancements in theory have undoubtedly improved the accuracy with which players can bid to reach their best contracts. The point count system, a method of assessing the value of one’s hand, was popularized during this time by Goren and is still the commonly accepted method of hand evaluation.

Duplicate (tournament) bridge also became a hot activity during the mid-20th century. In duplicate bridge, players at a table are dealt hands that are subsequently passed on to another table, and then to another one, and so on. Consequently, a competing pair plays the same deals that any number of other pairs play, with the differences in results being the basis for each pair’s final score. Duplicate began its rise in the ’30s and continues to be popular worldwide.

World championships, which use a team variation of duplicate bridge, began in 1950 and saw the United States dominating until 1957. That year, Italy began its incredible streak of 10 consecutive Bermuda Bowl world championship victories. The Italian Blue Team included some of the greatest players ever; bridge writer Sally Brock notes, “When I was at university the ultimate compliment you could receive at the bridge table was ‘you played it like Benito Gorozzo!'” Not until 1970 would the United States win the heralded Bermuda Bowl, and then only in a field that did not include Italy’s best lineup.

But the story of the United States team that won in 1970 is itself worth telling. In 1964, multi-millionaire Ira Corn decided to form a team that would one day beat the fabled Blue Team. Bankrolling the project himself for years on end, Corn hired six well-known players to study and practice full-time at his Texas mansion. Known as the Dallas Aces, this team was the first of its kind; never had players been paid as professionals to compete in bridge events.

The Aces won the Bermuda Bowl in 1970 and again in 1971, realizing the ultimate goal of their countless hours of hard work. Today, the United States is still a strong force World competition. American professional players compete in tournaments as the paid partners or teammates of a sponsor. These players can therefore make bridge their full-time career, making them formidable opponents of players in other countries who cannot find sponsorship.

The game of Bridge remains popular around the world. It combines the elements of mental stimulation, luck, and socializing that are hard to find in other games so cheap and easy to play. Although bridge’s Golden Age popularity may not be replicated again in the United States, millions of Americans still enjoy the game. And bridge players are not limited to the States; Holland, for example, teaches bridge in public schools as do China and Brazil.  In the USA, many school systems have begun to recognize the academic values of learning and playing bridge and have incorporated the activity into after school intramural competition programs. The game is played so much in Iceland that the tiny country of 300,000 boasted the world championship-winning team in 1991. Other unlikely hotbeds of bridge include: Israel, and Norway. France, meanwhile, won a world championship in 1997, while Italy, as mentioned, has put together some of the greatest teams ever. Bridge is one of the few games played today by people of all ages, races, and nationalities.

There is almost no city anywhere in the world where one cannot find a bridge Club at which open pair duplicate play is available.  The beauty of the game for such purposes as playing when traveling to large cities is that to play bridge, with a partner who doesn’t speak English is no problem since the game has a language we call “bridge Speak” in which only 7 numerals; 1-7, the four suits; Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, the words; No-Trump, Pass, Double or Re-double can be used to show hand values or to reach a contract.  The game is the perfect platform for exercising the brain, building memory and learning inferential analysis.  If you have children or grandchildren in high school, you should see to it they begin to learn and play Bridge, the best activity for academic enhancement.

One Man’s Opinion—Bud Brewer

NEUROPLASTICITY- TRANSFORMING YOUR BRAIN

February 25, 2017: About 50 years ago when I was a new member of the investment business, I had the good fortune to be introduced to a process alleged to reprogram the brain so as to  influence one’s self image positively and specifically toward an area deemed important to one’s self.  The process I adopted as a result was simply setting aside time each day for meditation in a quiet and peaceful environment where I would repeat over and over a specific phrase that described a goal in words reflecting the achievement of that goal.  The instructor was teaching me how to use Neuroplasticity (the act of positive meditation) to change my brain cells so that over a period on time, practicing in regular periods of meditation, I would experience the effect of skewing my behavior, habitual acts and statements of self image that would reflect progressive changes consistent with my objective.    The example I use to explain what the enhancement of self image on any skill one believes he has will do to separate him from others practicing that skill is that of Tiger Woods in his day or many of the young “Tigers” of today in the golfing world.  It simply is this fact Tiger believed and reaffirmed by meditation that he was the best golfer in the world so he would do habitually each day what the greatest golfer would do.  A simple example of this is that when most tournament professional golfers finished their rounds on any day they could be seen in the lounge having a beer or something stronger socializing with their peers.  Not Tiger!  Tiger would be found until sunset on the practice rang or putting greens working on his game because that is what the greatest golfer of his day would be doing naturally.  This extra effort to improve is symptomatic of the image one has of themselves.  Tiger’s image was that he was the best so he did those things that the best does.  This is true in any activity engaged by the individual.  He who thinks he is of a certain skill will differentiate himself from others by doing what others do not do.  My friends have heard me say “you will be as you think you are” adnauseum, but since I thoroughly believe the practice to be effective, I want members of my family and readers of this blog to understand appreciate and practice Neuroplasticity meditation and its effect on their self image becoming the person they want to be.  

The following report by the EOC Institute explains how this process works and gives 10 key Brain Regions that can be moderated constructively by Neuroplasticity.

 

How To Maximize Neuroplasticity For Super Brain Health:
10 Key Brain Regions Upgraded Through Meditation

 

Scientists Agree: Meditation is the #1 brain changer. What is Neuroplasticity? Effectively blowing away the scientific dogma of decades ago, the newly discovered principle of  “neuroplasticity” means that our brain’s potential is not set at birth — we can actually strengthen and improve our brains in ways once believed impossible.

Rebecca Gladding M.D., author of “You Are Not Your Brain”, recently wrote “The brain, and how we are able to mold it, is fascinating and nothing short of amazing.”

After 1000’s of studies, researchers have proven meditation as the #1 way to make your brain better, with the potential to transform your life on countless levels. Meditation makes your brain stronger, smarter, and faster, in the same way that physical exercise makes your muscles bigger, denser, with more endurance.

Your brain on meditation. Because it guides your brainwaves into deep meditation, it is helpful to understand some of the incredible science backing this super beneficial mind-state. Here we go into 10 key brain regions significantly enhanced through meditation, as well as the implicated benefits.

Neuroplasticity & Meditation — Benefit #1:
Increase Your Brain Power with A Stronger Prefrontal Cortex

How to Grow A Big, Einstein-Level Brain. Perhaps history’s greatest scientific genius, researchers have long believed that in order to lay the foundation of modern physics, Albert Einstein must have had a very special brain. In 2012, it came to light that the legendary scientist’s brain had actually been preserved for a short time after his death, with a series of detailed photographs suddenly available for analysis.

Florida State University researchers compared the brilliant physicist’s brain images to 85 normal people, successfully confirming that the father of physics did indeed have a one of a kind brain, with many unique qualities.

One highlight of their findings, Einstein’s extraordinary “pre-frontal cortex” —  the so-called thought orchestrator, happiness center, and “CEO” of the brain, had more tightly packed gray matter, covering significantly more surface area. What if it was possible to build your brain up to this extraordinary level?

Meditation & Einstein’s brain. A landmark 2005 study by Harvard neuroscientist Dr. Sara Lazar discovered that meditators had much more density, thickness, and neural activity within their “left prefrontal cortex” —  just like Albert Einstein.

Increased thickness in this “king of all brain regions” means many great things: far less anxiety and depression, improved decision making, stronger willpower, more success, more processing power, better health, the list goes on.

To compound this amazing discovery, Dr. Lazar found that the more years of meditation experience a participant had under his/her belt, the greater the overall size of their super-beneficial prefrontal cortex.

Many within the scientific community, see Meditation as the “holy grail” for people wanting to be smart, healthy, and successful. If you want to rewire your brain like Einstein, then meditation is priority one. 

Neuroplasticity & Meditation — Benefit #2
Achieve More Success With A Rewired Corpus Callosum

How to Fortify the Bridge Between Your Brain Hemispheres. Your brain has two hemispheres, left and right. Logical, left-brained people tend to be more practical, most often good at math and science. Creative right-brained people tend to be more intuitive, usually best at art and philosophy. Most people use one hemisphere more than the other, creating an imbalance. Which side is dominant for you?

Unlike the rest of us, brain imaging studies have shown that highly successful people use both brain halves together, in balance. If only it was possible to train our whole brains to work in harmony? Thankfully, it is.

A 2012 UCLA School of Medicine study found that meditators “corpus callosum”, the grand central station-like cable of nerves connecting the brain hemispheres, was remarkably stronger, thicker, and more well connected. This bridge like structure is super helpful in getting your brain halves to communicate with each other like never before. What does this monumental discovery mean for you?

Integrated brain benefits. Harmonizing both of your brain hemispheres gives you an array of new abilities: increased focus, deeper thought, more creativity, optimized mental health, better memory, and clearer thinking, just to name a few.

You will be happier, more optimistic, at one with the world. Financial, academic, and career success will come much easier, more naturally. You may even regret that you didn’t sync your brain hemispheres in meditation years ago!

Like constructing a skyscraper’s floors, meditation’s benefits tend to build one on top of the other, until you can’t even recognize the person you used to be. Meditation is your ‘around the clock construction crew for a more successful life. 

Neuroplasticity & Meditation — Benefit #3:
Shrink Your Brain’s Primitive “Fear Center” Amygdala

Bust Stress Forever By Changing Your Brain. Dr. Peter Diamandis, Founder of the X Prize and New York Times bestselling author, perhaps said it best, “Bad news sells because the amygdala is always looking for something to fear.”

Known as the anxiety, stress, and fear center of the brain, an overactive amygdala can lead to a whole host of problems, including the unnecessary initiation of our “fight or flight” response. Our stone-age ancestors needed their survival mode activated amygdala during their daily struggle to stay alive — modern man does not.

Meditation deactivates fear. The good news is that meditation healthily and naturally transforms the structure of our brains, resulting in a major stress response upgrade.

In fact, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital MRI scanned participants before and after an 8-week mindfulness study — with astonishing results. Combined with a massive reduction in self-reported stress levels, their brain imaging showed remarkably less “fear center” amygdalae density, with far less “fearful message communication” to the rest of the brain.

The icing on the cake, researchers also found the brain areas associated with focus and higher thought remarkably grew in strength.

Upgrade your brain, upgrade your life. A monumental discovery with far-reaching implications, cooling off your over-heated amygdala effectively upgrades and rewires your stress response circuitry, opening the door up to an array of incredible mind-body benefits. Being bulletproof to stress, you can now live your life from a cool, calm, and composed state of awesome!

Rebecca Gladding M.D., author of “You Are Not Your Brain”, recently wrote that meditation “makes a huge difference in how you approach life, how personally you take things and how you interact with others. It enhances compassion, allows you to see things more clearly (including yourself) and creates a sense of calm and centeredness that is indescribable. There really is no substitute.”

Many great, modern thinkers believe it is the training of the mind that will provide the next great leap forward in the evolution of man. If so, meditation is the #1 revolution kick starter. 

Neuroplasticity & Meditation — Benefit #4:
Fortify Your Parietal Lobe For Better Brain Health & Feeling More Connected

How To Train Your Brain To Feel Connected. Everybody knows that you have to eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep if you want to be a happy and healthy person. But very few of us know the importance of human connectedness to our mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

In fact, one 2010 study published in “PLOS Medicine” found social connectivity increased longevity by over 50%! Another study by UCLA Professor of Medicine Dr. Steve Cole showed feeling connected to others strengthens immunity, while other studies have shown less anxiety and depression, higher self esteem, more empathy, the list goes on.

Thinking back, when were your happiest times? Laughing, playing, enjoying quality time with loved ones, friends, and family tops many people’s lists, where the natural human connection redirects our minds away from our past/future tense worries, directly into the present moment.

Meditation is the cure for loneliness. While the very best cure for feeling isolated is a strong in-person social network and a loving family, this isn’t possible for everybody.

Luckily, meditation activates the so called “social connectivity” parts of our brain, unlocking many of the same mental, emotional, and physical benefits that come along.

A University of Pennsylvania scientist, Dr. Andrew Newberg, took brain images of Tibetan Monks during meditation. As expected, their frontal lobes lit up on the screen, just like countless other studies have shown.

Meditation is your best friend. However, what surprised him most was that the meditators’ “third-dimensional” based parietal lobes cooled off immensely, which happens to be the same area that becomes overheated when we feel lonely.

Dr. Newburg, now a bestselling author, writes “When people lose their sense of self [in meditation], feeling a sense of oneness, [this] results in a blurring of the boundary between self and others…[with] no sense of space or passage of time.”

This feeling of oneness achieved through meditation results in feeling less lonely and separated, releasing a cascade of scientifically proven psychological and physiological benefits, in turn making you a happier and healthier person. While friends come and go, meditation will always be there for you!  

Changing The Brain With Meditation — Benefit #5:
Cultivate Compassion & Kindness With A Stronger Right Anterior Insula

How to Train Your Brain For Compassion & Kindness. There is truth to the old saying “Give and you shall receive.” Many people think happiness comes from achieving, acquiring, and receiving, but research says otherwise. Scientists are now finding that our greatest fulfillment comes from living a life of meaning. It is in compassion — helping others, feeling connected, where we are truly the happiest.

In fact, a brain imaging study at the National Institute of Health showed that our brains’ “pleasure centers” are activated when we donate to charity. Another study at the University of San Diego found that like wildfire, helping others spreads to everyone nearby.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” — Dalai Lama

Compassion upgrades everything. There are also a host of health benefits that come from practicing kindness and compassion for others, like alleviating anxiety and depression, strengthening the immune system, and helping you live longer.

Did you know that there are certain brain regions activated when we practice compassion? And that we can do things to train our brains to make us more compassionate people? It’s true.

A highly-cited study, in 2012 UCLA School of Medicine researchers discovered the “right anterior dorsal insula” to be highly active during meditation. What’s the link? This happens to be the same brain area that lights up like a Christmas tree when we show authentic kindness and compassion toward others, as shown by University of Wisconsin neuroscientists’ brain imaging.

All this research means that it is now possible to reap the countless benefits that come from being a more compassionate person: greater happiness, more fulfillment, feeling that life is meaningful, and deeper connectedness.

Are you ready to be a beacon of light in a sometimes-dark world? It’s time to upgrade your brain — meditation is the key.

“Compassion is the ultimate expression of your highest self”. — Russell Simmons 

Healthy Brain & Meditation — Benefit #6:
Big Hippocampus, Little Depression

How to Exterminate Depression By Changing Your Brain. As 1 in 6 people suffer from depression sometime in their life, there is no shortage of people ready to put their brains under the microscope for a chance at a possible cure. Because of this, we are closer than ever to conquering this ugly mental health issue.

A 1996 University of Washington study measured the brains of 10 major clinical depression sufferers. What did they find?

The hippocampi of the depressed patients had atrophied considerably, with extra deterioration for each year since their diagnosis. If only there was an all-natural, super effective way to reverse this ugly brain weakening for depression sufferers? There is.

A 2008 study published in the Neuroimage Journal found that after only 8 weeks of meditation, the left and right hippocampi of participants had significantly grown in neural thickness, density, and overall size.

This incredible finding means that adding meditation to your daily routine can put your brain on a level too advanced for depression, while putting the depression wheels in reverse.

Like a baseball pitcher building up his shoulder muscles to prevent future breakdown, meditators have built up their hippocampi to levels that effectively makes them invulnerable to depression.

 

Super Brain Fitness & Meditation — Benefit #7:
Big Hippocampus, Big Memory / Learning / Study Skills

How to Learn Better By Changing Your Brain. Everybody has forgotten where they left their keys or blanked on a friend’s name. However, memory loss is not an inevitable part of the aging process, there are plenty of older people with perfect memory.

Why then, do some of us have good memories and others of us can’t even remember our coworkers’ names? It’s all in your head!

Dr. Larry Squire, a world-renowned psychiatrist at UC San Diego, published a groundbreaking paper titled “Memory, Hippocampus, and Brain Systems” — illustrating just how critical the hippocampus is in learning and memory. Pinpointing this key brain region has far-reaching implications for those looking to retain more information, do better in school, and move up the career ladder.

Grow your brain, remember everything. If only it was possible to build up your hippocampus? And, in effect, have a leak proof, ultra-enhanced memory with super-learning capacity?

Thankfully, prominent Harvard neuroscientist, Dr. Sara Lazar and colleagues, have studied the brains of meditators for years. Among many other monumental discoveries, her research shows that meditators’ brains seem to always have well-formed, highly developed Hippocampi.

Scientists of yesteryear would argue that people born with big and strong hippocampi were the only people with the capacity for super-learning and flawless memory. Luckily, we know better now.

If you want an air-tight memory with topnotch learning ability, then science agrees you should pick up meditation. 

Neuroplasticity & Meditation — Benefit #8:
Raise Your Emotional Intelligence & Emotional Awareness With A Fortified TPJ

How To Build A Bigger, More Emotionally Intelligent Brain. In decades’ past, most everyone agreed that the leading indicator for success was your IQ. Today, that is no longer the case. In his highly acclaimed, bestselling book, prominent psychologist Dr. Daniel Goleman really opened the eyes of the scientific community by making the compelling case for “emotional intelligence” (EQ) as the #1 success determinant.

People high on the EQ chart tend to be successful at both work and play, having prosperous careers and long-lasting, fulfilling relationships. They tend to be altruistic, self-motivated, empathic, with the ability to love and be loved. In the years since his groundbreaking work, many prominent researchers have confirmed Dr. Goleman’s research, further validating his claims.

The brain & EQ. Since we aren’t born with a fixed amount of emotional intelligence, scientists have long sought ways to increase this elusive personality trait. After all, who doesn’t want to be more popular and successful?

A 2013 University of Illinois study looked at various brain areas during emotional intelligence centered activities, like social interaction. An amazing finding, the researchers identified one region, the temporoparietal junction (TPJ) to be prominently lit up on the brain scan images.

If only there was a proven way of building up this key brain area, and therefore, your EQ. There is!

Long thought to be a critical brain area for highly empathic, conscientious people, Harvard neuroscientists have shown that meditation builds up a big and strong “emotional intelligence” centered TPJ, as evidenced by Dr. Sara Lazar’s revolutionary work.

You can now use meditation to tap into your dormant emotional intelligence, opening your life up to a powerful and unique set of qualities: self-awareness, adaptability, empathy, self-motivation, emotional balance, and social grace. Supercharge your EQ, discover meditation! 

A Well Trained Brain Through Meditation — Benefit #9:
Finding Happiness With A Healthy Posterior Cingulate

How to Train Your Brain To Be Happy. We live in a busy world with a limitless supply of distraction. You cook dinner, surf the web, watch the kids, all while catching up on your favorite Netflix show.

But in the everyday scramble that is modern life, our preoccupations make us lose our connection with and appreciation for the present moment. It is so easy to lose touch with what we are doing and how we are actually feeling at any given time.

Did you take time to notice the freshly bloomed magnolias on your way to work? Did you pay attention to how refreshed you felt this morning after sleeping so soundly?

Meditation makes brains happy. Keeping your attention focused on the present, accepting the moment without judgment, has been studied extensively for its seemingly limitless supply of positive psychological benefits. Many scientists are now saying this focused, non-judgmental state is where we find our true happiness.

Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn has been paramount in bringing the practice of “mindfulness” into the mainstream scientific and medical communities. With its plethora of proven benefits, doctors are now even prescribing meditation to their patients!

Internationally acclaimed Harvard brain researcher, Dr. Sara Lazar, discovered that one particular brain region responsible for the “wandering mind”, the posterior cingulate cortex (PCT), becomes deactivated during meditation. What does this mean? Corralling the so-called “wandering mind” opens up a whole wonderful world of “present mind” benefits, cancelling out much of the real reason for unhappiness.

Maximize your potential. While it has long been known that practicing meditation is the key to cultivating mindfulness, it is a whole new ballgame to see the brain areas associated with heightened, present moment focus so easily forged and shaped by the millennia old practice.

It is human nature to want a more satisfying, fulfilling life. But very few of us really take the time to examine what it is that keeps us from our highest state of being. Meditation helps you to really savor the pleasures in life as they happen, helping you become fully engaged in the present moment.

By focusing on the here and now, mindfulness helps to weaken the grip of past regrets and future worries, effectively freeing you to live your life on the highest level possible. 

 

Super Healthy Brain & Meditation — Benefit #10
Sleep Better With A Powerful Pons

How to Train Your Brain For Better Sleep. We have all stared at the ceiling just hoping to finally fall asleep, salvaging our remaining three hours before its time to wake up for work.

However, chronic insomnia is much more than a minor inconvenience, it can take a major toll on your mood, health, energy levels, and your ability to perform your normal daily activities. In the long term, lack of sleep can contribute to a host of nasty health problems. Not fun.

Restful sleep is not just about making sure you lay in bed for at least eight hours per night, what matters most is the quality of your sleep.

Dreamtime brain science. If you still feel tired, drowsy, and fatigued after laying in bed all night, you are likely not getting enough deep, quality sleep. Spending sufficient time in the REM stage is critical to your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

Luckily, scientists have studied the sleeping brain for decades, and now have a real grasp on its working components. Serving as the on/off switch to the REM stage of sleep, the funnily named, base of the brain originating “Pons” regulates the main dreamtime chemical: melatonin.

Weakness or abnormality within this critical brain region will prevent you from getting deep, restful sleep, plain and simple.

Meditation trains the sleeping brain. If only there was a proven way of building up this key brain area, and therefore, allow you to get life-nourishing sleep, night after night. There is!

Among many other brain areas, neuroscientists at Massachusetts General Hospital have shown that meditation builds up a big and strong sleep centered “Pons.” In fact, meditators have written whole books about their lucid dream abilities, which of course is impossible without ample time in deep-stage REM sleep.

If you want an all-natural, super effective solution to sleeping like a baby every night, then meditation is your go-to guy. 

 

Neuroplasticity uses Meditation to change one’s self image.  By chanting a descriptive phrase of who they are repetitiously as if it were fact, over time they are slowly but surely changing their self image accordingly and thereby changing their behavior to be more consistent with that self image.  In other words, “You will be as you think you are.”

One Man’s Opinion-Bud Brewer

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