Newman Occasional Journal: Introduction

August 1, 1998


This is likely to be an on-again, off-again journal of things that interest me from day to day. Many times over the past months I thought of doing something like this, now the thoughts have finally generated some action. I'll start with today and work my way back through some of the items (that I can still remember) that prompted this endeavor.

War and Peace

Today was the dedication of the Korean War Veterans Memorial at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery (where my father's body was buried). What a mixture of memories and feelings that brought. As one who earns his keep, at least to some extent, by finding and fixing errors, I noticed the flaws in the printed programs and in the actual ceremony. But they did not significantly detract from the dignity nor the solemnity of the event. There were some moving moments -- even for a nominal pacifist like me. I felt like I belonged there because my father served in Korea during that conflict, and at the same time felt out of place among the warriors and their talk of war. There was a lot of talk by veterans about the "forgotten war" and an eloquent speech by an older Korean gentleman who said "As long as God remembers, we shall remember, what these brave Americans did to help our people" (if my memory has not obscured the actual words too much).

A lesson in history

Sometime during the week (I noticed it on Friday) the Historic Bridge on River Road at Orestimba Creek collapsed. I suppose that they will remove both the remains of the bridge and the highway signs calling attention to it. You might think that it could be restored, but I don't imagine its historic significance is so great that anyone will be willing to spend thousands of dollars to re-erect it. Perhaps they'll leave the signs and change the wording to "[Former site of] Historic Bridge, Orestimba Creek, 1889[-1998]." I wonder how long it will be before this, too, is forgotten.

It's progress, I suppose

Well, its been a couple of months or so since they finally turned on Newman's first traffic signals. The first few days were kind of scary as everyone who often travels that intersection adjusted to the idea of stopping or waiting there.

An item in the

today says that the population of Modesto is expected to surpass 400,000 in the next 30 years or so.

Can Newman remain a small town? It is a curious situation: most of us like living here because it is a small town -- and at the same time, we are eager to attract new businesses to increase the supply of jobs. (Oh, I'll have to write a piece now, I suppose, about work and jobs and career and being grown up;

if you can't find it.)

Or will the small town of Newman be a dim memory cherished by long-time citizens of the City of Newman? Oops, I nearly forgot, since we came here only four years ago to live in one of those new houses on the other side the tracks we are, ourselves, contributors to the demise of small-town life here. Deep sigh...

More progress

That reminds me... when we first came here our youngest daughter was in high school. She was pretty apprehensive during her first weeks at Newman High School. What's so unusual about that? Nothing. Except that a major cause of the anxiety was the lack of police officers on campus. She had transferred from a much larger school in a much larger city -- and that school had four or five city police officers on campus throughout the school day. She eventually understood and appreciated the reason for their absence from the Newman High campus -- they were not needed there. For us, that was true progress.

📅 c: 1998-08-01 00:00 ✏️ e:

tags: #family #war #history #populationgrowth #perspective


Search this site at