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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

There is No More Officer Goody

Just about a year ago this week I traveled back to Denver to attend my 50th high school reunion. Earlier in the day I went to what used to be Mountain View Elementary School located in the little town where my view of the world was born.  I attended school there from pre-school through sixth grade. My first grade class was the first to use the newly built addition to the right of the original red brick school house. I was a member of the baby boomer generation, but we wouldn't know about that then. Millions of us were born after World War II. We were the progeny of what Tom Brokaw calls the The Greatest Generation. The world would be our oyster.
As the population of Mountain View grew older and the number of school age children declined, my old school was sold to a private company which now operates it as the Re-Create Academy. She young Latino manager allowed me to wander through the school to try to find my past. I took a lot of photos and tried to recalled the teachers, kids, and events from over sixty years ago. I wrote an earlier blog about my lying to my kindergarten teacher, Miss Godley. That was her real name and it fit her perfectly. She was such a kind and gentle person. She knew and I knew that I misbehaved and that I lied to her. The morning after my transgression she told the class someone in the class had misbehaved but she did not say who. I looked around with the other kids as we all tried to figure out who the bad boy or bad girl was. What a little imp I was. But she never told anybody in my class. She made me live with my shame for sixty-plus years.

I went from classroom to classroom taking photos as I tried to recall the names of each teacher. That did not happen and much of my memory is gone forevermore. But when I reached the cafeteria-auditorium my brain went into overdrive. I won't bother you with those stories but one stands out which is why I am writing today's blog.
The floors and the chairs in the cafeteria are new but the memories of mystery meat lunches, school plays, assemblies, Cub Scout Troop meetings, and so on will last forever including the time we got to meet Office Goody.
One day a policeman named Officer Goody came to our school to meet the kids. Now I don't know if that was his real name or not, but I will never-ever forget his name or the kind manner he had with us children. I knew that if ever I needed help that he or some other nice policeman like him would be there to help me. I seriously doubt he had a gun or even a baton. All I remember is his kind demeanor and his name.
I moved away from my little town which was only two blocks long and six blocks wide. We moved to Lakewood located about two or three miles away. Lakewood was not an incorporated city then. We relied on Jefferson County Sheriff officers if we needed a police. But we didn't need them because we didn't have crime. Ours was a homogeneous community of white people. There were restricted areas which did not allow people of color to live. I mention this because as a child I knew I only knew white people. I did not know there were laws to keep non-whites from living where we lived. Denver also had areas where homosexual couples could not live. Even as a young adult lawyer I could not buy a house in the southeast Denver neighborhood called Crestmoor.  I made an offer on a house on the street below which I visited on my trip last year. I remember my real estate agent telling me I could not buy there. I did not get the house. I visited the Crestmoor area on my trip last year and wondered what my life might have been like had I lived on that house and on that street. Those restrictive housing rules were struck down years ago. But I can tell you they still exist in the minds of many.
In college I participated in peace marches and civil right marches. In October 1968 I went to the state capitol to take movies of George Wallace who was running for President. People started getting riled up over Wallace's comments and skirmishes erupted. There wasn't any violence, but hotheads were being hotheads. The cops responded with force. I started to take movies and a cop came right at me and ordered me to stop filming. I did. I was no hero. I was a spineless wimp. In August I attended the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.  I went to the Conrad Hilton Hotel on the night of the police riot looking for my friend Annette. I could smell tear gas and vomit for a couple of blocks before I got to the hotel. And when I arrived I saw kids my age walking around with blood soaked bandages on their heads. This was my wake-up call that there were no more Officer Goody's left in this world. Certainly none in Chicago.
Kent State happened two years later. National guardsmen shot and killed four unarmed college students and wounded nine others. LAW AND ORDER became the mantra. Politicians seized on the need to restore law and order. Lines were drawn. People that play by the rules have nothing to fear. Those that don't do.
 I was in my first year of law school when Kent State occurred. I think most people of my generation were outraged over our government taking aim at and killing innocent people. Some dimwit at Colorado State University (my undergraduate school) burned down Old Main - presumably to protest Kent State. That was forty-six years ago. I have learned that the world is full of dimwits. They come in all colors and have all kinds of crazy ideas about world order. I am weary of anybody who professes to know everything and knows how to fix anything. These people are dangerous whether they are on center stage or are lurking in the background.
I woke up this morning and watched the news. Combat Police dressed like those pictured above were charging at a group of protesters upset with the slew of police shootings of black people. Is there no wonder that our character as a people has changed? Those cops would scare anybody. That's why they are dressed like that.

I know we can't and won't go back to the time when cops looked like this Norman Rockwell policeman. But that should not stop us from trying. What you see is what you get.

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I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.