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"It's an ill bird that fouls its own nest.
Fort Towson State Historical Site, OK, July 15, 2021
Environmental injustice evident in look from earth orbit. FOR MORE, CLICK
Once-in-a-1,000-year flood sends people fleeing for help . FOR MORE, CLICK
Present drought now longer lasting than Dust Bowl. FOR MORE, CLICK
Oregon governor gives bleak prediction. FOR MORE, CLICK
Assessment will pose latest wake up call for planet. FOR MORE, CLICK
Collapse of civilization seems to draw nigh. FOR MORE, CLICK
Kuterevo, Croatia, Bear Sanctuary
The main attraction in Kuterevo is a bear sanctuary which has been in operation since 2002. On a recent visit to Croatia, I stopped at the volunteer run refuge for bears that are unable to return to the wild.
Howard Pease wasn’t the greatest writer in the world, but he was read widely, and he filled my childish head with dreams of the sea and tales of intrigue.
I grew up in St. Joseph, MO, in the South End, where we had a small Carnegie library that looked pretty much like all the libraries the robber baron Carnegie built so he could ease his conscience for the demeaning way he treated his workers. But that’s another subject.
Our Carnegie library, though small, held an unbelievable number of books on its two floors. My brothers and sisters and I went there frequently as we were all readers and our family couldn’t afford to buy books.
Once when my older brother, 12 years older than I, was home visiting, he walked with me the fifteen or so blocks to the library. I was about 10, and my brother took an interest in what I read, which then was mostly science books about animals and space. He said I ought to read more fiction. He gave me two authors’ names to read, one who wrote a series of books on the Civil War. I don’t remember his name now, though I read a number of his books, but I do remember the other’s name, Howard Pease. I read every book of his that the library had on its shelves.
Pease wrote a series about a young man, Joseph “Tod” Moran, working on tramp freighters in between World Wars I and II. Tod found himself in all kinds of adventures and often times intrigue on the ships. Tod improved his position, working from entry level to first mate.
I read years later when I learned more about Pease that he spent a few years working on ships to get ideas for his novels, of which he wrote 22, not all Tod Moran mysteries. But Pease was not a sailor professionally. He was a writer, deciding in the sixth grade that would be his vocation. He grew up in Stockton, CA, and attended Stanford University, and by his mid-twenties, he was a published writer.
I know Pease had an influence on me because when I took a career aptitude test in high school, the counselor told me that the results revealed I was fitted for working in the merchant marine.
Pease had much more famous admirers than I. Writers Philip Roth (best known for Portnoy’s Complaint), Russell Freedman (children’s writer of an award-winning Lincoln book) and E. L. Doctorow (historian and novelist) said Pease’s writings made deep impressions on them.
Pease’s influence went beyond his writings, though, because all the time he was writing, he was a high school English teacher and he also served as an elementary school principal for a number of years.
Pease’s books were not for everyone. He wrote basically for young boys, and critics will complain his writing could be stereotypical. But Pease knew how to tell a story full of adventure.
For more IN 500 Words or Less, CLICK HERE
Carolina chickadee, Cottonwood Creek Wetland Development Area, Mannford, OK, April 28