An Interview With USFMAN

1. What was your family life like?

I am an only child, born and raised in the vicinity of Akron Ohio. In my childhood, I spent much time alone, playing my trombone or tending to our Pomeranian dog, Teddy. My most important role model at that time was my grandfather on the mother’s side, who spent a great deal of time teaching me to be patient in life through fishing and chess He was truly a gentle soul. At twelve years old, our family moved to Hollywood , Florida. I will never forget the trauma I faced in leaving my childhood friends, and friendly neighbors at that time. To this day, I daydream often about my happy childhood in Northeastern Ohio and relish the opportunity to visit there to continue my sports interest in Browns football and Guardians baseball.

I grew up in a hard- working Midwestern family. My father worked long hours as a warehouse manager in the soft drink industry after a heroic stint as a ball turret gunner in a B-17 bomber during World War II. My mother excelled as an executive secretary in the private sector and later became a competent, record-keeping, administrator with the School Board of Broward County, Florida. Overall, I would characterize my father’s side as my wild side. My grandfather drank, smoked, and swore heavily. Two of my three, male cousins lived hard and carefree lives, rejecting their parents supportive guidance and died prematurely. The other cousin became a financial success in the oil business but later decided to reclusively withdraw from all family contact. My mother’s side of the family, on the other hand could be referred to as the intellectually neurotic side. My two aunts and six female cousins followed a more traditional path of life, pursuing education seriously, obtaining their college degrees and undertaking successful careers in the teaching or business field.

2. Briefly describe yourself as a person.

Although, I see myself as a nerdy introvert, in social situations I often behave as a warm and friendly conversationist. A perfect day for me would take place in a quiet outdoor setting, chatting positively with my wife or other compatible person in a mutually trust filled manner.  

3. What career paths did you follow?

I have always loved to read and write and have come to consider myself a lifetime learner. In college, I majored in Applied Music as a serious performer on trombone at the the University of South Florida (USF)with the intention of pursuing a jazz/classical degree in musical performance. It was there that I met my future wife, who I have been married to now for many years. At some point in my sophomore year, I became engaged by the anti- war movement and early 1970s counterculture, abandoned my musical ambitions, and felt compelled to change my college major to a liberal arts field. I subsequently earned a teaching degree in Social Science Education at USF, a Masters Degree in Urban Studies Education at the University of Miami  and eventually entered the teaching field. My early years of teaching were filled with disappointment, languishing as a history teacher for thirteen years in poor, inner city schools interspersed with the experience of being “laid off” several occasions. My luck turned for the better, however, when I earned my Educational Specialist degree at Nova Southeastern University, putting me in good position to teach at the college level. Being underemployed at first as an adjunct professor, juggling teaching assignments at three colleges, I finally advanced to the position of full time tenured  professor. I then spent fourteen, contented years teaching Reading, Writing, and English Second Language classes in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

4.What factors gave you the interest and freedom to travel?

My initial interest in traveling has noticeably been connected to my desire to apply academic learning beyond the classroom. Thus my research efforts while completing college coursework in geography, psychology, sociology economics, and history have spurred numerous ideas for long distance road tripping, cruise adventures, as well as independent journeys to many places around the world. Several other practical factors it seems have converged to make me a wandering fool. Since my wife and I both were both teachers, we are accustomed to spending an entire summer off to  travel. Our obsession to vacation around also seems  to be enhanced by our decision to not have children, pay off our house mortgage fully, healthily exercise  and diligently keep  a reasonably frugal lifestyle while home in busy South Florida. 

5. Why do you blog? Why are you successful at it?

Blogging on Word Press to me has helped me transition from a teacher/professor who embraced the formal academic writing process to a retiree who more informally writes more creatively now for a wider audience of educated reader enthusiasts. In recent years, I have added a photography component to my blogs to enhance the “sensory feel” of my travel endeavors.

6. What is your most memorable blog post?

My favorite post to date is also my most popularly read blog from 8/29/16 (“Strong Presence to Serve Humanity”). This blog offers my emotional tribute to a courageous FBI agent and dear friend who lost his life to cancer in his mid fifties. You can find this blog at:

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