Tag Archives: marriage and family

Population Issues and America’s Future

In many ways the policy sheet you are about to read here is virtually unimaginable. I am sensitive to all the things that seem offensive to some and less than ideal to almost all. However, I really believe in civilization. I think America is till aspiring to true civilization. It is vital that those who are willoing to kill and die and do unpleasant things can lead a civilization forward or else it will surely lose all its civilized qualities soon enough. I believe our situation is already precarious and the paths to survival are not apparent to most of those in leadership and authority. In order to justify the time you would spend reading and trying to understand this post which outlines policy for an institution that does not yet exist and will probably not exist you should have some idea of America’s population situation.  Here is  a set of links which will give you some idea of what is the situation now. They do not tell you all that much but they will put you on the path to some kind of understanding:

http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html

http://www.census.gov/population/www/popclockus.html

http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h980.html

I will simply state that this is part of the larger model for remaking the United States as a society, country and union. I had written a paragraph about the model and several other paragraphs that I lost somehow so this will be shortened by my weariness with things.  In the model the DIG is the Direct Imperial Government. State Governments would continue to exist, the US Congress and Supreme Court would be reformed but continue to exist. However, some new things would be created and one of them would be a set of lands ceded to and governed by the Direct Imperial Government as the DIG lands. This is the population policy proposed for that as yet nonexistent institution. States would have a renewed sovereign autonomy over many issues related to this policy because of their  authority over domestic regimes and institutions. But there would still be a limited leadership inherent in the DIG. 

Population Policy of the DIG

I. New General Initiatives The regime would take a very serious view about human life, filiation and population which is distinct from what is the norm in the rest of the world. That will be one of many reasons why America will have to transform its foreign policy. There will not be the consensus based on lies and half-truths with which America currently functions in the world. 

A. Record Keeping

There will be a great deal of investment in records and record keeping in the DIG. The power generated by such records will be offset by empowering other institutions but the goal will certainly and unmistakably be a newer and more powerful system of more coherent government in the Direct Imperial Government leading the way in many specific ways. 

1. Two Levels of Application

Those subjecting themseelves to DIG jurisdiction will be more directly and quickly integrated into the records policy. However, the DIG will work with other authorities to achieve similar goals over time.

2. Life Accountancy

The most important part of this whole policy in many ways is a comprehensive system of cancelling birth certificates with death certificates and requiring people to register at 18, 50 and one hundred years of age. Real data on births and deaths of a really high quality will gradually emerge that will drive other policies.  

3.Marriage Certificates and Related Documents

All marriage certificates and Contracts of Liaison and Placement for Certified Mistresses will be attached to birth records, will record known sterility and will be used to get an idea also of trends merging in the popultion.

B. Marriage, Family and Domestic Regimes Government Support

1. Taxation and Withholding for Family Kinship and General Population Fund 

There will be a variety of revenue streams for non-residents of the DIG lands to pay into the General Population Fund. One percent of all the net income of DIG residents will be collected for and go directly into the General Population Fund. In addition part of the revolutionary remaking of the union would be some requirements imposed on all jurisdictions. One of the principal most important and most radical of these would be that all citizen-subjects of the Federal American Empire of the United States would belong to at least one family association and no more than three. The governments would collect a minimum of one percent of net income to be paid directly to these associations. The Family Associations would pay a small annual collection fee to their tax collectors.  The programs outlined here would be funded through these funds and not general treasury funds.  

2. Birth Bonus paid to mother

About a third of all funds accumulated in the General Population Fund would be paid out in Birth Bonuses to mothers every year. The bonuses would vary year to year by the amount of money on hand and the number of births. Mothers having babies on rich years with fewer babies would get mor money. The value of a birth bonus is represented here by the variable x.

a. Cumulative scale:   Every child starts off with x determined by monies available in fund

i. The following add monies to the bonus:

.5X First child, .25x child one to three, .35x above average health child at birth, .5x parents married in recognized high or monogamous marriage,  .25x parents joined in plural marriage or certified natural filiation relationship, .2X mother between the ages of 22 and 40 years of age , .2x White child, .15X child whiter than mother, .15X Aboriginal American Child and .1X Aboriginal American child largely White, .07x Old American mix child, .1X one or both parents are certified geniuses and 1.5X father dead in service of Empire or polity federated therein.

ii. The following deduct monies from the bonus:

-.11x child four to seven, -.14x child eight or higher, -.19x ilegitimate child under law, -.22x bastard under the law, -.08x mother is a felon, .-12x both parents are felons, .-15x child less White than mother,  -. 04X mother has been divorced, -.4 both parents are not citizen-subjects  and -.3X child is born of known case of adultery to one or more parents who are young married complainants.

3. Mother’s Christmas Bonuses

About ten percent of funds in the General population fund will be paid out mothers of minor children equally each year on December 10 regardless of religion. An additional ten percent will be divided among mothers who have a child turning one, two, five, ten, fifteen or eighteen years of age. These bonuses will have a formula but a simple and more equal one. Children committing juvenile felonies will receive a modest reduction. Otherwise, the mothers will receive on tenth of the child’s original birth bonus, one tenth of the average birth bonus given out in the years since the child’s birth and  an equal share of any remaining monies among all recipients once the first two amounts have been awarded. 

C. Empress’s Bureau of Women’s Affairs

There will be a major institution that is under the authority of the Empress and will have standing in most cases involving first impression issues relating to women and shall have funding and other things. This bureau will have the authority also to undertake and co-ordinate many projects and initiatives to benefit women.   

1. Motherhood Initiative

This will be  a nest of programs to promote quality mothering and family experiences and a progressive maternal culture in the Empire.  The approach will be more positive than one of policing infractions or failures. 

Items 2,3 & 4 are included because they are part of the whole policy but not explained because they can be discussed elsewhere and are not as central to these issues.

 2. Wives Initiative

3. Cottage Industries and Gardening Administration

4. Girls Sport Administration

5. Sex and Fertility Education Agency

All girls will be educated in detailed natural family planning classes certified by the Bureau in secondary school. We will be committed to a brief explanatory course for boys but not of the same depth or quality.

http://www.contracept.org/symptothermal.php

http://www.nfpprog.com/how_nfp_works/symptothermal.htm

6. Liaison to Women’s Religious Communities

Working with women who can find religious meaning in infertile lifestyles or mostly unfertile lifestyles to achieve the highest social good thereby.

7. The Ladies Alliance

Working with women of the nobility and titled gentry to deal with population issues an other issues affecting the Noble ranks of society. I do  not mean that this is mostly a population  agency but it is likely to deal with population a great deal.

II. Population Directed Programs and Agencies 

The Emperor will have a number of programs designed to deal directly with all the issues of population which would confront the Federal Empire of the United States.  This will be a theme woven through a great deal of policy rather than a cluster of poorly focused initiatives and ill-defined objectives.

A. Emperor’s Minister for Integrated Population Study and Management

This minister will be in charge of forging a coherent population policy throughout the government. He will work with relevant institutions to improve the population impacts of their work.

1.Liaison for Fertility 

This liaison will work with many diverse elements of the government to monitor and address issues of human fertility.

2.Liaison for Human Habitat Expansion

This liaison will work primarily with the agencies and ministries which will  focus on human habitat expansion. Therefore he or she will be primarily a sort of single customer official.  

3. Liaison for Foreign Affairs

This liaison will work to promote marriage and sound filiation policy, girls sport, sound fertility education and every other imperial value in the limits of Foreign Policy restrictions as well as to focus these values on the very slow population growth we see as the ideal demographic pattern for humanity as a whole.

4. Liaison for Immigration

This  Liaison will work not only with direct Border Zone related programs but also all aspects of the government that relate to both immigration and population. We live in a world and country where this will always be very challenging.

5. Liaison for Monasticism and Near Monasticism

Dealing with tradition in which not having children is incorporated into a larger lifestyle and a religious ideal.  This liaison will work with the Chaplain and other religious ties of the Emperor. However, the liaison will also work with all qualified groups in the Empire including the non-Christian  entities. 

The large remaining portion of this outline in numbers 6,7 & 8 has to do with the making of a society which can realistically chart slow and real population growth indefinitely. It is not a simple matter as each Liaison will work keep this goal in view for the government. 

6. Liaison for Waste Policy

7 . Liaison for Population Density

8 . Liaison for Reward Efficiency

 B. Imperial Cryptkeeper General 

The Cryptkeeper will be in charge of making the Death of those who die for the Emperor or Empire and his federal partners as glorious as possible. In the Empire a certain budget of young and glorious deaths is part of overall social  policy and it is admitted that this includes population policy.

  1. Liaison to the Imperial Chaplain

2. Liaison for Tombs and Monuments

C. Court Physician’s Office for Meaningful Medicine Minister of Population

1. Sub-ministry for Hospice

This ministry will acknowledge the precious and sacred character of human life. However, he will also be charged with assisting the Court Physician with spending relatively more resources on people who can largely recover and not spending enormous resources on people who remain sick, dying and expensive to care for indefinitely. This includes having death benefits, counseling, burial support and other resources in the sub-ministry at his command.

2. Sub-ministry for Natural Family Planning and Registered Condom Programs

This sub-ministry would seek to create culturally authentic programs that recognize the many real challenges of fertility management and seek to address these challenges at a level of wisdom and class not really available to disparate small entities. The programs will mostly be outreaches of the ministry.

3. Sub-ministry for Risk Integration

This will seek to recognize how activities that people choose to engage in and which shorten life will be integrated into an evolving society so that not everyone has to aim to live to be a hundred years old to affirm the value of human life. 

 III. Special Category

A. Death Penalty

Using a wide variety of offices and programs the Emperor and DIG will promote relatively cheap, easy and swift administration of the death penalty where allowed  by law elsewhere and within DIG jurisdiction for Murder, Agravated Repeat Incident Manslaughter, Agravated Rape of a Child and Felony Assisted High Treason. In the transition to the new regime it might be necessary to execute people currently set free to re-establish an understanding of what justice systems will be like.

B. Dueling and Vendetta

The new regime will have a fivefold nobility. Three of the Noble types Ordinary, Sword and Games will be expected to use the Office of Ritual Confrontation relatively frequently to resolve disputes. The programs are designed to make peace and preserve honor. However, there will be an acceptance of a number of deaths of valued people in these programs over time.

C. The Absolute Person

The Emperor can be resisted in persona so long as the force and means are less or nearly equal to those he brings and their is a real threat and the proceedings are personal and the intent is to survive, in such cases there is no treason. Flight from an angry Emperor is also not treason under similar limitations. However, the personal wrath of the Emperor effected by himself with weapons he can carry has no legal recourse — neither civil suit, criminal prosecution nor equitable injunction is allowed as relief to the victim.  In his own person the Emperor can do no wrong. The exceptions are constitutional and do not embrace physicalities no matter how great the harm to a person. Resistance and flight provoke an investigation as to whether the alleged victim committed a Misdemeanor against the Court, Low Treacherous Acts or High Treason or whether the Act was Justified. 

Family, Community and Society a New Era

 By some happenstance or other this posting got published when only the first few lines had been written. I fully intended to publish it here but I always throw out a few lines as a kind of marker for myself and keep those as a draft to start from. That is a stage at which I never publish the post I am working on at the time. But this time it happened which kind of hurries me along in case some of my readers had already read those few lines out of context. It was a mistake and it must be corrected and therefore acknowledged and addressed.  In my post to my relatively low standards and for relatively small stakes it is easy to make such improvements. It is not so easy for the world to be made right or any major part of it.

 I have gotten around to advocating large-scale change.  The future is not at all certain and so I am playing the long pass and the swing for the fences.  I think that unless we succeed in greatly and profoundly transforming the discourse we are just burning through all hope, long-term capital, and resources to make a decent and livable future. However, in the end perhaps a brutal stupidity is the greatest of all superior powers. If one has enough brutal stupidity one can always feel that one is doing the best that can be done. One can always believe that one’s faults and shortcomings or inconsequential  and the myriad lies, offenses and acts of intellectual and other kinds of looting and thievery can first be justified and then rationalized. Almost every day of my life I have lived in the sense not of how gosh darn wonderful life is but of how amazingly horrible the world and the human adventure has become and how (in so many both distinct and combining ways)  we live in the worst of all possible (really possible that is) worlds. The programs and changes I propose would involve on of those periods when a significant part of humanity engages in setting things right and cleaning things up. It will be a costly period of progress if it happens and that progress will not endure forever as a living process. However, I believe that it from such periods as I hope to see coming into being that much of the survivability and almost all the good progress of the human race has largely come.

Our dreams are also in trouble. The Bible is not (except in a handful of places) really in the category of dreams, fiction and what could be if all were perfect. Far more often the Bible contains elements of history and biography as written in a particular time on the one hand. While on the other hand it includes advice for imperfect communities of imperfect people aspiring to a perfect communion and a plan of life progressing towards perfection. However, science fiction is about dreams and I have also written about it in these posts. I really enjoy the things that are being filmed and written today. I see a lot of good in them. However, I see that there is so little being done about using  resources of our own solar system and of our seas in ways that we could if we perfected  and enhanced existing technologies and had the heroic spirit easily created in fiction. Even our dream machine is failing to lead us forward.

When I think that we put men on the Moon more than forty years ago and exploded a nuclear device more than fifty years ago it makes me very aware that we have not followed the paths to a full a rapid development of the kind of resources in outer space which would make it possible for us to have a more slow and cautious pace in the full and rich development of ourselves. One great truth which Thomas Jefferson was very aware of and wrote about a good bit during his life was that America offered humanity a chance at a better path of development if it allowed people to slowly evolve from healthy agrarian communities. This kind of development need not oppose science and venture such a s founding universities (like Jefferson’s University of Virginia)  nor need it oppose technology (just as the USA led demand and assisted in the growth of key technologies like rifles, railroads and telegraphs more than other countries of comparable importance because it had so many agrarian centers to link together over a large area). We really should have a thriving colony on the Moon by now just as we really should have many other things as a human species. Like many of the challenges involved in developing the United States we would find that the colony was pushing nuclear, communications, solar power, recycling and other vital technologies. However, working on these technologies without a great cause like the space colonies will not pay as well and therefore will harm far more people and other living things than necessary. We can define free market capitalism as we define and practice it these days as the fine art of kicking the can down the road. Many other economic systems have been worse. However, the fact that there are so many other worse alternatives does not mean that there are not also better ones left untried. In fact it does not mean that we do not face terrible consequences for not doing better than we are doing.

One can think of the billions of gallons of untreated sewerage that enter the water surrounding cities at the same time when many of thee cities have people who need low-level jobs and a demand for the fodder that could be grown on marginal lands with slightly treated waters and their heavy organic waste loads. We are all drunk on and addicted to the kind of liquidity our economic doctrines, models and concepts. We can think of how little attention we have given to fixing our decaying dams and sewer lines in the United States and remember that we are still above average in regards to some of our infrastructure. Katrina in New Orleans and 9-11 in New York are both small tastes of the horrible feast being served to the world.  Worldwide humanity is failing to make key improvements to its infrastructure as it make widespread increases in demand on both the infrastructure and the surrounding environment.

Family farms and foundations as well as all sorts of laws and programs which support varied forms of community striving to be viable in a complete way must be successful  participants in the change we need. We must include the right kind of input from the groups which can reward respect for the slow and precious values capitalism ( and many other systems) can only destroy unless they are kept in check by other values. Those values must be supported by the institutions which are able to act within a structurally secure position within society.

I am hurrying to get this post published because of the early partial posting. That is making it hard to do justice to the four parts of the title. Yet I am also more determined than usual to keep that early title.  That is why I may have to revisit parts of this topic sooner than I would have chosen to do under different circumstances. It also means that I want to state clearly ( and using my typical lists) the basic concept behind this posting.

1. The era we live in focuses more on society as an institution than on family or community and to a degree that is not desirable. Yet ironically we  also deemphasize society too much compared to the concept of the economy and the drive of personal gain. These are important things but are often excessively prioritized in this era.

2. I have reached the point where I am openly working to help usher in a new era. I am encouraging others to take more or less pronounced actions to help bring us into a new era. This is not a position to which I have applied myself as directly and for as long in the past although I have worked for several transformative causes.

3.We will need constitutional support for the structure of families and communities within a more intrinsically stable society.   

So this is an effort at the post I would have written if it had not been prematurely published.  It is not exactly that post. Like everything one repairs and reworks it is not the thing it is when it was new, nor the thing it was when it was in most need of repair.  On the other hand it is not an entirely new thing either. That is how both America and the international order of things would be after being revamped and brought into a new order.

My Thoughts about Homecoming Twenty Years after Graduation

 

I am planning to buy a ticket to my alma mater’s homecoming football game more or less as soon as I get finished with my blog post.  I will be buyuing it with my mother’s credit card. I sometimes do this and pay her back with cash but in this case she is giving it to me as a gift. I feel a sense of obligation to be there and I have often been to Homecoming games over the years. But I have not gotten an invitation to anything except those sent out to all University students and have not had the resources to  initiate much organization although I did start a Facebook group for my classmates nobody joined it. Nonetheless, it discharged another sense of obligation. I do love my school and watching football. However, I certainly am not proud or happy to be going alone and in many other ways in the situation I am currently in at this time.

The bulk of this post is a Facebook note I wrote a while back. I had a really miserable time copying it in here (a process which is often very easy). That means I had more of a chance to correct spelling, mechanical and minor factual errors than usual because I spent longer reworking it. However, I know from experience that there may be a gross error of continuity from pasting parts together and have lots of irritating glitches. I hope not. If you read it and wish to comment I will try to address errors and questions.

    

 

Approaching 20 years since my Bachelor’s Degree
Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 10:58pm
I graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in May of 1989 with a degree in English and the honor of a latin phrase after the designation of a bachelors degree. There have been many days since mid May of 1989. Each of them was a bit different from the others. Suddenly I am coming up on 20 years. Sooner or later it had to happen. Actually it had to happen exactly 20 years after I graduated unless I died. It was always likely to make me feel that my life was not exactly where I had hoped it would be. Twenty years ago was a rather high mark in my life. But not a perfect time at all.

In the years since then there have been opportunities to do things that I had not done. Perhaps I resemble some huge portion of the human species in that I would define the last twenty years as having been much better and much worse than I would have predicted. However as a generalization I would describe my last twenty years as being profoundly different from any plan I could have made or discussed in those days. First of all the most important person in my life in those days was Michelle Denise Broussard Summers and I have not seen or spoken with her since about 1995. We had gotten married in December of 1987 while still in college. I graduated in May of 1989 and she graduated in December of 1989.

I think both that we always had our problems and that when I graduated our best years were still ahead of us. But the time of my graduation was a more difficult time than most of our time together up to that point. In those days I still had high hopes for many things that no longer draw forth that response from me. What Michelle’s hopes were becomes less clear to me with each passing day and month and year. I do know that we were very much together at that time. Her support meant a great deal to me. On the day of the Blue Key reception for the Outstanding Graduate award for their colleges and were nominated for the overall award only one person had no guests for company — I was that nominee. I did win the award however. That of course makes the approach of the 20th year anniversary even more ominous somehow. It is harder to measure up to expectations announced in those days. Of course, no matter what I had that happy summer when I had been so honored and before a life I would often categorize as horrible reverted more to the norm and became fairly horrible again. In the years since there have been lots of good and bad times. I have ended up with more self-respect than I would have ever imagined possible and very little else in many ways. Yet also blessed to have lots of people in my life and memory who have meant something to me. The journey has had its surprising joys. Instead of only following a chronology  only I wanted  to kind of set this up as journey story — because it is.

Mary graduates from UL L as I did. A young mom who does not make time for Facebook yet.

Watching one brother Joseph and one sister Mary graduate with higher Latin honors than I earned from my college alma mater has been a joy and a blessing. It has been a joy to see another sister Sarah graduate with a perfect GPA from Louisiana State University where I got my masters degree. It has been a joy to have my middle sister Susanna graduate with honors from the Franciscan University of Steubenville where I won one of two Sophomore Class Awards (one for men and one for women) in 1985. I look forward to having my youngest brother graduate from UL-L which is my renamed alma mater this May. My handicapped brother Simon received his certificate of Academic completion of merit from Abbeville High School when I was working for the school board in which they are located and which administers them. All of those were joyous milestones. But Michelle was not around for any of those events. After my Bachelor’s ceremonies, hers and my Master of Arts Degree graduation we were not to be together much longer.

Michelle and I lived in Abbeville, Lafayette, Kenner, New Orleans and Baton Rouge  all in Louisiana when we were married. We traveled to Mexico but otherwise never left the country together. We did make trips to Arizona, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee,  and Illinois. But all though we were not absolute cave-dwellers we traveled less together than has been typical of my life. In this post I have included pictures of places I have been since. I had many pictures of Michelle and I together and would put some up but they have been among the many casualties of my trips and dislocations. I do not have access to a single image of her and I together or of her as I type this.

The picture below is of the Shandong Institute of Business and Technology in Yantai. The SDIBT  was the China Coal College a few years before I was there.Set on the Shandong Peninsula where Confucius and Mencius began Classical Chinese scholarship the Campus overlooked the glorious Yellow Sea.
These are some of my students and advisees graduating two years after I left.
Front page of an article I wrote about my journey to China and time there. The top photograph is of English Corner which was largely organized and facilitated by Lu Ting ting who is on my Friends List although her name appears in characters I cannot reproduce.

However, China is not the only place that I have been. There were journeys to Micronesia, Mexico (on numerous occasions) as well as to Nova Scotia/ Acadie. All these trips were since my divorce . Each of these journeys has added to the long route across and just above the surface of this planet which I have had other distinct good things and times. My trip to China ranks near the top of these life enhancing events one recalls at a time like this. I have posted the link to the university level institution where I taught.

The theme of of travel in my story is rather huge and important. It can be minimized and still seem drawn out in my life. Prior to graduation the Philippines, Europe, Colombia, Mexico, Tonga, Samoa and New Zealand were among the places that I had visited long enough to feel that I had lived there.  It bears repeating yet again that extensivetravel has been a very large part of my education and personal development both before and after my undergraduate studies.

 Soren, Alyse and Anika in Zacatecas, Mexico in the center of town.
Alyse in the mines which were the source of wealth for Zacatecas as a Spanish Colonial City and in the precolumbian days as well.
 
I have also been a bit below the surface of the planet a few times. Mammoth Caves is one of my favorite US National parks and I have enjoyed visiting mines like those in the beautiful Mexican city of Zacatecas. Michelle was not a great outdoors woman and now I seldom participate in the outdoors in Louisiana which were such a huge part of my life before because I have had a lot of bad experiences and am not very happy here in any way but Michelle and I once camped at Mammoth Caves in a very happy exception to the rule of our time together. 

What I know is that my life has been a journey in a very literal sense. When I graduated from UL I went to work that summer for the law Firm of Mangham, Hardy, Rolfs and Abadie in the offices near the top of the First National Bank Tower in downtown Lafayette. It was as close as I have ever come to feeling like my life was on a smooth and established track and not a trek through dangerous places. I was headed off to Tulane Law School in the fall. A lot of people in my life who have always behaved badly toward me when they were around chose not to that summer. I had been on television and in the newspapers a great deal when I won the Outstanding Graduate award and it seemed like I would be given some space to do things one step at a time in a way that I have never really known at any other time.

My time at Tulane Law School that first run was one of the worst times of my life. That is from my point of view saying a great deal. We lived next to a family who were in charge of our floor in student housing and screamed and roared many hours every day. Michelle never found any job of significance which wrecked our financial plan, I got hit in a horrible traffic situation and got the ticket, I was chronically sick, we had several family crises. Someone who owed me a substantial amount of money skipped out on payment and it was an informal exchange without legal recourse. Those patterns were established early on and then there were a lot of other bad things. Michelle told me she was pregnant fifteen minutes before my first moot court competition and that she was not (either never was or had lost the pregnancy) just in the middle of my real examination preparation. Then my relationships already included a lot of people who were the opposite of supportive. Despite being a harsh, grim and critical man my grandfather Frank W. Summers I came across as a major source of counsel, social and financial support. He and I had been close of years and this put a strain on our rebuilding relationship but it was a time when he really shone in several ways. When Michelle and I left Tulane after a semester and a bit then in almost every way the life I had sought to graduate into was  dead. The journey since then has been an entirely different journey.

When I left Tulane we engaged in that activity my associates in life often refer to as “licking one’s wounds”. That took a few weeks. Then I was working in seafood sales and brokering as I had done many times before including even during my time at Tulane Law. I went down with the owner and chief sales manager of the privately held company that was my employer on a buying trip to Merida. This was typical of a lot of things about my seafood crowd. The owner paid for four tickets, four registration packages, four hotel and food packages and in me provided one of the two or three best interpreters on the trip. However, the trip was supposed to be a sales trip sponsored by the US Department of Commerce and we were there buying. While that exact event was unique it somehow encapsulates all of my considerable experiences in the fishmongering world. While there Lieutenant Governor Paul Hardy presented me with the honor of Honorary Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana. He gave me a very large and beautiful certificate that I was proud to display as I was to mention the honor on my resume.

When I got back I set up those purchases and set up a series of chain and institutional sales for catfish and catfish products of sizes which were not in the main stream of demand and commerce. That was about all I did before quitting my job and going to work for St. Thomas More High School. I knew it would annoy him but I left my employer with a proposal for changes needed in the company. From a distance over the years I watched many of them take place. (Since I wrote this note however the company has closed because it imported much Mexican labor after the ties established on this trip and has had trouble gettibg the paperwork in order in recent years according to one of the former owners).

My story must return to the subject of St. Thomas More High School.  My Mom had helped me hear about and get an interview for the job at STM and I took Sarah to school there as I commuted to work. Michelle soon found a job in Lafayette in a career field she would follow in for a good while. I added a part-time job as youth minister at St. Mary’s Parish and then we moved from Mom and Dad’s neighborhood in a rental house to an apartment in Lafayette. Mom and Dad soon moved to house only a few miles away. My sister Susanna was registered to go with Sarah to STM the next year. However, by that time I would be a Board of Regents Fellow at Louisiana State University. Michelle had a good job in Baton Rouge with the same company she had worked for in Lafayette and I had the fellowship money and some other sporadic income. We were pretty happy and pretty successful as far as living in a rental townhouse can be considered successful in America. We had two new vehicles we had bought new and although I was getting really fat for the first time since early adolescence we were more in love and happy than at any time since just after our wedding. So if Law school was really brutally bad then graduate school was pretty good. I was tired and stressed but not as alienated as I have often been. It was a time for maintenance and restorations. Then two things did happen when I was in Grad school at LSU that had a big impact on my life between the two of them. One was that my half-brother Paul Nicolas Jordan came into my life. The other was that my grandfather Frank W. Summers I died. These things and earning my Masters really defined those years.

Paul came into my life as a huge surprise since I had been assured of his impossibility. I had devoted a huge portion of whatever positive focus of energy there had been in my life to being the oldest sibling of seven and an older brother. I had become involved in a whole web of transgenerational things on all sides of the family to pass them on to another generation. When Paul came many of relatives who have always perhaps been happy to make me uncomfortable liked to point out that he was both older and my sibling. All the ways this was done I will not get into here. It so happened that my grandfather Summers was not related to Paul by blood, marriage or memory and was busy dying. I had worked for him, lived with him when in from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, bore his name, had discussed genealogies, family traditions and acts and orders of chivalry. He had brought me into some secret and other semi-secret groups and other groups with tasks that were not entirely clear to me and I had tried to humor him even when it was tough. So at this time we drew closer together. His mind, body and poise were all failing but they all were a noble ruin. Old men I had never met came and began to ask me questions about him and some of our activities and talks together. Many of those men I never saw again.

I undertook a research task or two in Acadiana at the time to deal with these odd meetings and with my dying grandfather. I had often been angry with and resentful of “PauPau” as I called him.When he did die I had seen him dying only a day before and the pain was raw and shocked me in its intensity. There were reasons for that which I will not go into here but the biggest reason was personal loss. I was the only primary pall-bearer with streaming tears and shaking sobs as we gave that last shove of his coffin into the elevated stone mini mausoleum where his remains rest. Typical of he and my grandmother there was a space beside him with her name on it and four other spaces for some (but not any dead) who might need a resting place in our extended family. My grandmother was there and many others and my wife. But I felt a loneliness I had not known before, it may not have been my loneliest moment but it was a very lonely one. I pulled through that semester, took my general examinations and went through commencement. I thought I might go to LSU Law school but I would work in large scale food sales again before returning to Tulane Law School. My marriage was almost suddenly falling apart in real earnest.

During the year I worked we still had some good times but by the summer before Law school we were seldom together as I worked in a law office in Lafayette and she lived in Baton Rouge. Then we moved into a town house in Kenner where we last lived together. This time at Tulane things were smoother in some ways but smoothly bad. My first time at Tulane I had organized a petition and a protest along with other woes and distractions and I am quite certain some faculty there still had it in for me. My relationship with my nuclear family was strained, I missed my grandfather, he had promised me several keepsakes when he died all unsolicited by me and I got none of them just as had happened before when his mother died. My marriage was for the first time cold. It is unacceptable to talk about sex between married couples but our sex life had always been very good by all standards that can be quantified or verified. Now it was not. We were sentimental about splitting. We seldom discussed it and when we did it was usually over a nice dinner calmly. We knew it was coming and I began to seek treatment for depression. We both sort of moved from not quite newlyweds to forty years of marriage in our frank awareness of the opposite sex. It was clear that we would not be happy together and we had tried Marriage Encounter, made Engaged Encounter before exchanging vows and read books as well as making a couples retreat. We had no kids or prospects of having kids soon. I had some concerns my grandfather had entrusted me with that we could never really discuss. My relationship with her parents got pretty bad and hers with mine was not good. None of this was all that obvious or even serious in a certain sense.

I am adding this paragraph for no particular reason to the original note in my Facebook page.  I was never sexually involved with anyone while married to Michelle. That is an absolute fact and in addition I did not pursue things that came up as that marriage ended. However, it is dishonest ( by my high standards of candor) to leave out the fact that I did meet a woman at Tulane the second time who made a big impression on me and she seemed to feel something too. We have never seen eachother since then and I really did stay with a miserable and hopeless marriage instead of a new and compelling relationship. I am not even the tiniest bit ashamed of her, my behavior, or of Michelle and I being old fuddy-duddies who tried to play things by the book.  

Suddenly I was out of law school, legally separated and living with my parents in a two storey thatched building overlooking Micronesia’s Truk Lagoon as the GIs knew it on the Island of Weno in the country of Chuuk. Another point of no return had been crossed. Another re-invention of a life and a future. Among the markers of that transition I had a truly horrific sunburn that almost defied description. I have been hospitalized twice for sunburn and none of those burns were in the same category as this. I think I could easily have died except that a clinic there sold my mother a few hundred dollars of Silvadene cream for a few dollars. The agonizing physical pain and baseball size blisters were oddly soothing to my shredded soul. I healed and snorkeled again as I had that first burning day. I ate Eggs Benedict overlooking the gorgeous lagoon, spent time with my brothers and sisters and found a job teaching at the local community college which I never undertook because I left before school started. I heard rumours that made me think a reconciliation might be possible and decided to come home and try. However, I have never seen Michelle since the day we were separated. I have never spoken to her on the phone or seen a convincing video of her. Except for third person testimony I have no reason to believe that she is not dead. I now reached a place in life where I was not to cut my hair or shave for about three and a half years.

When I was in graduate school at LSU I published one book review in the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television as well as two note length letters to the editor — on in Time and one in Newsweek. I did a lot of writing during my marriage but what was most notable was how little publishing I did. I wrote novels, plays, short stories, book length rough drafts on international law, rocketry, ethnicity and theology. This was in addition to countless papers, exam essays, lesson plans at Saint Thomas More, tutoring materials and half of the  catechetical materials Michelle and I used together to teach our faith in two dioceses and sales materials as well. But now, in the wandering in the desert phase of my life (involving very few deserts) I began to fill composition books titled as journals. With hair down to my waist almost and long journals to write Mom got me a chance to work out every day almost at Olympus health club in Nunez which is a small community with a  gymnasium (in the old sense), a steak house, a gas station and a lot of houses and fields. I got into pretty good shape while not losing weight. In my journals I was able to deal with the absolute and enormous wrongness of nearly everything in the world of humanity from my point of view. It was amazingly soothing to say what was wrong and what might be done about it even though it would not change anything. In many ways life was more hellish than it had been in my worst nightmares but I could at least express that thought in an environment not entirely toxic. I might fell that I was living a nightmare but at least I could say so in peace. I do find the world to be a kind of nightmare made real as much as I find it to be anything else.

I acquired some land from my father after a few years and began a very small business. I did a wide variety of odd jobs and my parents donated mortgage payments on the land to me this was our symbiosis. When they were paid off it was about the year 2000. I also had started a small business subsidized by payment made for driving a few people back and forth from jails and hospitals and other government agencies. My little business was distributing books, cards, prints, jewelry and prints produced in Acadiana or by artists connected with Acadian in a surprisingly large number of the United States, countries and cities. But my income was not nearly (not even approaching nearly) enough to live on.In the year 2000 I returned to the Catholic sacraments after having been a regular mass goer who never received communion, I cut my hair and shaved my beard, I took out a $10,000 signature loan on the land and I applied for and got a substitute teaching job starting in the fall in the Vermilion Parish School board system. Most of this happened in May of 2000. Then I went up to New Haven Connecticut for my sister’s birthday and my brother in laws graduation from Yale Divinity School. I had a wonderful visit with Sarah, Jason, Alyse and Anika as well as others gathering there. However, I did sense before I left that there were serious problems still in their marriage which had been evident last time I had seen them. Some of these and other tensions spilled over into the latter part of a great visit. However, for me this would be a blessed renewal of a closeness with Sarah and her children which would be a large comfort of the following years and had always been there largely. I stopped in at EWTN headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama and at the home of the relative who owned the adjoining piece of land and lived in Virginia. Both these stops and a stop in New Orleans were on the route of my round trip Amtrak ticket and were a mix of business and pleasure.

For three following years I devoted myself to family affairs, kept my little intellectual properties distribution business going, built fences and acquired tenants for all the land while maintaining the mortgage. I also did a great deal of substitute teaching sometimes a week and a half for each week or even more after storms like Hurricane Lilli closed down facilities and caused schedules to be consolidated.

I also began to write again publishing sports pieces at the Daily Advertiser, sports and feature stories in the Abbeville Meridional and features and a column in the Bonnes Nouvelles (Vermilion). Meanwhile, I continued researching, filling composition books and writing a great deal on topics related to my first big efforts in doing my own thing when I left Tulane. About the end of that time a lady I liked ( and might still like) a whole lot and I really pronounced the death of a long term on again and off again relationship.

Towards the end of that period I considered and sort of attempted to return to graduate school in a different discipline. Then I traveled around to see my sister now living in Mexico and to look for a job. I also had applied for a teaching job in China. As it turned out I did teach there in 2004 and into 2005. It was a very powerful experience that deserves more space than I have here so I will skim over it. Having graded dozens of term papers, directed numerous student workshop dramas and advised hundreds of students I returned here because of paperwork problems. I saw many terrible problems in China and faced many but they did not oppress my spirit in the way that the woes of my homeland and of my life in this land have oppressed it.

I got back in time to settle in and then took a job caring for my brother Simon Peter in a home health agency. This went on as I also volunteered during hurricane Katrina but ended with hurricane Rita. I left badly injured to in California and to look for a job. When that failed I spent a very nice few months with Sarah, her children and the missionary team in Mexico. It was on that trip that we took the pictures in Zacatecas which I have included here. My last paycheck, an anonymous gift and some FEMA money went far in Mexico. They would have gone farther if I had not spent so much in California.

I got back healthy for Christmas and have not really been gainfully employed since then but have lived here at Big Woods. Nor is that the extreme underemployment the only lack in my life. But I have gone on with my life each day doing a variety of things. When I think back on the last twenty years since my graduation there are many events not mentioned in this note. Many blessings and joys as well as many horrors and woes. While I have used the skills and knowledge I gained in the university studies I completed twenty years ago many times this is not a career that sounds like a career.

Now I am coming up on twenty years since graduation. I feel very much the absence of many things. I have no legal marriage certainly, no net worth, no significant US credit or income profile or ownership of a car. My views of many institutions is very dark and my interpersonal relationships are perhaps possessed of some of the worst qualities of the modern and some of the worst qualities of the ancient. Yet there is some good in them as well. I have been to pretty many of my alma mater’s homecoming games but not to any organized class reunions. Despite advanced credits and generally good grades I had distractions and preoccupations which prevented me from graduating in four year and that lessened my ties to the people I actually graduated with although not my ties to the school. Now I wonder what the twenty year mark will bring.I doubt I could some these years up to my satisfaction in a single line or a one paragraph program entry. Yet I do note the occasion and find that it commands my attention. I am aware that twenty years as an alumnus only comes once and there is no guarantee that the multiples will come at all. So I look towards May’s anniversary and October’s homecoming week with a varied mix of emotions. Life does not delay so we can explain it well.

END OF FACEBOOK POST

Now, those who really know this blog will know that I correspond with some influential and privileged people and believe in leadership. However, there is a tone of resentment and profound unhappiness with the status quo that is hard to miss in much of what I write and say. First, I would remind people that although the Baron of Louth and I (for example) may correspond it does not mean we are really living in the same circle. Second, this tension (which some see as a contradiction)  has been a part of me almost all my life. In an age where people who are unhappy with Bishops join a church with no bishops I choose to complain (when I have reason to) about the episcopacy. While I could have found a way to leave many ties of my youth behind I tend to stay and raise a little hell about the things I dislike.  Those who know me best no that my self-concept is very distinct. I am far from perfect but not at all inclined to give up all that I am for some lie about equality and sameness which is not even understood by its advocates. So this is my thinking about this twenty year milestone. 

Sunday Thoughts

Today is Sunday. I am watching CBS Sunday Morning as I write this. I am a bit tired from the thirteen inning  American League Championship  Series Game Two.  I am preparing to go to Mass at the little church near my house and then I have to decide between a distant picnic and watching the Saints play the Giants alone. I am probably going to watch the Saints.

 

I like taking Sundays easy. I do miss the times when that included spending more time with family, friends a wife or girlfriend than it sometimes does now. But I do think if one cannot waste a good day on things that are not at all work then all of one’s work is likely to be misdirected and to suffer in quality as well.

Have a good Sunday! If not this one then sometime soon.