This is the first of a series of posts. The “triple play” in the title does not deal with baseball, in spite of the title. That title came to me in the middle of the night, as many ideas i think are too good to not record on a scrap of paper or this damnable machine they call a computer.
These posts are, in fact, about opportunities to tell folks about my book, Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings. They include my trip to Middle Tennessee, Newport, Rhode Island; and Boston, Massachusetts. They are as much about my return to times and places past as they are about my book. I have began composing them on my journey back home from my notes during the two-week adventure.
It seemed appropriate. I liked it.
The trip’s generation came from several conversations after my book was published.
Andrew Maraniss, the author of Strong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race and Sports in the South and several other excellent books, had discussed many aspects of writing my book. with me during the process and suggested when it was published for me to come and present my book to Vanderbilt students.
Concurrently, Ed Hebert, a friend through golfing and a retired Navy captain, told me i should present the book to the Surface Warfare Officer School’s (SWOS) initial training (newly commissioned officers who are in the line of suvrface warfare attend to learn the basics of their new duties). Then, in an email exchange, Emily (Baker) Black, the Damage Control Assistant (DCA) during Yosemite ‘s 1983-84 deployment with me, also recommended i make a presentation to the SWOS training.
After that, Noreen Leahy, who was the operations officer on that deployment, was having lunch with her friend, Margaret (Peg) Klein, a retired two star admiral who is the dean of the “Leadership and Ethics” college at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. Noreen and Peg were in the second graduating class of the Naval Academy that included women. Peg read the book and set up my making a “presentation”Lecture of Opportunity” at the Naval War College.
Peg read my book and during ensuing discussions, the plan was set for me to do a “Lecture of Opportunity.
i was thrilled. The trip to Tennessee and then Rhode Island would launch my getting out to try and sell my book and also let me travel to four places i had yearned to visit for quite some time.
i’ve been trying to get back home to Lebanon, Tennessee for several years without success. Now i would get to stay with my boyhood friend, Henry Harding, and wife, Brenda. Even better, i would be staying In Henry’s home where he grew up and was my briar’s patch as Brer Rabbit had his. i spent almost much time in this home as i did my own up until i left town for good to attend Navy Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport.
i would be going to see Andrew Maraniss and a number of Vanderbilt friends. Andrew is the resident writer in the Vanderbilt sports department. He also is a writer for ESPN, and his other books include Games of Deception about the first U.S. men’s basketball team in the Olympics, Singled Out: The True Story of Glenn Burke, and the recently published Inaugural Ballers about the first U.S. women’s basketball team. i admire his writing and consider him a good friend.
Following that stop, i would be in Newport, Rhode Island, one of my favorite places on earth. Better yet, two of Yosemite’s officers who were with me on that deployment lived there. Even better, Linda Schlesinger, the ship’s stores officer followed by becoming disbursing officer and now lives in Carlsbad, was traveling there as well. It would be a mini-reunion of the wardroom. To add icing on the cake, Andrew Nemethy, who shared a stateroom with me on our first ship, USS Hawkins (DD 873), announced he would be traveling down from Vermont to spend some time with me.
And finally, i would cap off the fortnight trip with a weekend in Boston with my brother Joe and his family.
i was excited.
Following posts will address each of my three stops in more detail. To summarize, the trip was one of the most rewarding experiences i have had. It was flat wonderful.