Bard Revisited

Readers everywhere, myself included, laughed, cried and just plain enjoyed Al Martinez’s wonderfully written and insightful blogs. Al’s wife, Joanne, now shares memories of the more than 65 years she and “The Bard of L.A.” spent together. Sometimes an ordinary moment transforms into a pivotal one. So it was when my husband, Al Martinez, met an imaginary field of daffodils. More than seven decades before he passed away in January, Al and his fellow fourth-graders were supposed to give speeches. Al …

In Memoriam — Al Martinez: More Than a Life Well-Lived

His voice was deep; his soul was too. His humor made you rock with laughter; his insight rocked your world. I never got to squeeze Al Martinez’s hand or give him a hug, though I often wanted to. We lived six hours apart, but when we talked by phone, Al, who died Jan. 12, was in my living room, sitting next to my desk. We laughed at each other’s jokes and exchanged sometimes thoughtful, sometimes silly emails about the topics …

A New America: Who Says We Can’t Do It?

Who says we can’t make it? Who says that this nation of muscle and dreams, of imagination and strength, can’t last through the next millennium? Who says differences will tear us apart and pettiness will drive holes in our moral structures? Who says that different peoples with different voices will crack the melting pot we have created when their voices rise as individuals in a mass culture? Who says that men who love men and women who love women will …

Walking and Working with the Extenders

The first time I ever heard the term “extenders” applied to human effort and not necessarily to equipment utilized by the handicapped was in the office of a doctor who actually had disabilities. He redefined the word to mean that you never give up. Burdened by the ever-increasing impact of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) on my body, I had requested a wheelchair from Medicare and was told to make an appointment in Los Angeles with one Dr. Thomas Hedge, …

Take Him Out to the Ball Game

Joe Price had just rolled back into town, looking weary but still possessing the excitable manner of a guy who might burst into song at any moment. He had just completed half a year on the road visiting 104 minor league baseball parks in 40 states, where he had sung America’s national anthem to start their games. It was a labor of love and academic duty. Price, who is 64, is a professor of religious studies at L.A.’s Whittier University, …

When the Conversation Turns to Hatred

Parties aren’t always fun, even during the Christmas season. Sometimes late in the evening, when only a few remain, the conversation can become both serious and revealing. It was that way for us last Saturday night. Among the few who remained, one was an African American woman whom I will call Miriam whose academic credits in the field of education are legendary. Articulate and profound in many ways, she could converse with wit and knowledge, but was quieter this night …