Shared Stories: Learning to Drive in the U.S.

Anthony Kingsley’s deadpan description of learning to drive in the United States offers perfect episodes for a comedic film – and it even ends on a suspenseful note.  Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center.  Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program.  Curated by Carol Kearns

By Anthony R. Kingsley
I grew up in Ireland during WWll. When I was about age six I used to listen to the American Forces Network (AFN) Stuttgart and Frankfurt and developed a dream that one day I would go to the United States.
I moved to England where I got a job with a construction company. The pay was OK but not enough to save for moving to the USA. I got two more jobs: bartending during the evenings and selling in a Department Store on weekends. The money from these two jobs went into a separate account. 
As time went by and the savings were building up, I decided to make a bet on a horse named Damredub. Damredub won at a good price. And the savings account got closer to its goal. 
I went to the American Embassy, applied for an immigrant visa and showed my bank accounts to prove I had enough funds to support himself. My passport was stamped with a visa. I advised my three employers of my intention to leave. 
On April 28, 1965 I boarded the 53,000-ton ocean liner, the SS United States. I could have gone on the Queen Mary, but the SS United States offered a 10% immigrant discount. 
As we pulled out of Southampton the captain announced that we would arrive in New York on May 3 at 6:00 am. The next five days were spent on the water with six meals a day – wow – what luxury!!
On May 3 I was up on deck as the ship passed under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the entrance to New York Harbor at exactly 6:00 am. I saw all these car lights and wondered where all these people were going. The answer was, of course, people heading to New York City for work. 
After I cleared immigration and customs, a big burly stevedore picked up my meager belongings and carried them out. Not knowing the value of the currency, I gave the stevedore a tip based on English values. The stevedore very nicely handed the tip back and said, “If that is all you can afford son, you need it more that I do.”
A friend of a friend picked me up and took me to an apartment in Brooklyn. After searching for a few days, I obtained a job with Chase Manhattan Bank. But I had to pay the employment agency one month’s pay. 
My neighbor Frank offered to teach me to drive but I said No, I wanted to learn in my own car. After a few months I bought my first car for $300 – a 1960 Plymouth Savoy with huge fins at the back. Off I went with Frank and suddenly I saw a car in my rear-view mirror right up on my tail, so I nervously pulled over. There was no car – what I saw were my own fins.
I got my license and Frank asked me to drive him into New York to buy something. I dropped Frank off and continued driving around the block again and again. Then red flashing lights appeared behind me. I stopped and handed all the paperwork to the officer and was directed to go sit in the police car. The other officer drove my car to the police station.
After about two hours, they said I was free to go. When I asked why I had been picked up, the answer was because I was driving around and around in front of a bank.
While at Chase, my supervisor told me that if I wanted to get ahead I would have to go to college. I applied to Queens College but I was refused because I had no education paperwork. So, I took and passed the GED and was accepted to Queens College. 
In November 1965 the Great Northeast Blackout occurred, cutting power from Canada to Pennsylvania.  And where was I at the time? Stuck down in the metro. It took me five hours to walk home. 
I left Chase to work for an engineering company but Chase asked me to come back and work from 6 pm to midnight on a special project. I accepted so that I could build up my savings. 
In 1969 I was on the freeway when I was hit from behind by a truck. The company would not settle so I sued them. I went to court and the company made an offer. I refused. The judge said I should accept it because there was a five-year backup in the courts. I took the judge’s advice.
After four winters of cold and snow and with no car it was time to say au revoir to New York and head west. So where to go - Los Angeles or San Francisco? A flip of a coin decided – Los Angeles it was! I got a job with a mining company headquartered in Los Angeles and travelled to plants in California, Nevada and Arizona. 
I also transferred to California State University, Los Angeles. In 1982 I graduated with an MBA completing the requirements for both the Accounting and International Business options.
In 1989 I got a job as the Chief Accountant for the State of YAP in Micronesia. But despite the warm water and swaying palm trees, I left after three months.  
I got a job as the assistant controller for a demolition company. I met a wonderful woman from the Philippines, to whom I am still married, bought a house, and decided that my wandering days were over.
But alas, settling down was not meant to be. 

Shared Stories: Creamistry

Like most children, Kay Halsey always enjoyed ice cream.  An ice cream outing with her great-granddaughter prompted Kay’s memories of making ice cream by hand.  Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center. Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. Curated by Carol Kearns

By Kay Halsey

“I scream, You scream, We all scream for ice scream.”  Even today, children recognize this cheer.

In the 1920’s all children had penny banks to save gift money.  Any other money children were given was designated for streetcar fare between school and home. 

It was two miles from my junior high school to home.  I decided I would walk home and save my money to go through the shopping area to buy a “goodie,” an ice cream cone or a pastry, with my dime.

Drug stores had small tables and chairs opposite the counter where there were many displays of different flavored ice cream. A cone cost ten cents. The salesman would put a scoop or two in the crispy cake cone and hand it to you. Then you could sit down, lick the cream, and savor the cool, sweet cream.

Picnics were other times you could look forward to large canisters of homemade ice cream.  My mother made a custard with whole milk, eggs, vanilla, and sugar and poured it into a cylinder in a churn loaded with cracked ice and rock salt. A long-stemmed paddle would be pumped up and down in the custard until it froze.  Sometimes several people shared in the half-hour job.

My memory of ice cream in the 1920’s was sparked when my daughter-in-law brought her eight-year-old granddaughter to have lunch with me. At lunch she didn’t eat anything.  We asked her what she would like.  She said, “Ice cream!”

On the car’s GPS system we found a store in Cerritos called “Creamistry.”  Each order was made by selecting whatever combination of flavors was on the menu board.

An employee would mix the ingredients in a pitcher, stir with a paddle, and apply a blast of nitrogen gas until it was frozen solid.  It was then put in whatever cone you selected and handed to you.  We took our cones outside to eat on the patio.

We enjoyed talking and licking our cones until the ice cream was all gone. It was a wonderful adventure! My great-granddaughter and I thanked my daughter-in-law for the treat, and then came a surprise.  She shared with us that the bill was $28.00 for the three cones! How times have changed!

We’d like to offer a special congratulations to Kay, who celebrated her 97th birthday last week. She is an active member of the memoirs class and a contributor to this column. Kay has shared memories of growing up in Georgia in the 1920’s and her life in Norwalk as a wife and mother.  Many in Downey know Kay from her years of golfing and tennis. She is a role model for us all. Happy 97th birthday, Kay! 

St. John Bosco names new vice principal of academic affairs

Experienced school administrator and professor,  Edgar Salmingo, Jr., has been named Vice Principal of Academic Affairs at St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower.

The announcement was made this week by the school’s principal, Dr. Christian De Larkin.

Salmingo has served as Associate Principal for Academic Life at La Salle High School in Pasadena since 2014.  He also serves as an Adjunct Professor for the Master of Educational Technology programs at California State University, Fullerton, and Concordia University in Irvine.  

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A former teacher and Instructional Technology Coordinator at St. Anthony High School in Long Beach, he was also Director of Educational Technology at Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary High School in Montebello for two years prior to joining the administration at La Salle.  

Salmingo is currently earning his Doctor of Education, Learning Technologies from Pepperdine University. His Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering was earned in 2004 from University of California, Irvine, and he received his Master of Arts, Secondary Education from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles in 2008.

Upon making the announcement,  Dr. Christian De Larkin, principal, commented, “I am excited to welcome Edgar to the St. John Bosco family to lead our academic programs.  Edgar’s history of excellence in and outside of the classroom has equipped him to positively impact our academic growth, as we continue to operate at the intersection of innovation and tradition. Edgar’s unwavering passion for student success is a perfect fit for Bosco.”

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In his 11 years of experience as an educator, he has led a host of academic initiatives, including the creation of the Marine Science Academy at St. Anthony High School in partnership with the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.  He has taught AP Environmental Science, AP Calculus AB/BC, and AP Biology, as well as coached the Academic Decathlon team at La Salle High School to back-to-back championships and a top-10 finish in the World Scholar’s Cup at the Tournament of Champions at Yale University. 

As an instructional leader, he has launched 1:1 iPad programs at three different high schools; built and co-wrote new UC-approved pathway programs in Digital Game Design, Introduction to Law and Sports Medicine; and implemented research-based, schoolwide initiatives in instruction, assessment, and homework that increased standardized test scores and college acceptance rates.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the team of educators at St. John Bosco High School,” remarked Mr. Salmingo upon his acceptance of the position. “I am eager to join them in preparing all of our students for academic and spiritual success by engaging them with their own passions and purpose, teaching them critical skills, and inspiring them to better our global community. Together as a community, we will advance Bosco’s mission and reputation as an outstanding college preparatory high school.”

Edgar Salmingo, Jr., and his wife Dr. Jennifer Salmingo are parents of two young sons, Trey, 5, and Landon, 3.  They are residents of La Palma.

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Alan Drew to discuss new book at Cerritos Library

CERRITOS - Author Alan Drew will discuss and sign copies of his psychological thriller "Shadow Man" in the Cerritos Library Skyline Room at 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 3. The free event is open to the public.

Drew’s “Shadow Man” is about a community rocked by a serial killer and a dark secret. The book is loosely based on Richard Ramirez, “The Night Stalker” who terrorized Southern California during the summer of 1985 when Drew was a teenager.

The book will be available for purchase at the program.

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Drew is an associate professor of English at Villanova University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he directs the creative writing program. He is also a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was awarded a teaching/writing fellowship.

His critically acclaimed debut novel, “Gardens of Water,” has been translated into 10 languages and published in nearly two dozen countries.  

Cerritos Library is located at 18025 Bloomfield Avenue. For more information, call (562) 916-1342.

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Rio Hondo College hires new vice president of academic affairs

Dr. Laura Ramirez, who has served in administrative roles for East Los Angeles College since 2002, began as Rio Hondo College’s vice president of academic affairs on July 5.

Dr. Laura Ramirez, who has served in administrative roles for East Los Angeles College since 2002, began as Rio Hondo College’s vice president of academic affairs on July 5.

WHITTIER –  Rio Hondo College’s new vice president of academic affairs brings a background rich in community college leadership, an understanding of high school curriculum, including accelerated learning programs, oversight of academic departments and leadership on construction projects.

Dr. Laura Ramirez, who is currently vice president of academic affairs for East Los Angeles College (ELAC), began her new post on July 5.

She replaces JoAnna Schilling, who held the job on an interim basis before leaving to lead Cypress College as its president.

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“Dr. Ramirez understands the demands of community colleges, including the challenges faced by our high schools and the need to effectively connect with our community as we build our programs and services,” Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss said. “We’re very excited she is joining us.”

Ramirez’s hiring was approved by the Board of Trustees at its June 14 meeting.

“I’m thrilled to be part of the exciting mission at Rio Hondo College,” Ramirez said. “This is a college that is taking bold steps to ensure our students have the best possible opportunities to pursue their higher education dreams.”

She received an Associate of Arts degree from ELAC, a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from UCLA, a Master of Science in analytical chemistry from Cal State Fullerton and a doctorate of education in community college leadership from Cal State Fullerton.

Her previous posts include serving as science department chair and an instructor from 1999 to 2002 at Don Bosco Technical Institute, where she developed Advanced Placement chemistry programs and participated in a Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation self-study.

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Her career then shifted to community college, with three posts at ELAC. First, Ramirez served from 2002 to 2006 as a department chair and professor for ELAC’s chemistry department, where she again participated in the accreditation process. For the next six years, she worked as the ELAC dean of academic affairs and career technical education.

In September 2012, she became ELAC’s vice president of academic affairs. In this post, she supervised 12 academic deans, led or supervised instructional and workforce programs, developed collegewide collaboration initiatives, and provide insight and leadership for $100 million in construction projects.

“Dr. Ramirez brings a strong background in community college leadership that will be of great benefit to Rio Hondo College, especially as we continue to strengthen our student support programs, revise our placement of students in basic skills classes and bolster the rigor of our academic offerings,” Board of Trustees President Norma Edith Garcia said.

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