Friday, January 24, 2003

Driver's licenses & Book Reviews

Do you realize it is apparently not as easy to get a driver’s license in Indiana as in other states?
That has been the experience of one of our good residents.

While she probably wouldn’t mind if I revealed her identity — and her friends already know who I am writing about — I will not do so. This person recently moved to Clay County from another state. She was given up for adoption in a large city. She has no birth certificate, neither can she get one. When she applied for an Indiana driver’s license, she was told she must have a birth certificate or not get a license.

“How did you get a driver’s license in the state where you formerly lived?” I asked.

“They didn’t ask for one,” she said.

Meanwhile, when I went to get a new driver’s license, the person administering the test asked me to try the eye exam without my glasses. After she prompted me several times when I couldn’t read the letters, I finally passed.

My wife insists I wear my glasses while driving; though legally, I am not required to do so!

• • •

From my library:I recently read two books that were interesting, though the second one was too long and tedious. Neither book was published recently, though both are still in print. “Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club” by John Doolittle would interest radio junkies and people who remember the show. It aired on WLS, Chicago, and hundreds of other ABC network stations around the country until it went off the air in 1968.

The theme is most memorable: “Good morning, Breakfast Clubbers“Good morning to ya,“We got up bright and early“Just to howdy-do ya.”

I was surprised to learn singers John Gary and Johnny Desmond were on the show. And, I did not know Fran Allison of “Kukla, Fran and Ollie” puppet show fame was a regular on the Breakfast Club. She played “Aunt Fanny,” who received letters and phone calls from her down on the farm family. After reading the book, I imagine she was a female counterpart to Cliff Arquette’s Charley Weaver.

The book comes with a CD featuring snippets of the show from the 1940s through 1968.

The second book was written by James Michener, author of “Hawaii”, “Texas” and other memorable sagas. It is titled “The Source”. It is a long novel, some 1,000 pages, that delves into the lives of archaeologists.

Set in the fictional dig of Makor, located north of Jerusalem, American John Cullinane leads an international crew as they unearth the various civilizations that dwelt at Makor.

The story begins with the lives of cave dwellers and moves through the Holy Land occupation by various world forces. And, there is a love story.

Cullinane competes with Eliav for the hand of Vered, a voluptuous beauty who works with them at the dig.

I will probably pick it up again and read it in detail someday (I briefly skimmed the last 600 pages). But like ice cream or wine, it is a treat that is better consumed in small portions.

• • •

Did you read the news stories we published about Mike Osborn?

Osborn was told two people were lurking around his garage. When he yelled at them, they ran to a waiting pickup truck and sped off. Osborn chased the truck to get a license plate number for the police. The police asked him to keep the truck in sight until they arrested the suspects.

Osborn received “a ton” of telephone calls after his story was told in the newspaper.

The thing that disturbs me is that most of the callers criticized him for chasing the people he found in his garage. What was he supposed to? Let them flee and rob someone else?

When police interviewed the suspects, they said they planned to steal Osborn’s all-terrain vehicle and sell it for money to buy drugs.

Osborn stresses that he was not angry and never intended to harm or even confront the suspects. He was just doing his job as a concerned citizen.

In my humble opinion, we would have less problem with crime if more people were like Osborn!

• • •

Finally, it is time for people to file for public office.

As I write this, I know of five people who have decided to run. I hope many others will choose to do so.

When I was in high school and college, I never considered running for any school office. Why? Fear. Fear that I would be humiliated if I lost an election.

Now I look at things differently.

To run for public office is to present voters with a choice.

In all of our elections may the best man or woman win. My concern is that the best men and women won’t even throw their hats into the ring! (No, I have no plans to run for any office. I can better serve you by helping keep the community informed so the community can make wise decisions based on the most complete and factual information available).

• • •

Everyone complains about the weather. I can remember when temperatures dipped below zero just about every winter! It would seem this is a typical Hoosier winter. Now, schools are delayed two hours so kids don’t have to wait outside in the cold for the school bus .

We used to hear how bad our parents had it in the winter. Can you imagine what our great-grandchildren will hear?

“When I was a boy (or girl) we had to stay home an extra two hours, waiting on the school bus.”

But, things have changed. Too many children are “latchkey kids” - they get up and go to school without parental supervision and there is no adult waiting for them when they get home from school. Again, the schools are asked to do for children what families used to do for their young ones. (I’ll refrain from sighing about the good old days.)

Frank Phillips is The Times managing editor. He can be reached at 446-3086 or by e-mail at: