A Man Named Mogg

Yes, Rest in Peace Mr. Mogg.


Sometimes voices from years ago ring clear in our heads as though they were heard just yesterday. Then they are gone.

Over five decades ago I was already an established writer going to high school. I say “established” because I had already been paid as a writer since the age of 14. I took Journalism as an elective subject almost every semester at Sylmar High just for the fun and sheer enjoyment involved in writing. I loved language. In all of my journalism experiences, including sports editor for the school paper, my teacher was one Mr. Albert Mogg. He was a young man in his thirties at the time and little did I suspect that this teacher would have such an impact on my life.

Mr. Mogg taught me solid journalism, something that is totally lacking in today’s news. I learned, despite my enthusiasm, that editorials were reserved for the…

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Trumbull – Dear Future General Manager – News Concerning Back Pay and InterAmerica – October 29, 1939

Follow this account in letters written in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s.

"Greatest Generation" Life Lessons

This weeks chronicle to Lad of happenings in Trumbull include several celebrations. It’s  also been 6 months since Lad left Interamerica for his current job at Socony-Vacuum Oil Company and four months since Dan traveled home from Venezuela, but the battle with Interamerica for wages due continues on. This letter does supply some indication that things will be coming to a close fairly soon.

Lad in Venezuela

Alfred Peabody Guion at one of the camps in Venezuela

Ye last Sunday in October, 1939

(October 29, 1939)

Dear Future General Manager:

Picture to yourself lawns covered with newly fallen tannish-yellow leaves, clear brisk October weather, a cozy fire in the alcove, Mack asleep on the floor and me at my typewriter and you will have the proper background for this letter.

Chalk up to your credit some additional heartbeats of joy occasioned by the fact that last Tuesday when I looked in the mailbox…

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The House Opposite by Barbara Noble – A brilliant 1943 novel of the London Blitz made available by Furrowed Middlebrow at Dean Street Press

Northern Reader

The House Opposite by [Barbara Noble, Connie Willis]

The House Opposite by Barbara Noble

A book written about life in London in 1943 will probably make some reference to the Blitz. In this powerful novel the bombing is a theme, constantly in the background, explaining and justifying what the characters do, how they live. There is no melodrama, but an acceptance that life is affected, that fear affects people in different ways, that people behave differently when there is real danger. This exceptional book has been made available by the brilliant Dean Street Press, as chosen to be part of the wonderful Furrowed Middlebrow series. Connie Willis in her Introduction points out that Noble gets the Blitz right, in the facts, the atmosphere and the little details. I found it an incredible read, documenting the telling experience, the way that people fight to get on with their lives in the best way that they can, subject to the…

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Smitty ~ Getting Close to Shore ~ Letter VI

Pacific Paratrooper

Ships in anchor at Milne Bay, 1944 Ships in anchor at Milne Bay, 1944

Just as Smitty expected, their destination was quickly coming up over the horizon.  The fleeting glimpse of solid land, Milne Bay, New Guinea was only a short stopover for water (such a disappointment) and they continued their cruise north.  The 11th Airborne Division came upon the humming waterfront of ships manipulating to unload troops, supplies and equipment in Oro Bay.  They witnessed a paradoxal view of organized chaos.

Down the rope ladders they went to the beach taxis, DUKWs (2 ton amphibious vehicles commonly called “ducks”) and onward to the awaiting shoreline.  At latitude 8*52’60S and longitude 148*30’0E, this would become the first step for many a G.I. on foreign soil.  Once they actually hit the beach, the heat seemed to slam into the troopers and their uniforms became soaked within minutes, but they proceeded on to the Buna-Dobodura area to make their new base camp.

Oro Bay, New Guinea Oro Bay, New…

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HMS Trincomalee Book Review

For your interest.

Inch High Guy


HMS Trincomalee: Frigate 1817

Seaforth Historic Ships Series

By Wyn Davies, Photography by Max Mudie

Softcover, 128 pages, bibliography, fully illustrated in color

Published by Seaforth 2015

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1-84832-221-6

ISBN-13: 978-1-84832-221-9

Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.4 x 9.6 inches

HMS Trincomalee is a Leda-class sailing frigate. Forty-seven ships of the Leda-class were built for the Royal Navy between 1805 and 1832, of which two survive today as museum ships, Trincomalee and her sister HMS Unicorn. Due to worsening shortages of oak suitable for shipbuilding in Great Britain, she was built of teak in Bombay, India. The preservative qualities of the oils in teak have contributed to her preservation and survival today.

Trincomalee was built too late to serve in the Napoleonic Wars, and was laid up in reserve. She was recommissioned from 1847 through 1857, serving on both coasts of North America for the majority of her commission. She…

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Remembering My Dad

It’s sad in a way to remember my dad. I am the last in my family to remember him. I have 2 cousins who might remember him slightly but that is all. Well that is the way it is as one gets older.

My dad died young – he was only 57. And I was 12.

My father as a young man
My father holding me – that is what I have always thought this picture was – but upon reflection this could not be true as I was born in December (1936) and this picture would have been taken in front of the lilac bush in our back yard. A Spring or Summer picture. Probably my sister Nan born in April (1927)

That just shows you how memories and photographs can alter over time.

Nevertheless I’ll give you one very specific memory I have of my father. I was in 5th grade. My father and my sister Ruth and I went to a kennel out in the country (i.e. beyond Belmont Mass.) and we selected a puppy. You can imagine how cute and cuddly this little bundle of fur was. This little puppy, part Collie and part St. Bernard, wriggled in my arms as we drove home. She didn’t like the ride and managed to be sick in the car. When we got home my father tried to interact with her and get her to bark. My father kept tapping his foot to try to get some reaction – no luck. Needless to say, that little puppy did bark eventually – yes Duchess (for that was the name we gave her) part Collie, part St.Bernard had a good bark. She was the family dog and lived a full life for many years. Sadly my father only had 2 more years to live. He passed away in March of 1949. I was in 7th grade.