Looking back on my LHS days, I have fond memories and feel fortunate that I met several lifelong friends. Moreover, I still enjoy reminiscing about the good old days of my youth. To this day l stay in contact with a few of my closest LHS buddies. In my office there are still photos of my days playing Football at LHS. Without question it was one of the greatest experiences in my life. I can still recall vividly key blocks I made and the joy I felt knowing I was part of something special. As years went on, I came to appreciate those experiences even more.

In 2001, I was an assistant football coach on my son’s Pop Warner team. Honestly, as far as coaching goes, this is about as entry level as it comes, but one thing became very clear to me, and that was I was well coached in high school. Some 25 years later I tried my best to recall Coach Jacobson’s and Coach Hope’s direction, pointers, and techniques to share with these young boys. At that time, it occurred to me that I had an important mission: I knew I needed to go back to Livingston to thank Coach Jacobson, as my respect for him grew immensely as I did my best to coach these kids.

I reached out to Jake, and he invited me to his house the next time I was in Jersey. A month or two later I found myself in Jake’s living room reminiscing and sharing stories about LHS football. He shared with me that night that he had cancer, but his memory was incredibly vivid and even recalled some plays from 25 years earlier. It was honestly a wonderful evening, and I stayed in contact with him to the end. I just did not want to be one of hundreds of kids he coached that took it all for granted. I can only recommend to you all if someone made a big difference in your life and you never properly thanked them, take the time to do so. I am so glad I did, and I will never forget my evening with Jake who was more than just a coach to me.

In early 1979, my parents sold their Livingston home and moved to Bedford, New Hampshire. I moved with them, and in the fall of that year I enrolled at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, New Hampshire. College for me was a pivotal point in my life as I soon realized the fun and games were over from my high school days, and I needed to study and get serious about my education. Soon I was spending days in the library studying nearly every day and even worked in the college library.

To this day, I live by a quote that a marketing professor used to share with his students and that is “A problem well defined is half solved.”  That has application to a myriad of areas (your health, finances, business, even your marriage). Example:  A good doctor tries to get to the bottom of what is causing the symptoms you are experiencing so they can get to the root cause and can provide the proper course of treatment. This applies to business regularly if sales are down. It is imperative one gets to the root cause so that a game plan can be devised to turn things around.

Being a transfer student at Plymouth State in 1979, I was assigned a student campus guide, and her name was Mary Dunigan. She had been a student at the school for one year and I was not exactly sure what her role in assisting me would entail. But I was clueless thinking that Mary’s constant attention and help was nothing more than her doing the job she volunteered for. That all changed one night when my “Student guide” stayed by my side at a very crowded college party. At about 2 AM, the lightbulb went off and I thought to myself, this is above and beyond her role as a volunteer. As I walked her back to the dorm, I realized I came for an education, but I found so much more. That “guide” turned out to be my best friend and later wife, Mary. In October we will be married 40 years, and she is still my best friend.

We have two children who we love, and we are very proud of the adults they have become. Our son, John, is in the same business as his dad and is also selling nutritional supplements to major organizations and retailers. I took him to “Bring your kid to work day” one day in 2001 to my Boca Raton office and the rest is history. Working for Met Rx sports nutrition at the time, I took him to trade shows, and he loved the fitness scene and chaperoning people like Bill Kazmaier, a one-time Met Rx world’s strongest man, and it left an impression on him. Today he is married with a son JJ (John Jr.), who is not two yet, but this kid is off the charts big. So, I see football games in our future.

Christa, our daughter, is married and an occupational therapist. She is a beautiful caring person who has made us proud of the adult she has become. She has a daughter, Kennedy Rose. At two years old she has brought so much joy to our lives that is hard to explain, but you grandparents know what I am talking about.

I am also a dog lover and have had English Springer Spaniels since my college days. Over the years we had twelve of them and bred them for many years. Today we have three Springers and could not imagine life without them.

In the years since my Livingston days, I lived in the following locations largely due to corporate moves:

  • Bedford, New Hampshire,
  • Marlborough, Massachusetts
  • Ludlow, Massachusetts,
  • Cumberland, Rhode Island
  • Newark, Delaware
  • Fairhill, Maryland
  • Wellington, Florida

For the last 20+ years, our home has been Ocala, Florida. We moved to Ocala because it is truly one of best areas to live if you have horses, and we had two and wanted them on our property as opposed to boarding them at a stable. My wife was the true equestrian, and I rode when she tacked them up and for 16 years, I also took care of them, and I grew to love horses. If you would have told me in 1977, you someday would have five acres with paddocks and two horses (even donkeys), I would have said “no way, not me!”.

Last year we downsized and moved to a golf community in Ocala. Taking care of all that property in the Florida sun grew old and it was time for a change. When the horses both passed away at age 29, less than a few months apart, we decided it was time for a change, and we are very happy with that decision.

I am someone who often becomes passionate about my interests, hobbies, and things that excite me.   I have plenty of interests but there are a few that can define me these days. First off is my passion for cars. I love cars, always have, and still find myself passionate about the automotive hobby. I know it is the boy in me that keeps this passion alive, and it is not waning one bit. Today I drive four vehicles, a Dodge pickup truck, a SRT Challenger, and two second generation Firebirds that are relegated to Sunday drives and car shows. My ‘78 Firebird was ordered from Salerno Pontiac in Randolph, New Jersey, in March of 1978 and is still in my garage (see photo). The car has won countless trophies over the years, and I still enjoy the thumbs up I regularly get when I take it out in public. Some of my buddies reading this will remember spending time in this ride. It still brings a smile to my face when I take it out or simply wipe it down in the garage. There are not many material things in life that can still be rewarding after 46 years of ownership as this car is for me.

I graduated college with a BS degree in business and a history minor. I loved taking courses in US History in school, and it kind of ties into one of my biggest passions. I have read extensively about the events surrounding 11-22-1963. It all started out as just reading a few books and watching a few documentaries in 1991 to later attending seminars and spending countless hours in Dealy Plaza which was two miles from my office when I worked for Dymatize in Dallas Texas. In fact, I took friends and business associates to Dealey plaza for a tour and explained various aspects of the assassination only to realize I noticed a few others listening to my descriptions of events that day. Today I have a collection exceeding 250 books and DVD’s on the subject.  I have written pieces in response to articles on the subject and talked with famous authors, law enforcement professionals, and medical doctors on the subject. In 1994, while living in Delaware, I was at the Wilmington Train Station standing alone on the platform when I   had a one-on-one conversation with then Senator Biden who came walking up on to the platform. I still have the letters we exchanged afterwords, and I will never forget his parting comments to me after he realized that it was just him and I on the platform.

 Without witting a book here on the subject, I will share with you my summation after 30 years of extensive reading: The official story is ludacris and to this day the government still has files that they are keeping from the public some 60+ years later. I ask you this question:  If a 24-year-old in a warehouse who was a lone nut shot the president what is it that can we not see so many years later due to national security? To this day the government and the CIA have files still not released or loaded with redactions. It was clear to me facts that were exculpatory in nature regarding Oswald were buried, overlooked, evidence destroyed, photographs altered, witness testimony was changed, witnesses were threatened, and many died mysteriously all pointed to a major cover up. Let us not forget Oswald, the famous “lone nut,” was killed in police custody by yet another “lone nut” named Jack Ruby. You cannot make this stuff up, but they sold it to the American public for years.

Lastly, I will share with you my passion for fitness. Being in the sports nutrition industry for years it was part of the lifestyle to work out passionately. To this day I am at the gym five days a week and push myself like I am 18. I do both cardio, via an elliptical machine and resistance training. I often neglect traditional recommendations for a guy my age and lift heavier than I should. When I am feeling wiped out and tired at the end of my work out, a voice in my head says “finish up with 40 pushups”.

Here is my advice to my classmates: move, stay active, (unless physically unable), find some form of exercise and practice it regularly. Exercise is now more important at our age than ever before. I do not have to tell any of you that the alternative is not good. Yes, you will lose weight, yes you will have more energy and feel better, but you will also diminish the risk of many serious health conditions. Waiting or pushing this off will only make things harder when you do start. Even if you have some limitations, such as bad knees or shoulders, there are exercises that will allow you to avoid aggravating existing injuries. I do not jog due to a bad right knee, but I use the elliptical since it prevents the pounding of your knees unlike jogging. I suggest starting by simply walking at a brisk pace, bike riding, or playing pickleball. These are all great exercises but do not neglect resistance training and that includes you ladies. I have heard famous fitness author, Dr. Pam Peake, in her seminars in which she point blank tells women “Lift to live”. I could not agree more. If you do not want to go to the gym, invest $100 in hand weights or bands and there are plenty of video instructions on YouTube to follow.

As we age, we tend to lose muscle tone and our percentage of body fat increases. Additionally, our resting metabolic rate slows and sadly gravity takes hold. The best course of action to slow or in some cases reverse the process is through regular resistance training. For guys, their “T” levels drop accelerating the loss of muscle, and this is often exacerbated by lack of exercise. Resistance training will slow that decline and proper supplementation will help keep “T” levels at normal ranges.

 If exercise was a pill, it would be the most widely prescribed medicine in the world. If you want to improve your quality of life, your physical abilities, and head off issues later in life like falling due to a lack of core muscles, you need to start now. For those of you who do not like to work out, I promise you will not regret investing time exercising as the results will become apparent within 30 days if you are serious. What has served as motivation for many is what I call reduction to the ridiculous. Go to the gym or exercise for 10 minutes. You must be thinking: 10 minutes? Yes, just 10 minutes. It is likely 10 more minutes than you are doing now, and once you start, the voice in your head will say I can do more than 10 minutes, and you will. Moreover, no matter what you do, what you lift, and no matter how slow you go, you will be passing the people on the couch.

I wish you all good health and the best in life. I also want to express my appreciation and recognize   all Michael Hauser does for our class. If anyone would like to reach out, I would enjoy hearing from you. I can be reached at cmr79ta@gmail.com.

 

Epilogue:  Last summer (2023) I visited my lifelong friend and classmate Dave Romano at his shore home (picture included in collage). We have known each other for better than 64 years. Our parents were friends so we were in the same playpen back in 1960.