Category Archives: Political commentary

Grandma Gatewood’s Excellent Adventure


I’ve been getting into shape recently. But my progress pales compared to what a remarkable senior did nearly 70 years ago.

Emma Gatewood’s life was hard. Born in Ohio in 1887, she was one of 15 kids in a family that slept four to a bed. Her father lost a leg in the Civil War and spent the rest of his life drinking and gambling. Though her formal education ended in the 8th grade, she kept learning by devouring encyclopedias, Greek classics, and books on woods and wildlife. Continue reading

The Woman Who Kissed Hitler


We’ve all done something impulsive at one time or another. A spur of the moment decision that, when you thought about it later, wasn’t such a good idea. Nearly 90 years ago an American woman acted rashly, and her action involved history’s worst monster. Here’s the story of the woman who kissed Hitler.

In many ways, George and Carla De Vries were typical American tourists vacationing in Europe. The Norwalk, California dairy farmers did what many of their countrymen did that year and seized on the upcoming Summer Olympic Games as the perfect opportunity to see the Continent. Continue reading

How I Escaped a (Near) Riot: a 19 year-old survivor’s tale

FergusonThis week’s horrific rioting in Ferguson, Missouri brought back memories. Believe it or not, I was swept up in a near-riot myself 34 years ago, and consider myself lucky for living to tell the tale.  Here’s how it happened.

It was the summer of 1980, and I was a 19 year-old kid from Joplin, Missouri who had just finished my first year in college. Wide-eyed and eager to taste life, I secured a summer internship on Capitol Hill in Washington. In a bit of good luck, my childhood best buddy Chris also landed a job in DC that summer, so we pooled our meager resources and roomed together. Continue reading