Proud to be an American ..

Michael Allan Blackledge

Retirement Party


Thursday, 2 December 2004      4:30 pm

Mountain View Club: Kirtland AFB, NM

Party and Food started at 4:30 pm

Program began at 5 pm

... watch this space for Party Pictures
and talks - will be posted in Late Dec
... fun time was had by all !



The Early Years: 1941-1959 (Patti Blackledge Blide, BS)

United States Naval Academy: 1959-1963 (Olen Thompson, USNA '63)

Air Force Weapons Laboratory:  1965-1968 (John Generosa)

Air Force Academy - Mathematics Department:  1968-1972 (Mike Gray, USMA '65)

Software Quality Assurance Subcommittee  (Maysa Peterson, LANL)

Last Thursday Book Club (Rob Easterling)

Unsolicited Remarks (Unsolicited Attendees)

Sandia National Laboratories: 1983-2004 (David Carlson, Director)

Farewell Tour  (Mike Blackledge & the Surety Pips)

Mountain View Club
The Mountain View Club was previously known as the Officers' Club, located on Kirtland AFB (East).  Enter the base by the Wyoming Gate, and take an immediate left onto Club Road, which will cover the mile or so to the Club.  If you do not have a base decal on your vehicle, the guards will ask for your vehicle registration and proof of insurance, and your destination, to issue you a vehicle pass for the day.  It may be easier for you to obtain a ride onto the base - please call Doug or Robin Blackledge at 286-4820 if you need assistance or if you are willing to provide a ride for others.  

Reflections and Plans

     An American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.  Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied only a little while. The American then asked why didn't he stay out longer and catch more fish?  The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.  The American then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time?  The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life, señor."  

     The American scoffed, "I am a Stanford MBA and could help you.  You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery.  You would control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise."

    The Mexican fisherman asked, "But señor, how long will this all take?"   To which the American replied, "15-20 years."

 "But what then, señor? "

     The American laughed and said that's the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO (float the company on the stock exchange) and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich  -  you would make millions.

 "Millions, señor? Then what?"

     The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.

People over 35 should be dead.

Here's why ...

According to today's regulators
and bureaucrats, those of us
who were kids in the 40's,
50's, 60's, or even maybe
the early 70's probably
shouldn't have survived.


Our baby cribs were covered
with bright colored lead-based paint.


We had no childproof lids
on medicine bottles, doors
or cabinets, ... and when we
rode our bikes, we had no
(Not to mention the risks
we took hitchhiking.)


As children, we would ride
in cars with no seatbelts
or air bags.


Riding in the back of a pickup
truck on a warm day was
always a special treat.


We drank water from the
garden hose and not from
a bottle.



We ate cupcakes, bread and
butter, and drank soda pop
with sugar in it, but we were
never overweight because
we were always outside

We shared one soft drink
with four friends, from one
bottle, and no one actually
died from this.


We would spend hours building
our go-carts out of scraps
and then rode down the hill,
only to find out we forgot
the brakes.


After running into the bushes
a few times, we learned to
solve the problem.

We would leave home in the
morning and play all day,
as long as we were back
when the street lights
came on.


No one was able to
reach us all day.




We did not have Playstations,
Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, no
video games at all, no 99
channels on cable, video
tape movies, surround
sound, personal cell phones,
personal computers, or Internet
chat rooms.

We had friends!

We went outside and found

We played dodge ball, and
sometimes, the ball would
really hurt.

We fell out of trees, got
cut and broke bones and
teeth, and there were no
lawsuits from these accidents.


They were accidents.

No one was to blame but us.

Remember accidents?

We had fights and punched
each other and got black
and blue and learned to get
over it.

We made up games with
sticks and tennis balls and
ate worms, and although we
were told it would happen,
we did not put out very many
eyes, nor did the worms
live inside us forever.

We rode bikes or walked to
a friend's home and knocked
on the door, or rang the
bell or just walked in and
talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.

Those who didn't had to
learn to deal with disappointment.
Some students weren't as
smart as others, so they
failed a grade and were
held back to repeat the
same grade.


Tests were not adjusted
for any reason.

Our actions were our own.

Consequences were expected.

The idea of a parent bailing
us out if we broke a law
was unheard of.

They actually sided
with the law.

Imagine that!

This generation has produced
some of the best risk-takers
and problem solvers and
inventors, ever.

The past 50 years have
been an explosion of
innovation and new

We had freedom, failure,
success and responsibility,
and we learned how to deal
with it all.

We had the luck to grow
up as kids, before lawyers
and government regulated our
lives, for our own good !!!!!

The way it was:
  [provided March 2001 by Larry Hitt, Classmate, Mirabeau Lamar HS, Houston]


One evening a boy was talking to his grandfather about current events.  He asked what he thought about the shootings at schools, the computer age, and  just things in general.

The granddad replied, "Well, let me think a minute...I was born before television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, Frisbees and the pill. There weren't things like radar, credit cards, laser beams or ball-point pens. Man had not invented dishwashers, clothes dryers, electric blankets, air conditioners, pantyhose and he hadn't walked on the moon.

 Your Grandmother and I got married first -- then lived together. Every family had a father and a mother, and every boy over 14 had a rifle that his dad taught him how to use and respect.

Until I was 25, I called every man older than I, 'Sir' -- and after I turned 25, I still called policemen and every man with a title, 'Sir.' 

Sundays were set aside for going to church as a family, helping those in need, and just visiting with family or neighbors.

We were before computer-dating, dual careers, daycare centers, and group therapy.  

We thought fast food was what people ate during Lent. Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins.

Draft dodgers were people who closed their front doors when the evening breeze started.

Time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and weekends -- not condominiums.  We never heard of  FM radios, tape decks, CDs, electric typewriters, yogurt, or guys wearing earrings.  We listened to the Big Bands, Jack Benny, and the President's speeches on radio. I don't ever remember any kid blowing his brains out listening to Tommy Dorsey.

If you saw anything with 'Made in Japan' on it, it was junk. The term 'making out' referred to how you did on your school exam.  Pizza Hut, McDonald's, and instant coffee were unheard of.  We had 5 & 10-cent stores where you could actually buy things for 5 and 10 cents.  Ice cream cones, phone calls, rides on a streetcar, and a Pepsi were all a nickel. And if you didn't want to splurge, you could spend your nickel on enough stamps to mail a letter plus two postcards.

You could buy a new Chevy Coupe for $600, but who could afford one?   Too bad, because gas was 11 cents a gallon. In my day, 'grass' was mowed, 'coke' was a cold drink, 'pot' was something your mother cooked in, and 'rock music'  was your grandmother's lullaby. 'Aids' were helpers in the Principal's office, 'chip' meant a piece of wood, 'hardware' was found in a hardware store, and 'software' wasn't even a word.

And we were the last generation that was so dumb as to think a lady needed a husband to have a baby.  No wonder people call us old and confused - and  say there is such a generation gap.

And I'm only 59 years old!

Updated 5 December 2004                                    Return to Mike's Home Page

1954 Popular Mechanics

A Look 50 years into the Future   (From a 1954 Popular Mechanics Magazine)