Wednesday, September 27, 2023


"A Movie Kind of Love"  (Part Two)

By Gil Tisnado

Our newest contributor to the Galaxy Nostalgia Network blog posts, Gil Tisnado, shares with us part two of his premier story.

In 2014, I was driving alone from Las Vegas to Laughlin. I opened the sunroof and enjoyed the desert heat. The Nevada desert reminded me of the many trips that Bill, my soon-to-be stepdad, and I used to take when we commuted regularly between Las Vegas and San Diego in ’61. We were living in Vegas so Mom could fulfill the six-week residency requirement for her Nevada divorce from my dad.

Our ’56 white Ford station wagon had no air conditioning, and we were constantly wind-whipped by the hot desert wind, but still managed to laugh and share good times. A special treat was to always stop in Baker for homemade Strawberry pie. Once in San Diego, we would pick up Bill’s unemployment check and then go to lunch and a movie without any of the girls to influence our choice.

Over forty years later, I reflected on these times and had a desert epiphany. Driving on Highway 95 to Laughlin, it suddenly hit me and had to pull over to the very next rest stop. I called my mom and spoke rapidly into the phone, “Hey Mom! I think I just had an epiphany about Bill.”

 She asked, “What are you talking about?”

I continued, “Remember how Bill and I used to take all those trips to San Diego from Vegas? Well, I was just thinking about Bill so strongly. I was thinking about him dancing with you, all the times I used to hang out with him at his work, and all the endless conversations we had together. I realized he was more than a stepdad. He was my pal. And Mom, I finally figured out something—that so much of who I am is because of Bill—our irreverent sense of humor, our mutual appreciation and respect for women, and our positive view of life.  I just can’t believe it’s taken me over forty years to realize this! And yet, if you think about it, Bill was actually only in our lives for about ten years.”

It started to get very hot in that Nevada rest stop, but Mom and I continued to reminisce about Bill over the phone. We recalled the ten years of good times, the one-liners, laughter, and of course—the dancing. We said our goodbyes and I continued my desert trip—thinking of his huge impact and influence on my life—and how much I still missed and loved that man.


Sunday, September 17, 2023

My Mom, the Typist

By Margaret Sizemore Clark

     During World War II while my father was overseas, my mother worked at the War Department in Washington D.C. as a typist.  When the war was over my father returned, and by late 1947 my parents had two children and were living in Indianapolis, where he worked for the Navy as an electrical engineer.

  In 1950 my father accepted a job at the Naval Ordinance Test Station at China Lake, CA.  China Lake is about 150 miles north of Los Angeles in the Mojave Desert, and if it sounds odd to have a Navy base in the desert, it was. The base was started in the 40’s and was very isolated, with limited housing, few amenities, and there was no lake!!  But China Lake was a major player in the development of weapons for defense, and at that time the Cold War was foremost on the minds of our country’s leaders. In the early days of the 60’s Russia had success with a man-made satellite, Sputnik.  There was also a very real threat from the island country of Cuba, who was backed by Russia, of launching nuclear missiles aimed at the not-too-distant United States. The scientists at China Lake were working hand-in-hand with the Navy to create the weapons and ordinance (bombs and missiles) needed to prepare the United States for any such attacks.  They were also developing much of the hardware needed for the space race, and time was of the essence.


It was difficult, to say the least, to convince young scientists to uproot themselves and their families and relocate to this unheard-of place.  Many of these men had gone to school on the GI Bill and were in the process of getting post graduate degrees in their given fields.  Online degree programs were not an option in the 60’s, so it took a lot of courage and risk to commit to a position at China Lake and the work being done there.  It was also a golden opportunity!  Where else could one work and learn under the tutelage of recognized scientists, be part of cutting-edge technology, and have the ability to witness first-hand the results of the work and hypotheses that were being tested?  It was an opportunity many of these young men couldn’t pass up, but they would also need to work on their theses and most of them were not typists, much less statistical typists that could include formulas, mathematical equations, and scientific symbols in their papers.

I don’t how the word got out that my mother had been a typist, but it did and somehow it was negotiated with the Navy that my mother would go to work as a statistical typist, but work from home. Unheard of at that time.

 One day a grey Navy truck delivered a desk to our home, along with a Dictaphone and a brand-new IBM electric typewriter.  It had several metal balls covered with letters, symbols, and numbers that could be inserted into and out of the typewriter.  She set up the desk, typewriter, and the other equipment in a corner of the living room.  She may have been able to get some of the work done during the day, but what I remember is after getting the five of us kids tucked into bed (and hopefully sound asleep), she would plug the Dictaphone into her ear and begin her typing.  She would type the pages and then send them to the author via a courier on the base.  The author would edit them, and get them back to Mom to be revised and retyped. As a result of this close association, she became friends with many of the doctoral candidates. My older sister even babysat for a few of them!

Mom performed this job for a number of years but eventually went to work full time in the Research Department and then the Technical Information Department on the base. When she retired in the 70’s she was given a send-off that included a party attended by numerous colleagues, a plaque that honored her contribution to the base, and the grateful thanks of those former PhD candidates that found a statistical typist in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

Margaret Sizemore Clark, the newest member of the Galaxy family! Margaret joins us on this show to share details of her life growing up on a military base in the 1950s and 60s. Her recollections of that life, the fun activities of that era, family trips, growing up with her siblings, and many more memories she will share with us. Margaret joins us as a guest on our programs, and also will add to our web page.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

We Welcome Gil Tisnado:

Galaxy Nostalgia Network is pleased to welcome Gil Tisnado as a regular contributor to our blog posts.  Gil's wonderful stories of his life, from his childhood to his adult years have charmed readers who regularly see his stories on Facebook.  His ability to engage readers within his stories makes you feel you were right there with him.  As a fellow baby boomer, we can relate to many of the nostalgic anecdotes he shares with us. Here, Gil introduces himself, and tells us how he began writing about his life. He follows with the first of his stories, "A Movie Kind of Love".

I think I may have always been a writer, but just never realized it. When I was a boy, I swore that when I grew up, I would write a tell-all book about all the things I witnessed in our home and couldn’t reveal. “Don’t tell the family business” was our daily affirmation. My book would become a mega-best seller, just like Peyton Place. But somehow that idea got pushed aside about the same time I started appearing in “Tiny Town Ranch” a weekly live TV children’s variety show in San Diego for three years. However, at thirteen, I was a show biz has-been.

At fourteen, I fell in love with my high school sweetheart who would later become my wife. Suddenly I was a husband and teenage dad at seventeen. Miraculously, we’re still married fifty-seven years later. Unlike me, my wife kept the hundreds of letters I wrote to her in high school, which is a pretty thorough documentation of my teenage years. In my twenties, thirties, and forties, I kept extensive journals, not because I was a writer, but because I found it was a good way to help me figure out all this growing up business. 


For twenty years I was a graphic designer/art director, culminating in having my own design firm. Through volunteering with a non-profit organization working with homeless and at-risk children, I was inspired to change careers in midlife and became an elementary school teacher. When I retired from teaching in 2012 at age sixty-two, I began taking a memoir writing class. Suddenly I found my new passion: writing. Since that time, I’ve written about 300 vignettes and short stories. I like to say that they are 300 stories in search of a book. 


I love writing about my childhood, especially growing up in San Diego. Incidentally, I’m long past the need to write that Peyton Place type revenge book; I think age and therapy has gotten me past that need. Instead, I like to focus on the best and golden nostalgic times of my baby boomer youth. I was honored when asked to become a contributor on Galaxy Moonbeam Night Site, and I’m very much looking forward to sharing my stories with you.

“A Movie Kind of Love” (Part One)

My dad left when I was ten. Being surrounded with two sisters and my mom, I knew the world through the lens of very strong womanhood. For a short time, I was the “man of the house” which meant I had to do all the crappy work. (Yeah, literally the crappy work of cleaning up the enormous piles of poop from our large Lassie-lookalike Collie dog.) Plus, if there was a strange noise outside, I was expected to go outside and check it out. Being the youngest, smallest member of the family, this made absolutely no sense to me; however, I pumped up my scrawny chest and bravely went on reconnaissance for monsters stalking outside my sisters’ windows. However, I was smart enough to always take my large, intimidating dog with me.

Things would change when Bill entered our lives—first as my mom’s boyfriend, and then as her husband. I welcomed him as my stepfather. Compared to my dad, he was a breath of fresh air. There was no doubt in my mind, why my mom would fall in love with him and prefer him to my dad. My dad was kind of a stick-in-the mud, who rarely smiled or laughed. He was usually pretty cranky and a strict disciplinarian. As an adult, I understand him better. Money was tight, and he often worked two jobs. Since English was not his first language, I think he had a hard time with me being such a precocious, fast-talking kid. Strange as it may sound, I think my dad was frustrated because he couldn’t verbally keep up with me, then out of his frustration, he used his adult power to simply shut me down.

Unlike my dad, Bill was very sophisticated. He had been an officer in the Navy, and had lived in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific. Bill had traveled all over the world, and had dated singer, Patti Page. While my dad was an airplane mechanic, Bill flew fighter jets. He was a bon vivant who shared great stories. But here’s the biggest difference between my dad and Bill: My dad was so concerned about me “talking back” that there wasn’t a lot of conversation between us. Bill, on the other hand, welcomed my stories. Relished them, encouraged them, and laughed whole-heartedly at my boyish adventures. Since he treated me like an adult, I always tried to rise to his level of maturity and sophistication. Bill seemed to always enjoy my company in such a relaxed way. It was such an important lesson for me to see that adults could treat children as equals. Suddenly, I had a positive image of manhood.

Before my dad left, I could always sense the tension between my mom and dad, just by observing them from the middle of the backseat of our car. Plus I can’t recall ever witnessing any signs of affection in their relationship. When Bill came into our lives, my mom suddenly blossomed. It was the simple things I noticed, like her putting her hand on the nape of his neck while he drove. And suddenly there was laughter—lots of laughter—something that was rarely heard from the adults in our house before. And of course, there was the dancing . . .

Being a very urbane and cosmopolitan guy, Bill decided to teach my mom how to dance. Besides how could he take her dancing to the Admiral Kidd Officer’s Club in Point Loma if she didn’t know how to dance?

Mom, Bill, and I would move the heavy, maple coffee table and roll up the braided area rug to transform our living room into their own personal mini-ballroom. I would be the DJ in the corner taking their song requests. Their favorite dance song was “Everyone is Somebody’s Fool” by Connie Francis. My job was to pick up the arm of the Webcor record player and replay that song from my Connie Francis album over and over. I loved watching their bodies move in perfect harmony and rhythm. But more than anything, it was a thing of beauty to see my mom so damn happy. It didn’t take a genius —or an adult—to see that these two people were passionately in love.

As a young boy curled up in the corner with my arms around my knees, I would watch Mom and Bill dance for hours. Outside of the movies, this was the first time I had observed what romantic love looked like in real life. Bill was not only affectionate towards my mom, but also warm and affectionate towards me. I guess we were both starved for affection.

Besides being charming, Bill was a handsome man. He had classic All-American good looks. When he first moved into our house, my neighborhood friends would say, “Your stepdad looks just like John Wayne.” Yeah, he kind of did. Unfortunately, like many a Marlborough Man, Bill would get throat cancer. Too much booze and endless chain-smoking would contribute to his demise. However, to the very end, he remained upbeat and positive about the future, never losing his sense of humor and his ability to hit one-liners out of the ballpark!

Bill would be the first person I ever saw suffering through the ravages of cancer. It was a long, brutal battle. Even in his last days at the San Diego V.A. Hospital, he never gave up the hope of going home and returning to life with my mom, whom he always said, “Was better looking than Marilyn Monroe.”

I was twenty and Bill was fifty-one when he died in 1970. It was a strange dichotomy to feel so young and seeing my life ahead of me, while his life had ended. I loved him and missed him, but I never realized his huge influence on my life until many years later. Of course, my favorite memory will always be of Mom and Bill dancing together in the living room of our Rolando Park home. With me sitting in the corner, thoroughly enthralled, thinking that perhaps true love really could exist . . . just like in the movies.

Friday, September 1, 2023


- The Rise & Fall of General Electric -
By Rev Protodeacon George A. Haloulakos

Few companies in history have exemplified excellence at a consistently (and often spectacularly) high level in manufacturing, marketing, innovation and ingenuity than the General Electric Company (GE).  GE is a company that is woven into the tapestry of American history because of its development and mass production of inventions such as the light bulb and jet engines that have become commonplace if not taken for granted.  Its inextricable connection with the American lifestyle was expressed in the longtime Disneyland attraction "The Carousel of Progress" (sponsored by GE) which chronicled the advancements throughout the 20th century that GE was able to bring to everyday life at attractive price/value points thereby creating mass markets for consumer & industrial products on a global scale.  Moreover, its operational excellence translated into financial results that made the GE stock one of the very best performing investments for both individual and institutional investors over the same period.  This became firmly ingrained into American consciousness in the 1950s as Bing Crosby would regularly read excerpts to his listening audience from GE's latest financial reports on his nationwide radio show during commercial breaks.  Mr. Crosby extolled the virtues of GE both for its excellent products and its investment merits in a manner that made it understandable to people from all walks of life.  Concurrently, the corporate spokesperson for GE during the 1950s and 1960s -- who travelled the nation to all of General Electric's facilities and was a fellow actor to Mr. Crosby -- was a future US President in training!  Any idea of who I am referring to?

With the passage of time, GE became the most admired and valuable publicly traded company -- creating a reputation for leadership and financial success that helped shape business education and management practices worldwide.  In sum, GE was the ultimate business conglomerate.  Yet as of this writing, GE is currently in the process of splitting up into three separate companies -- focusing on aviation, healthcare and energy.  This three way split comes on the heels of a major downward spiral whose origin can be traced to when GE was at the height of its prestige and influence in pioneering the doctrine of shareholder value.  William Cohan, a renowned financial journalist has written a most insightful and important book titled Power Failure: The Rise and Fall of an American Icon in which he deconstructs the 130-year of the company whose slogan was "to bring good things to life."  As every American household in one way or another featured or incorporated GE products, such a claim was not so far-fetched.  Yet Mr. Cohan demonstrates that the root cause of failure can often be traced to the very qualities and characteristics that created a foundation of success.  Blind spots, hubris and avoidable mistakes are a treacherous, deadly combination for one and all.

There is a voluminous amount of content in Power Failure that makes it a compelling read for both a general audience as well as those versed in various disciplines of business administration.  To paraphrase what I learned a long time ago from my father, the greatest or most successful companies as well as individual people, can succumb to the overconfident counterfeiter syndrome -- in which the person or persons in charge think so highly of themselves that they place their own likeness on the One Dollar Bill instead of the likeness of George Washington!  Mr. Cohan's Power Failure is a well written cautionary tale on the perils of unbridled ambition and the importance of integrity.  Check it out!