Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Getting To Know You ------

That phrase is in a famous song and is a good way to start this story concerning my life. In 2003, I wrote my autobiography called "Piqua To Palmia - A Life's Journey". I was born in Piqua, Ohio and now reside in a retirement community in Mission Viejo, California called Palmia. This was for my family and long time friends. I printed about 100 copies and none are available at this time

This book has stories and pictures concerning my life's journey which I will share with you from time to time. Everything in life reminds you of something that happened in your earlier days which helps to tell a story.

This has been a wonderful trip for me. I have been able to do so many things in my life that many people only dream about. I have been on television and stage because of The Watchmen Gospel Quartet. I have recorded four record albums with them as well. My voice has been preserved so that others will know what it sounded like. Because of our 47th wedding anniversary (in 2002), I made a CD and cassette of 12 songs that meant a lot to Ann and myself.

I found a paragraph written by someone unknown that sums up our lives and put it at the beginning of my book. It goes like this ---

"As we look back over our lives, it is not too difficult to see that what we went through was for a purpose and helped to prepare us for some valuable work in life. Everything in our lives can help make us of some use in the world. Each person's life is like the pattern of a mosaic. Each thing that happens to us is like one tiny stone in the mosaic, and each tiny stone fits into the perfected pattern of the mosaic of our life, which has been designed by God."

No more than once a week I will write in this BLOG something from the book which will help you to know my life better. Come along for the journey.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

To Google or Not To Google

Happiness is "googling" you name and finding it on the internet.

I don't know if it is happiness but it is weird. I googled my nick name that I go by and on page 43 of 61 pages found a reference that actually referred to me! I used Dick Moore instead of Richard Moore and had tons of references to Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. Mandy Moore, Demi Moore and Michael Moore were listed a lot as well.

The reference I found was entitled "Olivet Nazarene College" and was the obituary of my Uncle Ray Moore who passed away January 7, 2007. It mentions "a special nephew Dick". Ray graduated from Olivet Nazarene College and returned to teach there. Also received a honorary doctorate in music from the college in 1980.

I went to live with Ray in 1949. I was in his house through my high school years and then left for California to attend college. He was my dad at a special time in my life. It was at that time that I became "a special nephew" to Ray.

This was a strange experience to find a reference to me that was actually me! Somebody has too much time on their hands.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Proud Dad & Mom

In today's Register (Friday 5-23) in the Saddleback Valley News section Page 3 we find a picture containing our daughter, Brenda Ostrander. This section of the newspaper asks people to take along a copy of the Saddleback Valley News and have a picture taken on location showing the paper.

Recently Brenda went to the Indonesian island of Sumba to do some work for a charity called The Sumba Foundation. The picture doesn't copy well so you will have to look it up if you want to see it.

Next to the picture is this article:

Where In The World: Leslie and Shane Nolan of Mission Viejo, Kathryn Downs of Laguna Hills and Brenda Ostrander of Laguna Niguel traveled more than 7,000 miles to initiate a tooth brushing program to the elementary schools that the Sumba Foundation supports. Presbyterian Church of the Master in Mission Viejo made health-related bingo games for the children.

I posted Brenda's trip with pictures that you can review. Click on "Brenda's Sumba Indonesia Trip" to see the article.

We're proud of Brenda!

Retirement Day - 12 Years Ago!

My Last Home Sweet Cubicle
Twelve (12) years ago today was my last day of work at State Farm Insurance. How come it doesn't seem that long ago? I really can't say that 5-23-96 was my last work day as I did very little work that day. Mostly walked around the office and said my good-bys to co-workers that I spent so much time with over the years and had my party.

Mesa Team 5 - My Last Auto Unit

I didn't normally wear a tux and dinner jacket to work but after lunch I went home and changed into my tux to "go out in style". A friend of mine, Jerry Ammann, retired a couple of years earlier and did that for his last half day. I thought it was classy. He went one step further and rented a limo to bring himself and his family to his party. I borrowed the idea of the tux from him.

With Jerry & Vi Ammann
I completed 37 years of service and thought it was a good time to take advantage of Social Security by retiring early at age 62. State Farm agreed to let me receive a monthly retirement transfer if I would promise to stay home and out of the way. I agreed to their terms and in the process of my retirement years, State Farm decided to sell the property where the Regional Office was and move the operations to Bakersfield with some claim activity to Irvine. I guess they couldn't get along without me. The former building was located off the 405 Freeway at Harbor in Costa Mesa where the new Design Center is now built. We had a huge one story building but they torn it down and started over on that property.

Here are a few things that has happened in my life since I retired:

1. Sold our Huntington Beach home and bought a new one story, three bedroom, two bath home. We downsized and moved into a retirement community called Palmia in Mission Viejo.
2. Two grandchildren were born. Hannah on September 14, 1996 and Rachel on August 13, 1998. These are Brenda's children. Hannah was "on the way" at my retirement party.
3. Open heart surgery on January 10, 1997 less than two months after moving into our new home. Four way bypass.
4. Took two cruises - 1997 and 1999. Getting ready for cruise number nine next month when we join Brenda's family on a Mexican Riviera Disney cruise.
5. Got Ann through brain surgery and infection in 2004 and back to health. Thank the good Lord.
6. Celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary in 2000 and our 50th in 2005. Number 53 coming up in July.
7. Turned Medicare age (65) in 1999 and jumped with both feet into the 70's in 2004.
8. Attended my 50th Year College Graduation Reunion in 2006 at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. My classmates changed so much they didn't even recognize me! I graduated from Pasadena Nazarene College which moved to this location in 1973.
9. Had our first grandchild (Emily) graduate from MVHS and she has completed her first year in college already. Attending Sonoma State University majoring in music.

Here are some pictures taken at the retirement party.

Dick & Ann Moore

Steve Wentz - John Packham - Westlake Village Office
Jon McNay - Bill Huffstutter - Bakersfield Office

Came to my party!

Co-Workers From Vietnam

Tammy Truong - Le Do - Tran Tran

Onward to lucky number 13!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Blogging Is Getting Popular!

When my son, Rick, started Blogging, not a lot of people were into that. Now it seems that there are many people sharing their thoughts and lives on various topics creating a "Bloggers World".

My granddaughter, Emily, started her BLOG the same time I started mine. She did it to get information from college to her family and friends easily. I did mine to write my memories of "The Good Old Days" with my extended family and friends.

Todays "SHOE" cartoon makes my point.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pierino Ronald Como - My Favorite Singer

This story is for those over 60 years of age as many of you have never heard of Perry Como! He was very big in the entertainment field from 1943 through the 1970s. He was Mr. Smooth. Laid back - nothing seemed to phase him. His Radio and TV programs were the same way.

Our first Christmas record album in 1955 featuring many of the artists of that day had a song by Perry that was famous at the time by another artist - White Christmas. His friend, Bing Crosby, made that one famous but as happens in the recording business, when a song becomes popular, many artists give their spin to it. I still play that album every Christmas Season - 53 years coming up!

Yes, I still have vinyl records and I still play them! Many people have converted these over to their iPOD's or Cd's but I'm hanging on to the "Good Old Days" as long as I can. I have Perry Como record albums, cassettes, Cd's and Videos. I'm a fan!

Perry Como was born May 18, 1912 (96 years ago today) in Canonsburg, PA. He was one of the most popular vocalists between the end of World War II and the rise of rock & roll in the mid-'50s. Perry perfected the post-big band approach to pop music by lending his own irresistible laid back singing - influenced by Bing Crosby and Russ Columbo - to the popular hits of the day on radio, TV, and LP. Both his early traditional crooning style plus his later relaxed manner and focus on novelty material were heavily indebted to Bing though Perry's appeal during the early '50s was virtually unrivalled. Perry Como worked as a singing barber in his hometown when he began touring with local bandleader, Freddie Carlone, at the age of 21. By the mid-'30s he got his big break with Ted Weems & His Orchestra, who headed a popular radio show named Beat the Band. After the orchestra broke up in 1942, Como hosted a regional CBS radio show later called Supper Club. The shows success gained him a contract with RCA Victor Records by 1942, and he also began working in Hollywood with Something for the Boys.

Mr. Como's real big break came with the 1945 film A Song to Remember. His rendition of "Till The End of Time" spent ten weeks at the top of the charts and became the biggest hit of the year and of his career. His career in the motion picture industry was brief and unrewarding. "I was wasting their time and they were wasting mine," Como admitted. Perry's dreamy baritone worked especially well on ballads, such as the additional 1945-47 number one hits "Prisoner of Love", "Surrender" and "Chi-Baba, Chi-Baba". Hired by NBC for another radio show in 1948, Como crossed over to the emerging medium of television that same year with the Chesterfield Supper Club. The show quickly took off, and eventually earned him four Emmy Awards. In the mid-'50s, Como began to indulge in light novelty fare, the titles often comprising nonsense words --"Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo," "Hoop-Dee-Doo," "Pa-Paya Mama" and "Hot Diggity". Though he often disliked the songs, they frequently became huge hits and he made his reputation as one of the singers who defined the style of music later known as middle-of-the-road pop.

Como's breezy songs had worked well at the beginning of the decade, but his appeal began to wane towards the end of the 1950s, with the emergence of rock & roll and the wave of teen idols. His last number one hit "Catch a Falling Star" came in 1958. He was less visible during the '60s but returned in 1970 with his first live show in over two decades, and a world tour followed; a single ("It's Impossible") even made the Top Ten in late 1970. Perry continued to record LPs and occasional television specials while making scattered appearances during the 1970s and '80s.
Como sold more than one hundred million records and had fourteen tunes that were ranked number one musical hits.

In 1933 Perry married his high school sweetheart, Roselle Belline. She died in August 1998 at the age of 84, two weeks after celebrating their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary.

On May 12, 2001, Perry Como died in his sleep at his home in Florida just a few days short of his 89th birthday. On May 14, 2001, the Washington Post noted in retrospect: "What Perry Como did week after week on his TV shows was not so much sing to his fans as have a continuing conversation with them, a conversation in song." (This story was written in part by John Bush for All Music Guide).

Some interesting items concerning his life --
1. He recorded his final album for RCA in 1987.
2. Como received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.
3. Perry Como was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2007.
4. In 1994 he recorded (privately for PBS) his Christmas Concert in Ireland. I have the video of it and play it every Christmas Season. Is it his best work --no. His voice was going but what he gave to the concert attenders was the love of singing to them and they returned that love to him for his lifetime of work.

For more information please visit and enter "Perry Como".

Personal note -- I made a CD for my family with 12 songs on it in 2002. It contained two of Perry Como's hits -- "And I Love You So" and "It's Impossible". I have performed these on cruise ship Talent Shows using the background music from Perry's recordings.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fly Me To the Moon

I got my blogger experience doing some items on my son's blog ( last summer. In September I wrote the following piece concerning a movie (documentary) that I saw and wanted to share the information concerning the movie with others.

On September 28, 2007, I went to see "In The Shadow Of The Moon" directed by Ron Howard (Opie). This was not done by actors nor are there any re-enactments in this movie. It's more like a documentary and had very limited showing at that time. You had to want to see this movie in order to find it.

We have many movies advertised heavily and made by "stars" which have wide spread availability. Most are not worth the price of admission. This movie has the original "cast" of the moon landings talking about what they experienced and their thoughts about the process they were subjected to during the 1960s and 1970s. Unfortunately Neil Armstrong elected not to be a part of this interview as he had become somewhat of a recluse since being the first one to actually walk on the moon. Of course, he is in the film as all of the film except the interviews was the original film taken during that time. A fine job of editing by Mr. Howard.

The film starts with the Apollo program including the loss of the three astronauts on Apollo One. The engineers seemed to have forgotten that pure oxygen ignites with a spark and when that happens there is no escape for the humans inside the capsule. The story continues with the actual conversation between Houston and the manned capsules as they attempt to do things for the first time. I can remember very well when Apollo 8 orbited the moon and Frank Borman read from the Bible. I think it is funny that the NASA program was sued for combining Church and State!

The actual flight of Apollo 11 in July 1969 was exciting to relive and feel the pride of being an American for the accomplishment. Do you know what story that event took off the front pages? Ted Kennedy and the accident at Martha's Vineyard where Mary Jo was killed. He has been forever grateful to the NASA program every since.

There were actually 9 flights to the moon, but only 6 landed. Apollos 8, 10 & 13 didn't land. One of the participants was asked if the moon flights were faked! He said "9 times?". Remember there are hundreds of people involved in each of these -- could they all keep their mouths shut if it were faked? Remember "Capricorn One" starring a famous football player about a fake Mars landing?

Ron Howard also directed "Apollo 13" starring Tom Hanks which was the flight that had the famous line from Jim Lovell, "Houston, we have a problem!". It didn't make it to the landing on the moon but through Yankee ingenuity was able to use the lunar lander as a lifeboat to come back home to Earth safely.

This is an exciting film and there were only 8 people in the theater when we saw it. Too bad, it needed better publicity to get the word out. You might check the DVD/Video rental stores to see if it is available. You will enjoy this film. There are not many out there that you can say that about.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Leonard & John

As I mentioned before, my dad (Leonard) was one of 12 kids born in his family. He was the first boy and the third child. One of the twelve died as an infant. My father was the second of his siblings to pass away. In 1940 when he was 31 (I was 6) he died of an infection in the lining of the heart which is curable today but not then. I don't remember him at all. So I have to rely on his family to get information concerning his life.

My uncle Gary was the 12th one born and remembers my dad well. Gary is the last of the twelve kids yet living. So I have been asking him questions and getting some answers that I can pass on to my family.

Gary wrote to me in 2005 concerning some events in my dad's life that he recalls. Leonard was somewhat rebellious and often butted heads with his dad, my grandfather. Grandpa was a pastor and very stern with his family. I have first hand knowledge of that although he and I got along fine. I lived with my grandparents from my age 8 to 15.

Leonard spent 18 months in the reformatory at Crown Point, Indiana, for being part of a group that stole an automobile and took it across state lines (Florida). This information was withheld from Gary until he was about sixteen. For a couple of months my dad was in the same cell as John Dillinger. It was after Dillinger's first holdup spree. John Dillinger also came from a christian home with a very stern father. My dad got his life straightened out living the balance of his life with the principles he was taught from the beginning.

Dillinger became very famous as an outlaw and was killed outside of the Biograph Theater in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago on July 22, 1934, the year of my birth. The FBI gave an order to kill Dillinger on sight. He was set up by a friend wearing an orange dress as identification. She was known as "The Lady in Red" - the dress appeared as red because of the theater lights. She was to be deported and a deal was made to avoid that.

A couple of interesting facts: John was 31 years old when he was killed by the FBI - Leonard was 31 years old when he died of an illness. John was killed on July 22nd - 21 years later on that month and day Ann and I were married (7-22-55).

This was quite a contrast in the two young men's lives who met briefly.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Brenda's Sumba IndonesiaTrip

Sumba Foundation Team -- Brenda With School Kids (Brenda Top Left)

Our daughter, Brenda Ostrander, has been working as a volunteer for the Sumba Foundation helping them with the computer work. The foundation was started by friends of hers after they visited the island a few years ago. They are surfers and apparently this island has the best waves in that area of the world. Sumba is an island in the Indonesia chain. His visit changed his life resulting in the beginnings of a charity work that is doing a lot of good for the people of this island.

Brenda was asked to go on one of the trips the founders take which happens three times a year. She went with the founder's wife and two others on this trip and wrote the story below concerning what she saw and did while there one week. Her total trip was two weeks long and involved three flights to get to this island. They have one flight into the island each week so she was able to spend seven days there.
Here is her story.
April 13 to April 26, 2008
Nothing in Orange County prepared me for what I saw in Sumba, Indonesia. I was transformed to another world, another time.

We arrived in Sumba on April 18. Heat and humidity met us as we sorted the medical and dental supplies and the toys for the different schools. The Sumba Foundation is involved with seven schools that are in the surrounding area of Nihiwatu in West Sumba.
There are three main focus areas for The Sumba Foundation. They are malaria control and health care (includes dental and eye), water (digging wells to provide clean water for the villages), and education.

Typical House With Crafts

Inside House

The Sumba Foundation supplies mosquito nets for the surrounding villages. I was able to go inside one of the typical village bamboo and thatch homes that had the mosquito nets. A little boy was taking a nap inside one at the time. We found that some nets need to be replaced as they have holes in them. We are told it is the night time mosquitoes that carry malaria. The people are especially vulnerable as they sleep.
The foundation has also built three clinics for treating the villagers. When the clinics are open, they have people waiting for help on the porch. We employ native nurses at the clinics, and have a malaria specialist that makes the rounds. Visiting dentists use the dental chair in the clinic when they arrive. Volunteers help fit glasses and test them by having the people thread a needle. An eye chart is on one wall. One microscope assists in the blood smears and determining what form of malaria a person has. A new program on malnourishment is starting. We weigh the babies and supply vitamins and supplements for them and their mothers.

Our focus for this trip was sealing the permanent molars of the children at the schools. These children are from First to Sixth Grade. We (four to six of us) were able to visit five of the seven schools. We saw over 1200 children and had enough sealant for 1000 of them. The children at two of the schools had at least seen toothbrushes and the first school did have the children brush their teeth when they arrived at school each morning.
Brenda Treating Teeth

Each of the children and teachers received a toothbrush with a hole drilled in the end of it and a paper clip through the hole. We had the children write their nama (name) with a Sharpie on the toothbrush handle. We had wood boards with nails hung on the wall of their classroom so the children would hang them up on the boards after they brushed each morning of school. They go to school from 8:00 to 12:00 Monday through Saturday. We didn't want them to take their toothbrushes home with them as we knew the entire village would end up using them for some purpose.

In one of the younger classes, we were demonstrating how to use a toothbrush by moving our hand outside of our mouth. With great big grins, the children held their toothbrushes outside of their mouths and moved them in small circles. They were not getting the concept of putting the bristles on their teeth! We had to open up some toothbrushes and put them in our mouths so they would know what to do!

It was certainly a learning experience to look inside their mouths and discern what teeth needed to be pulled NOW. Some of the teeth crumbled when we were putting on the sealant. They were just rims around a crater to the gum line. The teeth on either side were also decaying. Some had baby teeth that never fell out and have to be removed or teeth coming out of the roof of their mouth. We learned quickly that a cavity, in and of itself, wasn't warranting pulling a permanent tooth at this time. We made a list of the children whose teeth must be removed now for the dentist we hope is coming in May or June.
We learned that the number one reason for suicide in Indonesia is tooth pain. We are hoping our actions will save some of these children from this type of unrelenting pain.

The adults chew the beetle nut for pain; both hunger and physical. While this numbs their senses, it also destroys their teeth. The adults had black and red nubs for teeth.

After finishing the sealants, we handed out jump ropes, soccer balls, Frisbees, and bubbles. We taught them how to use these items and had great fun with them. We also taught them Quack, Quack, Woof (Duck, Duck, Goose). I had a Polaroid camera with me and that was a huge hit. The only problem was the pushing and shoving to get in the picture. These children do not have any photographs of themselves. Neither did the adults.

We got to visit one of the wells and found a leak that needed to be
fixed. We also learned of two other wells that have since gone dry. We walked half-way down to where a village now has to go to get water since their well has gone dry. This was quite a trek and we didn't even make it all the way.
The foundation often digs wells near schools so that the families will support their children going to school and returning home with the water for them.
The schools have been built by the government and improved by the foundation. The foundation has added windows, new roofs, concrete floors, murals, desks, chairs, and teaching aids. There is no electricity or bathrooms.

A new focus is to start libraries in each school. There are very few books supplied by the government and no reading books. We thought we would start with one of the schools centrally located. When we got there, we found that the government had added some new, complete, classrooms and the headmistress wants to make one of them into a library. God has gone before us! We now do not have to spend money putting in a floor and roof. We can concentrate on buying books.

In our last 30 minutes on Bali, we went to a teacher's supply store and bought paperback books for less than a dollar a book. We spent $160 and basically just ran out of time to try to grab, pay for and box any additional. The foundation will buy additional books when the founders return in June. We hope to put a few books in each of the schools and start from there. We are trying to find a supplier in Jakarta to buy the books at cost.

On Sunday, we also went to the local Christian church. The children came early and we gave them each a cross to weave colored strips of paper through. They seemed to love this project. Even some older adults enjoyed making a cross.

While we could not understand the words of the sermon or songs, I did recognize the tune of two of them and was able to sing along in English. They sang the hymns, "This is My Story, This is My Song", and "Nothing but the Blood of Jesus". The sermon was taken from John 4 and Romans 8. The men sat with their swords attached to their waist in one corner. The women and babies sat in front of the men and on the other side of the church. No one sat in the first row (just like home!). Dogs wandered in and out.

A little boy of 16 months was a big distraction going up and down the stairs, playing with a water bottle (ours), and pulling on the pastor's skirt. His parents are elders in the church and need a little parenting lesson. We learned four days later that this boy was in the hospital for malaria. His village has mosquito nets so the nurse will be following up with his family and try to determine where he was when bitten.

My pictures do not do justice to this area or its people. For every picture I took, there were at least 10 more of something I had never seen before or something so foreign to our culture. The stories can go on and on. I have already signed up my family to go on the trip in July, 2009. It is something I want to share with them.

Terima kasih

(Thank you)

Brenda Ostrander

The Sumba Foundation
26271 Glen Canyon
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
(949) 643-7873

This is a charity and they would be very glad to accept any gift that you might want to give to their work. You can check the above web sites for information. If you send something, please mention Brenda's trip.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Cinco de Me-yo

My son, Rick, posted the following story with pictures on his BLOG - today and I wanted it on my BLOG as well.

You can see these are two different pictures of the second group of guys to form the Watchmen Quartet (with piano player and bass guitar player). These were publicity photos that we used when out doing our thing. Rick was the bass player for 9 years before he took my place as bass singer with the group. Here is his entire article that appeared today.


While the Mexican population is celebrating an old victory over France (but then again, what country can't celebrate a victory over France), Cinco de Mayo has a bit of a different meaning for me. It was on this day in 1974 that I walked up on stage and performed with a quartet for the first time. I was an 18-year old bass player back then (I didn't start singing bass until 1983), and the group was The Watchmen Quartet from my home church, Garden Grove Nazarene. Here's my first group publicity shot: Yes, that's me with the guitar, long hair and loud jacket. No wonder I didn't get married until I was 30. My dad co-founded the group, and that's him on the right.

As long as I'm embarrassing myself, no 70's group shot would be complete without...leisure suits!

At least I managed a weak smile in this shot, and how about the piano player's hair (it wasn't his).

I continued with that group through the end of 1990 and somewhere around 900 concerts, and then in 1992 started my own group, The Crimson River Quartet. I'm glad to say that none of our group shots were as embarrassing as the two above, but that's what everybody looked like back then.

It's hard to believe that 34 years have gone by and I'm still at this, but for The Watchmen the road will end this year. They're finally calling it quits after going since 1971. We'll probably stick around for awhile longer.


Rick's group, The Crimson River Quartet, just celebrated their 15th anniversary with a concert last month at Lake Hills Church in Laguna Hills. Great concert. You can see the songs on YouTube.

The Watchmen Quartet and Dennis Zimmerman, Manager, were honored last weekend at the Western States Quartet Convention in Fresno, California. Ann and I drove up to be a part of the
tribute to Dennis and the group. The original Watchmen people were all there - from 1971! The quartet is retiring at the end of this year while in their 38th year of singing the gospel. It was my privilege to be a co-founder of the group and sing with them for 11 years.