I would say that George Pazin definitely does not need to do a GTK thread on me. With close to 40,000 posts on here I guess I've done a pretty comprehensive job of that myself.
And frankly it seems like most all the stories have already been told but I must admit sometimes when I read something on here it does remind me of things I probably haven't thought of in 50 years that seem worth telling at least for their incongruity compared to the world we live in today and the way some of us think. Plus, you know what they say about some old people----eg when they start to see the light at the end of the tunnel they kinda tend to reflect back on what once was more than they ever did before.
And the world has changed so much too, particularly around the world of golf and from some of the people I've known along the way. I don't even know if I think it's better or worse because I've never really thought that way----it's more a matter of what was just was and the way it is now is just a matter of what is just is.
Do I think that some significant factors of golf or within golf might miss some of the things about the way it used to be? Yeah, I do; I really do and I think that is one of the primary reasons we've gone through something of a general renaissance cycle in golf architecture. Twenty five years ago the whole idea of restoration didn't even exist and either did the word restoration in golf and architecture. Some of our young folks on here might not realize that because it never even occured to them since many aren't even much older than that now.
I'm a huge believer in cycles, particular style and fashion and cultural cycles and I happen to believe our American ethos is probably more prone to them than any other in the world and arguably more than any other in the history of the world.
Why? In my opinion, because we are both considered to be and think of ourselves (in something of a duality or conflicted way, I admit) as the world's "can-do" people. To us change is our middle name----we've actually glorified it, honored it and become proud of it while other peoples and cultures tend to shun it and or become afraid of it for very good reasons of their own----eg tradition, continuity, a greater sense of permanency etc.
I've been around the western world a lot in my life, particularly Europe and I've always been so aware of the way some other nations and peoples think of us. We really have been the people so many love and love to hate almost simultaneously. Have I been embarrassed over the years as being of and from a country so many called "The Ugly Americans?" You bet I have but I've been able to go deeper into that and for years, probably because most of my time over there was longer and more than just a tourist and I realize why people often say things like that about us without actually meaning it totally or meaning it the way we think they mean it.
And I've also come to realize that many, perhaps most Americans, really don't even care that much about what others think about them and that has troubled me for sure, and more so as time goes along. That very thing is what totally freaked my mother out towards the end of her life; she became completely fixated on it----she used to say that most Americans are just so unworldly; that they've never really been any other place and they don't really even care or think about most of the rest of the world because they think of themselves as Americans, the world's most fortunate people from the land of ultra-plenty and fortune and can-doism in the final analysis.
She used to even go up to strangers in places like a super-market and ask them if they thought George Bush (#43) was as much of an idiotic schmuck as she thought he was. If they looked perplexed she would add: "Well, he's never even been anywhere."
The last embarrassing public incident I went through with her was coming out of a restaurant not far from home. I was going around the car to open the door for her but unfortunately she noticed this huge Hummer that had just pulled into the the parking place next to us. She opened the guy's door and bellowed "BOOOO." The poor guy looked at her and said; "What do you mean Boooo; what's that for?" and she said, "Because you obviously own that ridiculous gas-guzzling car; who do you think you are, some US Marine in Iraq?" Luckily the guy just laughed and everything was cool. When she got into the car I said: "You just can't say things like that to strangers," and like she almost always did she just said: "Well I didn't really mean anything by it; but I am right."
She actually liked the world she came from while my father just hated it and everything about it. I guess that's why he went to Daytona Beach right after the war and fell in love with golf. Had it not been for golf, golf, golf and those people down there in it bigtime who were so good at it he may not have even lived to be an old man, for all I know.
People are complicated sometimes that way. One time when she got old my mother told me that when she was about 18 or 19 she and three of her friends from the same school in New York went to what they used to call a "finishing school" in Italy. When I asked her what she learned there all she could think of was art. Then she told me they decided to tour around Europe----this was probably in the middle to late 1930s and so they bought an old Audi for $50 bucks that was a convertible with no top. They set off for Germany to meet up with this super-star German aristocrat who'd been in her brother's class at Harvard. As they were driving down a lonely stretch of the Autobahn basically alone who the hell goes by in a convoy but Adolf Hitler and his big black Mercedes. She said he slowed down to peer into this little Audi with these four pretty Americans girls in it, and she said he smiled at them and waved for about a minute before proceeding on at high speed. Then she said if she'd only had a pistol she could've shot the SOB right there and then and changed the course of history for the greater good. So I asked he if she hated Hitler then and she said, no they actually admired him then because they felt he was reunifying Germany and bringing it back.
Complicated stuff and complicated people. I guess that's why I've fallen in love with history and hearing the side of it that generally isn't in the history books, even if it's from people like my mother and some of her interesting friends who were her contemporaries. I must say she did piss me off a lot but after she died I began to realize how much she saw and knew throughout her life and how much inherent wisdom she probably really did have---she saw the worst of times and poeple and definitely the best of times and people and she was certainly a globe-trotter, always; every year throughout her life she was off to somewhere new and different; I am not aware of a single corner of this earth she didn't get to at one time or another. I think she really did feel that Americans or maybe just human beings almost had to do that if they ever wanted to really understand things and people. It was the same thing with all the Broadway plays. She made us go to all of them as kids, and I always hated the idea of having to go but loved everyone of them afterward I'd seen them.
She may've been a political conservative early on but in the end she became a flaming liberal. In the last few years of her life she had three heroes, all black: Nelson Mandella, Tiger Woods and I think Martin Luther King. God help us around here had she lived long enough to get to know of Barrack Obama. Had she, I bet she would've thought her entire journey had been really worth it in the end.
By the way, that aristocratic super-star German guy who'd been in her brother's class they were going to see in their little $50 Audi? They saw him; went to stay in his big castle. I think all four of them were in love with him. Within a few years Hitler's SS killed him because he apparently didn't see the point of their ideas on Arian or racial purity and didn't mind saying so.
Strange world and complicated people. The more complicated they are the better I like it and the more I'm interested in them and finding out what really made them tick.
To get back to golf and GCA that's why I'm so interesting in finding out more about C.B. Macdonald, the man and not just the architecture part of his life. Incredibly complex man; I can sense it and we should know as much of it and about him as possible if we really want to understand the way the world was he came from. Could it be politically incorrect to some of our sensibilities today? You bet it could and that's what I find one of the most interesting things of all.