Regis Philbin–an Icon who was anything but

There is an old wives’ tale that famous people die in threes.   My sister and I will often text one another whenever an old movie or TV star passes away, then comment like “two more to go!”

Just this weekend Olivia de Havilland died at 104 along with John Saxon at age 84.  But when I heard about Regis Philbin dying at 88, it bothered me.  He is one of the few celebrities which I hoped would never die.

It’s incredible to think that when his morning show with Kathie Lee Gifford went into syndication in 1988, I was doing my student teaching.  Through the years of his show I got married, had two sons, and my mother died.  No wonder I felt attached to him—he was on the air nearly half of my life.

My favorite part of the show (I’m sure many of you would concur) was the opening chat between the hosts.  I liked it primarily for its spontaneity.  The unscripted segment was refreshing compared to all other TV talk shows which are meticulously pre-written and rehearsed.  It felt more real, more authentic.

What also made is pleasurable was Regis himself who never came across as a big shot, a host with a big ego.  He was natural not pretentious, someone you could imagine talking to at a coffee shop for 30 minutes in an easy way.

I saw Regis twice in my life, both times from afar.  One time he was at a Barnes & Noble signing his book.  The line was too long; otherwise, I would have done it.

The other time was at the 2002 Rose Parade when he was Grand Marshal.  Coincidentally, I was in that parade riding in a vintage automobile.  I was one of two teachers chosen from Glendale Unified School District for the honor.

As all the floats, cars and horses lined up in the dark on Orange Grove Boulevard at six in the morning, I walked around and saw him leave the Rose Parade Tournament House after eating breakfast.  I was so excited that I videotaped it.

Because I was embarking on my new career as a teacher, I was unable to watch many episodes of “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee.”  However, whenever I was home during a week day, I would make sure to watch the opening segment to see what Broadway show he and his wife Joy went to see or which restaurant they ate at because there would always be a story about some mishap that occurred in their evening out that would put a smile on your face.

So many famous people are phonies, but Regis was the real deal.

 

 

 

 

Noble the Nudge

There is someone I know who has had the time of his life during this Pandemic-driven shutdown of life.  His name is Noble.  And he is our dog.

Noble has always been one for deep, unblinking stares that burn your eyes. We have given him two nicknames over the 10 years we’ve had him:  Mr. Intensity and Personality Plus.  Age, despite the old adage, has not mellowed him.  Now with both my wife and I home 24/7, he has turned into Mr. Intensi-TY and Personality Plus Plus.

Lately he stares at me so long, he is probably wondering why I am still at home and not at work.  He can’t believe his great fortune!

He’s my shadow following me from room to room; even when I move from one part of a room to another, he must get up and be close to me.  To an outsider, this may seem loving and adorable, but after a while he becomes a nudge.

When I sit at the dining room table, he lays on my left foot so the rest of his body can rest on the warm area rug not the cold wood floor.

When I sit in a club chair and swivels outside of his sight, Noble moves to find my face.  If I cover my face, he makes anxious noises and swerves either to the right or left in order to find the piece of my face that is not covered.  I swivel, he swivels.  It’s like a one-on-one basketball game:  I’m playing offense and he’s playing defense.

Noble has his own schedule.  He waits for me to wake up so he can get his first of two feedings.

If on the off chance I sleep in past 6:30 a.m., Noble bangs open the slightly closed bedroom door, going to my side of the bed to poke his wet nose into the my body, usually my face.

When he goes outside, he will either bark to be let back in, or his favorite way of communication, an ear-splitting body SLAM against the screen door.

Once my wife wakes and eats her toast, Noble sits motionless like a Sphinx on the area rug in the living room about 10 feet away from the dining room table.  Often he resembles the old RCA Victor dog statue.  If my wife blurts out to him with a stern “leave it,” he comically swerves his head away, but the body remains cement-like.

When my wife gets up, that’s the signal for him to stand ready in the laundry room in case a corner of a crust inadvertently falls from my wife’s hand into his open jaws.

Next on the agenda is the morning walk between 10-11.  He always looks at my wife to make sure she’s joining us.

His afternoon feeding time used to be 3:00 p.m.  Since I’ve been working from home it has receded to 2:30 p.m. due to the elongated stares, and bellowing moans.   I refuse to buckle under the pressure to feed him any earlier than 2:20.

Soon thereafter, the last item on Noble’s to-do list is a ride in the car.  This is his E-ticket.

In fact, this is when he is at his loudest.  The wildest combination bark and howl I have ever heard bursts out of his body in immense exhilaration for what is about to unfold, so much so that he keeps bouncing from backseat to front seat and back again.

Funny how he reserves his loudest barks over the most enjoyable moments of his day:  his feeding, his walk and his ride in a car.

Finally, after sundown and three and a half revolutions on his oval-shaped dog pillow, Noble settles in for the night.

What a beautiful day in the neighborhood for Noble.

 

 

Breaking News: A Car Wash Re-Opens

Folks, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

A rainbow is on the horizon.

Carefully, gingerly, life is coming back.

Today my wife and I went to get our cars washed.  Not at a self-serving cement partition with a water wand, but a real full-service car wash with employees cleaning, vacuuming, shining our cars.  One of the attendants was amazed to see the size of our gratuity.

If it weren’t practically illegal not to mention unhealthy, we would have given everyone we saw there a wraparound, squeeze ‘em tight hug.

Hallelujah!  It almost felt as jubilant as the day we got married.

You mean, we can actually go to a place of business and do our business there, not take out, not have it delivered, but actually get serviced on the premises?

Yep!  Just as it used to be, just 9 short (not really) weeks ago.

It felt so liberating.  After months of limited our errands to markets, gas stations and takeout, going to the car wash felt like hopping on a plane to Hawaii.  A trip.  A journey.  A holiday away from the stay-at-home, lockdown, claustrophobic atmosphere that I still have not gotten used to.

What’s next?  Will our dog groomer soon open her doors?  How about a haircut?  Will a reservation be taken for a dining experience in July or June or end of May?  An overnight getaway?  I have already received an email from a favorite inn in Santa Barbara announcing their re-opening and at 20% off.

I can smell it coming.  I can sense the joy returning to life.

This 4th of July, which most likely will not be celebrated with special concerts, firework displays or large gatherings of people, should focus on not the birth of the country, but its re-birth, celebrating the liberty from sheltering in place.  Happy Birthday to America’s re-opening.

And whenever businesses slowly re-open, be sure to embrace it.  And don’t ever take it for granted again.

Column Ends, Blog Continues

As many of you know by now, the Glendale News-Press, the Burbank Leader and the

La Canada Valley Sun will no longer be published.

This means that you are reading my last column, a column I have written since early 2011.

At that time, the Times was trying out something called the 818 Bloggers and I was part of that crew.

My column, originally called “The Crosby Chronicles,” became “The Whiteboard Jungle”  by 2013.  The main focus was education, but I covered an array of issues that impacted young people.

Even though I wasn’t compensated much for my near decade-long tenure, I took seriously the responsibility of having a voice in the community.

Every other week I would agonize over the column; as any writer will tell you, good writing comes from good revisions.

Early drafts often totaled 1,500 words, too many for a 600-word column.  However, it is easier to delete words than add them, advice I often pass on to my students.

It is also easier to have a meticulous editor, my wife Sherry.

I feel bad for newspapers who have struggled mightily the past few decades with dwindling ad revenue and readership.  Losing journalists is not healthy in a democracy.  Nowadays, more people access internet posts controlled by those who are anything but real journalists.

Next time there is corruption in the cities of Burbank or Glendale, who will report on it?

The public will suffer without the fourth estate as its watchdog, especially at a time when real news gets mislabeled as fake news.

When my editor called me Thursday evening about the paper’s demise, it coincidentally was the same day I turned in my retirement papers to the Glendale Unified offices.  How strange is that?

Yes, come June 12th, after 31 years, I will return to being a private citizen, no longer a public school teacher.  Except for the first 2 weeks in September of 1989 at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles (noted for calculus teacher Jaime Escalante), I have spent all of my career at Hoover High School in Glendale.

I had several ideas for future columns lined up including one about my retirement from teaching.  Now this is a column about my retirement from working.

When people ask me, “are you sure you want to do this” my response:  it is time.  While I still have my health and enjoy my job, I’d rather leave a little too early than stay a little too late.  Besides, as Vin Scully often commented, we are all living day to day.  No one knows what our expiration is.

Still, I do feel that I have something to share, wisdom to pass on, mentoring to perform.

Veteran teachers bring a unique view that only time and experience can nurture.  A reservoir of talented and imaginative people should be tapped at a time when invention of a new way of structuring schools and teaching students is already underway, if only districts would use them in leadership roles.  It is a precious resource too often taken for granted and overlooked.

I want to thank former editor Dan Evans who hired me as well as current editor Mark Kellam.

Most of all, I thank you for reading what was on my mind.   With apologies to Maytag repairmen, writers are the loneliest guys in town.  We perform alone not knowing if anyone out there cares about the words we string together.  Each kind email received made my day.

I cling to the belief that former students now in their 20s, 30s and 40s remember something from the days with Mr. Crosby that has made a positive impact in their lives.  I know their being in my classroom made one in mine.

For those of you who are interested, I will continue writing my blog, the CrosbyChronicles.org, and plan on writing more books.  Email briancrosby1958@gmail.com.

God bless and stay well.

 

 

 

To Catch a Thief

Strange how one alteration in a long-running pattern can turn everything upside down.

After 30 years of regularly playing racquetball early Sunday mornings at the Hollywood YMCA with a longtime friend, we had to switch to Saturdays in 2020 due to a later opening time—change #1.

Because the on-street parking in front of and across from the Y was taken, I ended up parking one block further north, an area I had never parked before—change #2.

Because the metered parking begins at 8:00 a.m. on Saturdays instead of 11:00 a.m. on Sundays, for the first time I had to put money in the meter—change #3.

Because I needed to retrieve coins from my car, I neglected to relock the vehicle (which I did not know at the time)—change #4.

My friend set an alarm on his phone for 7:57, allowing me enough time to run downstairs, cross the street, and feed the kitty for both our cars.

As I walked across from the main entrance to where my friend’s car was parked, I noticed a beat-up white sedan pull up next to mine which was one block up from where I was.  It appeared to be in position to parallel park; however, there wasn’t a place to park behind me.

Without thinking much about it, I stepped on the sidewalk and took out coins to put into the meter.

Suddenly, my eye caught a peculiar sight—my trunk had just popped up!   In a flash, my eyes quickly zoomed in to see the front passenger door open with someone half inside my car.

Instinctively I rushed over shouting, “Hey!  What are you doing?!”

Like the head of a jack-in-the-box, the rest of the man jumped out of my car.  He was in his late 20’s or early 30’s, white, disheveled looking.

“Oh, is this your car?  Sorry.  I thought this was my buddy’s car.  He said he left something here for me.”

At that point a voice inside of me said, “Brian, do not say anything else.  Get in the car fast, turn it around, and get the hell out of the area.”

Before I knew it, I made a U-turn and drove two blocks to a church parking lot, my heart pounding and my mind racing.

Lucky for me I never leave anything visible inside my car except for a pair of sunglasses and a water canteen.  And the only item in my trunk are reusable shopping bags.

But what about my registration and insurance card inside the glovebox?

I opened it up and discovered nothing had been disturbed, everything was there.

Did what just happened happened?  Was I a victim of a car burglary?

What hit me like a brick was the strong odor of cigarette smoke that must have been absorbed on the crook’s clothing.  It was so powerful that even after driving several miles with all the windows down I still could not get it completely eliminated.

I carefully walked back to the Y, looking to see if the man would still be there.

He was gone.

Within 60 seconds, he had pulled up next to my car, sized it up, pulled in front of my car, exited his, opened my unlocked passenger door, reached over to the driver’s side and pushed the release button to the trunk—clearly an activity he had mastered in record time.

I must have left the car unlocked because there was no sign of forced entry. That explains how he quickly got into my car without breaking a window.

However, if I had arrived a minute later, who knows what condition my car would have been in?

It wasn’t until I told this story to people that I realized how fortunate I was that the guy wasn’t confrontational or didn’t have a weapon.

There must have been a guardian angel watching over me that day.  How 2020 could have easily gone sideways in just four days old.

 

For Rent: The House I Grew Up In

There is a street in Burbank, maybe the shortest one in town, that connects Pass Avenue to Hollywood Way.  On that street is a house where my family lived for seven and a half years, from April 1969 until the fall of 1976.

That may not seem so long, but for my family it was a lifetime for that was the one residence where we lived at the longest, and where life’s obstacles tested the strength of our familial bonds.

Back then, the rent was $175 a month.  Right now, it is for rent again . . . for $3,075 a month.

I found that out by happenstance when my wife and I took that shortcut while running errands the other day.  The colorful flags out front caught my attention, the “open house” sign compelled me to stop.

Walking into the house I was struck with how small it was, barely over 900 square feet.

The tiny living quarters seemed like a gigantic dollhouse.  If one person was washing dishes in the kitchen, another person could barely squeeze in between the sink and the refrigerator and stove.

And the lone bathroom was less than half the size of the kitchen.  Imagine one bathroom for five people.

Yet we did it without any complaints for that was the size of all the houses that we rented:  two bedrooms and one bath.  My sister being the only female child always had one of the bedrooms.  My parents had the other, while my brother and I shared the den.

At this house, however, my parents had the den, while I had the smallest bedroom.  For the first time since he was a toddler, my 20-year-old brother had his own bedroom in the converted detached garage.

We never felt that we lacked anything.  All the credit goes to our parents who despite minimum financial means, always made sure we had food to eat, new clothes each school year, and presents for birthdays and Christmas.

When I entered this house I was still in elementary school; when I left, I was attending UCLA.

This was the house when my family got our first color television.

This was the house when I got a blue Schwinn Stingray bike for Christmas.

This was the house when a stray cat had a litter of kittens in a drawer of my parents’ dresser.  From that litter, we kept one who ended up living for 18 years, keeping my mother company when she eventually lived alone.

This was the house when my Dad was stricken with lung cancer, dying within a year.  When I began living in the house I had a 50-cent weekly allowance; when I left I was receiving Social Security survivor benefits.

How ironic that 14 months after my father passed away at UCLA Medical Center, I was hospitalized at the same facility for one month, my body attacked by psoriasis.

When we moved into the house in 1969, we were a family of five.  When my mother and I moved out in 1976 after my brother and sister left, we were only two, moving into an apartment for the first time.

In that period of time the nation witnessed the first moon landing, the end of the Vietnam War, Watergate, President Nixon’s resignation, and the Bicentennial celebration.  Locally, the 1971 Sylmar earthquake reminded Angelenos of the ground’s instability.

I entered that house a boy and exited a man, with too much growing up in between.

It is a cruel reality that people cannot grasp sense of their lives as they are living them.  It is not until years have passed that allows us the perspective of our narrative, to look back over the entire tapestry of experiences, and to think:  my God, how amazing it was that we lived in that house and still remained a close-knit family weathering the storms that banged at the door of our domicile.

 

Defiant Students Rule

If you have ever thought of becoming a teacher, beware.

No one has your back.

Not administrators, district officials, or, more assuredly, the state of California.

Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom made sure of that by signing into law SB419 which further undermines the authority of teachers in managing defiant students.

After three failed attempts under former Gov. Jerry Brown, State Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) succeeded in having the more liberal governor ban “willful defiance” suspensions in all public and charter schools grades K-8 ensuring that unruly students remain in the classroom except for only the most egregious infractions; defying the teacher is not one of them.

Teachers are no longer permitted to send out bad kids even if they continuously disrupt the learning of others, giving them carte blanche to continue interfering with the education of the good kids.

Often cited are statistics showing suspension rates among minority children are disproportionately higher than other groups and therefore a violation of their civil rights.

Special interest groups point out examples of children being suspended for such minor acts as chewing gum in class as proof that the predominately white teacher population is racist.  However, economic issues may play a larger role in determining child behavior.

Now the anti-suspension needle has moved all the way to the point where the message to teachers is quite clear:  keep all students inside your classroom no matter what.

The other message seems to be that teachers are not to be trusted in handling students in a classroom.   Politicians in Sacramento know what’s best.

In recent years, anti-suspension programs such as restorative justice and PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports) have infiltrated the agenda at faculty meetings statewide.

Since then, suspensions rate have declined, but how does one know if it because of  these programs or because teachers under intense pressure know that they don’t have the option of removing troublemakers?

Keep in mind that misbehaved students receive a disproportionate amount of attention from teachers who have to spend time reinforcing behavior matrices, scheduling restorative circle time, documenting everything, contacting parents, etc.

Teacher time is better spent on designing lesson plans and evaluating student work than serving as pseudo-therapists.

State Sen. Skinner said in a statement that “ending willful defiance suspensions will keep kids in school where they belong and where teachers and counselors can help them thrive.”

However, by keeping these kids in classrooms means that the other kids, those who always behave and obey authority figures, won’t thrive.

Just keeping a misbehaved child in class does not mean that student is listening or learning.

It is the good kids who get trapped in toxic environments with kids who come from unruly households where there is no discipline.  Where is the ACLU’s defense of their civil rights?

The system has to bend over backwards to accommodate the hooligans instead of the hooligans having to learn how to modify their behavior.

Gov. Newsom, would you want your children attend school with these disruptive students?  Of course not.  That is why the people who make the laws send their children to private schools which don’t have to abide by the laws they make; his children attend a private Montessori preschool.

The best support for a teacher is to remove the disobedient child so instruction can resume for those who are obedient.

All teachers know this including the former governor.

After vetoing a similar bill just last year, Brown said that “teachers and principals are on the front lines of educating our children and are in the best position to make decisions about order and discipline in the classrooms.”

Those who do not work in classrooms should not impose their will on those who do.

Life Begins After 60

“Put another candle on my birthday cake, I’m another year old today.”

For those of you old enough to remember Sheriff John, that was the song he sang on his children’s TV show that aired from 1952 to 1970.

It’s a song I think of every time I have a birthday as I did on April 1.

In my family, the biggest April Fools’ joke was me being born.  The story my mother always related was that her doctor told her I was to arrive on April 4th.   When I came early, he told her, “April Fools!”

Actually, I always liked that I was born on a special day of any kind since my father was born on Christmas.

I was lucky to have a few memorable birthday celebrations.

There was my sixth birthday held at a themed restaurant with a live “damsel in distress”-type of revue with food delivered via a model train.   After the show, all children celebrating a birthday were invited on stage to shake the hands of the actors.  The man playing the villain hid popcorn in his hand so when he shook mine I felt the crunched corn.

At age 11, my party took place at a miniature golf course on Magnolia Boulevard near Catalina Street in Burbank.  I didn’t enjoy myself though because I had the worst score of all my buddies.

The most unusual birthday was my 16th which wasn’t a party at all since I was hospitalized with a skin condition at UCLA Medical Center.

For my 50th, my family arranged an overnight trip in Palm Springs where we ate dinner at the Bing Crosby restaurant (no longer there).

Then last year, we went to the horse races at Santa Anita.  (Good thing we didn’t do it this year, right?)

I feel lucky that my health is good despite how old I may appear.  Just last weekend a man thought I was my 15-year-old’s grandfather.  Look, I know I’m no spring chicken, but I’m not Larry King either.

What’s weird is that I have now outlived my father.  It made me wonder about famous people who I have outlived as well.

Here is a partial list:  Joan of Arc (19), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (35), Marilyn Monroe (36), Vincent Van Gogh (37), George Gershwin (38), Martin Luther King, Jr. (39), Edgar Allan Poe (40), Elvis Presley (42), Nat King Cole (45), Judy Garland (47), William Shakespeare (52), Jackie Robinson (53), Abraham Lincoln (56), and Virginia Wolfe (59).

When thinking about their contributions, I feel quite inadequate.  However, there is still hope for those of us over 60.

Dame Judi Dench has received seven Oscar nominations since she was over 60.

Mahatma Gandhi was 61 when he did his famous Salt March protesting British rule in India.

Colonel Harland Sanders was 62 when he began franchising Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants.

Laura Ingalls Wilder was 64 years old when she published her first book which inspired the popular TV series “Little House on the Prairie.”

Noah Webster took 26 years to finish his dictionary when he was 66 years old.

Benjamin Franklin was 70 when he signed the Declaration of Independence.

Nelson Mandela was 75 when he was elected president of South Africa.

Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses began painting at age 76.

Astronaut and Senator John Glenn at age 77 was the oldest person to travel in space.

Also at 77, Frank Sinatra’s “Duets” was the second best-selling album in the country behind Pearl Jam’s latest release.

So, to those of you in my age range, to quote from one of his songs, the best is yet to come.  And that’s no joke.

Mortality: The Ultimate New Year’s Motivator

The most chilling part of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” comes near the end when the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come points Ebenezer Scrooge to a tombstone with his own name on it.

It is this final vision that does its job in making Scrooge realize he better change his ways before he dies if he wants his life to have meaning.

The idea of coming to terms with one’s own mortality and using that knowledge as motivation to make the most of each day is powerful.

Scrooge declares that “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”  And just as with New Year’s resolutions, people have the best intentions to do good in the world and for themselves but often life’s daily happenings can derail them.

It takes a strong constitution and willpower to keep goals on track.

My life-changing moment wasn’t a ghost but a dead body, when at age 11, I witnessed my grandmother in a coffin. That startling image slapped me in the face with the sinking realization that life does not last forever.

I remember many times afterwards lying in bed struggling to get to sleep thinking about the eventual void in our future.

It accounts for the nervous energy I have and the impatience I display knowing that time is short and why I make lists all the time.  Lists of errands to do each day, and lists of goals to work on each year.

In a way, death drives me to get things accomplished.

Of course, the number of years a person has to live can’t be predicted, though many internet tools claim to guestimate one’s lifespan with a high level of probability.

Based on the Social Security Administration’s Life Expectancy Calculator, I can expect to live another 24 years at my current age.

According to life insurance companies Northwestern Mutual and John Hancock, I have another 32 years.

Death clock.org actually gives a projected day of death and graphically places it on a tombstone like the Dickens’ tale.  I have only 13 years left with them.

On poodwaddle.com there is even a clock that continuously countdowns one’s life.

The iconic images each December 31st of an old man representing the year that is ending and a baby representing the new year to come symbolizes the death and rebirth in all of us.

Each passing year marks a slight death for that is one year that will never come back.

However, with the utterance of “Happy New Year” comes yet another opportunity to reboot, redouble our efforts to be better people.   Even if “life happens,” there is always hope that some of what we set out to do will occur.

If each person does something positive once a day, by next year, that would amount to 365 positive actions.   That is a lot of contributions for one person.

One day a tombstone will have our name on it.   And no matter how much money we have or how healthy our eating and exercise habits are, we will die.

Abraham Lincoln once said that “in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.  It’s the life in your years.”

Here’s hoping that in 2017 you make the most of what days we have to do good for ourselves and for others.

 

 

How do you explain the Paris attacks to a youngter?

When my 12-year-old son asked me why the French flag appeared on Google last Friday, I knew I had to muster the best of my parenting skills to carefully answer his question.

This led me to thinking: With the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, just how much awareness should children have of what is going on in the world?

Ginny Goodwin, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and the director of Burbank’s Family Service Agency, advises that parents consider a child’s age and maturity when discussing these events.

“Withholding information needs to be considered [including] limiting television viewing and protecting them from images” especially for youngsters, Goodwin said.

For more social media savvy teens, parents should “answer questions and help them process their fears and concerns.”

“Children need to feel secure, that adults have some control [and that] our country is working hard to protect all of us,” added Goodwin.

Parents need to understand that their children may pick up on their own fears so it’s important not to share such anxieties within “earshot of children.”

I remember on the morning of the 9/11 attacks, my wife and I made sure not to watch television until we dropped off our two-year-old at his daycare center. When I picked him up that afternoon, I was aghast that the teacher and aides were talking about the planes hitting into the buildings right in front of the kids.   I told the center’s director about the inappropriateness of doing that.

LMFT Samantha Bookman of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Program at Kaiser Permanente in Woodland Hills agrees that “it is imperative [parents] be highly vigilant about what adult conversations are happening within earshot of kids and not show their anxiety in front of them.”

“They are always listening, even when they don’t seem to be paying attention,” Bookman said.

Additionally, since “children and teens have an under-developed pre-frontal cortex, the area of the brain behind the forehead which calm fears,” explained Bookman, absorbing “scary information can be overwhelming and debilitating.”

The fears that exist today about unexpected horror that could happen in a flash harken back to what earlier generations must have felt during the Cold War with the potentiality of a nuclear holocaust hanging in the air.

Even today’s lockdown drills are reminiscent of the Duck and Cover drills school children practiced in the event of a nuclear attack during the 1950s and 1960s.

It makes one wonder when was the last time an American generation did not have the sense that the world could end or at least turn upside down in a moment.

I asked history professor Christopher Endy of Cal State Los Angeles this question.

“The 1920s and 1930s were the last decades when Americans felt free from fear of widespread catastrophic attack,” said Endy. When relations with the Soviets “soured in the late 1940s . . . Americans’ fears increased dramatically.” And have remained so ever since.

While we can’t control what course of action governments undertake to combat the threat of terrorism, experts say that the average citizen’s best action is to go on with normal activities while being vigilant.

“There is risk in our lives every day . . . but we forget about it so that we can live our lives happily,” said Bookman. “And guess what? We are almost always just fine.”