Michael's bio in his own words...............
I was born in Gloucester City and lived in Camden County until 2007 when we moved to West Cape May. My wife Anne had just graduated from Penn with a MSW and found a job in Somers Point. She then found me a job in Cape May Court House. We have a son, daughter in law and four grandchildren who live in Gloucester City. We also have two dogs Bruno and Rambo that were very dear to my Father and now live with us.
I went to Catholic School for 12 years. While the education was probably better than many schools, I hated the regimentation and took an Apprenticeship at the Navy Yard rather than go to College, which I assumed would be more of the same. After completing the apprenticeship and an enlistment in the Navy, I went to Rutgers on the GI Bill. Later, I felt stymied in my job, as a Vocational Trainer, and decided to get a MSW from Penn graduating in 2001. Since that time, I ran a small sheltered workshop for Developmentally Delayed adults, worked in the Philadelphia Homeless system and currently work as a Social Worker in two Dialysis Centers.
When I was in Grade school, New York Ship, (where my Father and many other men in the town worked) laid off and eventually closed. Hundreds of Shipfitters, Welders, Marine Machinists, etc were trying to find jobs in a declining Industry. Some were able to adapt, to apply their skills in other jobs. Others never did. My Father tried to make ends meet in a variety of jobs and sometimes I helped him. We sold Christmas Trees, went “junking” and delivered papers. I got to spend a lot of time with my Father, until he was able to get into the Navy Yard. Later, we would work together, at the Yard, I enjoyed that immensely.
In the Navy, I was a navigator on a nuclear submarine. I was in Spain, under Franco (an unbelievably repressive environment), Sardinia and mainland Italy. I’ve been to Cape Canaveral, the Puget Sound and up and down the East Coast. I also worked on a Tug Boat from Alabama to Maine. My son and I drove, with Bruno and Rambo, from Phoenix to New Jersey when my Father moved in with us. He died a little over a year ago.
My wife and I visited her family in Belgium several times as well as vacationing on several Caribbean islands, including Antigua, Barbados and Bonaire, and seeing Ireland.
Ironically, aside from talking to a counselor from the Friends Service Committee during Viet Nam, my early exposure to modern Quaker thought was in the Navy. My boat, the Robert E Lee, was a pet project of Hyman Rickover. He felt the Navy stifled creativity and in an obsession for uniformity, strove for mediocrity. The boat was filled with very creative people, with a low tolerance for “the Navy way”. We were assigned to committees which constantly reviewed procedures and recommended improvements (Quality Circles). At every opportunity we were visited by College Professors who spoke on topics ranging from Personnel Management to Nuclear Physics. They participated in our Quality Circles. They also recommended relevant reading material and the Navy put it in our library (and that is how I found “Faith and Practice” between missile tubes 5 & 7). Sometimes you can ignore or deny but eventually you have to acknowledge when something becomes increasingly clear. That happened to me.
My Father had a motto which I love to repeat “The stubborn rule the world.” Not the strongest, the smartest, the richest or the most powerful; the stubborn. If you like you can say persistent, consistent or determined but he said stubborn. When you think about it he was right.