Letters from the George H.W. Bushes
George H. W. Bush, 41st president of the United States, lost his wife Barbara last year. Now he is dead, too. Barbara and I connected decades ago when I complained that she was only encouraging moms to read to children. I shared the importance of fathers and men, particularly males from lower-class neighborhoods, to teach young boys that reading is a male activity. Kids that don’t read well by third grade get left behind. We discussed college graduation rates by gender where males are far behind.
Barbara said she would, henceforth, include fathers too. The last time she wrote to me was Jan 5, 2010: “Thank you for your kind note. I admire your good work, especially your dedication to helping young males read, write, and understand. George joins me in sending best wishes for a happy 2010. With every good wish, warmly, Barbara Bush.”
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I grew up in violent housing projects and a brutal childhood. Reading not only helped me escape that life, but lead to also getting “Best wishes from George and Barbara.” These two humble people, married 73 years, are together once again. I find that sad but somehow beautiful at the same time.
Steven DeLuca, Clovis
Government loves to tax, and tax
The recent gasoline tax in France seems like the usual way government handles things. Governments will use any cause as a way to raise taxes.
Global warming? Let’s tax gasoline.
Spent all the previous gas taxes on other things than road maintenance. Let’s raise gasoline taxes again.
Seems like rationing would be a way to limit driving if the issue is not just a money grab.
Rationing could limit driving without raising taxes. But that is not the choice.
Government decides on a tax increase instead.
Rod Jenson, Fresno
The right to not say the pledge
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The United States Pledge of Allegiance contains the phrase “under god” which is supposed to be recited when doing the flag salute. I am a 16 year old in high school and to say this pledge almost every morning, me being a Catholic, I have no problem doing this. However my Muslim friend does not like to say this phrase in our morning pledge and has been confronted several times for replacing god with “Allah”.
I believe saying the Pledge of Allegiance should become optional for students at school because not everyone is religious, and it violates our First Amendment rights.
Ismet Fuentes, Clovis
Helping hands make his trip smooth
I have Parkinson’s disease. My son invited us to visit with him and his family this past Thanksgiving in Philadelphia. I was apprehensive about the trip and having to deal with my mobility issues in the terminals, on the flight, in his home, and any activities once in Philly.
When I booked the flight with American Airlines I indicated that I would like to sign up for their free special accommodations for the disabled. When I arrived at the Fresno American Airlines ticket counter at the Fresno Air Terminal and my wife told them of my condition and request for disabled help, I was soon greeted by a young lady and a wheelchair. She escorted me through the security checkpoint and onto the long trek to the gate. There I was handed off to another American Airlines support person who saw to it that I was boarded on the plane properly.
And so it went when I had to transfer planes in Los Angeles to the next gate, landed in Philly, and was again greeted with a support person. This process repeated itself on the way back.
My “helpers” nationalities were American, East African, Egyptian, Ethiopian, Hmong, Mexican and Chinese. Each in his/her own way was gracious, knowledgeable, and kind. I hope my tips and words of thanks were sufficient to express my gratitude.
While in Philly my son, his wife and grandchildren were most helpful. My California disabled parking placard allowed him to park with me at numerous venues.
None of this could have been remotely possible without my wife, who like an icebreaker, was able to lovingly forge a path for me throughout this trip.
I am so grateful to our country, American Airlines, and all the support they and like entities afford those like me who otherwise might be severely limited in travel.
Rog Lucido, Fresno