“Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne*?
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup!
and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
We twa hae run about the braes,
and pou’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin’ auld lang syne.
We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin’ auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak’ a right gude-willie waught,
for auld lang syne.”
Pushing on to 72 years means many “auld acquaintance’s” there behind me, but with fewer coming along with me.
It’s been a good life! … Easy? Well in a very broad sense yes it has been easy, but there are those times, in the midst of it all, when it has seemed hard and troublesome.
But then I think on the many “auld acquaintance’s” and I am indeed a very grateful and blessed man. Blessed by God with much family — parents who loved me and raised me with love … a wonderful woman, a wife, as a lifelong companion, lover and friend … a wonderful son and wonderful daughter (I love you both!) … three wonderful grandchildren … and two brothers.
And the other family spread out all over this amazing nation and across the world. Father in law, mother in lay, brothers and sisters in law, aunts & uncles – cousins aplenty, both mine and Diana’s. I love and have loved them all.
Friends – some lifelong and some new. Friends across this fruited land and far away places like The Czech Republic, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Hungary, Fiji, Zambia, Italy, South Africa.
In 2015 I was amazingly able to renew some truly “auld acquaintance’s.” Old meaning from the days of my youth and early adulthood:
Here are a few:
Coach Sam Jankovich.
You can read about Coach Sam’s storied career at the link above, but let me tell you the story of how he and I are connected and how we became reconnected this past year.
Sam and I are Butte Montana natives, and after having gone our separate ways following high school, I didn’t give much thought to Sam, and I’m sure he could not have remembered me as an undistinguished skinny high school kid.
But then a few years ago Sam’s son Sam bought the iconic M&M bar in Butte and set out to reestablish it a watering hole in uptown Butte.
A few years ago while visiting Butte we met young Sam in the M&M, had a beer and exchanged pleasantries. Sam brought us to the back of the bar where he had a “Sam Jankovich Hall of Fame” display with many mementos of his father.
While looking at all of this stuff I mentioned to Sam that I remembered his dad from Butte High. Sam, expecting I was perhaps a football jock, was surprised and laughed when I told him that his dad taught me typing. That’s right … Coach Sam, football legend, also taught typing, and I am forever grateful for that skill.
Sam gave me his dad’s phone number in Haydon Lake Idaho and said “give him a call. So I tucked the number in my wallet for a couple of years.
Then in August 2015, while walking a trail in Idaho not far from Sam’s place in Haydon Lake, I took that number from my wallet and called:
Coach: Hello …
Me: Hello Mr. Jankovich (you should always address a teacher as Mr. Miss or Mrs.) This is Don Johnson, you may remember me from your days at Butte High.
Coach: Well the name sounds familiar … (he’s thinking football.)
Me: You’re perhaps thinking I’m one of your players, but actually Mr. Jankovich I remember you as my typing teacher.
Coach: “ … laughter … ”
Me: “ … laughter … ” I’m in your neighborhood for awhile, and it would sure be nice to see you again.
Sam: Well what a surprise. Tell ya what, I’m going to Butte this weekend, and if you are still around next week when I get back why don’t you come on over and we’ll have a drink and talk Butte.
Me: Sounds like a plan, I’ll call next week.
Sam: Ya know I hear from my players now and then, and sometimes we get together. But you are the very first of my typing students to ever give me a call … laughter … laughter.
So the next week I visited Sam at his house and we had a cup of coffee and talked Butte. And as I was leaving he said “next time bring your wife … I’d like to meet her.”
Major Mark (Foxy) Foxwell
Mark Foxwell was the Air Force Officer in Charge at Tyndall AFB Florida in 1977 when we installed the ACMI range there. We worked with him on an almost daily basis back then and he was one class act and fun to be around, to say nothing about how helpful he was in coordination things we both needed. The following is the e-mail I sent to him recently, followed by his reply.
Hi “Foxy” It’s been many a year, but we worked together at the ACMI at Tyndall. I was part of the Cubic crew that installed the range back in 1977.
I think of those days every now and then, and they were good times … and I remember working with you with your dedication and good hummer.
Your name came up last night in one of those strange “small world” events. My daughter’s friend Krissy was at our house baking Christmas cookies and they took a break to make some Red Beans & Rice. It smelled really good and I made the remark that it reminded me of my days in Panama City with my old friend Ed Burdik. Krissy perked up and said “you were in Panama City? That’s where I was born … my dad was a F-106 pilot stationed at Tyndall.” And as it turned out we were all there together at the same time.
I don’t know her dad’s name, but when I find out I will send it to you per chance you may know one another.
Another name that came up was Skip Sanders. I knew Skip over the years as I continued working Cubic Air Ranges and we would run into one another on occasion.
I don’t know what you did following Tyndall, but you may be interested in knowing a bit about what happened to ACMI in the subsequent years. You can take a look at http://www.cubic.com and see the latest. The last project I worked, in 2009, was what is called P-5 and handles 72 aircraft and the pretty much the entire battle space (computer technology is wonderful).
And I put together my own remembrances and history of the system and its people at: https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/interesting-people-i-have-met-cubic-defense-systems/
It’s good to see your face once more.
Wow, Don, what a pleasant surprise to hear from you. Working with you and Cubic on the ACMI helped really propel my career; I got promoted early after that stint at Tyndall, later became IWS Commander, then on to Europe and F-16s. I retired as the Tyndall Base Commander in late 1992. I do not recognize Krissy; but certainly I relished knowing and working with Skip Sanders. Thank You for contacting me. Let’s keep in touch.
Jack and I were Fire Control Technicians (FTG) who operated and maintained the equipment associated with controlling the five 5” guns we had on board. We served together on the USS Porterfield (DD-682) in 1965-66 and then did our active reserve duty from 1966-69 on board the USS Shields (DD-596) also a Fletcher class tin can.
We were both married, and had apartments off base and were quite good friends during those years. But as time moved on we went our separate ways and lost contact with one another.
Then in recent weeks I was able to contact Jack via Facebook. Not much conversation yet, but hopefully that will change and I hope to see Jack at the 2016 ship reunion in San Diego where he still lives.
LTJG Adam von Dioszeghy (Mr. vonD)
Adam von Dioszeghy was the ASW (Anti-Submarine-Warfare) Officer during the time I was on the USS Porterfield (DD-682) in 1965-66. Mr. vonD was also the Officer in Charge of IC-Plot during General Quarters, and we spent a good deal of time together side by side, along with Jack Hix, running the Fire Control Computer. Mr. vonD, being the officer also had the responsibility for actually pulling the triggers which shot our matched set of 5 – 5”/38 Caliber guns.
My normal underway watch station was the Bridge watch where I actually took my turn as helmsman and steered the ship as well as phone talker, look-out and Lee Helmsman where I relayed ship speed to the engine rooms via an Engine Order Telegraph. Mr. vonD was one of the Officers of the Deck, and and we worked together there as well.
The following is the e-mail message where we hooked up again after almost 50 years:
Hello Mrs. Von Dioszeghy,
I hope you get this message, and I hope I have the right people to send this to.
I was in the Navy back in 1965-66 on board the USS Porterfield (DD-682) and at one of my General Quarters stations in a place called IC-Plot was this crazy guy LTJG Adam von Dioszeghy who was the officer in charge in that space and the guy that actually pulled the gun triggers. I was an FT Seaman at the time and made FT 3’rd class on the Porterfield.
If he is the guy, it would b e great to say hello once more after all these years.
My wife and I and another couple from Ridgecrest CA visited Hungary several years ago and enjoyed it very much. We spent a week at Keszthely, and then a week at Budapest. We enjoyed our time in both places very much, and at Keszthely met a couple of Americans that snow bird between Tucson and Keszthely.
Looking at your pictures, it looks like you have a lovely place and a good life.
In recent years, I have rekindled a passionate interest in things Navy and have published a book and put together a video of life at sea. You can see them at:
The Porterfield has had reunions for 40 years now, and my wife and I have attended the last three and have met and re-met sailors and family going back to 1943 through 1969 — it’s been an amazing experience for me.
I am in charge of organizing the 2016 reunion in San Diego next September, and if ya’ll are the Von Dioszeghys I think you are, we would love to see you there. I know it’s a long shot, but hey if the question is never asked, the answer is always no. Short of that, a greeting from Adam would be most welcomed by the group.
And his response:
Hi Don…yes indeed, I am the one and only crazy guy in IC-plot. As you may recall, everyone called me Mr. vonD. I’d like to keep in touch with you, so here is my e-mail (better than Facebook): email@example.com. I also have written a book, which contains a number of Porterfield stories: the link to it has already been sent to you. I will order your book right now….can’t wait to read it. I loved your video about life at sea (and the story of the Murphy which I didn’t know). I have just looked through my 1965 cruise book and found the picture of second division, but I don’t know where you are in it…please tell me the row and the number (I’m sure you have the cruise book). I’m looking forward to hearing from you VERY SOON! Happy New Year! Adam von Dioszeghy
It turns out that Adam was a Hungarian refugee who escaped in 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution. Years later in 2005 he and his wife bought a small farm outside of Budapest and now live there. Someday I’m hoping they will invite us over to sip a bit of their home made wine and chat a bit.
So there you have it from the end of 2015. I enjoy life, and I enjoy learning the life stories of others. I hope you have enjoyed my time travel with a few of my auld acquaintance’s
Don Johnson – December 2015