On my way to work today, I had the radio on NPR as I usually do for the commute. Today they did a story about Donald Trump.
Now, political leanings aside, the Donald has ALWAYS driven me nuts, his loud bombastic delivery style is hard for me to take. While I tried to watch the Apprentice because it actually had some interesting examples of good business skills I could use in my program, it was never a really good fit for me.
And political leanings NOT aside, oh my goodness, I disagree with just about everything he says, how he says it, and what he says he will do.
And that hair – !
So, you can imagine my surprise when the story today was one I could completely relate to. It turns out that the Donald was sent to military school as a boy to learn to toe the line. Not just any military school, but one with which my family has a long and proud history. The man actually went to New York Military Academy (NYMA) located in Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY.
My grandfather went there in the 1920’s, probably for a similar reason – his father passed away when he was twelve, his mother was left with two strong-minded, very active boys. I think she had a hard time coping, and so my grandfather attended the school for a couple of years. She passed away in his senior year, and he did not finish at that time.
But he always held the school dear in his heart, and gave back to it in many ways. Many years later, they awarded him an honorary degree. He proudly displayed that diploma on the wall in his study.
When he had his own son and they butted heads about how a boy should behave, he sent my uncle to NYMA. Now, I am not sure I would have done that to a boy in the 5th grade, but those were different times. For 7 years, my uncle attended the school, and loved it, thrived, as Trump did, in the structured environment, although, I suspect in a very different way and for different reasons. My uncle was not competitive like Trump. He was a very gentle man who marched to his own drummer.
When I was in high school in the 70’s, my grandparents took me with them to attend a reunion at NYMA. We stayed at the Thayer Hotel in nearby West Point, and the whole experience was eye-opening for me. I met “old” men who remembered my grandfather as fun-loving boy, told me stories of his courting of my grandmother that I had not heard before. I saw amazing buildings and parades, lots of drilling and marching.
I completely understood the attraction of such an education to my grandfather, and felt closer to him, seeing more of the person he was for perhaps the first time. I have very fond memories of that weekend. It doesn’t matter that I think there are too many soldiers in the world, or too many guns, I get that this school teaches respect for the weaponry, respect for the institution of the military, and that in doing so, it gives boys (and now, girls) structure and hopefully helps to keep them from making mistakes that could dog them their whole lives. I get why it works.
Now I learn that Trump shared some of those experiences. Somehow, it makes him more of a person, less of a hot air balloon character.
Still can’t stand the guy, but he seems more human.
But now I really don’t get the whole hair thing. 🙂