EXCERPTS FROM CHAPTER 6, 1953 – 1956 MOVING TO THE ‘BURBS AND MOVING UP PART 2
HE WROTE IT, THEY DID IT, HE SAVED IT; TRANSFORMING AMERICA!!
“JOE SEFEKAR’S INSPIRING STORY OF AN IMMIGRANT’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE HEALTH, WELFARE AND ARTS OF UNITED STATES.”
In 1946 I had an interesting assignment in activating a large regional office for the Veterans Administration in Brooklyn, N.Y. Subsequently, in 1952, I transferred to the Maritime Administration, and in December 1953, I was assigned to my present civil service position with the Air Force. It is a very challenging position, requiring travel by commercial and military aircraft, all over the country, reviewing administrative operations and procedures. In Manpower and Organization, the key words are – manpower, materials, machines, money and methods.
A lot of work went into this piece of paper; My Master’s Degree as anyone can attest who has received their diploma. This one though was particularly satisfying as I had received a lot of help along the way from friends and family. I promised myself it would be put to good use in the coming years.
My dissertation was published in the spring 1956, Journal of Public Administration, New York Chapter of the American Society of Public Administration. It was titled: MANPOWER ALLOCATION AND UTILIZATION IN THE AIR FORCE. The thesis was well-received and the conclusions that I provided for stated: A commander can best improve the use of his manpower through efficient organization and effective application of sound management techniques. Of which is something I’ve always strived for. A function of command is to ensure that manpower is allocated utilized most effectively accomplished assigned missions. In addition to a comprehensive knowledge of established policies and applicable regulation of management techniques and procedures a balance of knowledge and understanding will contribute to successful manpower utilization as one continuously is able to review and to the best of their ability is able to perceive decreasing workload as well as increasing workload. Such knowledge and understanding will contribute measurably to a well-balanced, simplified organization, and will result in maximum utilization of personnel, equipment and funds. Little did I know that from this foundation and the basis of my Master’s Dissertation that it would put me in good stead not only in my immediate duties and responsibilities with the Continental Air Command (CONAC) but with future endeavors as with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and of course the Hirshhorn Museum charge and work on building the Ruth Eckerd Hall Performing Arts Center.
My extended family of Father, Mother, sisters and brother were located mostly in New York City. My oldest sister Lucy stilled lived in Ontario, Canada which we visited periodically. My brother Al lived near my folks in Brooklyn as well as my sisters Becky and Sophie; my sister Bella was relatively close by in Oceanside.
The following are excerpts from the application that I submitted June 4, 1956 through television show “Do You Trust Your Wife,” that would be hosted “Do You Trust Your Wife,” please See Appendix 5–1.**)
19 Lincrest Street
Hicksville, L.I., N.Y.
June 4, 1956
6357 Selma Avenue
Hollywood 28, California
Thank you for the opportunity to qualify as a contestant on “Do You Trust Your Wife”.
I think my wife and I would make good contestants because I modestly believe we are the ideal couple. She is very understanding, logical, unselfish, wonderful disposition, clean and tidy, a good manager, and never takes second best. She is so fastidious that one night, I got up for a drink of water and before I got back she had made the bed. She has been the guiding force in my continuing my education. It is coincidental with this letter that, after 20 years of evening college, I am attending commencement exercises on June 6, 1956 for my Master’s degree in Public Administration at New York University. My two children, as well as my wife and our parents will attend.
The many jobs I have held have been interesting. In 1943, while in service, I was selected as cadre for the advance echelon of the First Army Headquarters which was assembled in Bristol and London, England, where the invasion plans for D-Day were developed.
My leisure time, which I did not have much of between 1935 and 1953, is now spent gardening, reading and umpiring in the little league. Being handy around the house, I also do carpentry work, painting, laying tile, etc. I accomplish my work without a workbench or special tools, restricting myself to a saw, a hammer and a screwdriver.
My wife’s leisure time also increased, because she had to baby sit while I went to school. But she is catching up since we moved into our new home 3 years ago. Monday night is scrabble, Tuesday night is movies, Wednesday night is scrabble, and Thursday night is coffee klatch. In between times, she is a den mother with the cub scouts, and attends P.T.A. meetings.
I FEEL OUR FAMILY IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE:
(1) Our friends and neighbors all admit my wife and I are the most compatible people. On one occasion a neighbor tried to precipitate an argument just to see how we would act, but they didn’t succeed. The closest we came to it was when I taught my wife how to drive the family car. A friend warned us we wouldn’t be talking to each other, but we wouldn’t believe him.
(2) Our boy, Billy is considered a real boy. None of my neighbors have ever seen him walk – he always runs. When he was 4 months old, the doctor said he was hypertensive. He was 3 ½ pounds at birth, and it took two people to diaper him. He is 10 years old and in the 5th grade. He likes snakes, insects, and girls.
(3) Bonnie Lynn is considered by the neighbors to be sweet and gentle. Always has a big hello for all of them. Her responsive reflexes are remarkable. She is five and will start school in the fall.
My wife and I have had a desire to travel to Bermuda. That has been one of our goals since we were married. My secret ambition is to retrace the various places I have been to during the war, with my wife, so I could live the poignant moments when all my thoughts were of home. I would go to the places like Bristol, Feltham and London in England; St. Lo, Fuererolles, and Paris, France; Charleroi and Liege, Belgium; Duren and Cologne, Germany.
There are many items that we need, but if we would win any money we would set it aside for Billy’s education to make sure he graduates college in less than 20 years.
My wife’s first name is Thelma. I was born in Manhattan in 1917, and she was born in Brooklyn. By coincident our families moved to Canarsie, Brooklyn. We lived comparatively close to each other, but it was 13 years before I met Thelma, when a mutual friend arranged a blind date. Even though she claims I disappointed her (her dream man was 6 ft. 4 in., etc.), she nevertheless learned to love me. That was June 14, 1940, just 16 years ago. I proposed in a sort of back handed way. It was 1941 – tours to Miami were fantastically low ($59 including train fare and 7 days at a leading hotel). I asked her how she would like a trip to Florida, she said she would, so I said marry me and we’ll go. So she did, and we had a wonderful time.
An outstanding trait of my wife is that she treats everyone with the same respect and courtesy – no matter who they may be. She gives them the same consideration, same service, and same personal attention.
Her talent is the ability to put a hat together in 5 minutes, before we are going out on a date. She likes wide brimmed hats. She also dabbles in oils and has not had a lesson in her life. Her pictures are good enough to hang on our walls.
Our happiest moment was when we walked into our own home. It’s the greatest step anyone can take.
We have never appeared on any other radio or TV show. Being a latitudinarian, there are no particularly great mistakes that we have made. When my wife may be disappointed, I’ll say, “don’t worry, honey. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.” In the game of life I believe myself quite fortunate in being a winner more than I have been a loser.
The turning point in my life was the G.I. Bill of Rights. Even though I applied myself to obtaining an education prior to the war, I never would have continued without a helping hand from Uncle Sam. This, combined with the encouragement and patience of my wife, has helped to advance my career.
It has been a pleasure preparing this brief history, and we look forward with as much pleasure to seeing your interviewers.
Very truly yours,
One of the things that I enjoyed doing most with my children besides their homework and lawn chores was going to the baseball game and following the Brooklyn Dodgers. The “Bums,” as they were affectionately called were a lovable bunch of baseball players such as Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese and Sandy Koufax. Those were among the most popular Dodger players. they did however have to contend with the likes of the New York Yankees, “The Bronx Bombers,” and the New York Giants. I particularly remember two instances when I took them to the ballgame. The first instance was “camera day” and it allowed the fans get up close near the field. With my five-year-old Bonnie in her Brooklyn Dodgers paraphernalia she had her picture taken, with none other than the Brooklyn slugger, Duke Snider.
The next occurred when I took Billy to the baseball game shortly after my graduation at NYU in June of 1956. Sonny boy managed to wander off to get a better view of the action on the field. I honestly hadn’t realized until it was too late at it was better to get seats on the first base side than the third-base side where more of the “action” was. It was an eventful day and he and I were finally able to connect after my searching part of the game. Forty-five (45) years later I would discuss this in detail when I submitted an article, entitled “A Long Time Between Innings.” to the St. Petersburg Times (See Chapter 12, My Eighth Decade).
My career took a couple positive turns during this time. Being on Long Island there was the opportunity to transfer from the Maritime Administration to Mitchell Air Base, named after the brilliant Air Force
Strategist, Billy Mitchell. It would be a contributing factor in my selecting my dissertation topic on Airpower and Manpower Utilization which received a letter of accommodation.
There were many vacations and trips with the children and my wife’s family to upstate New York cottages and bungalows especially in Lake Mahopac and Peekskill. On my side of the family we invariably spent a lot of time with mom and pop while they rented their place on Rockaway Beach for the summer months.
Copyright © 2016 William Sefekar
** Material will appear in book.
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