Jay Beeler

It was called a miracle.

Two months ago 13-year-old Trenton McKinley of Mobile, Alabama was critically injured when a small utility trailer being pulled by a dune buggy flipped over, causing him to hit his head on the concrete.

He was rushed to USA Medical Center for emergency surgery. He had seven skull fractures. Doctors said he would be a vegetable if he lived, even though he was brain dead and barely breathing. His parents signed the papers to donate his organs.

A day before doctors were set to pull the plug, Trenton started showing signs of cognition and is on the mend.

That news story from last week turned personal when my niece, Jeanne Nowak, sent word that my 80-year-old sister, Joyce, started talking to her at a nursing home in Holyoke, Mass. after more than five years of being in a vegetative state following a brain aneurysm.

Similar stories have been told about persons in comas for decades. My family calls it a miracle.

“What do you want for Mother’s Day,” Jeanne asked. “The usual flowers would be fine,” Joyce responded. She also expressed a desire to have some chocolate ice cream.

The jubilant Mt. St. Vincent nurses quickly spread word that Joyce was talking.

The conversation lasted up to 30 minutes before Joyce became tired and drifted to sleep in her wheelchair.

Come Mother’s Day I suspect that Joyce will be seeing a few more flowers than she ever expected.


So now the vocal minority is attempting to change history by claiming that the Long Beach State mascot, Prospector Pete, represents a time in history when California Indians were slaughtered during the gold rush period of 1846-1873. The trouble with that thinking is that not all prospectors engaged in genocide.

Going back 100 years to when Long Beach State was founded in 1949, many peoople came to California for the prospect of a better life, jobs and opportunity. Eureka, I found gold, starting in 1965 when I came here to attend college and ultimately graduated as a proud 49er.

I have little regard for those who attempt to re-write history, whether it applies to the Confederacy, Columbus Day or any other period in time yielding statues and monuments. Undoubtedly those people had skeletons in their closets – or caves – but that doesn’t change the significance of their deeds for which they became famous.

And speaking of skeletons, no doubt my house was built over the grave site of some Tongva people who set up a village known as Puvungna. Back in the 1990s some other vocal clowns stopped development on the campus’ west side in a successful attempt to preserve this “sacred ground.”

Going back 200 years, that could apply to the entire United States, which was built upon Indian land dating back a few centuries.

Prospector Pete appropriately represents the current time and place in history important to this alumnus. Puvungna is so meaningless to me that I have to look it up every time just to spell it. I believe in the here and now, not something in history books open to numerous interpretations.



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