August 9, 2010

Tom Paturzo Baker's Levittown memories; he majored in wrestling

By Tom Paturzo Baker '60
I majored in "wrestling" at Division Avenue High School. My teachers' concerns regarding scholarship did not impact until I served in the United States Army. My fondest memories revolve around summer days shared with friends at the Azalea Road pool. I can turn back the clock and see the faces of those who were present. I always appreciated friends who "heard a different drummer."

Running is harder these days. However, I jog along listening to my iPod and eventually the joy of running returns once again. The inspiration comes from the 1950s music and the memories of you. The music triggers the memories. Each song reflects flashbacks of the past, “In the Still of the Night,” “My Prayer,” and “Earth Angel,” seem to create the most vivid images.

The Elvis Presley tunes cause me to increase my speed. “Don’t be Cruel,” “GI Blues,” and even “Jail House Rock” will help pull me down memory lane. I dreaded reaching this age… only to find these are the best years of my life!

A few people asked me important questions that changed my direction: Mal Karman asked, “Why do you play dumb, when you are not?” Bobby Castro asked, “Why don’t you pay attention to your school work?” Maryann McNally asked, “What are you going to do with your life?” They all made me think about the possibility of a life path, where previously there was none. They made me think about the future. I would like to thank those friends and many others for helping me get where I am today.

My favorite memory is the girls' football game that Mal and I organized. Mal designed "play cards" for our team. We beat Billy Whalen's girls team decisively. My sister Marilyn threw several successful touchdown passes to Pat Kraft. Mal and I surprised everyone on that one expected us to win.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Baker is an associate professor of criminal justice (Feb. 2000), assistant professor (1975-Jan. 2000), and awarded the Decennial Medal and Order of Pro Deo et Universitate for service. In addition, Tom served as a Lt. Col. (Ret.) United States Army Reserve Military Police Corps, Special Agent, and Commander with United States Army Criminal Investigation Command. Tom served as a staff officer, detachment and regional commander, and Provost Marshall.
Tom has been married to Jane Piland-Baker for the past 42 years. They have one grown daughter, Shannon, and four grandchildren. He still continues to enjoy running and weight training and is a former Virginia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania State Judo Champion. Tom holds a black belt in judo and is a former bronze medalist and pre-Olympic trial judo champion.

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