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I was exactly five and one-half years old on this day 76 years ago and became fully aware of the world as my parents listened to the radio telling of Pearl Harbor.  We had a globe and explained it to me as neighbor men stood in the street looking for “Jap bombers!”

My band director father had the finest radio in town so he could listen to the opera and big band remotes, as he was frequently called by Local 10 Chicago, Jimmy Patrillo, President, to be a side man for Jimmy Dorsey and the Casa Loma Band.  The radio had a short wave tuner, which became our window on the world.  I learned how to run it and could tune it better than my father with my little fingers.

I would listen to London, England afternoons, where it was night there, hearing Vera Lynn sing her signature “We’ll Meet Again,” the heartbreaker song of all time.  At 16 she was not old enough to be in the canteens, so they dressed and made her up to look over 21.  It could not be more moving with the crackling and popping through the air, often coming in by two unequal paths, making a “wow-wow” sound.

My dancer mother’s European friends looked forward to visiting as we had that radio.  She was an RKO contract dancer for theaters and movies. The studios had a strict standard for dancer size, which she fit, but they had to look far and wide to get girls who could both fit their standards and dance well.  They were exotic women, and my budding linguist mother spent hours with them learning their languages.

There is no way to explain to people of today the mindset of this nation then.  My father went to enlist the next day.  The President of the Draft Board, Dr. Carl Bruner, leading physician in town, was also President of the School Board.  When my dad appeared he took him aside and said, “Arden, I am not going to lose my band director to this Goddamn war!”  From that day the sun rose and set on Dr. Bruner in my mother’s mind.  She did a flattering portrait of him he put in his office, and she soon had a thriving business painting all the town notables and their wives.

My parents were involved in USO shows, and when summer came, my mother always had to go somewhere for RKO, so I was shipped off to grandparents.  When I was eight she took me to the Louisville, KY station to go on a troop train to Chicago.  We walked the length of the train with all the boys whistling at my pretty mother until she found the officer’s car.  They came tumbling out and she soon had me booked in with them.  I sat on many laps and was well cared for, including lots of chocolate Hershey bars.

About 4:00 PM we pulled into Logansport, Indiana for a coal and water stop for about 30 minutes.  The town women had set up card tables with home baked goods and huge pots of coffee, great jugs of lemonade; all from their own rations!  The men streamed out of the train and filled the one gallon contribution jar with coins and bills as they cleaned up the food.  I got a doughnut and more chocolate.

A couple hours later we were in Union Station, Chicago and my new friends looked for my grandparents, but I was not feeling well.  As soon as I saw my grandmother, I threw up about a quart of second-hand chocolate, and my grandfather, a WWI veteran with the rank of Captain, engaged the young men in conversation while my grandmother dealt with me.  Nonetheless, it was a great summer for me three years after the day of infamy, December 7, 1941.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

Adrian Vance

Trained as a science teacher, with eight years classroom experience, he has been writing professionally since the age of 15. He was the youngest person to be published in Journal of the Illinois Academy of Science at 17 as a result of a paper he wrote suggesting a revision in the science teaching curriculum. Publication was accidental as his teacher headed the selection committee and his paper was sent to the printer in error. Nonetheless, it received positive response. It proposed teaching General Science, then Physics followed by Chemistry with Biology in the senior year given the then new molecular focus in Biology.
During his college years he worked on the school newspaper, primarily as a photographer and did an occasional feature, some of which caused him to be called to the Dean’s office. “You don’t like the way we do things here?” was the usual opening remark followed by the expected suggestion.
After his third year, exhausted and without direction, he left for one year, but returned, when Sputnik and Admiral Rickover’s books documented a crisis in American education. He felt called to teach and completed a B.S. in Physical Science at Illinois State University with a major in chemistry, minor in biology, near minors physics and education. He did graduate work in both Illinois and California completing a California Life Diploma teaching credential in 1962.
While teaching he saw many needs and opportunities in educational publishing so he wrote and produced educational materials, primarily filmstrips and sound recordings. He also wrote for photographic magazines as film work put him in touch with many photographic and production problems. He has 325 screen credits in educational, industrial film and filmstrip as a writer-producer. In 1976 he won the Learning Magazine “Best of the Year” award for his “You in the Universe” filmstrip series and the New York Film and Television Festival Silver Medal for “An Introduction to Cells” filmstrip series.
For a partial database of Adrian’s publications please click on and you will see them listed by series title and publisher. Each series title included four to 30 filmstrips and all are not fully listed in this database. The grand total is over 800.
Over that 30 years Mr. Vance also wrote other material: two books, published in New York: “UFO’s: The Eye and the Camera” for Barlenmir House and “Audiovisual Production” for Amphoto Books. He wrote and illustrated over 100 features and columns for photography magazines. He was a Founding Contributing Editor for Peterson’s PhotoGraphic Magazine and the West Coast Editor of Popular Photography from 1974 to 1978, writing a monthly column for the magazine. As a result of underwater photography work he contributed to SKIN DIVER magazine in the 70’s. His “Timing Waves to Enter The Sea” article, first appearing in SKIN DIVER, is now a chapter in a classified U.S. Navy Seals training manual.
“UFO’s, The Eye and the Camera” documents his “Two channel information theory for the analysis of events simultaneously seen and photographed.” It is the first comparative analysis of vision and photography written with the idea of combining information from both sources into a single analysis that can be used scientifically and forensically.
Mr. Vance is also credited with solving the mystery of how complete maps of Earth were drawn in antiquity and he rediscovered Captain Cook’s secret method of locating Pacific islands so well their positions have only recently been improved. He is cited with discovering the method in the seventh edition of “The Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings,” by Dr. Charles Hapgood and he later contributed to a definitive article on cartography in antiquity for The Smithsonian Magazine as they confirmed his method.
On February 19, 1976 Mr. Vance got a “Certificate of Appreciation” award from the Los Angeles Police Department “in grateful recognition of his generosity in make available to officers of this Department the talents and training of his German Shepherd, Boris. The ready willingness of Mr. Adrian Vance to become involved and to make available his valuable dog in a potentially hazardous situation deserves the gratitude and approbation of the entire Los Angeles Police Department.” This incident was critical to the LAPD administration’s realization that trained dogs could be of value in police work and they are now employed by the LAPD.
When the computer replaced film the school market audio-visual field he switched horses at full gallop and produced 460 computer educational disk systems for the Apple II computer over 15 years. During that time he became a professional broadcaster in the 90’s to promote the State Water bond issue in Santa Barbara, California as he felt it was critical for the town. He was publicly credited for having been one of the top ten reasons the measure passed thanks to his book “Drought in Paradise” and radio work.
The collapse of his software business when Apple Computer discontinued the “II” machine line in 1995 crystallized the failure of his second marriage. With no clear direction in the school market supplemental materials field he sought a career in broadcasting in Las Vegas, Nevada doing shows on both KDWN and KXNT. This was unsatisfying due to the “star” economics of commercial radio where a few performers make millions and everyone else starves.
Mr. Vance has also been a day trader, strategist, system developer and author on the equities markets and trading. He now trades stock, land and develops residential property. His website and trading information service, “The Stock Surfer” was a leading Internet service for seven years. He has been developing “The Young Americans” series of Young Adult novels promoting conservative values as well as his personal memoir, “A Long Way From Normal.” You can buy Adrian Vance’ books or downloads at
December 21, 2010 he was awarded US. Patent 7,855,061 for his “Fuel Farm” that makes a gasoline equivalent 100 Octane fuel, butanol, from CO2, water and sunlight with algae and bacteria. You can see the full disclosure websites regarding his inventions at: and


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