The Secular Jurist


By Robert A. Vella

Exactly fifty years ago today, I was a timid little eight-year-old boy sitting in a third grade classroom of the now-abolished Hayward Park Elementary School in San Mateo, California.  Life for me was fairly typical as most children’s lives were in those days.  My father worked as best he could to provide a modest existence for our family.  My mother was the homemaker, taking care of our domicile along with my younger brother and sisters.  It wasn’t the idyllic portrait painted by today’s nostalgic hindsighters, but it was for the most part peaceful and uneventful.

Aside from the weekly duck-and-cover drill that was supposed to protect us from nuclear attack, my biggest worries were trying to avoid daily beatings on the tetherball court, trying to meet the expectations of my Cub Scout den leader, and desperately trying to figure out ways to stop my mother…

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