April 2024
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Alice to Cooper Brothers …

(Note: I’ve moved this to a Post from Comments on another Post to prevent it from getting burried in all the Post/Comment links, etc.  The original Post and Comments are located HERE – Admin)


Cooper Brothers,

Lovely to hear about you both. Your brother Mike came back to New Jersey with my mom, my brother and me, and graduated from East Brunswick High School. I have completely forgotten how this came about or why your folks agreed to that. Do either of you remember? Where is Mike these days? I need to remind him that I got a Ph.D. from Stanford and the blond junior he dumped me for probably ended up selling clothes in a department store.


3 comments to Alice to Cooper Brothers …

  • Jim Cooper


    Sorry, I’ve been busy at work and neglecting the Saigon Kids blog – jeez, where are my priorities? Plus we were visiting our Navy nurse daughter in San Diego this last weekend. As much as I love the Jayhawks and KU, it is dangerous for this California native to return to the Golden Bear state, as I find myself fantasizing about moving there permanently. But then my Kansas native wife reminds me that such a relocation is just not possible!
    But I digress. Alice, as far as I remember, your mom was kind of a mentor to Mike, and she identified him as having “potential” Obviously, she made this judgment without talking to either me or Tom! Anyhow, between her and my parents (probably especially Mom, who was a teacher as well), the decision was that the rigor and variety of the curriculum at East Brunswick High would be more attractive to college admissions boards than that of dear ol’ ACHS, and thus well worth the tribulations of transferring for his senior year. Besides, you two were getting along so famously! So that is my recollection. I do remember coming back for your EBHS graduation and camping out at your house – it was the first time I ever saw Soupy Sales.
    Mike is married (but NOT to that former blond junior!) and living in Redwood City, just up the road from you – he’s been in the Bay Area for quite a while now.


  • Alice Ahlgren Blackburn

    Hey Jim,
    Thanks so much for the info. Been wondering about that for ages. Because, of course, yes, we were getting along famously and now that I have been through the senior year with my teenage son I would never have let him anywhere his girlfriend in far off New Jersey with an army battalion for a chaperone. Anyway, you get the idea….My mom was the mentoring kind – I do miss her. Well, it clearly worked because he went off to Stanford and I hear became very successful running several large companies. That true? I e-mailed him on 10/2. Hopefully, he’ll respond. I’ll get your Marinus bottle in the mail as soon as I can pack it up and get into town. Harvest time at a winery is pretty frenetic. How is it that you, who must have been a 6th grader at the time – making you in the eyes of us high school teens lower than an amoeba – would keep such memorabilia? Gotta get Bob to think up some harder contests. Anyway, I greatly appreciate getting your response. Alice

  • Jim Cooper

    Alice –
    Mike did spend a fair amount of time turning around struggling companies and equipping them for success.
    He always was the more serious and focused one. I was less focused, and much more easily distracted – not sure how that translated to a career in Naval aviation. But, as a kid, I was thus distracted and interested by a variety of interests, and collected all sorts of “stuff”. I have a stack of Stars and Stripes from our days in Saigon, plus a couple of “Observers”, the “Bamboo Beacons”, etc. I also have a collection of stuff from the ’63 Coup d’Etat. In the period immediately following the Coup, a lot of us little “lower than amoeba” (a fair and accurate characterization!) elementary-aged scavenger types managed to evade parental control and flit around various sites such as the former Presidential Guard barracks – in the still-loose martial law atmosphere, the ARVN guards pretty much ignored us as we picked up various items, including spent and unspent ammo. I still shudder as I remember me and a buddy trying to separate fresh 45-caliber rounds from their shells by banging them on the curb – YIKES!! Thankfully none of the ammo left Saigon with us, but I still have some old helmets, spats, and shoulder boards that I collected there.
    I really enjoyed the atmosphere at ACS, and while I’m sure you high schoolers disliked having us so readily underfoot, we elementary types enjoyed being in the same school with the junior high and high school kids – it really did make us a “community” school.
    I look forward to the (“Carmel’s Best”) Marinus – very generous of you. And, as always, I enjoy the blog give-and-take. Jim

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