I’m reading this article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the 65th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor and figuring prominently in the article is one Mario Chiarolanza, an 86 y.o. man who survived the attack. Now I went to high school with Michael Chiarolanza, a good friend of mine whom I have not seen since we graduated in 1964. *

The survivors profiled in the article were all going back to Hawaii for the Anniversary. There’s a photograph on the front page of a telegram that Mario sent back to his then fiancee. They were allowed to say two words. Mario wrote “Am fine.” The address on the telegram was in an Italian shtetl in North Philadelphia - St. Mary of the Eternal parish. Mike was from that parish.

On the jump page of the article, there was a pic of Mario as a 21 y. o. serviceman. He was a dead ringer for Mike.

So I google “Mario Chiarolanza” and he lives in my neighborhood. I write him a letter explaining that he’s a dead ringer for my old friend, yadda, yadda, yadda. Last week he called me and confirmed that he was Mike’s father. Last night I got an email from Mike with a phone number.

We spoke for over an hour. He lives in Pensacola, is a former Navy pilot, and a former Continental pilot.

I’ll be in Pensacola on my CE tour in February and we are going to do some powerful catching up.

Is this a great country?!!?*