So right now I’m “it.” According to the rules of this game, my job is to list five obscure facts about myself, which will allow me to tag someone else who has a blog.
1. The Banning (California) Record (now known as the Record Gazette) published my first article, “Beaumont Edges Banning 6 to 5,” in its March 16, 1951, issue. I was a sophomore at Banning Union High School, and about that time the newspaper’s owners, who lived next door to us, hired me for my first regular job, as a “printer’s devil”. But they soon fired me, because as I was cleaning up the shop one night, I played with the keys of the Linotype machine. I didn’t realize that when they turned the Linotype on the next morning, everything that I had typed – including my name – would come out in hot lead. Nevertheless, they kept me on as the high school sports correspondent until I was graduated.
2. The first article that I ever had published in a magazine was “Mountain Fighters: Complete Book Length Feature” in the March 1958 issue of War Story. The publisher, Charlton Publications, specialized in comic books. They paid me $60 for the article – about what I made for a month of soldering and a bit more than $400 in today’s money. My article was a history of the 10th Division of the U.S. Army that I had written up in several versions while serving as historian at division headquarters in Würzburg, Germany. The magazine listed the author as PFC Richard A. Mendosa, since that was long before I changed my name to David (and also long before I became a believer in non-violence).
3. After earning my master’s degree at Claremont Graduate School (now Claremont Graduate University) in California, I wanted to become a professional journalist. But instead I went to work for the U.S. government and became a Foreign Service Officer because my first wife said that on a journalist’s salary I would never be able to support her in the manner to which she aspired. Journalism has been the work that I loved the most, but she was right (and I don’t support her at all any more).
4. I was senior editor of Hispanic Business magazine from May 1989 to February 1993 and a correspondent there for eight years before and after that stint. My last name helped in that job, although the publisher told me again and again that I am not Hispanic. My father was the eighth child of Portuguese immigrants from the Azores and my mother was of English and Scottish descent.
5. Considering how many religions I have had, I must be a seeker. As an infant my parents baptized me a Presbyterian. In high school I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). I became a Roman Catholic when I was studying at the University of Würzburg in Germany after being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army there. Then I joined the Arica spiritual community in Washington, D.C., and subsequently became a Unitarian. In 1995, shortly before Rabbi William Gordon married Catherine and me under the chuppah in Los Angeles, I became a Jew by choice.