Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 32

By | October 28, 2023

[October 28, 2023]  Our family moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1966, when I was 14 and about to start the ninth grade.  That city, one of my favorites in Texas, had a mixed history of hurricanes, high humidity, lots of birds, and little emphasis on schools.  When we arrived, a tropical storm had done a lot of damage to the beaches.  I’d never heard of tropical storms or hurricanes before, but I would soon gain an appreciation.  Living in Texas was going to be an exciting experience, frightening to outsiders, and there was plenty of stereotyping of all Texans as Cowboys, bull riders, gun-loving, and reckless.  But just average, as I was to get to know those tough Texans.  I liked Texas!  Fresh seafood, outdoor jobs,  Tex-Mex food, guns-guns-guns (often in the gun rack inside a pickup truck), horses, boots and spurs, a Texan drawl and funny slang.  As well as tornadoes, scorpions, tarantulas, horny toads, armadillos, fire ants, and lots of roaches.  And sun, lots of sun and dust everywhere.  This would be my last year of Junior High School before the big move to High School the following year.

My imagination often outran my technical skills.  I was slightly interested in science, although I did not understand what it meant to “do” science.  There was a Science Fair in my first year of Junior High, and my teacher asked us to participate.  When Mr. MacGruger asked me what project I would enter, I blurted out “volcano,” the first thing that popped into my head.  Constructing a volcano model with smoke and fire from the top would be cool and draw the judges’ attention.  Yes, it drew their attention, just not how I hoped.  My Mom helped me plan, get materials, and build it.  We used plaster to form the volcano cone and a light bulb to make-believe flowing lava.  At the science fair, shortly after setup, the 220-watt bulb was hot and started burning the interior volcano materials.  Smoke, lots of smoke and then flames.  I heard a girl scream and another yell, “Fire!”  Things went downward from there.  A teacher ran over and threw a bucket of water straight onto my model.  Poof!  Out went the gymnasium lights; they somehow short-circuited.  And there was my volcano model, glowing a dark and eerie red in the dark.  This was not how I imagined smoke and flames, but it drew everybody’s attention.  I was given the nickname “Smokie Doug.”  I got a C minus as a grade.  I was relieved they didn’t kick me out of school.

When we moved out of Corpus Christi and to Abilene, Texas, in the late summer of 1967, an enormous hurricane slammed into Corpus Christi, nearly washing our old home into the creek that ran through our backyard.  All of us kids loved that house, being close to the ocean beach.  Living there was the first time we’d ever seen the ocean.  My brother Philip and I spent lots of time in the salty water.  We were goofing off, trying to attract the attention of the older girls; they sure looked good in those bikinis.  The bikini had just gotten popular by the mid-1960s, and I liked them.  Oh, I’d never gotten sunburned before, a real adventure.  This was also the school year I improved my math skills.  Kids in class hated arithmetic, so I liked it.  Studying was frustrating.  Memorizing math rules, formulas, and conventions was hard, and many pencils sacrificed their lives so I could learn about math.  To this day, my most exciting science experiment was the fake volcano, and I earned a math award at the end of the school year.  Then, onward to High School, where my interest in math and science grew, and my thoughts about the Army disappeared.  Forgetting about the Army was a mistake I would later regret.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

35 thoughts on “Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 32

  1. Joe Mannick

    A whole collection of granddaughter letters. How great can you get? 😜

  2. Deplorable John

    Another masterpiece with this one, Gen. Satterfield. I’m looking forward to the book form.

  3. Eddie Gilliam

    Gen Douglas my friend
    Excellent article for your granddaughter. Your science project made quite an explosion. You love for science carried over into your successful career in the Army as an engineer. You stated you got grade of C on your project. They says in life you never overcome disappointments and disasters by given up. You did not.
    God creation of the world, at the end of each day God said it’s good.
    Some in the end of your day even though it had a few changes it’s was good.
    Why,you made it

  4. Kevin Cratz

    Wowzer, these are darn good letters. I only stumbled across your blog a couple of days ago but am very impressed with the wildly different ideas being thrown about and talked about. Sign me up as a new subscriber. I also pushed out your URL https://www.theleadermaker.com/ to my friends and family. I’ll now be going back and reading more.

      1. Elisha Ashmann

        Yes, welcome to this very special blog by Gen. Satterfield. The home of American Patriots.

  5. Ed Berkmeister

    Constructing a volcano model with smoke and fire from the top would be cool and draw the judges’ attention. Yes, it drew their attention, just not how I hoped….. Gen. Satterfield, I laughed most with this story.

  6. Gibbbie

    Gen. Satterfield, special thanks for this “Letters to my Granddaughter” because it hits home with me. Love the entire series and, like others here, I hope you make this into book form and sell it on Amazon or some other platform. You are taking me back to my days as a kid and also working to ‘connect the dots’ from lessons learned as a kid and being a successful adult. Your book “55 rules for a good life” is a major contribution to the idea that we control our destiny. Keep these articles coming our way. 😀😀😀😀😀

  7. Tomas Clooney

    Gen. Satterfield, I’ve been out of country for a couple of months with my job and missed this series. I am just now getting back to reading your blog and am just loving some of the changes you’ve made. Keep up the greaet works.

  8. Pastor John

    Good news from Gen. Satterfield, he has #32 on dock today. Thank you, sir!

    1. Aussie

      Hi Pastor John. Yes, and that is one of the reasons I read his blog daily. Sometimes, IMHO, the articles are a little too summarized and sometimes I don’t get the point. Fortunately, there are plenty of folks here who are willing to draw out the lesson for me. Thanks to my mates who are doing this …. it matters to me and to others who may not be up on the latest from Gen. S. Cheers!

  9. Wesley Brown

    Gen. Satterfield, I began reading these just a couple of weeks ago and initially thought I would not like them. More than anything, for me, is the articles are funny. And that is important when I read, being older now. But there are embedded lessons that translate into how well we do as adults. Seems to be that you took those lessons to heart. When you publish your book — and I do hope you put them into a book — be sure to tie them together with your 40 years of service in the US Army.

    1. True Believer

      Yes, POWERFUL. that is the reason I read this blog. We are not just reading for entertainment (as has been implied) but to learn lessons that someone got the “hard way.” If u want to read more about how these lesssons are applied, then read Gen. Satterfield in “Our Longest Year in Iraq” and have a field day at it.

  10. Yusaf from Texas

    Gen. Satterfield is the BEST. I’m his biggest biggest biggest fan of all time.

      1. Jerome Smith

        Harold, and others, thanks for the comment about Gen. S. being a good guy. Now, that is undoubtedly true. He is giving us free content for the taking. Anyone can use his words, he just asks that you give him credit where due. His website is now over 10 years old, began when he was still in the Army. True enough, it has evolved. Take this “my granddaughter” series as an example. But what he is doing, and I like it, is that he is giving us some background on how he learned to be a very successful leader of men and women. He has some sixth sense on leadership and that does not often translate into easily read stories. The more he writes the better for us all.

        1. USA Patriot II

          Great point, Jerome. Gen. S…. keep up the great work you are doing.

  11. Doug Smith

    Great job Gen. Satterfield for recalling your past and the ‘trouble’ you managed to get into.

    1. Big Al

      Yeah, I laughed too. I’m sure little Doug Satterfield was not laughing at that moment. I’m surprised that he stayed to admit what he did (altho accidentally). Most kids would have run screaming out of the science project area and hid in a classroom. The teachers tho didn’t seem to do too much to help. All the best to Gen. Satterfield and his family. Lessons learned, often the hard way, do stick with us.

      1. JT Patterson

        Better learned the hard way than not at all. I’m beginning to think that this is one of Gen. Satterfield’s main points in this series. I do really appreciate the series and each time I’m getting a good laugh.

        1. Randy Goodman

          Got that right JT. And thanks to Gen. Satterfield for his long-running series. 😊

    1. Tony Cappalo

      MORE MORE MORE…… LOL< that is what I do with each that I read.
      Oh, get A COPY of Gen. Satterfield's books. My fav is "55 rules for a good life."
      Make these books your Christmas gifts to relatives and good friends.
      You will not be disappointed.

    2. Watson Bell

      more and more
      more and more
      more and more


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