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All-star cast played role in my life

My Tucson

“I know you understand the little child inside the man.”

- John Lennon,

lyrics from “Woman”

Many of you only know who I am by reading the tagline at the end of this column. It’s a brief summary of who I am in a few dozen words.

Some might say it sounds like an abbreviated obituary. I say it’s not enough if you want to know where I truly came from.

We are all more than the sum of a few sentences. I, for one, understand the significance and influence of the people who touched our lives.

Family members are easiest to point out, but many more beyond that can influence – good or bad.

So, in about 600 words, I will attempt to cover a lot of ground on those in Tucson who have made me who I am.

Hector and Elsa Morales are my parents. The names are familiar to those who followed Tucson politics in the last half-century.

They taught their children not to be tolerant of others, but to accept others. There is a huge difference.

Tolerance signifies enduring pain to get along; accepting differences means there are no differences.

I met many political and civil rights figures through my parents. Some are legendary, like César Chávez and Mo Udall – and some are local giants, such as Maclovio Barraza and Rudy Garcia.

I only wish I would have met these people as an adult. I can remember Udall lifting me up into the air, hearing Chávez speak and playing at the Garcia and Barraza homes, but I had to study them as an adult to get the true sense of how lucky I was.

Arizona sports played a huge part in my childhood. Dave Bell once stopped Fred Snowden in a hallway in McKale Center and basically told him to take my brother and me into the locker room after a basketball game.

We used to bum student tickets so we could see all the home games. You can’t do that anymore.

We got to meet Jim Rappis, Al Fleming and Bob Elliott that day. This was huge for a 12-year-old. Throw in meeting football players Mike Dawson, Bruce Hill and Theopolis “T” Bell, and you have hero worship to the extreme.

It is directly because of those days that I was sent on a path to surround my life with sports. I didn’t know how I would make that wish happen professionally until I discovered the world of education.

Since my dad was part of both the Carter and Reagan administrations (strange, I know), I spent my high school years in Maryland. That is where I met my best friend, Jon.

I came back home to study education at the University of Arizona, and it was there that I met two people who changed my life forever: Dave Herr-Cardillo, who took me under his wing and showed me the world of disabled athletics; and my future wife, Jane.

I cannot go on without mentioning state Rep. Nancy Young Wright. Her story is legendary, and I am lucky our political lives crossed paths.

So there you have how a little child from Los Ranchitos Elementary School became a man. Hopefully you will see that the child never left.

Andy Morales was born in Tucson, attended high school in suburban Washington, D.C., received a master’s degree in special education from the University of Arizona, and has been teaching in Amphitheater for 20 years.

E-mail: amoralesmytucson@yahoo.com

Our Digital Archive

This blog page archives the entire digital archive of the Tucson Citizen from 1993 to 2009. It was gleaned from a database that was not intended to be displayed as a public web archive. Therefore, some of the text in some stories displays a little oddly. Also, this database did not contain any links to photos, so though the archive contains numerous captions for photos, there are no links to any of those photos.

There are more than 230,000 articles in this archive.

In TucsonCitizen.com Morgue, Part 1, we have preserved the Tucson Citizen newspaper's web archive from 2006 to 2009. To view those stories (all of which are duplicated here) go to Morgue Part 1

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