I was born in my parents’ home in Port Arthur, Texas, delivered by a midwife. In those days, midwifery was still vogue, especially among the poorer class, and my father was a skilled laborer. In the wartime 1930’s and 40’s, Dad worked for Standard Brass making bullets and artillery shells for the war industry. Nevertheless, he didn’t qualify for Veterans pension after the war ended. So, he had to work as a machinist most of the remainder of his days. With eight mouths to feed, our parents — who lived through the Great Depression — knew how to “make ends meet.” That saying had its origin with the paycheck. We lived from paycheck to paycheck. But, you know, we didn’t know how hard it was for them. We launched our lives off their shoulders and didn’t look back to those hard times for an excuse for not pursuing our hopes and dreams. They were a bridge for us, just as we were a bridge for our progeny.
I was proud to work with my Dad as an apprentice and machinist helper during the summer months. It was a noble trade and he took great pride in his skills, making old worn out oil field machinery and drilling pipes like new again. I learned enough from him to qualify for a position as a machinist later on, a skill that got me through college. What I really learned and inherited from him, however, was passion. Passion for what I believed in and pursued in life. But that’s getting ahead of my story.
I entered seminary school at the age of fourteen, still green behind the ears and full of aspirations to become a priest, a dream I had entertained for several years serving Mass every morning as an altar boy. Gradually I realized that I was chasing a dream, more for the glory of it all — and to please my parents — than for any real core conviction that this was my calling in life. I suppose the Latin got in the way, among other things (like not being allowed to date girls and explore the opposite sex). As much as I loved the musicality of this dead language, it was dead and totally useless in the real world, except for academia. Yet, this was the language much of the philosophy and theology books I had to study were written in. The philosophy and theology was difficult enough to wrap my young and curious mind around without having to first translate the material.
At age twenty-one I decided I had had enough. Seeing what was ahead didn’t encourage me much either. My friends in theology class were having a hard time with their vows of celibacy, a few of them cracking up under the pressure. I had come to love my sexuality as a natural and vital part of both my body and my soul. Celibacy simply was not for me, nor for my French-Italian-Irish genes.
I met my true calling on a Wednesday “walk day” attending a chiropractor’s lay lecture in New Orleans, where Notre Dame Major Seminary was located on Carrollton Avenue. Dr. Beck was a maverick in his thinking and healthcare practice, challenging the medical model with nearly every word of his convincing rationale for his method of healing from “above down inside out” as opposed to medicine’s method of treating disease from below up outside in. Health, he preached, comes from God within. He called it “Innate Intelligence, a part of Universal Intelligence.” That was my cue. God was calling me to become a Doctor of Chiropractic to administer to the body, mind and soul of humanity and save it from the murderous hands of Medicine, as he had me seeing the field of healthcare at that young age.
As I said, he was a maverick, and a passionate one at that. I resonated with his philosophy and clarity of thought and conviction. He fed my hungry mind with truth. I had chronic sinusitis and a cyst on my tailbone. Dr. Beck set a door before me in the way of a promise and an agreement that if he cured me of my ailments I would quit the seminary and go to chiropractic college. He did exactly as he promised he would. I was duly impressed. That’s when I decided to go through that door and become a doctor of chiropractic.
How to break the news to my parents, who had invested so much in my education and hope in me becoming a priest, was a huge challenge for me. I remembered how my Dad believed in chiropractic and even learned how to adjust our necks and spines when we had an ailment. In those days some chiropractors were barbers and hid from the law behind their barber chairs with their adjusting tables in a back room. Some learned how to adjust from other doctors, just as medical doctors learned medicine in the horse-and-buggy days. There was a barber not far from our house here in Lake Charles who taught Dad a couple of his adjusting techniques. So I learned about chiropractic early in life. The short of it is that I felt confident that my parents wouldn’t mind it so much if I quit the seminary and pursued a career in chiropractic. Actually, I think they were rather happy with my decision.
I worked for my uncle on pipeline jobs in the New Orleans area in 1960 to earn money for chiropractic college. I got interested in flying at the same time and decided to pursue a flying career in the Navy, which proved to be just a distraction and test of my resolve to pursue a career in healing. When I failed my physical due to a sports injury and cyst on my tailbone, I took it as sign from heaven and gave up my dream of flying jets for the Navy. Besides, the Navy doctor didn’t accept the natural method I had chosen to cure my cyst. He would only accept a medical surgical removal. That was my first encounter with the medical monopoly on health care in this country.
At age 20 I set out for chiropractic college with a bank note for my 1958 Mercury Monterey — which my Dad made the last final payments on — and $25 in my pocket. Indianapolis, Indiana was a thousand miles away and gasoline was around 45 cents a gallon. I ran out of money and gasoline in Kentucky, coasted into a chiropractor’s parking lot, and borrowed $15 from the good doctor. (I paid him back a couple of years after graduating and starting my practice in Crowley, Louisiana. Life was good and I was going to heal the world of all its ills with my new-found natural method called chiropractic.)
Right away I met a young student whose mother got me a job as a machinist making diesel engine rocker arms and, of all things, hospital bed pulleys. Not long after that, I was engaged to her with plans to open a practice together. God, we were eager to get out there and heal the world — and I was busy making up for lost time with the ladies, eager to marry and raise a family. But she wasn’t to be my wife and mother of my children. That special one showed up in my last year of college. She joined the church choir I was directing in a German community of Indianapolis. Music has been my joy all the days of my life, and Jane had a beautiful, rich voice. We were married three months later Christmas week. She had two young daughters and I had a ready-made family, a disappointment to the lady in the draft office at home who sought out seminary dropouts for the draft . . . and she was waiting for me when I got out of chiropractic college. That was fifty years ago.
We were all on fire with zeal, thanks to our passionate teacher, Dr. Earl R. Bebout, and his doctor-wife Gladys, along with a great staff of teachers. I ate up anatomy and physiology and gave my all to learning how to adjust the human spine, which my hands seemed to have a natural feel for. The Bebout’s were in their eighties but still on fire with zeal for chiropractic. They taught nutrition as well, and fasting, all natural ways of living healthfully. I was blessed once again in my early years of seeking my life’s work.
And that was my beginning as an alternative healthcare practitioner. But is was only a beginning. Much, much more lay ahead of me that could fill a book — my book of life. Life has been good to me all my living days. I am deeply thankful for everyone who has blessed me with their presence in my life and shared my journey. I am especially thankful to God for His provision along the way, always just the right provision at the appointed time. I just wanted to share my joy in it all and a little about my meager but eager beginnings on my birthday. Thanks for sharing my celebration of life today and for continuing to follow my blogs.
I will get back to sharing some of Walter and Lao Russell’s intriguing and enlightening writings next post. I love receiving and reading your comments. Until then,
Here’s to life!
Anthony Palombo, D.C.
106 countries visiting my blogs. Three visitors from The Republic of Vanuatu visited recently. Welcome!!! I had to look it up on the Internet. Here’s what I found: Republic of Vanuatu (formerly New Hebrides Islands)
Vanuatu is located about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Australia. It is west of Fiji and north of New Caledonia in the area known as Melanesia.
The four major islands which make up about half of the land area are in order of size – Espiritu Santo, Malekula, Erromango and Efate. Other large islands are Ambrym, Tanna, Epi, Vanua Lava, Gaua (Santa Maria), Ambae, Maewo, and Pentecost.
4709 square miles (slightly larger than Connecticut) 12 main islands, 58 inhabited islets, numerous uninhabited islets
Sea Area 262549 square miles. The beach is Eratap Beach on Vanuata island. The islands below are the provinces of Vanuatu