Timeline of Paul Slater's Life
- January 8, 1924
- Paul Slater is born in Brooklyn, New York. Three years later his sister Priscilla is born.
- The Great Depression begins. Paul's father is a highly skilled wallpaper-hanger, his mother a talented Licensed Practical Nurse. In a continuing effort to reduce the cost of renting apartments, his family moves many times. They are able to hold the family together during these very hard times. Paul and Priscilla attend about five different schools in various Brooklyn neighborhoods.
- Paul graduates from high school and eventually becomes a bicycle messenger for Western Union. He attends Brooklyn College where he takes evening classes in history and math.
- Paul enrolls in a two-year "Ag school" [agricultural school] in the hope that it would improve his chances to be accepted into a veterinary school. Paul is almost eighteen years old when Pearl Harbor is attacked.
- Upon turning eighteen, Paul is offered and accepts a job in the Brooklyn Navy Yard as an Apprentice Machinist. He is deferred from the draft as an essential worker. Given the tenor of the times, he decides to enlist in the U.S. Navy in the summer of 1942. He is called to duty late in the year.
- In boot camp, Paul requests assignment to a new type of warship, the Destroyer Escort. Having passed various tests, his request is granted. Paul is ordered to Diesel School to learn about the engines that will power his ship. As a result of his superior performance in this school, Paul is promoted to Motor Machinists Mate Second Class. When the construction of the ship is completed, the assembled crew goes on board, followed by the ship's shakedown cruise. Her first wartime convoy is to Casablanca, Morocco, on the northwestern coast of Africa.
- In May, Paul's ship, the Walter S. Brown, takes part in the battle of UGS 40 in the Mediterranean. That September his ship and others are involved in the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944. His ship and her five sister ships all survive. Four others go down during the storm, resulting in hundreds of lives lost.
- Paul is honorably discharged from the Navy. He takes a job working on the diesel engines of buses.
- Paul marries Miriam Soloman! (Paul notes that neither he nor Miriam has a middle name. They have decided that this is because they were too poor.) Miriam and Paul work in New York until 1955.
- Paul and Miriam establish and move to Clo-Acres Farms in Milltown, New Jersey. They produce chickens, eggs, and lambs, all free of added hormones or chemicals of any kind. Soon, by word of mouth, they are able to sell everything they produce right at the farm stand. They design several energy-saving and labor-saving devices.
- Miriam has been working at a job in Milltown far beneath her ability. She decides to attend Douglass College. The school is not enthusiastic about enrolling a married, older woman, but she prevails. Miriam excels, and within the next few years she becomes the mom of two nifty kids, and earns a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and a PhD from Princeton University. She becomes the first woman to teach history at Princeton.
- Paul and Miriam's daughter, Margaret, will become a Veterinarian with a PhD in epidemiology, and the Senior Director of Epidemiology at Animal Health Services of the ASPCA.
- Their son, Leo, will earn a Master's degree in Chemistry from
Stanford, a PhD in the History of Science from Princeton,
and the Historian of the Naval Research Laboratory where, among
other things, he will maintain support to the NRL command. "The
icing on this super cake," will be according to Paul, "our wonderful
daughter-in-law, Eden, a Senior Analyst in the Government
- Paul suffers a cerebral hemorrhage and must leave farming.
- Miriam accepts a job as the first Master of Dakin House at Hampshire College, a new College in Amherst, Massachusetts.
- Paul earns a Bachelor's Degree in Natural Resource Studies through the University Without Walls program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
- Paul becomes an adjunct professor of Natural Resource Studies at Hampshire College and is one of the creators of Hampshire College's Farm Center.
- An example of the courses that Paul developed and taught is Topics in Agriculture, a course designed to provide students with a sense of the complexity of the agricultural system in the United States and the difficulty of effecting needed change. Students discussed such topics as integrated pest management, the role of land grant colleges, energy use in agriculture, and the preservation of farmland.
- Paul earns a Master Degree in Regional Planning at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His thesis on the Preservation of Agriculture in Massachusetts makes the case for instituting a program to encourage farmers to sell the development rights to their land. Through this program, farmers would receive retirement funds while ensuring that their land would remain in agricultural production. This recommendation was adopted into Massachusetts law. For more than 25 years, the program has helped to preserve prime agricultural land for local food production.
- Paul's graduate work leads to several valuable achievements, including his becoming a founding member of Women in Agriculture, Food Policy and Land-use Reform (a workgroup of The Governor's [Dukakis] Committee on the Status of Women). He also helps to establish the New England Small Farms Institute in Belchertown, Massachusetts.
- Paul retired from Hampshire College.
- Paul has been a member of the Board (Vice President) of the Northampton SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) for many years. The prime objective of the NSPCA is to reduce the huge numbers of animals that are killed, for lack of suitable homes, by encouraging the spaying and neutering of pet cats and dogs through providing educational and financial support.
- In more recent years Paul has trained his adopted dog, a Keeshond named Stuffy, to excel in agility and Rally-O [a timed obedience/agility course competition for dogs]. When no longer competing, Stuffy was trained by Paul to become a therapy dog.
- Paul is a member of the Veterans Education Project and, over the years, has provided oral history talks to high school and college history classes on subjects such as the Great Depression, and the history up to and including World War II. The over-arching goal of his presentations is to demonstrate that violence is not an appropriate way to resolve differences.
- Paul has yet to decide what he wants to be when he grows up.
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