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THE PRESIDENT’S LETTER – 2014 Edition – Volume 5, Number 1, January 31, 2015

The year was 1989; it truly seems like yesterday. For certain, back then, it was a much different world in so many ways. Whatever your age today, subtract 25 from it and think back to how old you were at that time. Perhaps you can even find a picture of yourself from “back in the day.” Look into your eyes and try to remember this chapter in your life, how you felt, your thoughts, your dreams, your passions, your fears and insecurities, your innocence. It was at this time I faced a crossroad in my career and after much thought and counsel decided to move forward in a new direction. Pop had always taught me that “fortune favors the bold, not the reckless.” I had thought about this moment for many years. After all, without a dream, how can a dream come true? As so with a fire in my belly and passion in my heart I had crossed the imaginary line into entrepreneurship and never looked back, at least until now, as in 2014 we celebrated the 25th anniversary of C & C’s founding. While it was a special moment for celebration which made me very proud, it was even more so another opportunity to thank God for all my blessings. Our anniversary filled me with thoughts and feelings that I can only begin to comprehend. And so, as I have done for quite some time I wanted to take a time out and share this moment with you together with my travels over the last year. Keeping that in mind, with iPad in hand, I begin my Presidents Letter for 2014 hoping you and your family had a great holiday filled with joy, goodwill, love and blessings.

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Designed and created by Diane and Jim Everse of CarArtWorks in Louisville KY, a picture of our stainless steel sign commemorating our 25th anniversary as hung in our reception area.

Any way you look at it, 25 years is a long time. Today when I reflect back I can’t help but think “Where did the time go?” Along the way, the kids grew up, and oh boy did they! My hair turned a little gray, well maybe more than a little. But something else happened, the dream in my heart came true as slowly but surely over the years we assembled a group of dedicated professionals, a special team with a calling for service to help their fellow man. Whenever I’m having a tough day and adversity is staring me in the face, I thank God for all my blessings and suddenly the storm around me subsides and peace fills the air. In the last 25 years I’ve found that as complicated things could be at times, that first, you can always change your perspective, and second, if you really want to change your world, then change your words and stand back and watch in amazement. This one-two punch of staying positive is critical to anyone’s success yet costs absolutely nothing and is within the grasp of each of us.

From 1989 – (L – R) Nicole, Joe Jr., Jessica with Me in the back

From 1989 – (L – R) Nicole, Joe Jr., Jessica with Me in the back

Twenty-five years ago I do not recall having the patience, the compassion, the maturity or the wisdom to look at life the same way as I do today. Come to think of it, did any of us? Maybe that’s where all the gray hairs came from.  In the book he co-authored, “The 7 Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life” noted psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow, states that “more than any one thing, you must be truthful with yourself; It is never too late to turn and face the real story of how you became who you are in this world in order to rid yourself of any emotional or behavioral patterns, especially unconscious ones, that are undermining your possibilities.” Having the courage look inside and in turn learn and grow is critical in reaching one’s full potential. In our case, slowly but surely, the stumbling blocks from 25 years ago became stepping stones. With a steadfast persistence and determination, combined with faith (believing without seeing) dreams can become reality without even realizing that anything had changed; sometimes you have to look back to see how far you’ve come rather than look too far ahead.

In a strange sense I can’t help but feel that Dr. Ablow’s words of wisdom parallel what Wilfred A. Peterson describes in his book, “The Art of Living”. Peterson writes that “happiness does not depend on what happens outside of you, but on what happens inside of you; it is measured by the spirit in which you meet the problems of life. Happiness is a state of mind.”  Peterson and Ablow aside, Lincoln once said: “We are happy as we make up our mind to be. Happiness doesn’t come from doing what we like to do, but from liking what we have to do. Happiness comes from putting our hearts in our work and doing it with joy and enthusiasm. Happiness grows out of harmonious relationships with others based on attitudes of good will, tolerance, understanding and love. The master secret of happiness is to meet the challenge of each new day with the serene faith that “all things work together for those that love God.” I think Lincoln could have co-authored our Mission Statement as well! Surely he “hit the nail on the head” and his insight helps to explain our resilience even in the most difficult times.

Being truthful with ourselves and happiness aside, the one “common denominator” in 25 years is undoubtedly “tax season”. Is it a “grind?” Sure it is, but it’s also brings out the best of any true professional. You must “rise to the occasion” not falling victim to mediocrity. You must be unselfish, care about others and have pride to do the best of your God given talents and abilities even when you’re not feeling your best and regardless of the weather conditions which affect everyone. You must be a messenger who many times gets shot, but who is often looked to as a voice of reason. Twenty-five years later I can tell you without any reservation what-so-ever that I if I had to do it all over again, I’d choose the same profession in a heartbeat. Still when April 16th arrives nobody here is happier to kick back and enjoy some good old-fashioned rest and relaxation. This year Sue and I got away to Myrtle Beach SC. The warmth of the sun combined with the beauty of the ocean are priceless. It was a great time; again I counted my blessings. Shortly after returning home, we came upon the one-year anniversary of Pop’s passing. While I miss him, there’s no question that his spirit and determination continues on within me.

While each passing year seems to go by faster and faster, this year we were challenged with an even heavier load learning about the ACA (Affordable Care Act), an internal change to a new practice management software package, continued uncertainty about major tax legislation (which eventually passed in late December), etc. Fortunately there are those days sprinkled here and there to catch an Oriole game – it was a great season which produced many fond memories for a lifetime. While our O’s fell short losing to the KC Royals in the AL Championship Series, they could nevertheless hold their heads high with all the adversity they not only faced, but for the most part, overcame. As Buck Showalter often says, “our efforts should never go into a slump”; it seems that applies to everyday life, to business as well as any sports team. Speaking of the O’s, Hall of Famer’s Cal Ripken’s commercial for PNC Bank really caught my attention this summer with a profound statement, “When you play together as a team, as one, work hard and respect one another, great things happen.” With those words, Cal joined Lincoln as another potential co-author of our Mission Statement.

AL Championship Series at Camden Yards(L-R) Joe Jr, Jess, Me, Sue

Before we knew it, the time had arrived in late August for Corvettes at Carlisle. This year we went up Wednesday afternoon (a day early) and it was so much more relaxed. Joe and Emily joined us on Friday night. As we always do, we had a great time with the parade through the streets of Carlisle as the highlight; it’s truly something special to see and even more special to drive in it. It’s not unusual for friends and even clients ask me about the new C7 Corvette Stingray and when I’m getting one. As much as I love cars, and especially Vettes, the best kind of car has been and always will be one that’s paid for! Again, I count my blessings.

From the driver’s seat of my Vette as the staging for the parade comes together

From the driver’s seat of my Vette as the staging for the parade comes together

Returning from Carlisle is typically challenging with the tax extension deadlines for businesses (9/15) followed closely by the individuals (10/15). When I think of it, this is actually the official end of tax season. Around this time, we all begin to focus on getting in our 40 hours for our CPE (Continuing Professional Education) before year end. Throw in the holidays, tax planning and administrative tasks and before you know it it’s time to do it all over again. As I have told the staff on numerous occasions, being busy is a great problem; when the phone stops ringing then you’re in trouble.

As we closed the book on 2013 tax returns October 15th, I was fortunate to be part of a very special reunion. As many of you know, Sue, Sharon Cody and I all worked together many years ago at the firm of Coyne & McClean Chartered (C & M). Founded on July 1, 1977 C & M had a great run until May 31, 1999 at which time it merged into the national firm of Clifton Gunderson. During its 22-years in business C & M grew to a high of approximately 50 professionals and administrative staff. On October 21, 2014 C & M had a reunion at Michael’s Restaurant here in Timonium with 37 attendees spanning 3 decades. Sharon did an outstanding job organizing the event. It was a wonderful night where we all came together to share stories of “back in the day” as well as catch up with where our life’s journeys had taken us. The success stories in the room were simply incredible yet everyone kept their humility along the way. Capped off by a special tribute to founding partner Bill Berndt, we were all reminded that those who paid the price before us and laid the groundwork for others to build on should never be forgotten. Enjoy the pictures posted on our Facebook https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.982655961759831.1073741841.126814634010639&type=1

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Just a few short weeks after the C & M reunion, it was time for another birthday – mine. Daughter Jessica always shows incredible enthusiasm when it comes to returning to places we went to when she was a child. So Jess, Nicole, Joe. Jr. and his wife Emily piled into the Tahoe with me and Sue and we were off to 1st stop Gettysburg PA, sight of the historic battle from The Civil War and, speaking of Lincoln, the legendary Gettysburg Address. I vividly remember the very first time I visited Gettysburg; it was 1963 and I was just 9 years old and I was with Pop. Thinking back, 1963 was only 100 years after the battle; it wasn’t that many years before that thousands of soldiers came there to fight brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor. The last time we were in Gettysburg with the kids, they were 11 years old; it remains etched in my mind forever. This trip was equally memorable. As we toured the battlefields and The Gettysburg Cyclorama it was so good, no, make that great, to be together. Back in the Tahoe we then headed to our 2nd stop, The Sweetest Place on Earth – Hershey and our traditional ride at Chocolate World and family picture at the end….priceless memories. Speaking of the kids, they are all doing well. Jessica continues to do a great job at Brown Advisory while in the fall Nicole finished up her 2-year fellowship at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in Annapolis and was offered a full-time position; we were all so excited for her. Joe Jr. (in-charge of our IT) and his wife Emily (a RN at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air) are also doing great. It’s hard to believe it’s coming up on 5 years since they moved back from NC. We feel so blessed to have all the kids relatively close by.

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On top of Little Round Top in Gettysburg 2014 – (L – R) Emily, Joe, Jr., Nicole, Sue, Jessica and Me

From 1997 - Last time in Gettysburg (L – R) Jessica, Joe Jr., and Nicole

From 1997 – Last time in Gettysburg (L – R) Jessica, Joe Jr., and Nicole

Inside Chocolate World 2014 (L – R) Nicole, Joe, Jr., Emily, Jessica

Inside Chocolate World 2014 (L – R) Nicole, Joe, Jr., Emily, Jessica

One week after our Gettysburg and Hershey trips, Sue and I were back on the road to Somerset PA for the wedding of a former Penn State teammate’s son. Cold as could be, we were compelled to visit the Flight 93 Memorial (http://www.nps.gov/flni/index.htm) which was only 15 minutes away from where we were staying. It’s hard to put into words the feeling of standing there reading about all those who perished. While it was a sobering reminder of what evil can do, it also gave hope from the courageous effort by those who fought back so gallantly. When we returned home, I penned a blog – Mind, Body and Soul: https://carlozocompany.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/mind-body-soul-volume-4-number-2-december-26-2014/

 With Thanksgiving being so late this year, it was a blink of an eye and Christmas was here. Each year there is always something special to remember. It brings me and Sue so much happiness to see the kids being so excited about giving! This year they “blew me away” with 2 gifts which brought tears to my eyes. The first was a blanket with a wide array of Hershey pictures, some I don’t even remember seeing. The second was a signed picture of my childhood Oriole hero, Jim Gentile. Gentile was on fire in 1961 hitting back-to-back grand slams in a game against the Minnesota Twins. This was the year Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single season home record. While Gentile was neck and neck for most of the year with Maris and Mickey Mantle of the Yankees, he finished with 46 homers and actually tied Maris in RBI with 141, although it took almost 50 years to get the proper credit. But the signed picture was only the beginning, underneath the picture engraved in a plague are the words from a song Pop wrote about “Diamond Jim” – I vividly remember singing the song with him like it was yesterday. It just doesn’t get any better. Again, I counted my blessings. Check out this link – great story:  http://www.thepostgame.com/blog/men-action/201305/mixing-it-mantle-and-maris-story-forgotten-star Here’s the “Diamond Jim” picture and plague from Christmas 2014:

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The Hershey Blanket of Pictures – Christmas 2014

Recognizing that nothing stays the same, 25 years after our founding, I concluded it was time to update our Mission Statement. While I was at it, we added a Vision Statement. At the heart of the change was a soul searching exercise looking for an answer to “Why we do what we do?” So much of our focus had been on “what we do” and “how we do it.” It was now so much clearer than before. At the beginning, like most new businesses, we were simply trying to survive. Now, with 25 years under our belt, it was time to add to the foundation. As excited as ever, with the fire burning strong in my belly and the passion to serve others intense, I am so proud of the team we have assembled, CPAs Tina, Carol and Sharon, accounting staff Joe Jr., Matt and Alicia and our administrative staff, Kelly, Lisa (June) and Sara. They embody the very essence of C & C as spelled out below:

 MISSION STATEMENT

CARLOZO & COMPANY is a CPA Firm of dedicated professionals who have taken their calling and come together to help their fellow man build personal net worth. WE live OUR mission by focusing on minimizing tax liabilities whenever possible and providing sound financial recommendations and management consulting advice. In all aspects of OUR business, CARLOZO & COMPANY’s mandate of excellent service is a rule shared by all of US.

        WE believe in OUR mission….WE are different…..WE ARE …CARLOZO & COMPANY.

 VISION STATEMENT

CARLOZO & COMPANY is committed to partnering with OUR clients’ view of “the big picture” by supporting their understanding of financial and tax environments and the corresponding impacts on decision-making. WE are dedicated to helping OUR business clients’ management motivate their work forces to achieve full potential through an emphasis on effective policy, procedure and human relations. WE are more than “number crunchers”.

CARLOZO & COMPANY is built on a solid foundation of fundamentals. WE value discipline together with the genuine care and concern for the personal well-being of OUR clients and associates. WE believe in a team approach to problem solving, goal achievement, and effective communication.

CARLOZO & COMPANY seeks mutually beneficial relationships with OUR clients and associates. WE faithfully practice respect for the individual as a premise for all OUR policies and actions. WE are a bona fide people-oriented firm which encourages all members of OUR team to “reach beyond their grasp” and “be the best they can be” for the benefit of OUR clients, OUR firm, and each individuals’ personal and professional development.

TEAM picture just before Christmas 2014 (L – R) back row – Sara, Sharon, Alicia, Me and the plant, Matt, Carol; middle row – Tina - front row – Kelly, Lisa (June), Joe, Jr.

TEAM picture just before Christmas 2014
(L – R) back row – Sara, Sharon, Alicia, Me and the plant, Matt, Carol; middle row – Tina – front row – Kelly, Lisa (June), Joe, Jr.

The year will be 2039; if history is a window to the future, it will be a much different world. We need to add 25 years to our present age. Some of us will still be around, while others will have gone to be with The Lord. If our foundation is as strong as I believe it is, if we religiously stay committed to and live our Mission and Vision Statements, if we take good care of our clients not resting on our laurels, if we boldly move forward and dare to dream, if we continue to “play together as a team, as one, work hard and respect one another,” and if we truly value our independence, God willing we will celebrate our 50th anniversary and “great things will happen.” New professionals seeking a unique work environment will join our ranks dedicating themselves to our Mission and Vision. Twenty-five years ago it was difficult to imagine where we are today; as we celebrate our 25th anniversary I can much better envision a look ahead as our evolution continues to unfold…with God, anything is possible. My dreams have evolved as well; I want to walk through the front door of our office 25 years from now and shake hands with each and every member of our team and thank them for their service and dedication. Whatever the future may hold, one thing is for sure, is that we would not be here today, or tomorrow for that matter, if it wasn’t for you our clients. We are most thankful; it is our honor to be of service to you. Keeping that in mind, as we push full speed ahead into 2015, I wish you and your families a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year! I truly hope that we share many, many more years together in a mutually beneficial working relationship. May God bless you and your families. Have a great day!!!

Joseph V. Carlozo (Joe)

 That’s me a “little” older, a “little” grayer and a lot wiser in January 2012 from The Baltimore Shoot of “The Joe We Know” http://www.grandexperiment.org/baltimore-md/


That’s me a “little” older, a “little” grayer and a lot wiser in January 2012 from The Baltimore Shoot of “The Joe We Know”

http://www.grandexperiment.org/baltimore-md/

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MIND, BODY & SOUL – Volume 4, Number 2, December 26, 2014

It was the second Friday in November; my daughter Nicole had come to visit me in the office. Although she lives in Annapolis, she still gets her hair cut in Timonium. Smart as a whip, on the quiet side, she has like all of my children made me so proud. While I have tried so hard to give her and her siblings words of wisdom to stand the test of time, I often wondered if anyone was listening – I was wrong, dead wrong as she proceeded to give me a belated birthday present (delayed by shipping). In any event, Nicole went through everything I had ever written (which included a long list of blogs and President’s Letters as well as gifts Sue and I had given her upon graduation from High School) and proceeded to take out the key phrases. These phrases were then printed on individual cards (size of a business card) with the company “WJOE” (the symbolic radio station that’s on the air live 24/7 from greater downtown Timonium) – “broadcasting positive thoughts of faith, hope and love”. As I held Nicole and thanked her tears came to my eyes. An hour later, with the thoughts still fresh in my mind, Sue and I headed off to Somerset PA (not far from the Flight 93 National Memorial) to attend a wedding the next day of the son of one of my former Penn State team mates.

The wedding ceremony and reception were beautiful. Weddings are a time when we pause to reflect back to a time when we first met our spouse and relive the moment all over vicariously through the couple taking their vows. So young, so beautiful, so very much in love full of hope and dreams. Perhaps it was the moment, I’m not really sure, put as the Pastor spoke, his words found roots inside of me. As he talked about  marriage of the young couple, he reminded us all of the world we live into today that is so focused on the development of the mind and the body. With regard to the mind, as students, we are all trying to get “good grades”, make the “Dean’s List” and get our various degrees with honors. It never ends, as we advance in our careers, the emphasis turns to being good at what we do and maximizing our earnings. Sound familiar? The mind aside, we can’t escape society’s influence on our appearance, starting with being in good shape, looking as best, wearing attractive clothing, etc. At this point I began to wonder where the Pastor was going and then he “hit it out of the park” like Babe Ruth pointing to the centerfield fence blasting a home run in the 1926 World Series for little Johnny Sylvester who seriously ill and hospitalized. Mind and body aside the Pastor said, what are we doing as a society to develop “the soul” of our children? He then shared his observation that many parents don’t even know what to do when asked this question. There is no “preset plan” with targets, milestones and accolades. At this point I thought back of my own life, the triumphs, the accomplishments, the disappointments, the dreams, and what I had learned along the way towards becoming a man. What had I taught my own children, not only through my example, through my words, my deeds, and through my silence when in hindsight I should have stood up and spoken? I thought back to just the day before when Nicole had given me a gift that would leave any parent speechless.

Webster’s defines “the soul” as the spiritual part of a person that is believed to give life to the body and in many religions is believed to live forever. It is a person’s deeply felt moral and emotional nature and still further is the ability of a person to feel kindness and sympathy for others, to appreciate beauty and art, etc. To me, a person’s heart and soul go hand-in-hand. While our soul can in a certain sense define who we are, perhaps even more importantly, explain why we do what we do. Whether it be when we teach our children about the joy of giving, caring for those less fortunate, praying for and forgiving those who have done us wrong or simply honoring God in our thoughts, deeds and actions, we have as parents, without notice or fanfare, taken steps to develop our children’s soul.

Whatever you do today, always know your children are watching, listening and taking everything in we say, do and do not do; thank you so much Coli for reminding me of this with your heartfelt gift. But even if you don’t have children, you can still have a positive impact on those around you, whether it be friends, co-workers, those you do business with or even with members of your own family. Funny thing is, in casting out positive thoughts of faith, hope and love, you can’t help but getting a little worn off on you, no matter where you are and what you do. The way I see it, being “the best you can be” not only develops our mind and body, it can take us on a spiritual journey to places we can only dream of nurturing our soul along the way. Keeping that in mind, in closing the book on 2014, I wish you and your family a happy, health and prosperous New Year!

Have a great day!!!  May God Bless You!!!!

Joseph V. Carlozo (Joe)

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REMEMBERING POP, Volume 3, Number 3, June 10, 2013

The Golden Ram
Sadly, on May 20, 2013 I lost my Father, Joseph R. Carlozo, following a 5-year long battle from complications of a dehabilitating stroke; he was 85 years old. Pop was best known as the former Calvert Hall College, H.S. Varsity Head Football Coach. He was born in South Philadelphia, PA on March 10, 1928 to my Grandparents, Italian immigrants Joseph Thomas Carlozo, a painter and Concetta Carlozo (née DeVicaris), a homemaker.

A 1946 graduate of Philadelphia’s Southern High School and a member of their Football Hall of Fame, as well as The Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, Philadelphia Chapter, Pop played in the historic 1944 & 1945 Philadelphia Football Championship games at Franklin Field against West Catholic High School of Philadelphia (Calvert Hall’s sister school) the latter of which was attended by over 54,000 strong; This game is often referred to as “The Bobby Sox Bowl” and is still talked about to this day. With Southern trailing West Catholic 13-0 with only 7:40 remaining in the fourth quarter, Pop was instrumental with several key plays allowing Southern to go onto win on the last play of the game. He was also on Southern’s track team having competed in the Penn Relays. From Southern High, he attended West Chester State Teachers College (now West Chester University) playing for Head Football Coach Glenn Killinger, a Penn State All-American. As a freshman he would lead the nation in scoring, a record held until 1973 when it was broken by Tony Dorsett of University of Pittsburgh. A “Little All-American” while at West Chester, Pop is also a member of their Football Hall of Fame. He was referred to as “The Golden Ram” while West Chester was still simply nicknamed “The Rams”. After graduating from West Chester in just 3 over years he was drafted in the 7th round by the New York Giants, but declined the offer deciding instead to enter the teaching and coaching (football and basketball) profession and to marry his high school sweetheart Genevieve Pologruto, also of South Philadelphia PA. At a relatively young age of 25, Pop would get the football head coaching job at Palmyra High School in Palmyra NJ, leading his team to a championship in just his second season.

In 1958 looking for better opportunities, our family moved to Baltimore with Pop initially working at the then newly constructed Towsontown Jr. High School and later Calvert Hall in 1961 where he would teach and coach until 1973. During his tenure as Head Varsity Football Coach (1967 – 1973) he recorded 43 wins, 22 losses and 2 ties for a .662 winning percentage. His 1969 team was voted No. 1 in the State of Maryland and his 1972 team won the MSA “A Conference” title. Pop’s most historic win as head coach was against rival Loyola High School on the 50th Anniversary of the Calvert Hall – Loyola game Thanksgiving morning in 1969 at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium. With the game tied 14-14 and 4 seconds remaining on the clock, Coach Carlozo summoned 2nd team place kicker Phil Marsiglia who had never previously kicked a field goal in game competition. The task itself was daunting enough, but the distance, 42 yards, was not, at that time, even common at the professional level. Marsiglia not only made the field goal, but remarkably it could have been good for another 10 yards! In a letter to his former coach dated April 12, 2012 Marsiglia would say, “There are times in a young person’s life when the confidence of a trusted adult can have a profound and long-lasting effects. The opportunity you gave me in that football game over 40 years ago instilled in me the confidence to be self-assured and successful in life. Thank you for having faith in me and more importantly, for teaching me to have faith in myself.”

In addition to teaching and coaching, Pop was also an entrepreneur in several business ventures which included Bon-Air and R-E-S (Recreation-Education-Sports) Day Camps, Scholastic Tutoring Service and Captain Joe’s Steamed Crabs. He was also instrumental in founding the Calvert Hall Quarterback Club.

After leaving Calvert Hall in 1973, Pop returned to the Southern New Jersey/Philadelphia vicinity where until his retirement he was active in sales coaching. In 2007, he and my Mom Genevieve relocated to Forest Hill, MD to be closer to family. Five months later, my Mom passed away. They had been married 57 years and had 3 sons and 8 grandchildren.

Pop’s influence on my life was profound. Here is his eulogy which I delivered on May 28, 2013 at Evans Funeral Chapel in Forest Hill, MD:

Good Evening and welcome. Thank you all so much for coming here tonight to join our family in honoring the life of my father, Joseph Richard Carlozo.

So what is it that I can say to add to everything that has already been said so far. You all know about the football player, the coach, the teacher. The stories are legendary and will continue on for as long as we all shall live…but what about the father, the man I first called Daddy, then Dad, and for 30 or so years, simply Pop. During the last 5 years of his life when he was bedridden in a nursing home, we spent a lot of time together, had numerous talks, shared laughter, tears and at times disagreements. We talked about God, and events in our lives never previously discussed. We got to know one another all over again, with a father understanding a son, and a son understanding a father like never before. As hard as the last 5 years was for both of us, especially him, it remains priceless in my life’s book of memories and I think I can say it did for Pop as well. As I stand before you tonight, I can tell you without any reservation whatsoever, I am proud to have him as my father, and I am proud to be his son and that I will miss him dearly.

He was tough on me growing up, very tough, but he was tough because he always wanted something better for me and, he knew how difficult life could be at times when you had to “lay down and bleed for a while before you could rise and fight again”. But most Importantly, he felt in his heart that I was capable of more. For all you coaches out there, you can understand that the desire to help a young man or woman reach their full potential doesn’t simply end on the field of friendly strife, the basketball court, the baseball diamond, the lacrosse or soccer field or even in a swimming pool, it follows one around day-in, day-out, into the classroom, and quite simply in all our endeavors in life. For all you parents, I’m sure you can relate as well. In my case, it actually followed me home every night. Life as a coach’s son was 24/7 whether I was playing for him or not.

When I was wrong, he told me point blank, no washy washy sugar coated niceties. But if I needed help or support, he was always there to ferociously defend me. You just knew he had your back. He wasn’t trying to win any popularity contest or felt obligated. It was just part of his DNA and natural instincts.

As tough as he was and could be, he had a compassionate side not only for me his son, but from what I could see all his players and his fellow man. In reflecting back, I vividly remember the time before starting my first varsity football game at Calvert Hall as a sophomore. I found a letter I wrote to my grandparents back then and I was 14 years old, 5’10 190 lbs. and while physically capable I was scared to death lacking self-confidence. This was September 1967 before Pop was named Varsity Head Football Coach; he was the freshman football coach at Calvert Hall at that time – again he instinctively knew I was upset, and at home early Saturday morning before the game, he said, Joey, come on, walk with me. And so outside we went into our neighborhood in Timonium and we walked around the block and we talked. He put his arm around me telling me that everything was going to be OK – and remarkably it was. His calmness in the storm gave me strength and was a big part of the foundation I would begin building as a football player, and onto becoming a man.

Not that he didn’t see faults and/or weaknesses in others, he just simply refused to say and/or accept negative things – he always felt that behaviors did not necessarily define a person and that they could be corrected through focusing on self-improvement. He believed in others more than they believed in themselves, and perhaps more importantly, when they did not believe in themselves. When he had money, he’d give it away. His home was your home, his car was your car. He was generous to a fault. This behavior didn’t start as an adult, it actually goes back to one of his earliest childhood memories, and you have to remember that he grew up in the Great Depression. And so the story goes Pop was about 8 years old. His mother had just bought him a new coat, and so he wanders outside to play one day when he comes across another young boy who is cold without a coat, and so Pop takes his new coat off and gives it to this young boy to keep him warm – the young boy then ran off thanking him. As he returns home, my Grandmother asks Pop where his new coat is and she gets no answer until he finally spills. Grandmom shakes her head, smiles and assures him she is not mad. That incident, as it turns out, set the tone of many things to come in Pop’s life.

He lived life to the fullest in “high definition” before we had ever heard the term. He loved everybody. When he’d mention friends and fellow coaches, it just wasn’t just Fred Kern, Tom Bateman, Augie Miceli, Dave Shannon and Mike Gallagher, It was FRED KERN, TOM BATEMAN, AUGIE MICELI, DAVE SHANNON AND MIKE GALLAGHER as if they were Roman Gladiators descended from the heavens above. It was the same for his players. I think it’s fair to say that he got the most out of his players, regardless of their ability. You know it didn’t really matter if he was coaching a freshman, JV or varsity game, or whether it was football or basketball, every game was like the Super Bowl to him. He especially loved the underdog, David & Donald Fitzmaurice know that as well as does Pat Stringer. He loved to take an athlete who was not playing football and develop that athlete into a football player – Gordy Bengle, Mark Amatucci and Doug Radebaugh are all examples of this. While I was blessed to play on many great teams with many great coaches, no one could motivate a team and its players like him – he was, quite simply, in a league of his own. He could laugh at himself along with everyone else and have a great time doing so – just ask Coach Fred Kern to recall the night we went to his house to have dinner when I was about 10 years old. Although we lived in adjacent neighborhoods about 3 miles apart, Pop got lost and decided to take a shortcut only to get stuck in the mud in a field about 100 yards from Fred’s house. Fred was in disbelief – we all laughed so hard and still had a great time being together, but upon leaving Pop made a wrong turn the other way only to get stuck in the mud, for the 2nd time on the same night, this time in a different place. When we called the tow truck driver for a 2nd time that night, he thought it was a joke. He didn’t realize that this was classic, quintessential Pop. Nobody laughed harder than Pop himself.

Pop did not see color in his fellow man – he simply saw his fellow man. His first teaching job after graduating from West Chester State Teachers College in 1950 was at Shoemaker Jr. High, a predominately black school located in a tough part of West Philadelphia. It was there at Shoemaker that he would first coach basketball with many of the 9th graders on his team eventually going onto the NBA. Little did I realize but that experience prepared him for his job in 1958 when we moved to Baltimore at the newly constructed Towsontown Jr. High School at the corner of Fairmount Ave & York Roads which was planned in part of the integration of Carver High School, an all-black school in East Towson. Maybe its ironic, but sadly, I just read that Towsontown, now called Carver Center for Arts & Technology, is scheduled to be torn down at the close of this school year; we had many fond memories at Towsontown.

Still Pop’s days at Calvert Hall were by far and away his happiest. It was during this time that my younger brothers Louis and Tony were born and every weekend one of the Christian Brothers would be over our house enjoying Mom’s Italian cooking along with a glass of red wine and provolone cheese. Pop loved provolone cheese so much one day he came home with a 90 lb. piece of provolone that was almost 6 feet high! My Mom was speechless. For the next year, everyone who visited us left with at least a 1 lb. piece of provolone. Talk about a small world, but at Calvert Hall, Pop would meet Brother Kevin Stanton who had seen him play West Catholic (another Christian Brothers school) in the City of Philadelphia’s championship game some 17 years earlier – as a kid and still to this day I find it incomprehendable that a high school game could have 54,000 people in attendance. Football aside, Brother Andrew, Brother Gregory, Brother D. John, Brother D. James, Big Brother Paul, Brother Regis, Brother Kevin and Brother G. Paul were like an extended family not only for Pop, but all of us in the Carlozo Household. I strongly believe much of the Christian Brothers’ philosophy and Pop’s were one in the same. And there at Calvert Hall he would meet Fred Kern, Tom Bateman, Augie Miceli, Frank Clary, Spence King, George Kropp, Dave Shannon, Jack Murtaugh, Lou Heidrick, Mark Trotta, Frank Bramble, Jay Robinson, Bob Kroppfelder, Lou Civitrese, Mike Gallagher, Denny Cox, Dick Edell, Ken Steiner, and last but not least, Leonard Monfredo, all good men, very good men. He thought the world of each of you.

So what would he say now if he could talk to us? First he would not want us to be sad. He believed in reincarnation and someday, somewhere in spirit he’d be back for another crack at it. He would tell us that ‘life is a gift”, and thats why they call it “the present”. He would want us all to have a glass of chianti and provolone cheese. He would tell you, if you cant go first class, then stay home. He would remind us that fortune favors the bold, not the reckless and that whatever we cast out in life, whether it be good or bad, has a strange way of returning to us. He would tell us that the law of learning is quite simply repetition and remind us that’s how we learned our ABC’s and multiplication tables. He would say don’t wait for your ship to come in – go swim out to meet it. He would tell us that he did not treat all his players the same and upon reflection perhaps this is why he was able to motivate his players the way he did – some he was real tough on like me – some he was protective – some needed challenges, others encouragement – much like a parent he saw things in his players and people in general they did not see in themselves. And for the members of the 1969 Calvert Hall football team he would want you to know that he actually penned the letter from Brother Andrew’s hospital death bed to “win one for the gipper” so to speak before the Thanksgiving Day match-up with Loyola.

He would want you to sing, he loved singing and even believe it or not he even wrote a few songs back in the day the most memorable about former Orioles First Baseman Diamond Jim Gentile. The year was 1961 and Gentile was on fire hitting back-to-back Grand Slams in one game against Minnesota. And so Pop writes a song about Diamond Jim –“Oh Diamond Jim Gentile can knock a ball out-of-sight, when his big bat explodes like dynamite. Look here comes Diamond Jim Gentile, now strike up the band, he’s the newly crowned King of Maryland. Oh do you know, why bird fans go, for Diamond Jim Gentile? Thankfully, thats all I remember. Pop would tell us to always be ourselves and to dare to dream. And that in life you choose whether to win or lose – so choose to win. Always the coach and the teacher until the very end of his life, even to me, he would tell us that your success is based not on your ability but rather on your commitment, determination, perseverance, intestinal fortitude, will to win and the relentless effort to never stop learning. He would remind us once again that enthusiasm finds its origins from the Greek words en (within) and theos (which relates to God) and that whatever we do in life we should do with our heart, full of enthusiasm and that success would follow us everywhere.

And lastly he would want us to be at peace with one another, family, friends, spouses, siblings, loved ones, alumni as well as professional and business colleagues. He would then quote from the Lords Prayer….”and forgive us our trespasses“…then he would stop, and pause, and look us straight in the eye and conclude…”as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

There will never be another one quite like him – I thank God for giving me him as a father, a friend and a coach – I love you Pop – you will always be my hero – I will miss you dearly. May God Bless you all.

As the service concluded, we played the song “Thank You For Being A Friend” by Andrew Gold. Although I was familiar with the song and its tune, I had never really taken the time to read the lyrics…when I did, it literally took my breath away http://www.elyrics.net/read/a/andrew-gold-lyrics/thank-you-for-being-a-friend-lyrics.html. The cards, the thoughts, the flowers, the prayers not to mention having so many come and gather and celebrate Pop’s life helped tremendously in the grieving process. I can’t thank everyone enough. Still, my brothers, my children, my nieces and nephew, along with so many former players and students in some way, shape or form carry on his legacy…..Pop will always be with us.

Have a GREAT day!!! May God Bless You!!!!

Joseph V. Carlozo (Joe)

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DEAR COACH PATERNO, Volume 3, Number 2, January 27, 2013

Coach Joe Paterno

409 Pearly Gates Way

Heaven Up Above

Dear Coach Paterno,

You’ve been on my mind a lot recently. It’s hard to believe that it has been a little over a year since we lost you. I know I speak for so many of your former players when I tell you that we truly miss you. You left us way too soon. We wanted to come visit and talk with you. We wanted to reminisce and hear you yell at us one more time to “do it again”. We wanted to thank you for all you did for all of us and for encouraging us to come to Penn State – it wasn’t just a good place to attend college – it was a great place!!! We wanted you to enjoy the time with your family that you so much deserved after coaching for 61 years. We wanted to see you and Sue take a cruise, be on the back seat of a convertible in a parade waving to the crowd, and just simply serving (and rightfully so) as the honorary mayor of State College and Penn State itself without having to think about next week’s game and/or next year’s recruits.

You taught us so much during our time in Happy Valley. As much as we learned during our playing days on the field of friendly strife, it wasn’t until after we took our pads off for the last time we truly began to understand the lessons of life that would serve us for many years to come. We would persevere in the face of adversity repeatedly getting back up after we were knocked down. We would be there for our teammates when they needed us. We would pursue excellence without even realizing mediocrity was not an option. We would reach beyond our grasp being the best we could be and in doing so inspire others to do the same. We would do all these things automatically – you see everything you were trying to do in “The Grand Experiment” worked. Now that you are gone, WE ARE your legacy and we enthusiastically hold that responsibility with great honor, pride as well as humility.

So much has happened in the last year in “the enemy’s” attempt to undo everything you built. Suddenly for a moment in time, the truth became irrelevant. No one could ever imagine what happened; it seemed like the entire world jumped on Penn State in a mob-like attack to dismantle your accomplishments and that of “The Grand Experiment”. Some of the enemies were obvious while sadly others called themselves Penn Staters and/or Penn State supporters while all along having hidden self-serving motives behind the scenes. While the storm of hatred had the after effects of terrorism on the unsuspected, our foundation was so strong that we not only survived, we thrived and have reunited with players from other generations we would have never known. With “Pride and Poise” we stand shoulder-to-shoulder – WE ARE the men of “The Grand Experiment” – “the enemy” didn’t see us coming – they didn’t realize that we were still on active duty as Penn State reservists always and forever. It’s funny when we think of it now, but we all thought we were so unique. In reality, we all shared similar experiences from our days at Penn State. You taught us all the same themes – basic fundamentals that would stand the test of time. “The enemy” is now on the run and the tide is ready to turn and just like in John 8:32, the truth this time will set all of us all free. I don’t just think this – I know it!!!! We have your back Coach…we have your back.

After leaving Penn State along the way to “becoming a man” while we would make our fair share of mistakes, we would always do our best to hold ourselves accountable, making sure to say we were sorry when we were wrong, paying our penance quietly without any notice or fanfare. You taught us all so well that “Success with Honor” was the only way to win even though “the enemy” would, without any excuses and/or conscious, attempt to win at all costs. “Black Shoes, Basic Blues and No Names on the Jerseys” formed a bond in all of us and through our intestinal fortitude guaranteed all members of our team, regardless of the decade we played in, the position we played or our place/ranking on the depth chart, were responsible for our ultimate success.

You always taught us that football was so much more than a game with wins and losses. It was everything about the game of life. You wanted us to go out in the world and make a difference in our communities and the lives of others. While the ultimate goal was always something to strive for, you taught us by being tough on us, instilling discipline and holding us accountable to ourselves and our teammates. Many times it was not easy, and for some of us, we would not realize that you had actually laid the framework well in advance of us even being there – imagine that! In looking back, it is all so obvious now, but “back in the day” we relied on pure instinct to survive as we were still young boys trying to become men.

While we had all recited “The Lord’s Prayer” before and after every game, it wasn’t until your son Jay shared it with us that we realized how much you felt it was a team prayer, with constant references to “we”, “our” and “us” – upon reflection we should have known this but it just took us a little while to put all the pieces together. I haven’t told anyone about this, but in a quiet moment of solitude, I keep returning to the part “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”. Clearly, we can never forget the Second Mile children who were violated and, as hard as it is and no matter how appropriate our anger, we must forgive Jerry and pray for him as he did do good things during his lifetime, but like other addicts who didn’t get help, “the enemy” once again swept in leaving destruction and ruin. Sadly many of us had seen this before in our lifetime, sometimes with family, other times with friends, whether the addict is a compulsive gambler, a degenerate alcoholic, a drug junkie, or a pedophile, the end result is the same – the addict will lie and deceive and do whatever they need to do in order to feed the addiction all along hurting themselves and countless others young and old alike. Not stopping there, the “enemy” continues to find new ways to promote destruction and evil in our world, most recently using the instability of mentally ill individuals to indiscriminately take of the lives of innocent people. You may have already heard about this Coach, but just in case you haven’t, just last month this relatively young kid who had some mental health issues, went into an elementary school in Connecticut and shot and killed 20 six and seven year old kids in addition to 6 teachers and his mother. It was so awful. On that day, as a society, with tears in our eyes, were all parents of Newtown regardless of our religion, politics, race, age, gender and however else society separates us – on that day our country and the world were a TEAM you would be proud to coach. Please tell God we need more Guardian Angels down here as we all do our best to sort things out and live our lives at peace with one another. While it’s a much different world today, the life lessons you taught us continue to serve us well as we constantly attempt to focus on the promise, and not the problem.

Hopefully by now you have run into my Mom in heaven; she left us in 2007 to be with the Lord. I still have the letter you wrote to her in 1972 (it’s a classic) trying to guide an Italian Mom on how to cook for her Italian son so he could lose weight and hopefully improve his speed and quickness. While here on earth she didn’t  understand why I hardly played – I’m sure it’s OK now that she can see that you were just doing your job (the one you promised her and my Dad) that you would make sure I received a good education and that you would make me a man. Now she can better know how thankful I am to you for being tough on me; it didn’t just make a difference in my life – it made a profound difference. Please tell Mamooch how much I miss her. She is always in my thoughts and prayers. I guess while you’re at it, for all the Lettermen who lost loved ones along the way, please tell them we miss them as well.

Last night we had a gathering of 28 Penn State Lettermen, along with 500 Penn State Alumni and friends to watch THE JOE WE KNOW www.grandexperiment.org  documentary movie here in Baltimore. It was a GREAT night for all Penn Staters in tribute to you and all that you did for us and Penn State. We had hoped to give this movie to you as a belated birthday present, but just 3 days after filming wrapped, we lost you. As you well know, The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways and your becoming ill when you did was no exception. In making the movie, when we felt you needed us most, players from 6 (yes count them) decades came to meet one another in addition to reuniting with players from their own teams, as if no time had passed. It’s been an incredible spiritual experience and as I sit back and pinch myself (it borders on being surreal) it gives credence that we must all walk by faith, and not by sight. Quite simply, it would have never happened had we all not been knocked down the way we did, but oh boy did WE get back up. Consequently, WE MUST all hold our head high as men of “The Grand Experiment”, as Penn Staters and most importantly, as children of God. We love you Coach; in your memory we will carry on teaching others what you taught us. You will live on in us forever. WE WILL because WE ARE and in doing so we will hold strong to these simple, yet powerful words of guidance – Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you – Matthew 7:7.

Rest in peace Coach…..rest in peace. May God Bless You and Your Family.

Respectfully,

Joseph V. Carlozo (Joe)

PSU 1974 – #38

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IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE YOUR WORLD – Volume 2, Number 4, July 23, 2012

Last week I ran into my friend Bob (not his real name) who I hadn’t seen in a while. After a few minutes of pleasant formalities I sensed something was not right. Respectful of his privacy, I continued on with our conversation listening intently like a “wise old owl” on what was said, and, what was not. Eventually Bob opened up and asked my opinion and what advice I could offer in an effort to make a difference in his “internal” struggle. It didn’t take me long to respond to his question as I had been writing about it for quite some time, as well as echoing the themes over and over in my business and personal travels. What I told Bob applies to all of us, young and old, male or female, conservative or liberal, and ignores our religious beliefs. It doesn’t make a difference either as to what our profession is, our race, or cultural background. It pays no attention to the make, model, color and year of the car you drive. These words don’t care what your alma mater was, or if you were first in your class, or down at the bottom. Quite simply it holds that, “If you want to change your world, then change your words”. Please know these are not my words; my first exposure to them came from listening to a recording of a sermon by the late Pastor John Osteen, father of Joel Osteen and who is the current Pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston Texas. The elder Osteen didn’t say it once, he must have said it about 20 times and quite frankly I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since then. It literally moved me. Just like the phrase “nothing changes if nothing changes” from my first blog, Volume 1, Number 1, October 18, 2011, many times simple words can have such a profound effect. “Why now”‘ you may ask, “are these words more important than ever?” To answer this question, at this time, it might help to take a step back and look at your present situation.

Let’s start with your work environment. What kind of messages do you hear from the leader(s) of your company not to mention, those around you, regardless of their position in the hierarchy? Now let’s move into your home, what messages are you hearing from your spouse, significant other, children, parents or grandparents and what messages are you sending them? Let’s not forget our friends, are they broadcasting positive thoughts of faith, hope and love or are they a constant drain spilling out doom and gloom, whining, complaining and moaning about anything and everything? And last, but not least, and perhaps the most important, what message are we receiving from the most important voice we hear…..our own. Are you listening to WJOE radio or the other station in town, WSHT? Whether we realize it or not, all of these things have a way of wearing off on us and without realizing it we can easily become an unpaid spokesperson for negativity, regardless of the subject. A few years back in wrapping up my annual Presidents Letter, I wrote:

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.

Watch your words, for they become actions.

Watch your actions, for they become habits.

Watch your habits, for they become character.

Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

 My research tells me this quote was presumably written by a man named Frank Outlaw, although the source has not been confirmed, while others attribute it to Mahatma Gandhi. Nevertheless, the quote is still good and makes one think carefully about our thoughts, words, and actions that contribute to our character and determine our destiny. Actually, a great deal of Christian wisdom is loaded in this quote and remarkably, it intersects with Pastor John Osteen’s theme, “If you want to change your world, then change your words”. When it comes right down to it, we cannot change others, we cannot change the media; the only thing we can control is ourselves and our perspective. When we think and speak negative, we are only hurting ourselves and others around us. We can control our thoughts. We can control our words. We can control our actions. We can control our perspective. When we pause for a moment in reflection we eventually realize these simple ideals are not only within reach, but accept it with open arms (and this is the key), our positive words can and will make a difference, actually a profound difference in our circumstances. Don’t let your circumstances dictate your attitude. Instead, let your attitude bring an infectious positive influence on your thoughts, words and actions. Start by taking it one hour at a time working towards one day at a time, then one week and eventually every day. In due time, the bad habit will be replaced by the good habit. In the final analysis, I’m convinced you’ll notice a change you may have previously thought was impossible.

When Bob and I shook hands to say good-bye, I sensed a sigh of relief in his voice; I was hopeful that I had broken through and while “I had led the horse to water, I couldn’t make him drink”.  Inevitably, it was up to him if he was to going to put an end to his negative thinking and change his world through his words. Whatever happens, he has stayed in my thoughts and prayers and I will continue to be supportive. Now it’s your turn. Do you want to change your world? Do you suffer from the bad habit of negativity? Are you hanging around the right people in your life or are you falling down a slippery slope in which being positive is an exception, as opposed to a rule? What station are you listening to? Sometimes all that’s needed is a slight change of the dial to get back on the right track and have the signal come in loud and clear. You have my support; you have my encouragement. You can do it; just make up your mind to change your world keeping in mind that the most important voice you hear is your own. Now don’t tell me, show me and while you are at it, have a great day!!!!

May God Bless You!!!!

Joseph V. Carlozo (Joe)

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GOOD ENOUGH – Volume 2, Number 3, July 5, 2012

It was September 1966. I was 14 years old and had just started my freshman year at Calvert Hall College High School, an all boys Christian Brothers school with origins going back to 1845. Relocated in 1960 from the heart of Baltimore City to Towson (Baltimore County) MD, Calvert Hall was more than a high school to me. It was like I had grown up there with Pop being a teacher and coach at The Hall starting in 1961. During the ensuing years I would spend many a day coming over to The Hall after grade and junior high schools spending time with the football and basketball teams watching Pop coach absorbing everything I could about motivation, leadership and developing players to their full potential. While I would get to know all of the players (and memorize their numbers) I would also meet many teachers, as well as the family of Christian Brothers. The Hall was like a second home to me. Consequently, it made my freshman year a little less intimidating than it ordinarily might be.

 In one of my first classes at The Hall we were introduced to a poem by Edgar A. Guest entitled “Good Enough”. Written in 1927, some 40 years later as young boys striving to become young men, we would read and reread the poem until the point where we knew it like the back of our hands. This early lesson in education taught me “The Law of Learning” was quite simply “repetition”. Years later, when I run into fellow classmates, we can still “fill in the blanks” with these simple words committed to memory over 45 years ago:

“GOOD ENOUGH”

By

Edgar A. Guest

My son, beware of “good enough,”

It isn’t made of sterling stuff;

It’s something any man can do,

It marks the many from the few,

It has no merit to the eye,

It’s something any man can buy,

It’s name is but a sham and bluff,

For it is never “good enough.”

With “good enough” the shirkers stop

In every factory and shop;

With “good enough” the failures rest

And lose to men who give their best;

With “good enough” the car breaks down

And men fall short of high renown.

My son, remember and be wise,

In “good enough” disaster lies.

With “good enough” have ships been wrecked,

 The forward march of armies checked,

 Great buildings burned and fortunes lost;

Nor can the world compute the cost

 In life and money it has paid

 Because at “good enough” men stayed.

Who stops at “good enough” shall find

Success has left him far behind.

There is no “good enough” that’s short

Of what you can do and you ought.

The flaw which may escape the eye

And temporarily get by,

Shall weaken underneath the strain,

And wreck the ship or car or train,

For this is true of men and stuff—

Only the best is “good enough.”

So much has happened in the world, not to mention my life, since 1966, yet it is clear to me that  fundamentals, like those contained in “Good Enough” have stood the test of time and are just as, if not more so, relevant in today’s hectic and fast paced world in which we live. Whether it be in our professional lives, in our marriages, as parents, or as sons and daughters, in relationships with friends and others, and last but not least our relationship with God, “Good Enough” is never good enough. Start by reading out loud these simple, yet profound words, and then applying “The Law of Learning” by committing them to memory. Then focus on putting the underlying fundamentals into action. In the final analysis, if we constantly strive to be the best we can be, we can avoid the pitfalls Mr. Guest cautioned us on in “Good Enough”.

It was 34 years after being introduced to “Good Enough” that I would walk the halls of Calvert Hall with my son Joe as he started his freshman year; it was the same halls that I had walked together with Pop from the time I was 9 years old. Gone was the barber shop, the senior lounge that came right out of the malt shop in a scene from a 1950’s “Ozzie & Harriet” TV show. The football stadium was new and modern, the baseball stadium reassembling a minor league ballpark. Adorned by other new buildings and a cafeteria that looks like in came out of a college campus, at its core was still “The Calvert Hall family”. Only a handful of Christian Brothers remain on the school grounds as their residence has become the equivalent of a ghost town. Yet despite all the changes, nothing can erase the wisdom contained in “Good Enough”. Just like players in sports need their coaches, nothing can change the fact that employees for a business need leaders who will motivate, lead by example and develop their team to its full potential. Whether you are the player, employee, coach or business owner, don’t ever settle for “good enough”. Always give it your best, even when it seems like there’s nothing left to give. When it appears darkest, it typically right before the dawn. Walk by faith and not by sight and honor God by always giving it your best. Now put a smile on your face, be thankful for all your blessings and go out and have a great day!!! May god bless you!!!

Joseph V. Carlozo (Joe)

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THE LUCKIEST GUY IN THE WORLD – TAX SEASON 2012 EPILOGUE – Volume 2, Number 2, May 21, 2012

It’s early morning April 20; the end of tax season was just 3 days prior. As I wipe the sleep from my eyes and stare out at the ocean from the balcony of our room on the 4th floor of The Breakers Hotel in Ocean City MD, Sue is still asleep. The warmth of the sun and the breaking of the waves add a peacefulness to the setting as early risers start enjoying the boardwalk, whether it be walking, biking or just sitting on a bench people watching. If someone had told me a few years back that I’d find it relaxing to stay in downtown OC after working 105 straight days, I would have told them that they were crazy. But remarkably, for this moment in time in a relatively short 4-day getaway, I have more wealth than Donald Trump himself. It’s all perspective, and as I see it, I am the luckiest guy in the world.

Frankly, I must tell you that I feel truly blessed. Blessings do not necessarily show up in a bank account, possessions, net worth or anything related to the natural sense. Rather, one must look beyond to the super natural to truly understand and appreciate the gift of life. It is a gift in the very sense of the word and that why it’s called the “present”. While we have memories of the past, a future that lies ahead, we all, regardless of our circumstances, find ourselves in the present. As I look up at the sky, I see the creation of God that is simply overwhelming. If you haven’t done so recently – try it!!! Family, loyal friends, hardworking staff dedicated to our mission as well as clients who have become like family, have filled my life in a way I could never have imagined. While one can focus on problems, frustrations, disappointments or all the hatred sprinkled throughout pockets of society and in the world in which we live, we are fortunately free to change our perspective at any point and see the good things that surround us all.  Growing up, Pop constantly referred to what he deemed as a universal law which simply the held that “Whatever we cast out in life, comes back to us in return.” He always emphasized that the return back will usually not come from the same person, but that it would ultimately reappear. The universal law applies to kindness, generosity and goodwill or on the flip side hatred, selfishness and malice. As a young boy I quite frankly had trouble grasping the concept, but now it not only makes sense, I see it repeatedly in my own life. When it comes right down to it, we can all make our world a better place by just being nice to others; it’s amazingly as simple as that. Look around, that person you notice that may seem cool and aloof, or grumpy and mean spirited, or even distant and reserved; in a strange way, they could actually be screaming out for love and attention from another human being.

Yes, you read it right – 105 straight days doing what I love, and perhaps even more importantly, loving what I do. Every Tax Season evolves into a life of its own taking no prisoners and leaving its imprint for all that passed through. For all intensive purposes, life as WE (mentioned 7 times in our Firm’s MISSION STATEMENT while  interestingly enough you will not find the noun “I”) knew it was put on hold while our team did our best to help others, sacrificing time, and at the core, oneself. Working with someone (clients as well as staff) who enthusiastically joins together with you towards a goal is incredibly rewarding. Just when you’re having a bad day, it always seems to work out that you talk to someone who lifts your spirits in a magical way they could never imagine. Again one ounce of niceness in the world seems to dilute any unpleasantries we all face from time to time. When Tax Season first starts out you instinctively know you can make it, but as the filing deadline approaches you can’t help but feel like “you’re in the streets of Spain and the bulls are chasing you” – as they gain ground you look to jump the fence to safe haven. Tax season is in many ways similar to driving somewhere in rush hour traffic – you know where you’re going and you know how far you have to go – It just takes longer to get to where you’re going as the bottleneck just has to work its way through. All you can do is do your best then put your faith and trust in God. Most times the outcome is a good one with “Mission Accomplished” but occasionally things don’t go as planned.  Government intervention with tax filing seems to be more commonplace as agencies are reluctant to release refunds over a certain dollar limit. Other times an e-filed return is rejected and the only way to remedy the situation is to subsequently paper file the same return which adds an extra layer of administration with, in the final analysis, the same end results. In taking a step back its clear to me that the whole tax return preparation  process just takes longer and the change 2 years ago allowing brokerage houses an additional 15 days to issue Form 1099’s without extending the due date of Form 1040’s has raised the bar even higher to get to the finish line. Throw in the weather, which fortunately wasn’t an issue this year, mix in sick days (common for the winter) and then round it out with our families who never stopped needing us and you have all the ingredients for a tax season. Bottom line – it’s more, actually much more than you can ever imagine. When it’s over you truly need to kick back and recharge your batteries which is easier said than done as pressures continue to file extended returns, especially if refunds are due. As much as you wanted to make everyone happy, it’s nearly impossible and one can’t help but feel bad if it ever comes to letting a client down, any client. Expectations from clients range from very reasonable to mission impossible. While tired, with stress levels running on the high side, you must nevertheless keep your focus and perspective – being busy in an economic downturn is one great problem. Your clients are depending on you and you rise to the occasion. Perhaps WE do things a little different than most – WE practice with our hearts and souls in addition to our minds, our experience and our knowledge – as it says in our mission statement, WE are more than just number crunchers – that doesn’t come easy, but the rewards are definitely worth  it.

Fast forward and it’s now May 14th and has been since the start of the last paragraph; Sue and I are vacationing in Myrtle Beach SC sitting down by the ocean with our toes in the water, albeit, a little cold, the pain of Tax Season has since subsided. The sun is shining brightly and the blue sky as beautiful as it could be. Day by day as we replay Tax Season 2012 in our minds, we continue to count our blessings; I still have the upper hand on Donald Trump but our focus is now geared towards how we can do our job better next year. As my friends Jake and Scout (www.lifeisgood.com) have said many times over – “Life is Good” – going through adversity with a staff second to none who share a passion to win giving their best for our team and its clients brings it all into perspective. Together with a family that brings love that overflows, loyal friends who bring unexpected happiness without even knowing it and loyal clients who have become like family, the luckiest guy in the world is so thankful, overwhelmed by God’s creations and loving every minute of the gift of the present. And so until we meet again, I wish you all the same and more, much, much more.

 

Have a great day!!!!! May God Bless You!!!!

 

Joseph V. Carlozo (Joe)

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