By Marcus Rowan
I am Roy Rowan
Born almost a century ago,
I would have been ninety-seven,
Just two short days ago,
Spanning an incredible era
That was over far too soon,
From horse drawn trams to rockets and jets,
To the first man on the moon.
Growing up in Greenwich Village
Was really quite a scene,
Yet judged by today’s standards,
It was both surreal and serene.
A couple short years before my birth,
Saw the end of a world at war,
And after my birth, the Twenties took off
And America began to roar.
Traveling to Paris by steamship
At the ripe old age of six,
Created a spirit of adventure in me
And travel became my fix.
My days in journalism began at age twelve
With a newspaper I wrote for a few.
And little did I realize then,
My career would never be through.
Studying and speed skating at Dartmouth,
I continued my efforts to write.
And upon graduation in ’42,
I was drafted into the fight.
With Glen Miller playing melodies,
To North Africa, off I went.
Along with my band of brothers,
To Guam and Manilla were sent.
Promoted from private to major,
With death around me each day,
I knew full well that upon my return,
I could face anything coming my way.
Returning to Asia soon after the war,
To China in 1946,
I was back in the midst of battle,
At the young age of just twenty-six.
Running relief trucks for the United Nations,
Delivering food and supplies,
Witnessing the plight of the people,
Suffering from Communist lies.
Slumped over a drink in a Shanghai bar,
Feeling weary and close to the end,
When fate intervened and a stranger sat down
Who became a true life-long friend.
Bill Gray was his name, and as we conversed
He told me his magazine was Life.
Little did I know the chance meeting with Bill
Would lead to a job and a wife.
Hired directly by the great Henry Luce,
Eagerly awaiting each call,
As I reported from hot spots around the globe,
Watching nations rise and fall.
The thrill of traveling the world was great,
Writing story after story for Life,
But the biggest payoff of working there
Was getting to meet my dear wife.
Helen was a photo-editor,
As adventurous as she was tough.
I knew that the years spent together with her,
Would never be nearly enough.
Eating lunches with JFK, Hoffa, and King,
The fifties and sixties slid by,
From Malcolm X to Nehru and my friend John Glenn,
The decades just seemed to fly.
With friends like Walter Cronkite,
I learned from the very best.
And eating dinner with Janis Joplin,
Was an evening I’ll never forget.
When Lee Iacocca offered to give me,
The 5th Mustang ever coming off the line,
I said “Nothing’s free,” and laid down a check.
I knew it was worth every dime.
After taking it home to show the kids
And thinking I had it in “Park”,
Completely by accident, I put it in gear
And ran over my 4th son, Marc.
After working in management for a long period of time,
I requested a return to the field,
And after several meetings with old Louis Banks,
My assignment to Asia was sealed.
Returning to Asia with a new sense of purpose
As a youngster of just fifty-three,
In charge of the continent for the great Time-Life
Brought a deep satisfaction to me.
Reporting from India, Korea and Thailand,
From Burma, Taiwan and about,
From Laos and the Philippines, to the fall of Saigon,
Catching one of the last rides out.
With Dana studying at Dartmouth,
Being stationed in Hong Kong was fine.
And for Helen, Doug, Nick, Marc, and myself,
It turned out to be a grand time.
Feeling renewed, at age fifty-five,
With my life-long love for the pen,
Writing books became my new children
And when finished, I gave birth to ten.
From the fall of China to the Mayaguez crisis,
To books about baseball and life,
I wrote books about how to get older with grace
And books about love with my wife.
Back in the states and working at Fortune,
Chasing every good story I could find,
Always writing and meeting tight deadlines,
Retirement never crossed my mind.
If you are facing the problems of life,
As tensions and pressures may mount.
Just remember each day is truly a gift,
So be sure to make each day count.
As you go through life, remember this
As each day comes to an end,
It’s not the things you own that count,
It’s the love that you share with friends.
In case you think that Roy Rowan is gone,
I assure you I’m very alive.
And as long as you think of me now and then
I’ll always live on and survive.