Life was very much fun as a child in what we now call Appalachia, the only part of the country I ever knew. Then time just zoomed by so quickly during my teens. I was not an athlete, was not musically adept, so with no traditional area of standing out, I focused on being reasonably popular - trite but true. It's probably accurate to say I was considered "smart" and on the outer fringes of the "in-crowd." Looking back, it was a pleasant and rather positive period of my life, with some close and trusted friends. The class stars at the time: the athletes, the best looking kids, and a few "influencers" with great personalities were the leaders. But all in all, I felt like an accepted and reasonably mainstream guy. In fact, looking back on it, I dated popular girls and so perhaps I was more "in" than it felt at the time. Even back then, I loved ham radio and found it to be interesting and a refuge of sorts from the "maddening crowd," to borrow that term from Thomas Hardy.
Life went into the prepare-yourself mode in college with focused studies along with marriage to my high school sweetheart, all while in undergraduate school. Years of our early married life with children and trying to do well in the corporate world followed. There were two of us, then three, four, and finally five. Life, with a focus on career, unfolded along the way in exotic (for us) locations in Arizona, which felt like the other side of the planet (and was exiting and fun), then Florida, back to Arizona, and then Pennsylvania. We had mostly new friends,and usually were far from our home town. This peripatetic cycle concluded with a final move to Austin in the mid-eighties. This entire chapter of my life, looking back, was run, run, and then run some more.
At some point, perhaps in my mid-to-late fifties, things started to change. Secure after after an early rocky start at Motorola, I had worked hard and gotten some breaks from colleagues, and was fortunate to be with the right company with the right skill set. It was a wonderful place to spend my career as the organization grew and did well. Then for the last five or so years, I settled down into a series, for the lack of a better word, of senior "sunset" assignments where I could be a sort of "elder" and have the ability to think a bit while knowing a lot of people in the company and the industry. At one point, about the time I turned sixty, the company offered me (and others) a chance to retire with a little extra incentives, and I took it. I was ready. For me, it was a good time to leave, and I left with very good feelings about the Motorola that had been my home. As it turned out, the Motorola of old was running into choppy waters, and the timing for me could not have been better. (For additional blog comments on that era, please see my blog "Looking Back at the Cell Phone" here:
There are many key times in one's life... I can only speak to mine. Fortunately, my marriage endured, albeit with a few rough spots from mainly my work focus and other deficiencies. But my wife of (now) fifty-seven years suffered a major stroke in late 2011 and she has not been able to recover the majority of the impact to her speech and her right arm and hand. As a result, I am a care-giver and as time moves forward, I'm the primary and approaching full-time in that role. It's very hard for her, and impacts me as well, but she has done so much to keep our family together that it's a joy of sorts for me to repay in part all that she has done. Our three children, all different, are healthy and talented in different ways, from a caring and "seeking" teacher, a creative musician/songwriter, and a successful corporate executive. All three are honest and decent and good people who seek out mates and friends who are the same, and have presented us with five grandchildren and one little tyke from the next generation as well. I was the only male offspring of my father and his two brothers (there were four sisters as well) and the family's last name will not stop with me, so that is a source of satisfaction.
Overall, and I am glad, I feel better - if this is possible - than at many times in the past ten years. I can run (OK, jog) and am active physically as well as to some degree mentally. Does working three crosswords a day count? Hmmm. Yet it's reading and writing that really are fulfilling to me, and these are my joys other than the family. Oh yes, my little nerdy ham radio expertise in reasonably high speed Morse code is a positive as well! Hey now, we all have some secret little skill!
My two books, one fictional Memoir (yes, that's an oxymoron) and one Non-Fiction work, as well as a large number of blogs are in place now. The blogs themselves might at some point come together as a humble compilation of these thoughts over the years ... I'm sure that Montaigne is not quaking in his eternal rest! Hopefully there will be one more book, an honest attempt at a really good Novel, left in me. Much of this is percolating in my noggin now. We shall see.
So life moves on. There were times in my life with I could not even think of dying. Life seemed to be so important and urgent that to have it cut short was unthinkable. But now, if that were to be the case, I'd be okay with it. It's been a pretty good run, and the next two generations are in place. Seventy-seven is not all that bad!
Enjoy life, it's the only one we will get.
* Please check out my books and blogs on my author website
and recommend them to your friends. Also, recall that I’ll travel to any book club or radio club within two hours of Austin to discuss either of the books and answer any questions. Any and all comments are welcome either by email to my return address, firstname.lastname@example.org, or to the website in the comments section after any blog.
* Reunion is available in stock at Tamarack on the West Virginia Turnpike as well as at amazon.com and other Internet locations. It’s under consideration for a movie.
*Contact Sport is in stock in hardcover print form at any of the thirteen HRO (Ham Radio Outlet) stores nationwide as well as at DX-Engineering and the American Radio Relay League. In addition, many Barnes and Noble stores nationwide carry it in stock, and they as well as Book People in Austin or any independent bookstore can order it. You can buy direct at my website’s link for a personalized copy. In addition, Contact Sport is available in either eBook or/and audible book formats.