Monday, June 23, 2008

Memories of a long time ago

A very long time ago I was born in Philadelphia. I understand it was a rainy day and it was after WWI in the mid 30’s.
My first memories are being with my mother and father in an apartment of sorts.
There were bunk beds, a little kitchen and some sort of a little room that my father
had a table and a chair in. I can still see him working on Balsa Wood making carvings of ships and airplanes. He also was a painter of still pictures like scenery and flowers, etc.. Some of his paintings still exist and are hanging in the home of one of my daughters, even today. They have no monetary value, but they are all that is left of him.
Times were tough and my father couldn’t get a job with most other companies, so
his step father hired him at the persistent request of my grandmother. The biggest
mistake that was made was to give him access to actual funds in the business. He
was deep in debt and embezzled $1500 to cover his debt.
He was obviously caught and his step-father wanted to press charges and have him
sent to jail. My grand mother stepped in and wouldn’t allow that, so he was banished
from the family.
He was told that if he ever set foot in Philadelphia again, he would be prosecuted
for that crime. Back in the mid 30’s $1500 was like a $150,000 today and it would have
bought a very nice home. I don’t think anyone fully knows why he needed that much money .
In order to escape his total past, he joined the Canadian Army, leaving behind his wife and children. Oh, I did say that by that time I had a brother, his name is Ronnie. I never saw my father again until I was 6 years old and again when I was 15. I have never seen him since and he has obviously passed on by now.
My mother, my brother and I were homeless and moved in with her mother and her two brothers.
I can remember being in an almost baron bedroom, just a bed and chair, looking out the window on a cloudy morning and seeing an organ grinder man complete with his little monkey, begging for money. I think it was raining as I seem to recall the street was a cobble stone street and it was wet.

I wandered off one day and I was taken to the police station, where I was for quite a while before someone came to take me home. It’s obvious today. that I was a handful.

I was a very inquisitive boy as I was into everything. I can remember getting into a cigar box of ribbons (Military Type) and was severely scolded for that, and another time getting my finger caught in the re-loader of a rifle. That time I got “What For”.
At that time I was probably about three and my brother was 18 months behind me.

What happened next is a mystery and to this day I have never been able to get the straight of it. Even when I was 55 and I was trying to discuss things with my mother, I point blank, asked her to tell me what happened. I said I thought I was old enough to handle it now.
Her very words were “If you don’t drop this line of questioning, you will no longer be welcome in this house.” She died 4 years later and it all died with her.
Well, anyway – My brother and I were placed into the custody of the State and in Foster homes, separately. I forgot I even had a brother. We bounced from home to home for about a year and a half. Then one fine day we were both picked up and driven to the deepest country woods you have ever seen. There were places where hard roads didn’t exist. I was about four and one half and Ronnie was about three. I can recall, he was still in diapers. We ended up in the home of farmers that even today, I wonder about. I do recall that as a child, during that summer we were there, these people had wild parties in the back field. I can recall they tried to get me to drink beer, but I would spit it out as I did not like the taste. The time would come, later in life, that I would not spit it out.

Let’s get back to the Mystery. I still can’t figure out why we were placed in the custody of the State, then, placed in Foster homes, when we had Aunts, Uncles, Grandmothers and Grandfathers that could have easily taken us in. One set of my grandparents actually adopted 2 girls and refused to take us in, and we were blood kin. These are the things I was trying to get from my mother before she died. What was it that caused the whole family to take such a position and treat us as though we didn’t exist.

The agency that we were in was called “The Children’s Aid Society” in Philadelphia.

We were now called “Aid Kids” and in those days that was a bad name, it was worse than calling a black man a “Nigger” and was designed to make you feel as though you didn't exist. At least the black man existed.

Back to the farm, whenever we went anywhere, it was in a Model “T” Ford complete with a Rumble Seat. So, even in the rain, we boys had to sit in the rumble seat (which was outside like a convertible) while everyone else was inside. Remember, they were getting paid to take care of us, so it was the money that was important, not us.

The bedroom my brother and I shared at the farm was an area in an attic, which had no stairs to get there. We were simply lifted up and placed in the attic through a kind of trap door. There was a mattress and a couple of blankets. I can remember that Ronnie was still in diapers and it would get pretty rank up there, as it was summer.

Another thing I can remember, Ronnie, being in diapers and when we were outside playing he would poop in his diaper. I had a little play truck and a little shovel. I would put the poop in the truck and pretend to drive it to the side of the porch and I would bury it.

I recall once when we going someplace, I was crying very badly, they stopped the car
along the backwoods road and placed me on the side of the road and simply drove away. Instead of staying there I decided to walk into the woods and got lost. It was hours before I was found. Right after that, we were placed on another farm about 5 miles away from that one.

The way things were done in those days were quite different than today. Visiting privileges were allowed only every 90 days at the soonest. As time went on and many nights crying myself to sleep (Where’s Mommy) we began to start to forget who Mommy was. Every now and then she would get someone to drive her up to see us, but we began to see her as a visitor rather than our mother. There were also times when she would notify the foster parents that she was coming up to visit and I would sit by the road all day waiting and she never showed – nor did she call to say she wasn’t coming.
After many times of that, I began to really forget she was my real mother and just see her as a visitor. I would still go out and wait for her, when she said she was coming, even years later, I don’t know why, instinct – I guess.

The new foster parents were in their 60’s and were very good to us. We didn’t get the parental love a child should get but we did get very good parental guidance. We were taught the values of life that I believe every child should be taught growing up.
We were only at the farm for about 6 to 7 months and the family moved to the outskirts of a small town. So, instead of a 500 acre farm, we were on a 5 to 6 acre farmette. Still, it was a farm to us. I was still at pre-school age. The grade school was within walking distance and when I was old enough, I would walk to school every day.

The End Of Chapter One.

Growing up in a rural community

Growing up in a rural community was tough by any standards, especially, if you had no family. Being classified as an “Aid Kid” was a literal brand in those days. We were considered BORN White Trash and were treated as though we almost didn't exist, the phrase “Oh, he’s just one of those Aid Kids” was the deciding factor in anything we wanted to do, from the communities point of view.

In spite of the adversities and problems brought on by being placed there by the state,
my brother and I were treated well by the foster family and they did their best to keep
us from being exposed to the narrow minds that some people just can’t seem to be without.

We had a unique bonding relationship with our foster-father as our agreement was to always tell him the truth, no matter what. That worked out well later, as we got to be older and into trouble all the time.

Along with my brother, there was another boy our age that we were always seen in the company of, and his name was Johnnie. The three of us were inseparable as we got older and, of course in trouble about something or other.

I remember once when we were about 9 or 10, we used to have a lot of fruit trees on the property and of course, we had farm animals. Let’s call this one “The Chicken That Got Away”. One day when climbing in this particular tree, it came to us that there was a natural "Y" in the branches that would lend itself to be wonderful sling shot and the more we looked at it there was a clear opening down to the chicken yard. Back in those days it was easy to get red rubber inner tube material from an auto-repair dumpsite. Red rubber was the best, as it was real rubber, not this black synthetic stuff. This natural "Y" was about two feet apart, so we tied the rubber on the "Y" sections and made a center holder from a piece of burlap.
Now the idea was to wait until a chicken would walk into the line of fire of this unique device and we would use little green apples as ammo. Remember this was an apple tree and the ammo was plentiful.
We took a lot of shots and hit the chickens many times, knocking them over or hitting their tail and scaring them and of course, we were having the time of our lives doing this.
Anyway, there was one shot that was a killer, we thought. I pulled back on the sling shot and the little green apple hit the chicken right on the back of its head. Down it went and it didn’t move. We got scared and weren’t sure what to do, but we knew we didn’t want the old man to see we had killed one of his laying hens. So, we decided to bury the chicken in the chicken yard below.
We were just finishing burying the chicken (in a shallow grave) and the old man came walking down and asked; “What are you boys up to now?” We said; “We were digging for fishing worms and night crawlers”. We no sooner said that and the chicken came to life and broke through the dirt and went just about as crazy as a chicken can get. Now the old man was really mad. Since we were in the chicken yard and there was a fence between us, he couldn’t get to us immediately, but we knew he would eventually get us.
We were much faster than he was, so we ran up to the house and told our foster mother that he was coming to give us a licken. He came in and told her that we were burying the chickens alive and god only knows what else we might have done. She decided to render some punishment that was worse than a good thrashing. We weren’t allowed to listen to our favorite radio programs for a whole month in the evening. We never heard of TV until we were about 13 or 14 years of age. In those days it was “Tom Mix” and “The Lone Ranger” and like programs on the radio. This was devastating to us and we never bothered the chickens again.

Mixing with other kids from the area that had been already tainted by their parents ideas and views about “Aid Kids” wasn’t easy and we both got into a lot of fights. It didn’t take long to realize that we would have to fight our way in an out of just about anything.
We would get into scuffles at school dances or any other associated functions and many times, the chaperones would let it go for a while, just to see where it would go, I guess.
To make a long story short, we became very good at defending ourselves. My brother and I, along with our companion Johnnie, would mock fight each other to figure out the best way to win. By the time we were 11 or so, we were so good at it most kids that had any sense would leave us alone, because we did not fight fair any more. Sticks, stones, or any other thing that might be laying around we would use to assist in our plight to win.
Also, in addition to that, if I were handy and my brother was in a fight, I would step in and help finish it. Of course, this did a lot to enhance our image as “Aid Kids”.
Those formidable years taught us a valuable lesson in life, if we ever going to amount to anything, we would have to do it all by ourselves as no one else was going to help us.

Did you know that we climbed out the second story window of the house and down the lattace work of the rose bush to get down so we could go to the other side of town to pick cherries. These cherries were the reddest and the biggest we had ever seen. We spent the majority of the night picking the cherries and then brought them back to the barn to hide until the next day. There was a full moon that night.
We went around the next day selling cherries in little quart baskets. I think the greatest selling act ever performed was to sell cherries to the owner of the cherry tree. She seemed thrilled to get cherries like these. WOW !!!

Back then, it was common for farmers to have dynamite handy for clearing areas of land and removing big stumps in the fields. I recall one time going fishing and taking some dynamite with us. We had heard that if you throw the dynamite in the water and it goes off it will stun the fish and you can simply go and pick out the big ones.
Well, we decided to try this and I threw the dynamite in the pond and it went off. There was water everywhere, but none in the pond. There was an old man across from us and simply said, “Boys, I think you used too much bait”. Not only did it blow the pond dry for a while, but the fish were gone too. We never did that again either.

Have you ever gone “Wild Honey” hunting? Let me tell you, this is a sport that takes a lot of intestinal fortitude. All you need to hunt with, is a hatchet, a scoop and a bucket. There was no such thing as bee spray in those days. My brother and I decided to go wild honey hunting one day and found us a “Honey Tree”. We could see the bees going in and out, but the hole was too small to get your hand in with the scoop. It’s now time for the hatchet. As I was the one that got up on something to get at the hole in the tree, it would appear that I would be the one in trouble. Not so. The bees came out of the tree in a cloud and attacked my brother. He ran to the nearest creek, about 20 yards away, and stayed under water as long as he could and every time he would pop up the bees would get him. I went in the water to break-up the swarm and was able to get him out and home. We ended up getting a doctor to attend to him and he was layed up for about a week. In those days, doctors actually came to the house, if not, he would have died as the hospital was more than an hour away. Somehow, I never got stung once, but Ronnie was stung over 100 times. We never tried that again either.

We lived in Amish country and an Amish buggy weighs about 95 to 100 pounds. They are very light so as to be able to pull it and a whole family too. Well, it was Halloween time and we were trying to think of something to do. After some deliberation, we decided to strip down a buggy and re-assemble it on the top of the farmers barn, straddling the barn roof. We did do that, and as the story goes, the farmer couldn’t find his buggy until after-noon the next day. It made the front page of the local newspaper and it was always suspected that we had done it. As I said before, we had a deal with the old man to always tell him the truth – no matter what. Believe me they came a hunting for the culprits that placed the buggy on the roof. We had told the old man we did it, so when they came and asked him if we were home that night, he said we were and that they should stop wasting their time looking here and go get the ones that really did it. I know they didn’t believe him, but they left us alone.

Did you know that there is such a thing as a seed mellon? One of our neighbors had a water mellon patch and one of the melons was considered to be a seed melon. It was the biggest water mellon we had ever seen. It was about 3 feet long and about 18 inches across and weighed a lot. We knew we couldn’t carry it so again on a full moon night, we came with our wheel barrow to remove the mellon. It took the farmer about two days to realize the mellon was gone, as there was a lot of mellons in the field. Of course, he came a knocking on our door and asked the old man about the mellon. The old man said he would find out. When he asked if we had taken the mellon, again we told him the truth. He asked if we had saved the seeds and as luck would have it, we actually did, as we spit the seeds into a can as we were eating this humungous mellon.
He took the seeds and told the farmer that he knows we didn’t take his mellon but the boys were able to get the seeds from the boys that did. The farmer simply asked if he would find out if the mellon was good. He said he told the farmer that he knew it was.
The farmer said to tell us thanks for getting the seeds back and the next time, all we would have to have done was to ask and he would have given us the mellon. But, that would have been no fun at all.

One time there was a chicken hawk flying all around the chicken houses waiting for an opportunity to swoop down and get one. The chickens were going crazy as they knew it was up there. The old man asked me to go get the rifle and a handful of bullets as soon as I could. I came back with the rifle and the bullets very quickly. He had a very bad case of arthritis and couldn’t load the single shot .22 caliber rifle. So every time the gun needed loaded, he would hand it to me and I would load it. He took about 5 or 6 shots at the hawk and missed every time and he got so mad he threw the gun on the ground. I picked up the gun and reloaded it and without thinking, I took aim and shot the hawk and down it came. Now the old man was surprised to see that, but suddenly realized that this must not have been the first time I used the rifle. Again, it was time for the truth and I admitted that I would sneak the gun out sometimes and shoot rats at the local dump site. Back then, we didn’t have landfills, it was usually a crevice or deep depression on the mountainside that would be used as a local dump for about anything.
A few weeks later, when I went to sneak the rifle out again, it wasn’t there. The old man hid the gun somewhere and I never did find out where. Strange as it may seem, even though he didn’t like the fact that I shot the Hawk and he couldn’t – he would tell the story of the hawk to anyone that would listen. He was proud of me, but wouldn’t tell me.

I think I will finish chapter two with this last story that I remember extremely well, even though I could go on forever as we did lead a colorful childhood. Our imaginations just never quit, but we were always careful not to hurt anyone.
The neighboring community had a “Town Cannon” complete with a pile of cannon balls.
These cannon balls were not welded together like they are today. So we decided to see if it really worked. We had to re-adjust the position of the cannon to clear anything that it might hit, if it worked.
We loaded it up with two cannon balls and a half a stick if dynamite. Lit the home made fuse and it worked. Woke up the whole town. What we didn’t know until the next day, was that one of the cannon balls hit the chimney of a house and ripped it totally off the top of the house. Now we were really in trouble as this was considered a real crime.
Still, when asked by the old man if we had anything to do with the cannon, we told him the truth. He simply said; “You boys are going to get me in trouble some day”. We were never even considered for that one by the neighboring community. We always wondered why.

If we had been born 30 years later, we would probably be in jail by now, or worse. However in those days, the saying was “Boys will be boys” and as long as no one
ever got hurt, a lot was overlooked.

Be assured, my brother, Johnnie and I were not the only boys that were Hell Raisers back in those days. Now and then we would join forces with a couple of other boys for fun.

The bottom line is – we learned a lot about life and people, but we were still very naive
To the rest of the world and what really goes on. I will share that in Chapter Three.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Those adolescent years

I guess I was about 13 years of age when I suddenly realized that the girls I used to play
with as playmates were girls instead of playmates. They were blossoming into pretty young women and they were not interested in me any more as a childhood playmate. They seemed to have very weird and different ideas about almost everything. I remarked one time that we always got along with them and suddenly; they have become un-approachable or just too busy for us.

As time went on I began to take on a different attitude toward them too, as I saw them as girls that I wanted to get to know better, a lot better.

I was at a dance one night and met a girl we will call Sylvia. She was a real looker and all the boys were trying to get to talk to her. She kind of picked me out of the crowd and we danced the whole night until it was over. One boy came over to me and said, “If I had your looks and with what I know, you would not be talking to her tonight”. He was also one of the boys that had given me such a hard time in grade school and thought he was better than me. Needless to say, we got into it and when finished, he had a very bloody nose and black eye. Growing up tough, had its advantages, that was one of them.
At that time I was almost 16 years old, and of course, I thought I was the cat’s meow.

Sylvia and I became an item in the community because she was 20 years old and she had a really nice car and would take me everywhere. In a small community, that was the talk of the town. She was related to a family that lived about a quarter mile away and when they wanted to go out for the evening, she would baby-sit for them.

Needless to say, I would be there too. I would lie down with her on the couch and go to sleep with her. When the family came home, that’s where they would find us, sleeping on the couch. Of course, that information was reported to the community that I was sleeping with her and I was a child and she was an adult. No one ever believed me when I would say. “Nothing Happened”. But nothing did happen, probably because she was older and new that if she got pregnant there would be real trouble as I was a minor. I was still in the “Children’s Aid Society” and wouldn’t be set free until I was 18.

Well, along came my real mother, she had divorced my father and got married to a man that worked in the court system in a city in another state. Through his influence and contacts with Judges and others he worked with, he was able to get custody of both of us in a matter of weeks. I was told later that it may have taken the court system 2 years to get done what he got done in a few weeks. Anyway, the community now wondered, after all these years, why did she want her two boys back, especially now, with a brand new husband. I was just about to turn 16 and she was 32, yes, I was born when she was 16.
It was concluded that I was just about to become of legal working age, as the law had just changed, and you had to be 16 now to hold a job – so it was for the money I could bring home into the household. At the time, I refused to believe that, but time would prove me wrong.
By that time I was in trade school studying to be an Electrician, fully paid for by my foster parents. I was transferred to another trade school in the new community and graduated.
During the period of time I was in school and afterward, I am guessing, maybe about a year and a half, Sylvia was writing to me as I had written to her the first day I got there.
I never once got any of her mail as they were afraid I would run off with her. I ran into Sylvia many years later, purely by accident and we had a very long talk. She was married by that time, but still had a thing for me. It was easy to tell by the way she talked to me and how she hugged me for very the last time. It was as though she wanted to turn the clock back. I was 20 and in uniform and on Liberty then. I never saw Sylvia again.
By this time, I was 17 and ½ and graduated from trade school. I couldn’t get a job in the trades because I had no experience and contractors wanted experienced tradesman. So,
my new stepfather got me a job with the local police, working the switchboard and other
duties. I had temporary police identification complete with a badge and ID card. This came in handy when I would go to a bar in Atlantic City or another big city. When I was asked for ID I would show the badge and ID – they would check and I would get in. The real problem with that was, I was supposed to be 21 to get that kind of a job.
I would get paid $155 twice a month and he wanted $150 of it every time I got paid. I would ask why I couldn’t have more of my money and he said he was buying me bonds.

One day I got really mad about working for this money and not getting hardly any of it, so I insisted to see the bonds, and I wanted to see them NOW. He threw the money back at me and told me to leave the house and never come back. Of course that was only the last paycheck of $155, not all the rest. My mother did step in and said that here may be another way to handle this problem. It was decided that I would be signed into the armed forces, as I was too young to join by myself. I chose the Navy and they signed the papers.
My Mother still wanted me to send money home, I did for a while, but I stopped it after about a year.
Would you believe, I was still a virgin and very naive to the real world.
After boot camp, I decided to become a radioman, and again off to another school I went to learn electronics, paid for by Uncle Sam. I completed, which gave me an equivalent to an Associates Degree in Electronics.
It was now time for me to go aboard ship as a striker radioman. My very first day was a memorable day. The older men I was assigned to work with realized very quickly I was so naive that they could pull all kinds of tricks on me. As a radioman, I was supposed to be able to repair the radio equipment as well as operate it. So, I was asked to get a tube to get one on the very latest pieces of equipment operable from one of the five storerooms on board the ship. Needless to say, it was a big ship. The name of this tube was called a phalopian tube and I went everywhere on board to get one. No one had one and I was getting very upset because I was told not to come back without it. Of course, it got a big laugh by all when I would ask for one. Someone finally took me aside later in the day and told me what was happening, but not before I was all over trying to get one.

Lets say, that the ship went all over the world and I saw a lot of ports and when I came back, I was no longer a virgin. I called myself a “Lean, Mean Love Machine”.

While I was in the Navy I met my current wife of 51 years (so far). I wanted to stay in the service, but she was dead set against it, so I was discharged after my 4 years was up.
I met her in a USO club for servicemen. I was trying to date her girlfriend and in doing so, I was enlisting her help to do that. As it turned out I decided that she was the one I really wanted. We were married about a year before I was discharged.

Now I am an adult with a wife to support and we had a child on the way. We had to have a place to live and you won’t believe this, the apartment we got was just across from my mothers apartment. Not the best place for my wife as she was not the one they wanted me to marry. My wife is a very strong woman and managed to survive it all until we moved to another apartment. My first child was born in May and I was discharged in November of the same year. She was a beauty then and still is today.

End of chapter 3

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The day I saw the light

I just got out of the Navy and I just turned 21. I had a wife and a child and the Navy had given me $775 mustering out pay. In those days, that was equivalent to about 4 to 5 months pay for the average working man.
I couldn’t get a job because I had no experience, but I had 2 “Sheepskins”, which amounted to nothing as compared to on the job training and experience. So, I was a regular at the local bar. A large mug of beer, at that time, was 10 cents – so for a dollar,
you could have a great time. One of the things I began to participate in, was shooting Pool. Needless to say, as a novice, I lost most of the time, which made it worse.

However, I was a quick study and in a few months I became extremely proficient at the pool table. I can remember coming home and asking my wife, “How much money do you have” , she said; “Fifty Cents” I said, “Give it to me, I really need it and don’t worry about milk for the baby, if necessary, I will steal some from somebody’s doorstep”. Back then, milk was still being delivered, door to door.

I took the 2 quarters to the pool room and waited and waited and waited some more. I finally saw a man come in that was totally drunk and wanted to play for money. I said
I will play for fifty cents, he laughed, but said OK. Well, to make a long story short, I left the pool room with $277.50 . When I got home I gave her fifty cents back and placed $200 in the bible, but didn’t tell her. She read the bible every day.

I was getting tired of being out of work, so I went to a local contractor and simply said, “ I will work for you for free for 2 weeks and at the end of that time we can sit down and discuss a permanent job. He agreed. At the end of the first week, he said I would get paid like everybody else and I could stay as a permanent employee. In today’s world, it couldn’t happen due to insurances and other hiring requirements. I worked there for about six months and got fired for something another worker did, but I couldn’t prove it.

I am out of work again and can’t even use the last job as a reference. I was sitting on my front steps about 7:pm one evening, when my neighbor flatly said he was not going to go to work tonight and, in fact, he was never going back. So, I asked him where he worked and basically, what did he do. He briefed me, so when He was supposed to report to the bakery at 12:midnight, I was there and simply said I was here to take Chuck’s job. He told me he was quitting and I need the job. The boss said, good – Chuck was about to be fired anyway and since I was there to work – OK. Well, what I didn’t know is that it paid $40 a week and you worked 7 days a week, from 12 at night to 12 noon. There was no such thing as a paycheck, they gave you 4 - $10 dollar bills every week. I learned all there was to know about an Italian Bakery and I could take home as much bread every day as I could carry. One day I was asked about the bread I was taking home as it was a lot more than we could eat. I told him that most of my neighbors were out of work and the bread I was bringing home was feeding my neighbors. He said to take as much as I wanted, any time.

It was New Years Eve and we had made arrangements to go to a place called “Lakeview”. The plans were, my brother, his girlfriend and my wife and I. We did go and we had a great time. It was about 4 in the morning when we decided to come home. My brother was driving his girlfriend’s brand new car and, of course, we were with him. On the way home we had a very bad accident and we were all taken to the nearest hospital. I was unconscious and didn’t wake up for about 2 hours. In addition to us four, we agreed to take home another woman who lived nearby. She was also in the back seat with my wife and I and I was the one in the middle. My brother was hurt very badly, my wife had an injured knee, I was simply just knocked out and the woman we were just giving a ride to, was also hospitalized. My brother’s girlfriend was OK, just scratched a little bit. The woman we gave a ride to sued for $35,000 and got it. My brother was physically hurt as well as having brain damage. He spent the rest of his life as a very slow learner and held the most menial jobs available. For a long time, if you asked him a question, it would take 3 to 5 minutes for him to answer. His girl friend married him anyway, but we found out later, she only did so, at her mother’s request. Her mother owned a bar in Philadelphia and was afraid that if my brother sued for anything, she might lose her bar.
She divorced him after 2 years and he still sadly believes, to this day that she loved him.
He has lived a useless life ever since and now lives with our half-brother, from my mothers second marriage. All said and done, I was the only one that walked away totally unscathed. I was just knocked out.

The time came when I met someone that could get me a job in the electrical field at Campbell’s Soup Company in Camden New Jersey. Needless to say, I took the job and it paid $100 per week and only 5 days a week. I was doing well after a short period time and bought our first home in a very nice neighborhood. I was still going out on weekends drinking and gambling with a couple of friends. I would shoot pool and for the most part I would win a lot. In fact I was so well known in that circle of activity, I was having a hard time getting anyone to play with me, as they knew that they couldn’t win.

The home we bought was 3 houses down from the Chief of Police in that community and I would fix his TV and hearing aid free, for a blind eye. As strange as it may seem, I never missed a day of work, or missed reporting to work – no matter what. But, there were times that I went to work completely stoned to the point I couldn’t stand on my own two feet. I recall once, the guard at the gate held me up high enough to punch in and dropped me on the floor and called my boss. The boss came and took me to a Ladies room and put me on the couch and left me there. When he left, he locked the door and placed a sign on the door. “Out of Order”. He came back about an hour before it was time to quit and woke me up and told me to clean up so I could quit and go home, as I had not been home since the morning of the day before.

One Morning I came home from being out drinking until the bars closed, and I just happened to look out the window to see a man get out of his car and place something on my doorstep. I went down to see what it was. It was a cigar box, but I was very skeptical about it, so I called the Chief of Police to take a look at it. He took it to the police station, where I had to give a statement. I am not sure how he figured it out, but there was a military grenade in the box and when lifting the lid, it would pull the pin and you had 3 seconds to get rid of it.
I had realized that my kids would have been the first to open it, as it was a school day. I quit shooting pool in that circle and never returned. I still play a good game, but not for money.

One of the things I began to notice, was that I attracted women very easily. I had a very hard time with that, as some of those women were almost impossible to walk away from.
My closest friends that I would go out with would make fun of me because I would turn down unbelievable offers from some of these women. One man called me a “female magnet” and they used to go out with me to get the women that I would turn down. They began to wonder about my sexual preferences or at least make fun of me sometimes.

Strange as it may seem, my wife and I met a woman that had just moved to town from Los Angeles, California. She had just under gone a nasty divorce, but was financially loaded. Literally, worth millions. That was the beginning of even more trouble.

She seemed very nice and My wife and I went places with her. She would, most of the time, pick up the tab. She said she would set me up in business, if I wanted to. I was taken in by that so I accepted her offer. She put up $3500, which at that time was a fortune, sort of like $35,000 would be today. I went into the Radio & TV Repair business and rented a store in the city. Of course that gave her a legitimate reason to see me as often as she wanted to – Part Owner.
She bought one of the reconditioned TV sets from the store as though she was an ordinary customer. It was not more than a week later that she called for repair at her home and that she would be home after 7:pm that day. This happened many times and one night she got me drunk and I succumbed to her advances. All of a sudden she acted as though she owned me. She got back to my wife and offered to give her One Million Dollars to let me go. My wife told me later in life that she simply told her that if she can get me, she could have me.

She soon found out that I couldn’t really be had, past that one time, and decided that if she couldn’t have me, no one else could either. She devised a very unique plan to get me locked up as a felon without a real future. She said she would hire me as a contractor to go to California to retrieve her furniture from her former home. She was willing to pay me $2500 to cover all expenses and include some profit. I would need a helper to assist me in loading a U-Haul and drive it back. I had a standard contractors tablet of blank contracts that were used in those days for small jobs. So to make it all look legit, I filled out the form and she signed it and I gave her a copy.

Off to California we went, and arrived at the address she had given us to empty and found out that her divorced husband lived there with his new wife. When I went in, I had a key; there was no one there, however it was obvious that people lived there. I wrote a note that I would be back later in the day to remove the furniture that she wanted me to bring back to her new home in New Jersey. I also left 2, 100 dollar bills with the note in order to show that I was not here to steal or rob from the house.
When I went back, the police were waiting for us and we were about to be arrested for breaking and entering and intent to steal the furniture. Here is where the real luck came in. I was checked out as a legitimate contractor, complete with a N.J State license and I was able to produce the actual contract that she signed. Her divorced husband recognized her signature. That piece of paper saved our bacon. The question arises again, was that really a stroke of luck?
But now she was in real trouble. We were left go and escorted to the airport and told to take the next flight home. We did. I also kept the money she gave us to do the job. As luck would have it for me, her new boyfriend was a cop and admitted that she set a trap but that he didn’t know about it until he was confronted with the details at a later date. We were fully cleared.

The money dwindled and of course I didn’t have a job at Campbell’s Soup anymore.
We lost the house and decided to move to Brooklyn, N.Y. where my wife’s family lived. I was able to get a job as an electrician and then, an apartment. Life there was not what we had expected. My wife was repeatedly attacked just going to the Deli for groceries. We only stayed there for about 3 months and I decided to go back to the small town I had grown up in. Maybe there would be a good job for me there. I bought a car from a neighbor for $100 to make the trip. The car was worth quite a lot more, but he sold it to me believing that it had a broken rear axle. I noticed the obvious shaking and took it to a auto repair shop. After they checked it out, they found it was missing a couple of bolts and they were replaced, it ran fine. Again, I always wondered, was that luck or what?

When we arrived, we had nothing much more than the clothes on our backs, three little girls and no money. The foster family was still there and they got together with a lot of people to see if they would give us furniture they didn’t need. During this period of time, we needed a place to stay. There was an Inn that was going to be sold, but was totally empty. Somehow it was arranged for us to stay there until I could get a job and a place to live. Also, there was a restaurant about 100 yards down the road from the Inn and they would let my wife and kids eat there – FREE. I, on the other hand had to pay. Within a week, I had a decent job and rented a farmhouse on 5 acres of land attached. Things should have got better, but I was still a problem and went back into the old ways of drinking and gambling.

This time, it was different, I became so proficient at shooting pool, I would give demonstrations and allow anyone to challenge me to try to win. Of course, money was involved again and it would usually draw a crowd in the local bar.
It didn’t stop with the local bar; I would go as far as 30 to 50 miles away to play for money. I was going out about 4 nights a week, or more, and I found out there were other people out there as good as I was on the pool table. That started fights.

My wife will attest to the fact that there was never a night that I didn’t come home with blood all over me from a fight. Rarely was it mine, but I wasn’t getting away clean. It was obvious that I was in a fight from the bruises that showed and the clothes that were torn. This went on, day after day, month after month, until I had enough sense to give it up.

There was a time when I was working for a small steel company on the 2nd shift, the boss told me that if I wanted a drink after work to go to the fire house in the small town I was working in and push the big red button at the top of the steps that went down to the basement of the building. He said there was a bar in the basement and someone would open the door to let me in. I did just that and found out that it was the manual fire alarm system for the whole community. Sirens went off and bells rang for a long time. People were coming from everywhere half dressed to answer the call. It was a Volunteer Fire Company and at least 80 percent of the town showed up, including the boss. I told them what he had said, and thank God, he admitted he did in fact tell me to do that, but never thought I would. Creating a false fire alarm is considered a felony in this country and if the boss wouldn’t have shown up, I would have been arrested and jailed. This was another time that I have wondered about – was it luck, or what?

I was making a living from the pool table and believe it or not, I was actually holding down a job too. I am not sure how, but I was getting better at both at the same time.
Needless to say, my foster family practically dis-owned me by now, had wished, I had never came back. They said it was a reflection on them.

One night, I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to walk into town. I went into town and walked some of the streets I had played on as a child. As I was walking toward the old homestead where I was raised, I suddenly stopped. It was as though I couldn’t move. All of a sudden I was standing in a circular pool of light about 8 or 10 feet in diameter. I couldn’t see where it was coming from, as there was nothing there except me. The fact that it was not coming from above was also strange too. It forced me to see me for the first time, what I really was, and I didn’t like what I saw. It kind of reminded me of the “Christmas Carol” story of Scrooge. Anyway, it was at that moment that I decided to become a real husband, father and the kind of person that others might want to be associated with. It was sort of like I was making a promise to somebody, which I did. I was not a religious man then, but it did make me think differently about life.

I went home and pondered about what happened and decided it was real and to keep my promise to the “Light”. The next day I was offered a really good job in another community. I took the job and that became the first day of the rest of my brand new life.

I got out of the Navy at 21, I raised hell for 9 years, and now I am 30.

( There are 50 or more stories to tell within this period of 9 years, not yet written.)

There is something about my life that is becoming obvious, but never the less somewhat mystical, see if you can’t see it before the end of my chapters, don’t fret, I will reveal it.

The End Of Chapter 4

Friday, May 23, 2008

A period of readjustment

I took the job in the new company and was lucky enough to get a semi-detached house
to rent that was about ½ a block from the job. The only bad part about the job in the
beginning was, it was the Grave-Yard shift. There was a window that opened next
to the sidewalk, so my wife would cook me a complete meal and hand it in the window
every night, about 3:am. This started a lot of dissention among my co-workers, as they
were brown bagging it and I was getting a full blown, hot meal every night.

They complained to management and also the union and I had to ask my wife to stop.
That was the beginning of other things that I didn’t like about the company’s rules. I got
so fed up one night that I simply walked off the job ( ½ half a block away) and sat on my porch until daylight, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes.

The night shift manager stopped over after his shift , and tried to convince me to
come back to work the next evening – basically telling me that I was the only one that had the ability to do the job properly. I said, “Can my wife still bring me a hot meal ?”
The answer was flatly, NO, and so was mine. Of course, I was told I would never get
another job in this area again, they would black-ball me.

Later that day I called another company and asked if they needed an industrial electrician
that was credentialed – bingo – had another job for more money, starting the next day.
I was at the new job for about 2 weeks and the maintenance supervisor ordered me to do
a job the was extremely unsafe. I went to him in private and explained the hazards of this
task and he just laughed and said, if you don’t do it, I will fire you. At that moment, left
with no choice, I decked him, and told the others what happened, and left that job too.

I was later to find out, that the other employees had gone to upper management and laid
out the story of what really happened, rather than his rendition of it - he got fired. I was not asked to return.

I continued to have similar problems with various work places. At one point, I had 13 jobs in one year and my tax man asked; “How did you manage to work at 13 jobs in one year and have an accumulated amount of time off that added up to 3 months and still make more money than the average working man?” I really had no answer.
It was obvious, even to me by then, I had a real attitude problem that needed to be controlled. I was to work on that as time went on.

During the period of time I wasn’t working, I was keeping busy, working on the side
with my landlord, who was Amish. His name was Jesse Stoltzfus. He was building
small houses and I would do all the electrical work and get it passed by the inspectors.
One day Jesse said he would like to make a special Buggy that had Head lights, turn signals and brake lights, just like cars. He said he would construct the Buggy if I could figure out how to
wire it up. Actually, figuring out how to wire it up was easy, getting the parts to do the job was a lot harder. I went to a farm supply and found they had a lot of the things I could use as most was used on street worthy tractors.

Well, we started and within about two weeks we had a running and working model.
Jesse was so proud, he took his new Buggy to Church and showed it off. There was only one problem, the Amish do not use electricity of any kind, except for their milking machines.

The milking machines were operated by a 24 volt DC system and the battery I put in it was a regular 12 volt auto type. I had to come up with a charging device that you could use in conjunction with his milking machine. I had done all this as a favor to a friend, neighbor and a landlord. What I didn’t know was that a whole new industry just erupted for the Amish and it was being built by the Amish and sold to the Amish. I was dumb enough to leave the electrical prints in his shop and the literature on all the electrical equipment. Everything anyone needed to make another one was there. I guess I have the distinction of being the first ever to build a working model for the Amish, that is still being used even today.

Getting back to earning a living, I became so frustrated about the way I was being treated by employers and supervisors, I decided to get into management. I vowed to myself that I would never be the kind of boss that I had endured these last few years.

It was correspondence courses and night school and any thing else that I could get an
education from as cheap as possible as by now I had 4 children and a stay at home wife.
I became so wrapped up in the educational process that I had worked out for myself that
I was just as consumed with it as I was before with drinking, gambling and hoo-rawing
around after work. It was so bad that I wasn’t paying attention to the kids or anything
else. My wife asked me, one day, to find something that I could include the family in.
Believe it or not, I decided to learn to play the guitar and I took lessons to get the most out of it. Actually that worked out a lot better that I thought. We, as a whole family,
Could get together as often as we wanted and sing songs and in general, have a good time. As time went on, one of my daughters learned to play the violin, another learned
to play the piano and the guitar. She also sings professionally and has some albums out.
In the meantime, I was still doing the courses and night schools as I could. My goal was to become an electrical engineer. I also had a part time job at a Vo-Tech School as an
adult education instructor in basic electricity and basic electronics.

Finally, I was 34, going on 35 and decided to make my move toward management. I applied through an agency at one of the Mega-Bucks Companies many miles away. I was told by that agency that my chances of getting that job was slim to none. I said I wanted to try anyway. I was supposed to meet the Plant Engineer at 7:30 in the morning
at the main gate of his company. I was not familiar with the city or the company, so I
drove up a couple of hours earlier than I should have. I was nervous and needed to have
something like a cup of coffee and maybe a donut, something, anything. I kept driving
on the city’s main drag and saw a “Dunkin Donuts” place and stopped there. When I went in, there was only one other customer. I decided to sit next to him as he was well dressed and so was I, besides I also needed someone to talk to.

We started out discussing the weather and so on, but as time went on, I shared my real reason for being there and why I was at the donut shop for coffee. He allowed me to
continue talking and he would ask me questions now and then. He seemed very friendly and I was in one of those moods where I was extremely open. After about an hour into the conversation, he told me his name was Robert Noel, he was the man I had come all this way to be interviewed by. He said to follow him and he would get me through the gate and on to his office.

He took me for a tour of the entire facility, which took about two hours and then said,
“Do you think you could handle a job of this magnitude?” My answer was, “ I would
love to give it a try?” He said he had a lot of other applicants to consider, but he would definitely consider me.

Two weeks went by and I was ready to try again with another company, when I got a
call from the agency, saying that I was hired and they couldn’t believe it.
The name of that company was “York Division of Borg Warner” located in York PA.
I was the Electrical Maintenance Manager for all three plants in the city. The Grantley
Plant, the East York and the West York plants combined. This was far beyond my
wildest dreams and now, proving my self was next hurdle.

Have you ever heard the phrase “It was blessing in disguise”, in 1972 there was a major
flood in the city and many large companies were simply shut down due to water damage.
York Division had large ovens for special manufacturing purposes and I had let it be known that any company in York that needed to have motors and other equipment dried
in our ovens, to just bring it to our loading docks. Up until then, no one knew who I was, but suddenly, every small company knew who to call to get in line to dry their equipment.
It got to be so big that, as always, upper management took some control, but internally gave me the credit. I was probably the only man in middle management that could ask for an appointment with the company President and get one. At that time, there were over 3800
Employees in the company, including all three plants.

After the flood, the company wanted to build a subsidiary in Madisonville Kentucky and I was asked to go down there from time to time to assist in the construction overview.
They had a variety of engineers and project managers working on that job, but somehow I would always be asked for opinions on various things. One of those things was, based on all the equipment that was in place and considering all that I was aware of, could I make an evaluation and projection of what the electrical billing would be for the first month and possibly for next six months. When the first month’s billing came in, my projection was only $3 off the actual billing. The billing for a facility of this size goes into more than $1800 a month, at that time. Wow, was that luck or what ???
By this time, there was absolutely no doubt about it, my future was secure with this company and I was looking back to the time I had made the “Promise” to the Light.
Have I kept it, I wasn’t sure.

My goal to become an electrical engineer had not yet been realized and I still wanted it.
Most men would have been satisfied with what I had, but I was still going to special schools that the company had and others that they didn’t. My thirst for knowledge was
a driving force I wasn’t able to control.

Then one day, out of the blue, another manager in York Division told me that he had submitted my name to a person, who was on the board of a Hospital and they needed some one with my particular background, education and experience. He said that the hospital would call me on Saturday of that week at about 2:pm and if I was interested to be home.

I was very skeptical, but I did answer the phone and was offered the opportunity to come to a small town in PA. to be interviewed by Hospital administration and the Property Committee of The Board of Trustees. To make a long story short, I was interviewed two
different times and they would not meet my monetary requirements. I kept saying “NO”.
I had forgotten all about the interviews and one day, just before Labor Day of that year,

I received a call from the Chairman of the Property Committee of that small town hospital. He asked me if I would meet him at a certain field, on Labor Day outside of the city. I said that I knew where it was and would be there at about 1:pm that day. He said he had a helicopter and would meet me there and that there would be a picnic table in the middle of the field with a large umbrella on it. There would be 1 pitcher of lemonade and 2 glasses on the table. I re-confirmed, I would be there.

I did show up and he landed his helicopter. He walked up to the table and handed me a
small pocket tablet and a small yellow pencil, poured some lemonade into his glass and said; “Write down your number”. I really didn’t want to work in a Hospital as I was very
comfortable with York Division and knew I was in line for Robert Noel’s position as Plant Engineer. So what did I do, well, I wrote a number that was so outrageously big, I never believed for one moment it would be considered. I never said a word, but I gave the pocket tablet back to him. He got up, looked at the tablet, put the tablet in his shirt pocket and said one word.

“DONE”, I was shocked and of course, I was had, as an honorable man, I couldn’t back out. I said: “Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, wait a minute” he said, you have 30 days to report in, I will make the necessary arrangements.

WOW, what have I done, I have just stepped into a world I knew nothing about and
I was really worried. I did give notice, and was also given a letter, written by the President of York Div. of Borg Warner, that if I changed my mind, I could return within the next six months and with a raise. I still have that letter to this day. At that time I was 37 years old and I was still wondering if I had kept my “Promise”.

End of Chapter 5

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A whole new world of understanding

Here I am, working for a Hospital in a small community, basically trying to figure out just what my job really is. In a very short amount of time, I found out that the hospital had 5 maintenance managers over the last 18 months. What was really wrong here?
I decided to find out why and found that the answer was ridiculously simple. The Administrator was just about 62 years old and there was a movement among some of the board members to remove him from his position. It would be done in a quiet way that was not supposed to hurt his feelings, but yet to get the message across that he was way behind the times and needed to be replaced.

He was very strong on being able to run the physical plant and he believed that no one could come in and just take over and do it. So, every one that was hired, he undermined
and made life very uncomfortable for them so they would quit. I found out later, he actually paid people to come to his office and tattle on me and others. His way of doing that was to give them a raise of 10 cents an hour every time they had something of importance to share with him.

I soon learned how to create illusions that were taken to him and upon his reactions he was looking worse and worse every time. His ability was being questioned almost every day. I simply did to him what he did to so many others and he finally resigned. He never did find out how the whole thing was done to him. During the short time that I knew him, I came to really dislike him. He was a very devious and vicious man.
Another man was hired to be the Administrator and I got along very well with him until he moved on to a better job.

During the early years of my tenure with the Hospital, there was a fire created by a welder in the construction area. The fire quickly spread to the basement of the Hospital. I can recall, going into the immediate area of the fire and I suddenly couldn’t breath, the smoke was so thick.

After the fire was put out, by the local volunteer fire company, there were many meetings with Hospital Administration and the Board as to how we were going to get the Hospital back in operation. The best estimate made by professionals hired to review damage and follow through with clean-up and restoration was 45 to 60 days.

I had some experience with that type of restoration so I made a presentation to the board that I could do it in 30 days or less. There was one provision, and that was to stay out of my way and let me do it, also the insurance companies had to agree to finance it. I had told the Board and Administration that the manpower already existed in the form of employees that would normally be out of work. Get the unions to agree to allow their employees to work for me during that restoration period and I can do it.
It was agreed by all to give me Carte’ Blanch and allow me to get us up and running. To make a long story short, we had the Hospital operational in 11 days, working 24 hours a day, as the same employees had worked the shifts before. It was a period that people made friends with others they never knew existed before as they all had the same goal.
Again, this was another time, I was in the right place at the right time, and had the opportunity to prove myself and gain respect with the governing body of the institution.

One of the advantages I had when I was hired, was that I not only reported to the Administrator, but also to the Property Committee of the Board. I could not be fired by the Administrator, unless the Board agreed. That clause remained in my contract until I retired from the Hospital in 1992.

While I was at the hospital, I was responsible for the physical plant, housekeeping, laundry and was the immediate overseer of all the building projects that the hospital had.
That, by itself, gave me awesome authoritative guidelines. I was very careful not to ever abuse them or misuse them. I also came up with some very innovative ideas on how to save money on very large scales. One such idea was to have all the lighting in the hospital parking lots be part of the municipal lighting. The hospital pays a fraction of what it would have cost if they took it on as an operating expense. Big savings!!

I made an arrangement with the PUC and the local Natural Gas Company to purchase the fuel to run the hospital boilers under a special contract with the state. Over a period of time, this saved millions for the hospital and the community. I engineered the first Heliport in the community on hospital grounds and it still operates today.
During my tenure with the Hospital, I finally did become an Electrical Engineer with the help of an Electrical Engineering firm in Pittsburgh that sponsored me. I was listed in the very prestigious “American Society for Hospital Engineering” for years.

I have a list of what I believe to be “Significant Accomplishments".

· Created Preventive Maintenance programs for industry and institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes
· Created a Bio-Medical Department
· Arranged for the hospital to have an uninterruptible primary fuel source (natural Gas) through a contract directly with the P.U.C. at the state level, thus saving the hospital approximately $250,000 per year.
· Created an unusual arrangement with the municipality and the power company where-by the hospital does not have to pay for any of it’s outside lighting, parking, etc;.
· Created a way to process laundry (commercially) to look smell and feel as good as home laundered. In other words, it’s soft, fluffy and extremely white. It’s also less expensive to produce using conventional methods. It will pass all the PH and bacterial tests known to be necessary to provide a top quality product.
· Designed and created a Nuclear Medicine Department without the help of Architects or any other outside agency. It passed the Nuclear Regulatory Agency inspection the first time around.
· Redesigned a new Maternity Suite to fit into an antiquated setting by using creative cosmetic renovation techniques.
· Designed and built a heliport for the hospital, fully licensed and permitted in accordance with the National Bureau of Aviation - It's the only Air Port in town.
· Lastly, and the most important accomplishment was keeping a promise to myself about how to deal with employees. I always treated them with respect and maintained an open door policy. I helped them deal with each other, I helped a couple of them financially, I promoted the most deserving to higher positions. Even today, many years later, when I see them and discuss the “old days” with past employees, it’s a wonderful feeling to have them say, “I wish you were still there, we didn’t know how good we had it, until you left.”

This is to name just a few of the accomplishments in a lifetime. There are so many more.

I have reached every goal I have set in front of myself to accomplish and I am now retired from professional life. I have a part time job with a local Ace Hardware Store and keep up with local activities.

I have a few Web-Sites that I promote and I belong to one of the fastest growing MLM businesses in the world. Who knows, I just might become a millionaire, which happens to be another life’s goal. I am now well over 70 years old, and most, if not all of my close friends that, I either grew up with or worked with, are gone. I am the only one left. I am making new aquaintenances every day, but not really close friends. My wife still has a respectable circle of friends, and that is good for her.

Here is a sad thought, the day I retired and was leaving the job site, I had mentioned that there is no need to be upset and that I would make every effort to keep in touch with everyone. The statement given back to me by some one that I had considered to be very close to, said; and I quote “Don’t’ bother, there is nothing you can do for me anymore, you are no longer in a position of power.” That hurt, so much, I have never forgotten it.

I now have, only one, really close friend and I have never met her, in person. She is a treasure in my life and I talk to her every day from my computer. Someday I will meet her and her family. She has promised me a really big Hug. That is another life’s goal.

I had mentioned that something mystical seemed to be going on surrounding my life. Well, if you go over my life very carefully, and read it again. I always seemed to be protected from the worst of life’s nasty things that can happen. One of the most unique things is that in all of my working life, I have never been promoted. I learned how to promote myself.
In addition to the previously mentioned things, there were some things that have happened since I retired.

One is, when I retired, I couldn’t make enough money to sustain our lifestyle. In fact, it got to a point that there was no money at all, except a small retirement check every month.
I was not eligible for Social Security yet and no one would hire me in my profession. It was too easy to hire kids right out of college, cheap, just as long as they had a Sheep Skin.
During this period of time, I invented a machine that would sterilize equipment cold rather than hot. It was going to cost mega-millions to get all the Regulatory Agencies to approve
For medical use, so it never got really of the ground, but I did get a patent.

In doing so, it really cleaned out our savings and I lost my home. However, the way the cars were purchased from the dealer, I was able to keep them. If I wouldn’t have had the car, I would not have been able to recover, because, by then, I was selling Life Insurance to make a living and I did that for 9 years with the same car.

I have recovered from Bankruptcy and all the other things that happened to me after I retired and quite frankly, my income level is far more than most younger people I work with or know, including my own family. They still come to Dad for money when they need CASH.

The very last thing that happened, I was taking my wife out to celebrate our 49th wedding anniversary on the eve of the anniversary. We were going to an upscale restaurant and upon arriving a said to my wife that I must go to the men’s room. I thought I had a little attack of diarrhea, but it was pure red blood. I was taken to the hospital in that city and, of course, survived – but, later found out that it was the only trauma center that could have saved my life and the restaurant was only 1 mile from that hospital. If I would have stayed home that night, I would have died from blood loss and complications.

Also, there were two times I was diagnosed with cancer, operations were performed and I didn’t have chemotherapy – WOW, how often does that happen.??

I am in my 70's at the present time and I don’t know why, but I expect to live until I am 106, so I have at least 30 plus years of creativity to enjoy life and give to humanity.

I am still not a deeply religious man, but I do believe in God, as I am positive there is something out there that has watched over me, all my life, and is still doing it today.
You can call it anything you want. I am also a firm believer in Guardian Angels.
I still wonder, after all these years, if I have kept my “Promise” to the “Light”.

Just in case you are wondering - This is a true story !!!

I dedicate this story to the woman I have loved for over 50 years. She has stood beside me in the best of times and the worst of times. Most women would never have put up with me in those early years. All I can say about that is, I DO know how to pick 'em. Her name is Doris.

End of chapter 6