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The Facts of Life

The Facts of Life
When I was young, like 9, my Mom, trying to be progressive, bought a book designed to teach children about the facts of life. This was in the 50's. My Mom had been brought up in a household that had Victorian type views on sex. The only sex advice my Mom received from her Mom was sex was something she had to submit to and endure as part of her wifely duties. It was in general a dirty, unpleasant, but necessary task. My Grandmother had never actually had sex herself. She was only repeating what she had been told. It had sounded so repulsive to her that she could never let herself engage in the act. She adopted two girls, one being my Mom. I can only imagine my Mom's surprise when she found out that sex was actually fun and pleasurable. After she was married my Grandmother asked my Mom what it was like and was appalled to find out my Mom actually enjoyed it. At this time I did not really know anything about sex. I had once overheard a friend's …
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Adjusting to College at Valparaiso

Adjusting to College at Valparaiso
Me at my desk with my Remington typewriter and the phonograph to the right that I once thought might be a typewriter (see blog post My Favorite Typewriter posted 5/29/17) - that's laundry drying in the foreground  
I had graduated from Walt Whitman High School in June of 1967. At the time it was a highly rated school even if it was a public school. I expected college to be about the same as high school in difficulty. Much to my chagrin, I found that was not the case. College proved to be a bit eye-opening. On the academic side classes were difficult and came with high expectations. On the social front getting a decent date was even more difficult.
English was always one of me weaker subjects. Can't spell, not the greatest vocabulary, slow reader, etc. Once I got to Valparaiso I had to pass an English proficiency test; otherwise, I was going to have to take a class entitled Grammar 0. OK, it's bad enough you are required to take a c…

My Sister's Wedding, Connie's Vacation, and The Return to Eugene

My Sister's Wedding, Connie's Vacation, and The Return to Eugene Babs giving the bridesmaid who missed rehearsal some of those 85 instructions
1974 is famous for two events. The Patty Hearst kidnapping that February and Richard Nixon's resignation on August 9th. His resignation was followed about a week later by an important event for our family, my sister's wedding. I was getting set to return to Eugene. I was busy the last couple of weeks visiting and saying goodbye to my friends in the Albany area. I had to be down on Long Island on Saturday in time to make the wedding. Right after the wedding I was going to head back out to Oregon.
I stayed up late my last night in Watervliet and with just a few hours sleep drove down to Long Island early the next morning fully packed. Well it was early for me, but not as early as I had originally planned or had told my sister. When I arrived at the family home on Long Island my father and brother were both out front waitin…

Summer of 74 and Free Love

Summer of 74 and Free Love It was May, 1974 and I was back in Watervliet. I was still in the apartment but without Dottie. I found a job with Lathem Electric working in their warehouse. It paid pretty well although not as mush as Freihofer”s Bakery, but the bakery job would have been only for the summer and I needed a job right away. Lathem Electric was an electrical equipment wholesaler. It was a pleasant enough place and since it was working in a warehouse I could wear jeans and t-shirts to work, my favorite mode of dress. I am a total jeans and t-shirt kind of guy. I quickly became friends with one of the owner's sons who also worked in the warehouse. We would frequently have lunch in his van listening to Pink Floyd's “Dark Side of the Moon”. You likely can imagine what kind of lunch we were having...
After Dottie left me my neighbor Angie, who lived in the apartment above me, hung out with me to commiserate and cheer me up. She had just recently had a breakup with …

Eugene Oregon Take One

Eugene Oregon Take One

The winter of 1973/74 I packed up my stuff and went up to Watervliet to say goodbye to Dottie. A friend of mine, Joe, was going to ride with me out to Ypsilanti, Michigan. His girlfriend was attending East Michigan State there. I still had my Saab 96 so I was limited as to how much I could pack. The Saab 96 is not much larger than a Volkswagen Bug. I was not going to be able to get everything in the Saab so I organized all my stuff and packed things in priority order. That meant I packed my stereo equipment first and then all my records. I had about 100 albums, so after those items there was not much space left. I packed a few more things and then, in order to make the best use of the space left, I packed all my clothes loose. I stuck them into every nook and cranny filling all the space I had left. I held out a small gym bag that was just large enough to carry some toiletries and additional clothes I would need for the trip. I carefully closed the ba…

Fall 1973 – Selecting a College and People of Color

Fall 1973 – Selecting a College and People of Color

My summer job at the bakery was over. At my previous Air Force Reserve weekend in August, my supervisors were asking me what school I would be going to in the fall. I explained that I really wanted to go to school out west but would have to wait a year till my reserve commitment was up. When they heard that, they told me that I could do the next years two weeks now and a few weekends in a row to complete my time. Then I could just go and they would handle all the paperwork. They would send me my release when my commitment was up. Wow! That was so nice. They actually liked me. They not only promoted me but they set it up so I could finish my commitment early. I suppose having to see me only two days a month helped. I am apparently more likable in small doses. It was too late for the Fall term but I could still apply for the coming Winter or Spring term depending on the school. I immediately applied to both UC Berkeley and …

Freihofer's Bakery: The Summer of 73

Freihofer's Bakery: The Summer of 73


It was the summer of 1973. Dottie was in our apartment in Watervliet but after the engagement episode I had moved out and was renting a place across the river in Troy. I graduated from Hudson Valley with an Associate in Arts degree. Most of my friends in the area were either schoolmates of Dottie's or non-students I had met in the area. I had made just two friends at Hudson Valley. One was Patty who I had met the first week of school. It was through her that I got a summer job at the Freihofer’s Bakery plant in Albany. Her connection was her Mother who was a full time employee there. In the summer the bakery's business would increase due to all the vacation spots in upstate New York, places like Lake George, Lake Champlain, the Finger Lakes, and Saratoga Springs. This was a union job so it paid very well. It started at $3.56 an hour. The minimum wage at the time was $1.85. Summer jobs generally did not pay much more than the …

The Stock Market, Failure, and Forgiveness

The Stock Market, Failure, and Forgiveness


New York Stock Exchange Building close to where I ran into Donna's father
It was 1969 and I was back in New York after dropping out of school in Valparaiso and spending some time in Toronto looking into emigrating to Canada to avoid the draft. I had a job lined up there but I needed money to get across the border and attain legal status. I decided to get a job in New York. I found one with a company on the New York Stock Exchange. I was going to have to raise a minimum of five hundred dollars. I was hired by Asiel and Co, a stock and bond house with a seat on the NY Stock Market floor. They did more bonds than stocks. After a couple of weeks being a kind of gofer, I was promoted to a position titled “Buy-in Man” when the previous “Buy-in-Man” left for a job with another company. This position required me to match any bonds our clients or other companies called for (buy/sell) with bonds other NYC Stock Market companies owed Asiel. …

Meet the Parents, Canada, and the Draft

Meet the Parents, Canada, and the Draft

This post jumps back to an earlier time period. This takes place after I met Donna but before my entering the Air Force. In relation to my other blog posts this kinda follows, with some overlap, “Standing In-Line” and is before the “Can't Hear You When You Scream” post. My next post will be a follow up to this one and at that point I plan to jump back to 1973.
It was the fall of 1968 and I decided to drop out of college (Valparaiso University). With my girlfriend Donna, who would become my wife the next year, I took a train to Toronto, Canada. The plan was to look into emigrating to Canada with the purpose of avoiding the draft. Originally I was planning to head out to California but Donna reminded me that I would likely have to deal with the draft sooner or later so it would be a good idea to check out Canada. I had previously looked into joining the Peace Corps. At that time there were many young draft age guys doing the same. The Pe…