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Graduating and Finding My 1st Computer Programming Job

Graduating and Finding My 1st Computer Programming Job

My brother-in-law, Ron, who I've been friends with since the 7th grade, once accused me of just wanting a chance to prove that money meant nothing to me.
I had decided that I was ready to move on from college. I went down to the University office to apply to graduate and found the degree I was planning to graduate with (General Social Sciences) had been discontinued and since I had not previously declared it as my major I was “shit out of luck”. OK, I looked at all the various graduation requirements and at the hodge-podge list of classes I'd taken. Using my superior analytical skills I figured out that my quickest path to graduation was to make Computer Science my major. I needed a secondary emphasis and I had plenty of philosophy classes to qualify. Well those dirty rats rejected my philosophy choice. The reason given was philosophy was not a suitable secondary emphasis for Computer Science. I was told it could…
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Racing with a Snow Storm

Racing with a Snow Storm
A 1970 Toyota Corolla
I have both a brother and sister. I am the oldest, 2 and a half years older than my sister Babs and 9 and a half years older than my brother Pete. Being the oldest I could usually get my way and was not above taking advantage of my siblings. Well that was mostly Babs as it didn't apply to Pete much because of the large age difference. I indeed took advantage of my sister a number of times but have to point out she was not a pushover by any means. I once traded all my old 45's to her in exchange for a couple of albums she had that I wanted. I then borrowed back the 45's. When I decided I wanted to learn how to play the guitar, I got Babs' to sell me her guitar for $5 but never actually paid her. Those are two examples I remember. I am sure Babs remembers many more and some of them might even be true...
The Divorce was done and now I needed to sell the Toyota for no profit. It was a 1970 Toyota Corolla 2 door sed…

22 and Divorced

22 and Divorced

Shortly after my last conversation with Donna I took another week of leave. I needed to get back to something familiar, and to be with people who really cared about me. I flew back to New York to visit my parents. They were great. They didn't ask a lot of questions. They gave me space and just let me be which was what I needed. My mom was the only member of my family who had any sort of positive feelings towards Donna, but then my mom has always been remarkable in being able to see the good side of all people. I don't remember doing much while I was there but I did go to a Yankee game with my Dad. For you Yankee fans the Yankees had been going through a long down period. They were a middle of the pack team in '71. They still had Mel Stottlemyre and Horace Clarke but also had a few young players, Roy White, Bobby Mercer, and Thurman Munson.
My Dad owned an old Saab, it was similar in size to the Volkswagen Bug. He had bought it as a second car af…

Fitting In and Finding an Acorn

Fitting In and Finding an Acorn

I had returned from Okinawa and was back at Beale, AFB. I was assigned to the day shift. Everyone goes on day shift upon returning from Okinawa. I was now more accepted by the higher ranking Sergeants after my tour in Okinawa. I was not so closed up and more readily engaged in conversation. However my views still were often not appreciated.
When you first report to a shop you are sent out to Supply for a set of tools you will need to perform your job. As a navigation repair guy on the “Blackbird” there were some 40 tools. Some were familiar like screw driver and pliers but a number of them were tools specifically designed for the equipment we worked on. They gave me a sheet, an old style computer printout with the tools listed and then they gave me a bag of tools and I was asked to make sure that the tools I was receiving matched what was on the printout. Two problems: 1) I did not know the name of some of the tools and 2) all tool names on t…

Return From Okinawa – Finding Donna and The Failure to Commit

Return From Okinawa – Finding Donna and The Failure to Commit


While I was in Okinawa, Donna and I wrote each other regularly. I kept telling her I was doing better. But then I'd been telling her I was doing fine when I obviously was not. Of course it had not been quite so obvious to me. Donna's letters were beginning to contain things like how much she believed in me and how I turned out to be tougher than she thought I would be. I was beginning to feel she might be leaving and now that I was more engaged I realized I had been lucky she hadn't left already. We were able to talk on the phone a couple of times. It wasn't a regular phone. It was a line through the base with an operator on with you. It was one way communication. You spoke and when done said “over”. The operator would then cut you off and open it up for the other person to speak. Both of us were rather private people and trying to have an intimate serious conversation with a third party listenin…

A New York Yankee and His Free Time

A New York Yankee and His Free Time

I grew up rooting for the NY Yankees. Consequently, I hated the Boston Red Sox. I always thought that Boston should have been named the Yankees because we considered people from New England Yankees. I grew up with what was considered “Yankee” principles or traits. Things like: keep to yourself, do things yourself, be independent, be self reliant, be straightforward, be frugal, be humble, and do it all with integrity. These were the traits that were pushed as admirable in my family. While some may question how I've fared with that last part, I pretty much have adopted these ideals. I've always been very self-contained. I like being by myself. Being by myself energizes me whereas being with others drains me. I am also empathetic. I don't know if those two are particularly “Yankee” but if you put that with the other traits I think that goes a long way towards explaining who I am. Of course putting those two together makes an od…

Okinawa and Appreciating Water

Okinawa and Appreciating Water

Preparing to ship out to Okinawa, I moved out of my apartment and into the barracks. A couple of days later I boarded a cargo plane, with 30 or so others, heading for Kadena AFB in Okinawa. Kadena is where the real missions were run, over places like China and Russia and particularly Vietnam. We all rotated out to Kadena on TDY (Temporary Duty). The rotation was 4 months in Kadena and then 8 months back in the states. Since the plane we worked on, the SR-71, was a spy plane, this was all secret stuff. That was why we were all there on TDY status, because then we would be officially in California at Beale AFB, not Kadena. Donna had wanted me to try to get it postponed. I didn't see the sense in doing that as I would have to go sometime soon so what difference would a month or so delay make. Besides, it was unlikely that my assignment would have been postponed much, if at all and I didn't want the extra attention I might get for asking and…

The Beginning of The End

The Beginning of The End

We weren't poor, just lower income. We were two young people who grew up middle class and living on the edge was new to us. We 'd been living in low rent, cheap places, the kind that were in need of some repair and came with some sort of infestation. They all were definitely without anything like air-conditioning. Looking back, the good side to all this is it taught me to be very careful with how I spent my money. I learned to budget, juggle bills, live within my means, and appreciate discretionary income.
For years I kept my budget in my head. I knew how much I spent and where I spent it. Later, when I was working in Silicon Valley making good money, I went to see a financial adviser. I walked in with nothing but a pad to take notes. He asked how come I didn't bring my financial stuff, things like pay stubs, bank statements, bills, credit card statements, etc. I told him I didn't need them, it was all in my head. I knew my income a…

Boil the Oil in the Soil

Boil the Oil in the Soil

My first 6 months to a year I lived in the upstairs apartment of my maternal grandparent's house. It was 1949. My Dad was a WWII vet and married my Mom after the war ended. I was their first child. They had built-in babysitters with my grandparents living down stairs. My grandmother had a Brooklyn accent since she grew up there and it was from her I picked it up. My Mom had a more typical Long Island accent. Why did she not have a Brooklyn accent as well you might ask? Well she was adopted and so her very early life was not spent with her adopted parents. However, I have no memory of all of this so this information comes directly from my parent's memories. My parents bought a new house in the famous “Levittown” , the first mass-produced suburb. It was a planned community, built to take advantage of all the GI's returning from the war who would be marrying, starting families, and needing a place to live. The houses were affordable, came …

It Comes In Pretty Handy Around Here, Bub

It Comes In Pretty Handy Around Here, Bub

In “It's a Wonderful Life” – There is a part in the movie where George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, is with his angel Clarence at the bar and he asks Clarence if he happens to have any money and Clarence replies no they don't have any need for money up in heaven. George then says “Well, it comes in pretty handy around here, bub.” When watching that part of the movie I always think about this time in my life.
I was a married Airman First Class stationed at Beale AFB in Marysville, California. As the summer of '70 was coming to an end, money was tight and we were living as frugally as we could. I watched other married airmen, who were having trouble making ends meet, start going into debt. I was determined not to do that. As I mentioned previously, the money situation made doing my own laundry mandatory. My pay was something like $120 a month and they gave us another $100, for food and rent, supposedly $60 was for rent …