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HVCC, Physics, and The Boys Club

HVCC, Physics, and The Boys Club
Boys and Girls Club in Troy, NY
Life was good. I was out of the Air Force and now living in Watervliet in the Albany area of New York. Dottie had moved up from Long Island after Labor Day and enrolled in the Public Administration Masters Program at SUNY, Albany. I was attending Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) in Troy. I was enjoying being back in school and happy to to be learning things of my own choosing. I had never been a particularly good student. I got OK grades but never fully applied myself. I would learn things that were of interest to me quickly but the rest I tended to do just enough to get by. I was never motivated to get good grades. I was a solid "B" student in High School mostly because that's what it took to appease my parents. Now I was ready to start learning and be part of an environment that encouraged this. The military was wary of and discouraged you from thinking for yourself. Both in basic trainin…
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1972 – Back to Long Island and on to Albany

1972 – Back to Long Island and on to Albany
Camping with Dottie
It was 1972 and this would be the first presidential election that I would be able to vote in. Richard Nixon was nearing the end of his first term of Presidency and early on it looked like Ed Muskie would be the Democratic nominee. Muskie was on top of the polls and looking like he might have a decent chance to unseat Nixon. But then the “Canuck Letter” came out, supposedly written by Muskie, containing unkind remarks towards Canadians followed by stories about his wife having a drinking problem and being a racist. Of course during the Watergate Investigations it was discovered that these accusations were false and were spread as part of Nixon's “dirty tricks” unit, but that was a little too late. George McGovern would end up being the Democratic nominee. He was a long shot to begin with and then with the Eagleton mess it made the Nixon re-election a slam dunk. At this point I was pretty discouraged with polit…

Eddie

Eddie

I've always loved humor. I can find humor in most situations and can laugh at almost anything. I use humor a lot. I am more of an introvert. I was shy as a kid and while I can be more animated around my friends, I am still quiet around people I don't know. I do not look to be a leader and am generally uncomfortable being in front of a group of people. I am lucky to have such a good sense of humor, but I also realize humor is a tool that can be used to hide or keep people at a safe distance. While not intentional, I am pretty sure I do this.
I was never one to have a lot of friends at any one time. In my neighborhood, my best friend was Joe my other good friend was Jimmy. Joe and I became really good friends in grade school and stayed that way all through high school. In the 8th grade I met Eddie. Well, we had met once before, but it was at this point we really became friends and we soon were the best of friends. Eddie was good-natured, non-judgmental, and alw…

Free at Last

Free at Last
I had been at Offutt for almost 3 months at the time Joel and I signed up for the Palace Chase program. A couple of weeks later I got called by the Sergeant in administration and he told me he had the Palace Chase application forms. He said I needed to come down and complete them. I had to pick three locations (states) I was interested in transferring to. I really wanted to be in Oregon but it seemed like a “long-shot” as it looked unlikely there would be a good fit anywhere in Oregon. However I still put Oregon first and then put New York and California second and third. I wanted to do California second but there were more opportunities in New York because New York had Reserve Units that looked like good fits. I would not get out if I failed to find a unit that needed my career field. A few weeks later I got a hit from a reserve unit in Schenectady, New York. I took it. I now needed to get my commanding officer to sign off and agree that I was not needed for the…

Dottie and a Ray of Hope

Dottie and a Ray of Hope

During my last few weeks at Beale AFB my supervising Sergeant had encouraged me to take some additional leave prior to heading out to Nebraska. He was rather anxious for me to be gone. He had figured that once he took me off the protected list I would be gone within the month. My divorce kind of gummed up the works. So, being a good soldier, I took his advice and took 10 additional days of leave prior to reporting to Offutt AFB in Nebraska. I packed up and drove back to NY once more, stopping briefly to visit some friends I knew from Valparaiso in Indiana. This was the third time in the last five months I drove across the country from California to New York. It was getting to be routine.
While back in New York over the holidays, I ran into my best friend's high school girl friend, Dottie, at a local pub. We got talking and she invited me to a party she was going to the following night. We hit it off and went out a few more times. She gave me her…

Go Big Red – Omaha, Nebraska

Go Big Red – Omaha, Nebraska

RC-135's
I reported to Offutt Air Force Base in the evening on New Year's Eve, 1971. Driving into Omaha I noticed that every marquee I saw had the message "Go Big Red" on it. The next day, New Year's Day, 1972, the #1 ranked Nebraska football team was going to play #2 Alabama for the NCAA championship. I was assigned a room in one of the barracks and when I got there the place was empty, everyone was out celebrating. I got a beer from a nearby vending machine and unpacked. I now had less than 17 months left to serve. Except for a possible TDY (Temporary Duty) assignment or pissing off the wrong guy, I would be clear of being sent to Vietnam for the rest of my commitment. Of course I had been fairly adept at pissing off people to that point, so I vowed to blend in, behave, and keep my mouth shut.
The Vietnam War was still going great guns but was about to change course. The percentage of the population that was against the war …

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…

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…