Chapter 1: That's me in the box

Well, not quite yet but some day it will be me in the box in the ground. It's kind of a fatalistic attitude but let's face it; none of us will get out of this life alive so we had better make the most of the precious time we are given here on earth. I don't intend to get into the subject of the hereafter since it is a very controversial subject amongst most peoples and stirs up some hard feelings. I am going to deal with the here and now and how it affects my brief existence on this world. As I write this I am 73 years old and retired on a riverfront piece of property.

I have been fortunate to lead a very satisfying life. I was born in 1940 to a family of moderate income which lived in a somewhat average home in the Northeastern part of the United States. I was the only boy with three sisters to keep me on my toes. I struggled through grade school just barely squeaking by. If the truth be told, I suspect the teachers passed me on just so they would not have to put up with me for another year. I was about as far from the model student as one can get without being expelled. Once I made it into high school I developed an interest in technical subjects because they aligned well with my fascination with electronics.

My father went to work for one of the field tech-rep companies shortly after I was born at the beginning of world war two. He came home at the end of the war in 1945 when I was five years old. A little young to get into technical things but fascinated by what some things could do. Dad set up a radio repair shop in our basement and brought in enough money to keep food on the table and clothes on our backs. He also operated the projectors at a local movie theater where I spent my Saturday afternoons. Since he was home virtually every day, he and I grew quite close. His knowledge of electronics started to rub off on me and I guess you could say I had been bitten by the electronics bug. I dove into experimenting with some pretty intense subjects and managed to win first place in several science fairs.

Once I finally managed to graduate from high school I was hired by a local defense contractor working in their microwave development lab. I worked on radar systems and countermeasure systems. I thought it ironic that the same company which made the radar systems also made the jammers to defeat them. Most of the work I did was on the cutting edge of technology at the time and as such was totally fascinating.

Later I got a job working for the same tech-rep company my father had worked for. They needed someone with my experience at the manned spacecraft center in Houston, Texas. That was a fascinating job since I got to be around astronauts and rockets. I remember how my wife was impressed when on a Sunday morning, one of the astronauts recognized me at church. Well, interesting though it may have been, it became boring after a while and the pay was not all that good. It was then that I decided to start up my own business working on two-way radios for local governments in the area. I even got a part time position with the county dealing with their radios. At the same time I was recruited to do some design work for a small upstart company who were developing some leisure time electronics. That work lasted for a while and we developed some pretty innovative products but since the sales people were interested in working side deals, the company went down the tubes. Fortunately my business was going along quite well so I could survive the loss of that work.

Time marched on and my interests drifted into a new area of technology called the personal computer. That change coincided with the realization that my and my wife's parents were getting older and would not be around too much longer. We decided to pack up and move back to the area where we grew up so many years ago. We had several relatives in that area so it was a virtual homecoming. I looked for work in the area and was disappointed that hardly anybody was hiring. In talking with people in the area I found that there was a need for someone to work on computer monitors since the guy who had been doing it moved out of the area. I established quite a successful business working in my basement on monitors for every one of the computer stores in the city. Needless to say business was quite good and in short order I moved the business to a store front where I had space to hire some help. That business carried me along until I was able to retire at the ripe old age of 65. I gave the business to my son to run and entered the ranks of the retired. It wasn't long before boredom caught up with me and I ventured into a new venture. I buy LCD TV sets with broken screens and sell the circuit boards from them on E-Bay. There's no way I'll get rich doing that but it does bring in a nice trickle of spending money.

You might get to wondering why I haven't mentioned anything about health issues. Well, mainly that is because I had not had any health issues until after I retired. My lifestyle sure was not responsible for my good health at the time. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted and as much as I wanted. I only went to see a doctor when I was almost knocking at death's door. I guess you could say that I had been extremely lucky. I did establish a relationship with a family doctor just in case I needed some medical attention. Little did I know but that was the start of a journey down a road I would rather not travel. Unfortunately the choice was not mine to make.

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