Tuesday, September 4, 2007

58 years ago

Update.--May 8, 2009, someone pointed out a mistake in my calculations which I've updated. It doesn't change the idea.

At about 6:00 pm September 4, 1949 I came into this world. I was one of about 100 people who also came into the world that minute, 6,000 that hour at 6-7 pm, and 144,000 that day. Sounds kinda' small if you look that the whole of the day in the world that particular day 58 years ago. But to my parents, I was just one, their one, and the third child in their family. My sister born a year plus earlier and my brother born six years earlier were there to greet me at home.

I don't remember any of my early years. My first memories are from about 1953-54 when we lived in an English country estate before moving onto base housing at Sculpthorpe Air Force Base where Dad was stationed. We lived in Bardon, Garvestone, Norfolk, England. It was a four-story stone house built about 400 years ago. It had no electricity and Dad wired the first floor to add baseboard heaters and kitchen appliances.

I remember the youthful freedom on the estate, just open space. As time will tell I need open space where I live. My current home where I've lived over 20 years now, has a view of the entire southeast horizon overlooking the Narrows Strait and Tacoma Narrows Bridges. I keep my curtains and windows open to let the light and air into the place and I can always see out into the world. When I worked in an office without windows once I realized I'm mildly claustrophobic - why I hate backpacking, I can't sleep in tents.

It's been an interesting 58 years. I lived in England and Germany for half my life before I was 14 years old. To see older Europe in my youth was great. Beside Bardon, in Germany we lived in a small town outside Frankfort, the only Americans in a town of a few hundred people on the top of a hill surrounded by a national forest. We had to catch the school bus at the bottom of the hill and had our afternoons were spent playing in town with the other kids and in the forest.

I lived in Aurora, Colorado in the early to middle 1960's, when it was almost entirely a white middle class suburb of Denver than a city of its own. Aurora Central High School was a bike ride every day before I got a 1961 Studebark Lark for a car as a teenage driver. I learned to drive in a VW in the rural roads in the country east of Aurora, a short 15 minute drive from our home. It was the safe neighborhood where I watched the riots in big cities and the war in Vietnam on television, the first time I ever watched television.

After my service in the US Air Force (1969-73) I used the GI Bill to get a BA and MS degree in Geography and join the US Geological Survey (1978). I spent the next 27-plus years as a hydrologic technician and hydrologist in Oregon, Arizona and Washington. I thoroughly enjoyed my career, especially the work - including Mount St. Helens in May 1980 shortly after the eruption - and the field and office staff I worked with and who worked for me the years I was a supervisor. I had a major dislike and disagreement with management, which lost me a career opportunities into senior management to do more and better stuff.

I regret the choices losing the opportunities but I don't regret the choices fighting and sometimes offending managers. Most I've met in my career are horrible as managers and forget they're people just like the rest of us. I only had one boss whom I both respected and liked. They're rare, and yet, I always had positive evaluations from those who worked for me and had numerous recommendations to become a senior manager. It's just, like my my brother, I didn't play office politics, so I lost.

Since my retirement in December 2005, I pursued my longtime hobby as a serious photographer. I hope to continue to learn and do better, to capture and produce better images, and to develop it into a small personal business. I hope to continue my interest in my photography projects, especially a photography guide for Mt. Rainier NP. I hope to continue to have my health for my life interests in hiking Mt. Rainier NP and travel for my photography. And I hope to continue my other interests in life on my Website.

It's been a good life so far, and I'm luckier than many people, especially to be financial ok and physically healthy to have the time and resources to do what I want. I couldn't ask for more from my 58 years, and the future is still there.


  1. I turn 41 on the 14th of this month and personally this has been one of my worst years ever, so I am hoping for a new start.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, I can only hope I feel the same in 17 years.

  2. Hi ,my name is Faye . It was very interesting to read your story. I used to live in Heacham, Norfolk when my father was stationed at Sculpthorpe Air Force Base. I was 11 years old. I am African American and I recently retired from Kaiser Permanente Regional Lab as a Medical Technologist. We lived there from 1957 until 1959. My father died 2 months after I made 12. I am now trying to plan a trip next year to Heacham to find the house we used to live in. My question to you is , have you ever went back to visit? Hope you answer this, Oh, I was born November 10, 1946. Thank you for the chance to speak about my father.