Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Life's Itinerary.....So Far - Part 3

Image result for northeastern university  Summer vacations from school go by so fast!  In the Fall of 1967, I was a Freshman at Northeastern University in Boston.  Talk about a change of environment!  Here I am, a small town kid from a place with a population of 5000 (not counting tourists) going to a big city school where the enrollment is seven times the size of my hometown!
Image result for electrical engineering  At Northeastern, I was enrolled in a five-year Electrical Engineering Co-op program.  That meant no summers off because that is when the Co-op phase is done.  From my perspective as a new Freshman, that was a bit intimidating.  I was not really prepared.  I was kind of a smart kid which got me through high school, but I had poor study habits and just being smart wasn't going to get me through college.  So after my first semester, I knew I was doomed.  I thought it best that I would strategically withdraw from college and enlist quickly before I was drafted.  That didn't go exactly as planned and you will find the details in a previous blog entry called Good Morning Vietnam!

Fortunately, that isn't me..

  So I return home to Kennebunk, Maine, briefly, before heading off to basic training.  More to come.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. - Winston Churchill

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Me, Myself, And I

  By my nature, I have a tendency to quantify everything.  That in and of itself can have its pros and cons.  Consequently, today's entry is all about being by one's self.  That is, being alone.  Getting back to my number crunching, I calculated that I am alone approximately 50% of my waking hours.  Think about all the time that you are awake and how much of that time you are by yourself.  It will be different for everyone and some of us may wish it was more, some less.  The concept makes me think of a previous entry I made called Your Closest And Longest Friend Is Yourself.
  When I think about my activities while I am by myself, I wonder how many of them are well chosen.  Most of the time, my job requires me to work by myself, so that time spent is necessary.  I am frequently busy running errands, or working around the house.  What about the time I spend watching television, or passing the time on the computer?  Of course, I like to think my blog entries are necessary, but what if I am wondering what the current temperature is in Sri Lanka?  Probably not necessary.  And there are many times when my blog does get neglected.  It even sends my nasty little emails telling me so (not really but maybe someday when it becomes sentient). There are a lot of things I could be doing that I keep putting off.  I have a kazillion photos to organise.  I have a bunch of old radios to restore but can't do that until I get the shop ship shape.  I can't finish the shop until I finish the exercise room.  And on it goes. 
Image result for rose bed  Then there is the philosophy that one should take time and 'smell the roses'.  That Life isn't just work, work, work.  I say do whatever you and your conscience are comfortable with.

To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. - Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Life's Itinerary.....So Far - Part 2

  My last entry ended with my being in Kennebunk, Maine.  I would like to start this entry by elaborating on my stay in Kennebunk, since it takes place during my teen years, a very noteworthy part of growing up!   When I arrived at my grandparents home in Kennebunk during the summer of 1963, they were just moving in after leaving Saco, Maine.  At the time, I was under the impression that I was there for the summer, but it turned out to be my permanent residence.  It was a great place to be, nice neighbourhood, nice town, good school and wonderful grandparents, though I didn't fully appreciate them at the time, you know how teenagers can be!
  The little suburban neighbourhood had a dark cloud hanging over it when we arrived.  Recently there had been a gun accident and a teenager received a fatal shot from his friend while they were handling a weapon.  I didn't know the individual who caused the gun to go off, so I couldn't tell you how much his personality changed.  I could tell, however, that he seemed troubled each day that I saw him at the bus stop.  Shortly afterwards, he and his family moved.
  In the Fall, I started the 8th grade.  The junior high building was next to the high school on Fletcher Street.  The following year, I was in high school until I graduated in 1967.  Many life-learning events happened during those five years, as happens to teens while growing up.  Among those events were:

1963-Apr-The nuclear submarine USS Thresher sinks 220 miles east of Cape Cod; all 129 crewmen die.
1963-Oct-I Joined Radio Club
1963-Nov-John F. Kennedy assassinated.
1964-Jun-Summer job working for Hamlyn Brothers Construction.
1964-Oct-I Joined Cross Country
1964-Dec-My first date. (not counting the one mentioned in this blog entry: And They Call It Puppy Love...)
1965-Apr-I Joined Track 
1965-Jun-Summer job working for Hamlyn Brothers Construction.
1966-Jun-Summer job working for Towne & Clark Grocers.
1967-Jan-My grandfather, Frank, passed away, a really good man.
1967-Jan-Apollo 1 : U.S. astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward Higgins White, and Roger Chaffee are killed when fire breaks out in their Apollo spacecraft during a launch pad test.
1967-Jun-Summer job working for 2-Way Communications.
1967-Jul-My first car accident.
1967-Jul-Summer job working for Wells IGA.

  This time period was quite exhilarating as I was learning so many things and 'spreading my wings' and 'feeling my oats' and any other expressions that might apply.  So many friends and neighbours on the street, the Williams' (thanks for the jobs and the friendship of your son!), the York's (thanks for letting me use your car!), the Schneider's (thanks for the odd-jobs and baby sitting!), the Fisher's, the Wheeler's (great home made root beer!), the West's, the Berry's (thanks for the baby sitting jobs!), the Merrill's, and everyone on the street.
  The best part of living on Woodside Drive was waking up to my sister Marianne's trombone practicing in the mornings!  Not!
  I like to think of this time period as the "Happy Days" of my life (as in the TV show).  Although, at the time it seemed very traumatic to me worrying about getting homework done on time and learning about relationships with the opposite sex.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Musical Message

Image result for choices  I was listening to the radio, today, and heard a song for the first time that grabbed me.  Before I tell you about the song, I have to bend your ear a little bit.  No surprise there!  In the past I have spoken a couple times about balance.  Balance can apply to many things, but to put it simply, it applies to choices.  Among many of the choices we make, one of them is that we can choose to be cynical or we can choose to be gullible or we can choose to be somewhere in between.  In many choices, it is a fine line between one or the other.  BUT in many choices there is a lot of gray area.  That is the wonderful thing about the free agency that people have.  We can make our own choices, as long as it doesn't break any laws.  Usually when we make choices, it has our own interest at heart, what about choices that affect other people?  Okay, I have rambled on long enough.  Here is the song I spoke of, by Carrie Underwood.  The message is simple, enough said.
Click here:  Change

It is our choices... that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. - J. K. Rowling

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Life's Itinerary.....So Far - Part 1

  As you may have noted, my entries have been few and far between.  I tell myself that I will write by inspiration not desperation.  I am not sure when I cross that line, but I may be coming very close with this series that I am starting.  At least it may be of interest to family members, but I will try to interject it with something that all may find interesting.
  In this series, I will try and outline my geographical whereabouts from beginning until now, along with any other pertinent (or not) information.
  My first stop after my departure from the pre-existence was my birth at Portsmouth, Virginia in 1949.  The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (now called the Norfolk Naval Shipyard) was where my dad was stationed at, outside of Norfolk.  Naturally, the early years are fuzzy or are non-existent memories so I rely on my older sister for that early information.  At the time of my birth, we were living in a trailer home nearby, then later lived in a house.  I am told that I had bouts with pneumonia ever since my birth until I was a toddler (that would explain the pulmonary problems that happened since).  One of my earliest memories was being in the hospital and in a crib.  I remember I was afraid to sleep on my stomach for fear that a nurse would give my an injection in my butt while I was asleep, so I tried to sleep on my back.
Image result for hospital corpsman  While Dad served in the Korean War as a Pharmacist's Mate (now referred to as Hospital Corpsman), we were in Waterville, Maine ( my paternal grandparents were nearby) and later in Albany, NY (and there my maternal grandparents were nearby).  When he returned from Korea, he was assigned to a Marine base called Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.  I believe he was a medic in the clinic there.  I remember living in the base housing there.
  Our next stop was Kittery, Maine, where my dad was assigned to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard nearby.  Everyone knew that the shipyard was really in Kittery, but for some political reason, it was 'Admiralty Village'.  We were in Kittery for quite some time.  Eventually, we were back in the Albany-Rensselaer, NY area again.  Didn't see Dad anymore, it was just us kids and Mom.  More time went by and the three of us kids got farmed out to various relatives at various times.  I think I was always 'assigned' to my dad's parents, except for maybe summers when I visited dad's younger brother, Frank and his family.  That was fun because there were five cousins there.  My older sister had stayed at both sets of grandparents and Dad's older brother, Joe and his wife.  My younger sister had stayed at Dad's parents, Mom's sister, Vivian and her husband, and Dad's older brother, Joe and his wife.  Whew!  You keeping up?  Needless to say, we got shuffled around quite a bit.  Eventually, both Mom and Dad remarried.  Mom settled down in Florida and Dad was in Kittery. 
officially in Portsmouth, NH.  (Maybe to duck the Maine taxes) We lived in the base housing called the
  By the time my older and younger sisters were in high school and graduated, they were in Harrison, Maine with an aunt and uncle.  I was in Kennebunk, Maine with Dad's parents and graduated from high school there.  So many family members made sacrifices for us.  I hope they know how much we appreciated it.
  Now that I have us to the point where I am eighteen years old, I shouldn't have too much trouble remembering the rest!