I was born at a very early age but I don’t remember much. Three days prior to my day of birth, Nazi Germany surrendered. Perhaps they heard of my impending birth and decided to take their chances with the Allies before I gathered the energy needed to whack their armies. Such are the thoughts of future superheroes! I wasn’t thinking of Europe or much of anything else as my grandmother Louise flung me on to the bed as she struggled to keep my mother alive. As I lay there, surmising the world of that small upstairs room, I began gradually to plan my life, see the future, and begin selecting paths I would pursue – doctor? engineer? farmer? The world was my melon and I was ready to carve it up!
My great great grandparents were German immigrants from, I believe, about 1850 or so. Through Ellis Island, then New York, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and finally they settled in Madison, Indiana, which is about halfway from Cincy to Louisville along the banks of the Ohio River. Madison, then, was a small town and rich in high school basketball history. The Cubs won the state championship in 1950 when I was 5 years old which is several years before Milan, as depicted in the popular movie Hoosiers, helped introduce “Hoosier Hysteria” to the rest of the world.
But I wasn’t there in 1950. My family migrated to Columbus, Ohio, and we moved into a small home within yelling distance of Ohio Stadium – home of the Ohio State Buckeyes. I grew up wanting to attend OSU and become a Chemical Engineer but I lacked the $5 application fee and I didn’t dare ask my parents for money as they struggled with two jobs each to feed me and my five younger brothers and sisters. So what should I do when high school was suddenly over? My first job was a dead end affair at a local plant which built shipping containers. Two dollars an hour wasn’t a whole lot less than the $2.78 an hour my uncle earned after working at that plant for five years. No, the world needed me – somewhere!
Hitler was long gone but the military still wanted a few good men – or boys. I talked to the US Navy, but they didn’t like me – “Pulse rate is too high” they said. I was, after all, a little nervous. The Army said I would make a fine helicopter pilot in that far-off Vietnam place but the United States Air Force was calling and after two months of building shipping crates, I took my first airplane ride to San Antonio, Texas, leaving Indiana and Ohio for the first time.
It was a decent tour of duty. I never shot anyone and, in fact, never fired a weapon in four years as an electronics technician with the title of Electronic Warfare Officer – although I wasn’t an officer; I was a Sergeant with the responsibility of training B-52 pilots in the intricacies of avoiding detection by enemy radar stations. It was fun but I wanted to go to college and I chose my hometown school at Hanover College just outside Madison, Indiana. Physics was my major with a strong backup in Math and would you believe it – the Russian language!
I worked for a while with the Atomic Energy Commission at Oak Ridge but they really wanted someone with a doctorate in Physics and, believe me, that was beyond my educational capacity and I had a family to raise and support. So I became a spy. Not really, but I did think about it.
Problem solving was my forte’ thanks to the rigorous scientific and math training I received and I never backed down from a challenge. So I made a living solving corporate America’s many problems. To make a VERY long and VERY boring story short and sweet – I was successful.
I retired early and built a home in the deepest, darkest jungles of “upper” Adairsville, Georgia and here I sit typing my life story so you can read it and marvel at my exploits! My wife is younger and still working; my kids solve problems just like their dad, and my 7, soon to be 8, grand kids haven’t a care in the world. After all, Hitler, Stalin, Nixon, and all the past snakes and wolves of the world are, for the most part, history.
So what do I do now? Solve problems! I am a certified Georgia Master Gardener, a “wannabe” Nuclear Engineer, and a decent historical sage. If you want to know how to eradicate Japanese Beetles – just ask! If you want to build a state-of-the-art nuclear power plant – don’t ask! If you want to know about that Hitler fellow and what happened in May of 1945 – just listen!
Now you know all about me and, with this little intro, please enjoy my blog as it represents my futile attempts to communicate in this overwhelmingly complex world we both find ourselves in.