Lost Dreams..

It is important to take stock in all the good things we have had. But it is also worthwhile to recognize the opportunities we might have missed. In the past I have told many stories about how, after very humble beginnings, I have had a pretty privileged life.  This post is about the things I might have missed. So, here is that story.

The bible says something about not worrying about tomorrow or the past, but just live in today. Those always seemed like wise words to me but being I question everything they also sometimes seem like stifling words. Maybe worrying about tomorrow is not a good thing but not dreaming of it is something else.

Me at the age of 18.jpgI must admit that while I claim to be a dreamer, much of my life wasn’t as fully engaged in that mode as I would have liked. I too often kinda let things just happen instead of chasing me dreams. That is a sad commentary for a 70+ year old to have to make but it is as it is.

I knew from a very young age that I loved to read books, especially the non-fiction type where I learned to admire others and make them heroes in my life.  I knew I loved to think and rethink stories. Even as a pre-teen I wrote many stories but they like  Simon & Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence they were songs written but voices never heard, my stories had a readership of one.

I knew I was passionate about the written word but never really let it be part of my dreams. Instead I let others tell me what to pursue in life.  My dad wanted to be an engineer so I decided to be one for him.  I never allowed myself to dream of anything else or maybe I just didn’t have a clue.

My middle years were driven by my occupation. Engineering is not about dreaming but instead about equations, proofs and fact. Dreams had little to do with it.  I lived my middle years just concentrating on today. What was the job at hand? I simply didn’t allow myself to look for other possibilities. The draw of a constant paycheck  kept me in place. So, for the most part I had unfulfilled dreams.

Now as I look back on my life, I regret not dreaming enough and not especially not acting on the ones I had.  I look at my life and realize that it could have been quite different if I had allowed my dreams even a small level of realization. I know that the fault of this is totally my own. No one pushed those dreams from my head.

All this is not to say that I had an unhappy life. Except for my pre-college years I never wanted material things that I couldn’t have. I have a wife who I probably don’t deserve and some valuable friends along the way. It is just that my life could have been better if I had had the courage to dream a little more.

 

Tongue In Cheek..

I am going to do a little ‘explainin’ on this post about the foundations for RJsCorner. Everyone knows that a good house has to have a good foundation in order to survive. Since RJsCorner has been going on for almost nine years now and has over 3,000 posts it must have a pretty good foundation, even if it is not mentioned very often.

I started RJsCorner primarily because I had an overwhelming desire to write about my view of the world. I have always loved writing but had never tried to do it around a theme. I needed something as a common thread throughout my future posts. That something turned out to be based around my biggest hero/mentor/inspiration in life. His name was Will Rogers. He died almost 15 years before I was born so I really only knew him by his words and stories about him. If you do a search for “Will Rogers” in my search box at the top of each page you will find over a hundred posts about Will.

Will Rogers was a very prolific writer. Here are some words about him from the back of one of my favorite books:

2017-10-11_10-00-37.pngWill Rogers “was” America. Part Cherokee Indian and former cowboy, he captivated audiences around the world with sparkling gems of wisdom cloaked in gentle and uproarious country wit..

A simple, plain-spoken man, he was the voice of a nation during the ’20s and ’30s. Movie star, vaudeville headliner, radio commentator, his views and observations were syndicated daily and weekly in over 600 newspapers across the country.

Here is the essential Will Rogers — the story of his remarkable career, from Oklahoma “cowpuncher” to international star . . . and the warm, knowing and hilarious philosophies of the man embodied the heart and soul of the nation.

Will Rogers was a very prolific writer. He had a lot to say about the ‘human condition’ in America during his years. He tackled on a myriad of topics but by far the one he wrote most about was politics.  He described politics of his time as “applesauce”. It’s hard to find the original source of this term but to me it means that the political process takes something that is good and wholesome and pulverizes it into an unrecognizable mush.

His most famous quote was the title of the book above. He wrote some pretty critical words but they were always with respect for the subject at hand and with a dose of humor.

The descriptions of Will Rogers is quite varied. Some call him a humorist-social commentator, some a humorist-philosopher, and some a satirist. His words were primarily with a “Tongue In Cheek” spirit. For those of you who might have a different view from me on that phrase here is a pretty good definition:

When a statement is “tongue in cheek” it is ironic, slyly humorous; it is not meant to be taken seriously, however it’s sarcasm is subtle.

Though not meant to be taken seriously, it is not overt joking or kidding around, it is “gently poking fun”. A “tongue in cheek” statement may have a double meaning, some sort of innuendo or is witty in some way, particularly to the speaker. The tone or the context of the statement may make it to be taken seriously by the listener.

Here at RJsCorner I try to always keep Will’s philosophy of writing in mind.  Some who read my words just take them too literally when they are primarily intended as ‘tongue in cheek’.

These are indeed dark times for America but they are not the only time there have been dark clouds.  We will get through them as we have in the past, if we only don’t take them too serious.  In that vein I will close out this post with one of my favorite quotes from Will.

Do the best you can but don’t take life too serious.

That’s darn good advise for our times if you ask me….

Getting My Hopes Up…

I truly believe that I am an optimist at heart but being one is down right depressing at times, especially these times.  I have been thinking a lot about this lately and I have come to the conclusion that looking back ony seven plus decades on this earth can maybe be summed up by one word.

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I know at first thought that is kind of sad commentary on any life, but let me explain my version of disappointment.  All my life I have had high hopes. I always want everything to turn out the best it can be. As a result people, including myself, often disappoint me to one degree or another.  As a young boy I looked up to my father as the epitome of what a good person should be. Then one day I saw him do something that shredded that image. That might have been my first disappointment but it certainly would not be my last. Many many others would follow. One of my primary life lessons in this regard is that things are never as good as you hope nor as bad as you dread. Sometimes that helps ameliorate the situation but…

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In the end it just comes down to the fact that I expect too much from others and even myself.  I think that is because of my optimistic nature and that is something I proudly cling to.  Getting my hopes up does often result in disappointment but sometimes it results in joy and celebration.  I would rather have that than to go through life expecting nothing from anyone or anything in order to avoid disappointment.  Now, that would be a depressing way to spend my time, especially what I have left of it.  The celebration of the successes in life far outweigh the disappointments even if disappointment comes more frequently.  It is as simple as that for me.

A Gardening I Will Go…

I have been fascinated by gardens just about all of my life.  I think it started with Mrs. Forester when I was six years old.  She was a very old lady, at least in six year old terms, who lived next to us in urban Indianapolis.  I don’t know if she was widowed or just a spinster but she was always nice to me even though I was probably a pretty hyperactive kid that most old people have little tolerance for.

Mrs. Forseter’s back yard seemed like it was a palatial estate when in reality it was probably no more than 20 x30 feet. Her larkspurs seems to tower as high as the mighty redwoods of California. She also had a vegetable patch with things I had never seen like cauliflower and broccoli.  I was fascinated by the sight of her back yard.

It wouldn’t be long before I had my own garden even if it was only an 8 x 8 feet patch.  I proudly harvested the radishes and leaf lettuce for a family salad.  My first “real” garden wouldn’t happen until I was about 14 years old.  By then my mother had left for greener pastures taking my older brother with her.  That left Dad, me, and my younger brother.  Dad was pretty much a meat and potatoes guy typical of his generation so this country garden was mainly made up potatoes, corn and green onions along with some green beans and a few other simple veggies.

Veggie Gardens-4

My first trip to Mount Vernon and Monticello was with my class for a senior trip in high school.  The gardens there were simply amazing. During that trip in 1965 there was little mention of the fact that the gardens were maintained by slaves, that recognition would come about  twenty years later on my second of three trips.  I found that I was much like Thomas Jefferson in that I like to experiment with crops I had never grown.

Veggie Gardens-2

For the score of years between 1965 and 1986 there was little opportunity for a garden as I lived in apartments and a condo but I did have tomato plants and such on the deck. When the married version of myself finally got a stand alone home I decided to “do it up right” as far as a garden was concerned. This one had a fence around it and raised beds with paths of mulch.  It was my most picturesque garden but certainly not my last.

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When I retired in 2000 and moved to our current 2 1/2 acre homestead one of the first things I did was to buy a rear tine tiller at an auction and proceed to make a 25 x 50 feet veggie garden.  It would be the most productive garden I ever had and would continue for about ten years until my body started rebelling against all the bending over to maintain it.  I now have a 10 x 32 feet version with heavy duty landscape fabric on about 80% of it.  It is pretty much weed free without a lot of effort.

 

A.B.C.D vs Q.I.U.T.G

Some people live their lives one way and some another. Some think that for today they need to do A.B.C.D and then tomorrow repeat that sequence and continuing to do that the rest of their days. And then there are others who think that for today they need to do W.Q.E.T.Y and then tomorrow H.P.I.Y and avoiding as many repeats as possible.

I don’t know what makes some people A.B.C.D and some the opposite, but I know that my wife is of the former type and I am at the other end. Most of the adventures we have been on in our 31 years of marriage she was originally opposed to doing but now, at least sometimes, she looks back on them with joy. Our extended stay in Mexico for my job was one of them. Another was our 4-year stay in New Jersey. A recent one that I almost forced her to go on was a week long stay at Disney World. She still says that was just utter agony.

I don’t know what makes her such an extreme homebody who insists on an A.B.C.D life? Within a year of the day we were married she said she had to quit her job as life was just too stressful. She then started out her A.B.C.D life and it continues today pretty much as it has been for thirty years.

I, on the other hand, just get bored when I am forced to do the same thing for very long. I did work for the same company for 30 years which enabled me to get a pretty good pension but that 30 years was basically in four very different fields. When I retired I spent six years making country furniture including reproduction Hoosier Cabinets. But after that period of time I was totally bored with the work. Part of this for me is probably my Asperger’s Syndrome. I need constant stimulation to feel I am accomplishing anything. Once I get good at something, it’s time to move on the next thing.

From her perspective  I’m  sure that living with an Aspie has been difficult, especially a deaf one.  They say opposites attract and that is certainly true for us. For the most part we are happy and love each other but of course, our differences cause frequent conflicts.

Aspie Trait #2 – We are honest to a fault

Banner Aspie   We Aspies are usually brutally honest and speak our mind. Our allegiance is to the truth, not people’s feelings. Most people learn not to tell the truth all the time. Sometimes white lies need to be said so as not to hurt friends’ feelings. But white lies just seem immoral or at least illogical to many of us Aspies.

Of course, being brutally honest is not the way to make friends at least at a casual level so many of us lack those kinds of friendship growing up. I realize that I sometimes hurt people’s feeling here on RJsCorner by what I post. But usually, that is a secondary thought that only comes until after the post is written. Honesty to me is almost everything. I have come to realize that is one of the things that is making our current times, especially inside the Beltway Loony Bin almost intolerable to me. I just can’t fathom someone being celebrated for telling “alternative facts” that they know are untruthful.

One of those areas where being honest is lacking is in today’s religious establishments. I was asked to leave a Missouri Lutheran congregation because I openly said that I couldn’t accept that the earth is only 6,000 years old just because an old Jewish document written by hundreds, if not thousands of different people dated it with their counting the generations after the Adam and Eve story. That got me in trouble, but perhaps even more so that I just couldn’t make any sense of how current Christian practices changed so drastically from the words of their founder. It makes absolutely no sense to me.

Being honest is considered an asset by most in our society, but not in every circumstance. That is the part we Aspies can’t understand…

 

Three Weeks Post Brain Surgery…

Snippet Banner   It is hard to believe that three weeks ago right now I was in a cold sterile operating room with the top of my skull removed to fix a bleeding brain! Long story short, I am doing remarkedly well and anxious to get back to a normal routine. I haven’t suffered any seizures that are somewhat common for brain bleed surgeries and have really not had a lot of pain.  The doctor gave me a prescription for “heroin in a pill” but I have not found it necessary to take any of them as Tylenol has been doing the job well enough.  I go back to seeing the surgeon on Friday and am hoping for a go-ahead for the next stage of recuperation. I just might be able to get on my garden tractor for the first mowing of the Spring.

Just thought you might like to know.

Destroying The Work of Past Generations..

My wife is an avid watcher of TV, especially the ‘flipper’ shows where someone buys a house for $20,000 and puts some paint on it and then sells it for $40,000. To me, that very idea is WRONG on so many levels:

It Gives People The Wrong Idea — It is kind of like sports in my mind where a kid decides that he will be a professional in basketball/football, you name it. He then spends literally all his waking hours playing that sport to the exclusion of everything else. As a result, he is totally unprepared for life when he is among the 1 in 50,000 people to get that one job. To me, sports just wrecks too many people lives with false hopes to have much overall value.

The same can be said for the flippers. They leave the impression that easy money can be made for little or no effort. There is certainly a vast proliferation of these types of shows in cable/satellite channels now encouraging naive people to spend their hard earned dollars on something that will eventually bury them.

On another level, many are demolishing history — On my trips through the living room where my wife watches her shows I frequently see two twin brothers who are trying to convince people to let them remodel their homes. These guys just seem to have a way of dissing all the work of past generations. They snicker and sneer at anything that is older than 10 years old. They say “how can up possibly live in a house like this???” They then go about showing their potential customers that for a mere $50,000 or $100,000 they can make their home look “modern”. They are tearing down or remodeling older architecture instead of appreciating past generations of work!!

It amazes me that every home they, and so many other copycats, redo seems to look exactly the same when they are done. I wonder how many years will go by before another generation of flipper disses their work as being cookie cutter?

But in some way I guess I was a flipper too. When I retired from the corporate world we bought a 1925 farm house that had already gone through three bad renovations and flipped it for ourselves. The difference was that about half of what we spent was behind the walls. Much of the wiring had been done without a code inspector and was just plain dangerous. The well went dry after running only 5 minutes and required another 15 minutes to refill. duct work had to be added along with a new furnace and air conditioner. Since most of the period features of the house had been destroyed by the previous remodels we spent quite a bit of money to recreate them again.

We are in our 17th year living here now so according to standard flipper rules, everything needs to be updated. We have too much carpet, not enough granite and only two bathrooms. That’s just plain unacceptable by today’s standards. The trouble at least for them is I like it just as it is. Especially since I built much of it myself.

My Personal Experience with Brain Trauma – Part 3

Before the surgery, I really had no idea who Dr. P was or what he looked like. (I am not using his full name here as I don’t have permission from him and don’t want to intrude on his privacy). Looking at him when he delivered the good post-surgery news I discovered he was a sixty-year-old or so guy with white hair and a neatly trimmed mustache. He came in a couple more times that day to check on me. When my wife was not there to sign for me he always grabbed the paper and pencil to give me a “normal” conversation and that is very unusual for a doctor to do. Most of the time they almost refuse to write things down for me, let alone chitchat. I don’t know why but doctors are especially bad at that, but not this one. Dr. P went out of his way to treat me like one of his friends.

I also noticed that he was wearing jeans and a regular shirt. I later found out that he was one of the most popular of the 350 doctors with the staff at my hospital. He never wears a tie or suit and drives an old pickup truck! He is unlike any other doctor I have ever had. You would never guess that he was a brain surgeon but instead maybe a farmer! It turns out that he also did the brain surgery of a good friend of mine who helps me around the homestead and like me, he simply loves Dr. P. I look forward to seeing him in the future for follow-up recuperation appointments.

Sam, short for Samatha, was my critical care daytime RN for the two days I was in that part of the hospital. We spent quite a bit of time together and I felt I got to know her pretty well. She is a “traveling RN”, that is she moves around the country working in one hospital then another. Her last stint was in Alaska. She works three twelve hour shifts in the CCU and then has the rest of the week off to explore. She is a millennial who shuns high heels and makeup but has a very natural beauty that quickly shines through. She says she wants to be known for what she does, not what she puts on her body. With people like her in charge of the future of our country, I feel confident that it is in good hands indeed.  I met a kindred spirit in Sam those two days but she was not the only one.

Keli, the night RN was very different from Sam but just as confident in her abilities to take care of herself. Being deaf, I seem to be able to draw out people with their family stories of adversity and her father has his share. He is my age and facing a very difficult time in his life. I tried to give some moral support.

I interacted with perhaps a dozen different people and every one of them was friendly and very good at their jobs  My hospital might not be the biggest one in the area but in my opinion, it is the best. The road ahead for me is not going to be particularly easy but with their support, I will handle whatever comes toward me.

I left out some interesting stories about my stay but I think that is enough for now.  I”m sure in the future I will be filling in some holes in this dramatic experience.

Off To The Operating Room For Brain Surgery

My Personal Experience with  Brain Trauma – Part 2

In the last post, I left off just before my consult with a brain surgeon. When the ER doctor told me I had a chronic brain bleed because of my fall that scared me more than I have been in a long time.  When the surgeon told me he needed to go in and fix it and to relieve the pressure, my life didn’t flash before my eyes but I was thinking this could be the end. After I agreed to the surgery I started thinking about what if these were my last hours?

I told my wife I didn’t want to scare her too much but here is the password for my computer if you need to get into anything financial.  I have paid all the bills and have for some time and since she is seven years older than me it was just assumed that she would go first so she didn’t need to know the details. From this lesson, I learned that we need to be prepared for any circumstance so in the coming days I will be laying out what is where and what needs to be done if I can’t do it.

2017-03-10_18-28-33.pngIt was about 1:30 pm when I signed the consent forms and then a couple of people came in to start IV lines. I soon discovered that one of them was an RN but the other was a  trainee. Long story short, I think they give all us seniors as practice cushions for those who haven’t learned about veins and such as this guy struggled with finding a place to put the needle. When he actually tried to insert it his hands were shaking. After several failed attempt the teacher finally took over and two IVs were in place.

As I was about to go into the operating room at 3:00 pm I told them that I have a prostate problem and my bladder would likely lock up so I suggested they put in a catheter while in the operating room to take care of that. The people taking me in kind of nodded agreement. Then it was off to the cold sterile room to be cut for the first time.  I saw several scrub nurses and the anesthesiologist but didn’t see the surgeon before I was put under. I said a quick prayer and then was out.

Of course, it seemed like I then woke immediately up with several people hovering over me mouthing words which of course I couldn’t understand. At first, I thought, “is this what heaven is like?” but quickly lost that thought and realized I had made it through the surgery. I laid in post-op it seemed like an hour or more and then it was off to a Critical Care room. Dr. P., my hero of the day, was there pretty quickly saying that everything went well and all the bleeding was taken care of and now it was on to a month-long recuperation period.

My Personal Experience with Brain Trauma & The US Healthcare System- Part 1

It started out in the barnyard of my 2.5-acre homestead. The fence there is old and many of the posts were broken. Since the fence is no longer necessary and is only a hindrance to mowing now I decided I would remove it during these winter months. While I was doing that a couple of weeks ago. I as best as I can remember tried to pull done an already broken post. Long story short I ended on the ground with the post on top of me. That was mistake 1, don’t take any fall as nothing of consequence.

2017-03-09_16-43-26.pngSince I was alone I don’t really know if I lost conscience but thinking about it afterward that was likely the case. The first thing I remembered is wondering why I was lying on the ground and what I was doing before? That should have given me a clue that the fall was not typical of my clumsy self but something more serious.  But as ornery as I am I refused to believe it was serious.  I picked myself up and continued to take down the rest of that section of fence. It was not until I got out of bed the next day that I discovered some serious neck pain and a headache. I decided that all I needed was some ibuprofen and everything would be fine.  That was mistake 2, don’t take blood thinner with a brain injury.

The headaches continued for another three days while I was doing some heavy lifting and extreme activity at least for a seventy-year-old guy. I had just gotten a new 50 lb battery for my RV and managed to get it installed. That was mistake 3, don’t lift heavy things when you have a brain injury. It was not until day 5 that I noticed that for some reason my left leg just didn’t want to go where I want it to. It started out with just one short instance but over the course of the next few days became more frequent.  That was mistake 4, I should have realized that this was something more serious but since it was now a weekend I decided to wait until Monday to see my doctor. Since I am deaf my wife called for me and told him what had happened he told me to go immediately to the emergency room in Bloomington which is 20 miles away as they can do all the tests to determine the severity.

2017-03-09_16-45-28.pngWe were taken into the ER doctor pretty quickly but he just didn’t seem to be very interested, he kept looking at his watch while I was describing what happened.  I guess he thought what I was saying was unnecessary since he had already decided to get a cat-scan done.  A few minutes later I was in the donut hole of a scanner for the two minutes it took to do my head scan. It wasn’t long before I returned to my room that he came back and said that I had a subdural hematoma, i.e. a brain bleed and a neurosurgeon would soon be in to see me. Of course, that made me go into a panic mode thinking of all the possibilities.

This seems to be a good place to stop here until the next time…

 

Beulah..

5star-banner We lost our beloved Beulah about three years ago now, but I still think of her quite often. She was always entangled in my feet on the couch for the occasional afternoon naps.  Whenever I said anything that even remotely sounded like “walk” she would get excited and rush to the door.   We decided not to replace her as a new canine member of the household would likely outlive us.  I have had pets all my life and although I do love Dexter, our cat, it is just not the same.

I even got to admit that I kind of miss the snow too.  We only had a one-inch day so far and with the February days in the 60s, I don’t suspect we will get another. But global warming is just a hoax..  🙂

Beulah.jpg

About Deafness — Chapter 92

I realized that it has been quite some time since I put out a post primarily about deafness. But the title of “chapter 92” is kind of made up.  🙂  This particular chapter is the result of an episode on the CBS News – Sunday Morning about being in an anechoic chamber. First off the program mentioned is not really about “news” but more of like On the Road with Charles Kuralt but with Indiana’s own Jane PauleyNow I know I am dating myself with this reference but for those of you who don’t know about “On The Road..” check it out on Wikipedia.

2017-02-12_10-01-21.pngGetting back to the anechoic chamber story, it was about a couple of guys who were amazed at the experience of sitting an anechoic chamber.  I have some personal experience with this as I rather frequently used a chamber in my early engineering years. I was hearing, at least to some degree, at that time and agree that is it a unique experience. An anechoic chamber basically stops all ambient noise.

Anyway the guys mentioned that they could hear each other’s breath and even when they moved their eyebrows.  I kind of doubt the eyebrow comment but they said this was an experience they have never had before.  That got me to thinking that I have been in an anechoic chamber for almost thirty years now, but not really.

To explain that a little further, I am plagued with tinnitus which is ringing in my ears. For me is it two frequencies overlapping each other. One is a low rumble and the other is a whistle type sound. They are constantly in my head.  Thank heavens that my brain is able to just ignore them most of the time but not always, especially when  I think of them as I am now. The roar would probably drive a hearing person to insanity. They say that Van Gogh suffered from tinnitus and that is the reason he cut off his hear.  I don’t know about that but it is an interesting story 🙂

I was hearing impaired most of my life and knew that one day I would go deaf. Luckily that day didn’t come until I was about forty.  I remember in my hearing aid days wondering what it would be like to not be able to hear anything. I once even tried to simulate it by keeping my head under water in the bathtub but then I could still hear the lower frequency sounds of the water and the tub so that just didn’t work.

It turns out that as is often the case it is not possible to simulate total deafness except in an anechoic chamber and even then you can hear yourself breathe.  One of the things that Helen Keller said when someone asked her which sense she would like to have the most either hearing or sight.  She said hearing as that is what keeps you attached to people. That kind of surprised me as I would have chosen sight but their is certainly a lot of truth in her words. being deaf is not for sissies…

 

 

Free-Range Kids..

2017-02-01_06-09-05.pngI know that free-range chickens are now quite a fad especially when you hear stories about the other method of raising them. I don’t know but I guess people tend to think that they taste better because they have a variety of weeds, stones, and such to eat. Myself I prefer the $4.88 roasted chickens from Sam’s Club. 🙂

This post is not really about chickens but a story about my youth. I was definitely a free-range kid.  I roamed the neighborhood, at least a couple blocks of it.  As long as I was home for supper I usually didn’t get into any trouble.

Well I admit that I did get into some trouble . Me and Johnny Gallagher liked to visit the mushroom factory a couple of blocks away. It really wasn’t a factory as such but more like a couple of metal building and a giant pile of cow manure out back. We especially liked to climb the trees out front. That’s where I got into trouble. While climbing one day I grabbed hold a a dead limb and fell out of the tree. Unfortunately I fell onto a old metal picket type fence and drove it into my back. That meant a trip to the ER with a nearly pierced lung. But in the end everything turned out OK.

While we were still a family, me and my two brothers walked to school each day. It was about 4 blocks from the house and we only had to cross one busy street so my parents thought that was ok to do.

One of my neighborhood adventures during those years was to visit a small lumber yard about four blocks from the house. The owner there would allow us to go through his scrap pile of loose ends from cutting boards to size. Over time I got quite a bit of wood from that pile but don’t really remember making anything with it.

2017-02-01_06-02-20.pngAnother memorable route was to the drug store on Pendleton Pike. It was about eight blocks from the house so that was usually the outer bounds of my travels.  They had a soda fountain there that for 15 cents you could get a “Suicide” which as a soda with a bunch of different flavors squirts. We didn’t go there often since my 35 cent weekly allowance was usually spent of a Saturday movie and with popcorn it took all that money.

I was a free range kid and except for the fall it didn’t harm me. In fact it taught me how to be adventurous. Even if I didn’t take that lesson to heart enough in my adult years.  I see that the statistics show that you are no more likely to be abducted now than you were in my adventurous days sixty years ago so I guess most parents are just much more cautious now. But I do wonder if kids were more free-range now would they get out from behind their video games and out into the neighborhood and maybe even grow up to be better adults?

Oh, The Food…

I just realized that I have not given a truly autobiographical post in quite some time so here goes. This one is about my college years and particularly how I earned a major portion of the money needed to pay for my education.

cafeteria-yearsWhen I was in college now fifty years ago one of the things that almost everyone, or at least those in the dormitories, complained about is how bad the food in the cafeteria is. Its kind of like hospital food I guess. You are not supposed to like it. But, as usual, I take a different stand.  Without cafeteria food I would not have gotten a diploma from Purdue University. An so the story begins.

My first trip to Purdue in 1965 was a week before that year’s classes were to begin. In those days we had orientation programs to prepare us for college life. That trip to the campus was in the back seat of one of my high school friends new convertible.  He was not going to college but instead intended to work in his father’s gas station. Being a new minted high school graduate in the 1960s with a new car meant that he went FAST wherever he drove. This seventy mile jaunt was in the back seat of the convertible going 100 mph down a state road with me clinging to all my worldly possessions contained in a cardboard box and a small suitcase. But, I am getting off topic here so back to the subject of food.

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The students were the waiters and servers. There was professional managing the food prep and planning.  Mrs. Holmes on the far left was probably my favorite, almost a mother that I never had…

When I first stepped foot on campus I had enough to pay my first semester’s room and board and tuition and a little more. I had no idea how I was going to pay for the rest of the year let along the rest of my college days.  Living in the cheapest dorm on campus meant that I ate all my meals at the Fowler House Dining Room.  I thought the food was pretty good but heard so many comment about how bad it was! Compared to my cooking it was better. I did most of the cooking for Dad, my brother and me in my high school years. Being on a limited budget and the fact that Dad only like his meat and potatoes I wasn’t subjected to much of a variety of foods.

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That’s me the second from the right (with my arm around my boss!)

Anyway, I soon discovered that the cafeteria used students as the majority of the labor needed to put out about 7,000 meals a week. I was a shy guy back then and held off for a few weeks before I applied for a job there.  Within a few months or so I was working about 40 hours per week at 90 cents an hour. I would continue in that mode for the five years I was there. But I did eventually become the head waiter which was the highest student position and that paid almost $2 per hour. But it was enough, along with my summer jobs to barely get me through those years.

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Some of my fellow worker who I was too shy to ask for a date..

For the first time in my life I made many friends working in that dormitory cafeteria. When I last visited there in 2015 the building housing the cafeteria was still there but repurposed into a child development center.  The dormitory buildings had been torn down and replaced in the 1970s and even that replacement building was torn down an replaced in 2010 or so.

My college years were a hard time for me but also some of my most joyous years of my life thanks to the relationships I had in the cafeteria.