Having given a lot of thought about whether I should or should not give any history about myself is being considered by me. On one hand there is a risk that anyone reading this info might be inclined to do something with it I might not like. On the other I feel compelled to write stuff down, probably because my own mortality is getting close to the end now that I have passed year number 70. Never figured I would make it this far having lived a high risk life during my younger years. But here I am, now what?

 

Maybe it would be a good idea that I explain myself or at least give a short explanation about why I think I exist. Or maybe how I came to be, not in the usual sense of the word but more biased in the direction of reality, real life so to speak. Originally born in Illinois with my first few years spent living in an old plantation house on the banks of the Illinois river. The entire town consisted of about three blocks wide by ten blocks long or so with an area further up the way reserved for the company officers and office workers. This was a company town, it was the eastern terminal for it's zinc mines out west, zinc ore received from it's mines was processed here. The place was heavily polluted with the factory waste being run off into the Illinois river as was the practice at that time. I recall the spring floods coming right up to the back door of our home, typical small town almost like something you would see on a poster. Band concerts in the summer, carnival or circus in the fall. This was the kind of education that started out with the Jack and Jill books which had to be purchased every year by the parents, no free lunch then. Everything you used in the school had to be supplied by your parents. It was the fourth grade that my father decided that the family had to get out of town. The stacks of the zinc plant poured out a daily deluge of poisonous smoke, it was making us ill. I know this was a tough decision for him leaving behind everything we knew, all our family and relatives were located in this one small area of Illinois.

 

For me that decision sent my life off on another completely different track. I know for sure that where I have been and what I have become would never have occurred if the family had not chosen to move to Colorado. It was the other end of the zinc ore system, a hard rock mine in the middle of White River National Forest. As I kid I anticipated moving to the land of where cowboys lived and rode, of course nothing could be further from the truth. But without this relocation I know my life would have been considerably different and quite possibly I never would have served in the military. I really recommend that every male serve some time in one of the branches of military service we have. It is a unique opportunity in ones life to not only serve ones country but to expand your view of the world and learn what it takes to be a citizen and a positive member of our society. Sounds like a lecture I know but still would any of my shipmates be willing to fore-go their experience . Yes the draft was still going strong when I signed up for it, but I don't think anyone joined the Navy or Air Force just to escape being drafted in the Army. I know I didn't, I wanted to see the world, just like it said on the recruitment posters.

 

Having gotten out of high school with I was still 17 I decided to wait until I was 18. That way any decision making would be mine alone, I would not be able to blame anyone except myself for anything stupid I might do. The nearest recruiting office was 60 miles down the road in Glenwood Springs, Colo. When I walked in the door the chief and his partner there were really happy to see me. Of course now I know why, they do have to recruit an adequate number of men to make keeping the office open worthwhile. But that was the start, within a week I would be heading off for San Diego.