Election — 2012

It’s not too far away to look at the 2010 Elections and the Presidential election of 2012 – SO, I have a few suggestions that I want to put forth:



(That spells VETO!)

MY LIFE’S PROGRESSION – Part One (click the pix to read more)

 

(NOTE: Much of what I will be covering in this “Featured” area will be excerpts from my biography that can be found by clicking on the link (banner) in the header of this site.)


Here is where it all started – well, after my first year and a half in Salem/Roanoke, Virginia! We moved to the southwestern part of the Commonwealth of Virginia where my dad found employment near the end of the “Great Depression”. I had two brothers and one beautiful sister.

 

Big Stone Gap, VA is a small town of around 6,000 residents in the mountainous southwest area of the Commonwealth, near Bristol. It was a great place to grow up; kinda “sleepy”, but with a very low crime rate and everyone knew everyone else! We were pretty much secluded; NOT backward, just sheltered from many of the undesirable traits found elsewhere. It was first a “bedroom community” for the “officials” working for the mines and the railroad.

 

Although small, we had many people from the area who reached fame and prominence; US Senator, writers and folklorists, even a Governor. Actor George C. Scott was from a community just 20 miles away. Y. A Tittle, NFL football player of the ‘60s, 30 miles. Francis Gary Powers of “U-2 plane crash in Russia” fame was from the area. And I am from there!

 

Many of my classmates have doctorates; one was a Superintendent of Schools in the Washington, DC, area, and yet another close friend is Professor Emeritus of Law from a University in Richmond, VA, and she  is regularly invited to teach at several universities in Europe, including Ireland and Germany. I barely made it out of high school!

 

We did have quality education in our (County) school system. Many of our teachers came to us from other states so we did get a flavor about “the outside world”! And, the curricula was well-rounded; no holds barred!

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Because of its small size many of the young people are forced to leave the area searching for employment. Less than 20% of the people raised there remained there. But, another 10-15%, after somewhat satisfying careers elsewhere, migrate “back to the Gap” for their retirement years. That substantiates the phrase: “you can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy”!

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I was fortunate to have “found Christ” at a very young age while a member of the Episcopal Church there. That formed the foundation of my “spiritual life” that was to be further enhanced in later years.


 

Now, move on to Part Two – Germany

MY LIFE’S PROGRESSION – Part Two (click the pix to read more)

After failing to find satisfactory employment at home, I joined the U.S. Army. This provided an avenue for me to “see the world” and have opportunity for the “G I Bill” (education) since my dad couldn’t afford to provide higher education.

Following my training at Fort Benning, GA, “Home of the Rangers”, and at my choice, I went to Germany. This turned out to be one of the “major” (pardon the pun) good choices in my life. As a peacetime Army, our duties were less rigid and I was in the middle of Europe – a mecca for traveling!

I visited (East & West) Berlin two years before the “wall” went up, spent weekends in Austria (a most beautiful place, similar to the  above Alps photo) and Italy, primarily visiting the island city of Venice.

Venice was a most unusual place with no streets or cars, just canals and boat – thousands of boats! At the Doge’s (Duke’s) Palace courtyard, every afternoon at 2:00 sharp (the bell in the clock tower announces their arrival on the last “gong”), pages bring out buckets of corn and other feed and scatter it, and literally tens of thousands of pigeons swoop into the area. There is a mad thrashing as they eat up every grain and then quickly fly away – to come back on the morrow. But, watch where you step!

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I spent much time exploring and photographing castles and other historic places. I went to an Army electronics school south of Munich in a little town (Lenggries) that was at the foot of the Alps (which touches 7 countries!) ! Every afternoon after class I went up the ski-lift and was swept away up the side of the +10,000 foot mountain. The scenery was gorgeous, just like that of the opening scenes of the film “The Sound of Music”.

Strangely, ALL the 1000’s of slides I made while in Europe mysteriously disappeared in my move to Florida. I hope they are stored in a box somewhere. And, I left my lederhosen in Bavaria.

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I established several life-long friendships while in the Army. At least one of them was “in touch” regularly until he passed away a few years ago. You can read about Wesley in my bio; he was the dulcimer maker.

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After the three years in the Army, I was “honorably” discharged with the permanent rank of Private! I went back home. I never did use the “G I Bill”  for education – you’ll understand why in the next section.


MY LIFE’S PROGRESSION – Part Three (click the pix to read more)

Following my discharge from the Army, I worked as a Dispatcher in the Town of Big Stone Gap, VA, Police Department. That lasted a little over a year. During this time I “found” my future wife, Teresa Brickey. After a courtship and engagement of one year (we were old-fashioned; we allowed time to “get acquainted” before we married, just to be sure (NO, we didn’t live together during that time – that was a “no-no”– and her dad had a shotgun)). We were married in 1962.

Six month before we married, I moved to Erwin, TN, another small town, and started work as Chief Engineer at a (the) radio station there. In the eighteen years at that job in Erwin, I stepped through the ranks up to Station Manager.

Erwin was the headquarters of the Clinchfield Railroad that carried only freight (no passenger cars), primarily coal, from the mines in SW Virginia and Kentucky to Spartanburg, SC. From there, other railroad lines carried it throughout the South.

Eventually, in the late ‘70s – early ‘80s the Clinchfield was sold to the Southern Systems and moved the Erwin offices and shops to Savannah, GA and Jacksonville, FL (the Clinchfield is now part of the CSX Rail System).  Plus, in the early ‘50s, four other major local employers shut down operations. That pretty much made Erwin a ghost town! But, creativity in the economic development people there started bringing in other diverse industries and today Erwin is making a good comeback.

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Following marriage, we decided to wait a few years before starting a family. Teresa went to Cosmetology school and became a hair dresser, eventually owning two beauty shops. She was very talented and quite successful in that field.

Then we found out that we, medically, could not have children! So, we applied to adopt a child. In TN at the time, adoptions were done through a State agency. A year later we were bless with a little five-month-old girl whom we named Tracie. You can read her story at THIS site.

Over three years later, our naturally-born son, Marty, made his appearance, to the surprise of the doctors! But Marty has always been able to make things happen – even after his delivery!

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During the years we spent in Erwin, we were involved with the Erwin Presbyterian Church. It was there that we experienced an enhanced relationship with the Lord. More on that later.

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In 1978, I left the radio station; I felt that I had gone as far “up the ladder” that I could in that field, at that location. I went to the local telephone company as a Microwave Technician and spent nearly three years in that (well-paying) position. Then in 1982, I got a call to go to Florida!