After high school, I went to the University of Iowa. Crammed four years of study into five, as they say. Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, I guess. Started taking calculus and engineering stuff, but found it boring, so I quit that and decided to create things instead. I got a degree in English. 🙂 Got invited to participate for a one semester honors project in the Graduate Writer’s Workshop. That was fun. Soon after, I had to start paying the bills, and started wishing I’d stayed in those engineering classes.
Met my wife, Sandy, in Campus Crusade for Christ. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and I’ve always been a dreamer. Go figure. But, we shared our faith in Jesus Christ, and besides, she was cute, and could sing. I was never very good at talking to girls, so I wrote her a song, and sang it to her while the sun was setting and the moon was rising, on a grassy hill overlooking the pastoral summertime Iowa countryside in Benton City Park (which is really a county park but I think somebody ordered the signs wrong), near Vinton, Iowa, and she said “yes”, and we were married on December 3rd, 1977.
In April, of 2011, we celebrated our 33-1/3 LP edition anniversary. Yeah, we do the regular anniversary thing, too, but if you’re old enough to remember what LP stands for, you’ll understand why we made it a Weekend to Remember.
Along the way, we brought six children into the world; all girls, except for three of them. Once, when a childless-by-choice co-worker was complaining that my six children were giving me an unfair advantage with the IRS, I looked him in the eye and said, “Yeah, but then again, I’m raising six citizens who will help pay for your social security,” and he stopped complaining.
We now have one son left in high school, one son going off to college in the fall, and one daughter in med school and the Air Force. Four of our children are married. Three grandchildren are expected in 2011, bringing that total to five. So far…
My wife has been blessed, all these years, with the privilege of homeschooling all six children. Sometimes, it has been exasperating, but I don’t think she would have had it any other way. As for me, I…well, I’ve worked. English degrees don’t do you much good unless you (a) teach, (b) go to graduate school, or (c) write the great American novel. I didn’t want to teach. I started MBA work three times, but life got in the way, and I only completed a few classes, while working occasional 84 hour weeks for the family, as a machinist, a quality inspector, an industrial electrician, and now as an engineering tech. And, I haven’t had much time for writing that novel. I have, however, kept creative to a degree by writing a lot of songs, as a hobby. That “life gets in the way” stuff is real good material for a writer. 🙂
For my 39th birthday, I ran the Bix in 39 minutes. Actually, that was in a Bix-at-Six. I don’t remember what my time was running with the cattle on race day. When I was 40, I rode my Peugeot 40 miles on the Sparta-Elroy trail, pausing near the end of the long railroad tunnel at 3pm, the time of my birth, to enjoy the natural splendor of the cool cave arch exiting to a blissful summer day. It was real rebirthy-like. When I was 50, I bought a tenor saxophone, and learned to play it. I had wanted one when I was in Jr. High, but my father couldn’t afford it, so my uncle gave me his old cornet. Not the same.
Now, as we all approach 60, I’m thinking again. There are a few things I’d still like to do, like walk the entire Appalachian Trail, or ride in the Iron Butt Classic motorcycle rally (11,000 miles in 11 days). Or…
…how about a bunch of us get together and ride 60 roller coasters in 60 days!? What do you say, are you up for it? Anyone…? Anyone…?