So why am I going to tell you the story of my life? There certainly could be many answers to this. It would be undeniable that there are many people with tales much more interesting than mine, (I don't ever expect a movie to be made from this), and there is also no doubt that there are gazillions who would have no interest in telling their stories at all or, for that matter, listening to the stories of others. If you're one of those you probably won't want to read on. You can pack up your reading glasses and head back to the home page. There are also many people that will only share their lives as if putting together a resume, hitting a couple high spots, major accomplishments, educational backgrounds, celebrity roasts and such. I could do that, but it would be pretty shortsighted even if it did get me a job somewhere (not that I need one.) I think the major relevance to an extended "autobiography" like this is to allow me to review my own life, memories, and experiences, and to reflect and learn from them, especially since I probably didn't learn anything the first time. Another reason might be to give you some insight into the workings of a creative individual, whether that person's creative output was high quality work or otherwise (that's up to you to decide). After all, without creative people there would be no one to entertain those who wish to be entertained, and so to those that seek entertainment this kind of story becomes unique. But maybe the best reason of all... why not?

Anna Hlapcik was born in 1905 in or around Kenosha, Wisconsin, to parents that immigrated from Bohemia and Germany/Poland at the turn of the 20th century. Born in the St. Louis area, also in 1905, Fred Huntman was an engineer of sorts. How the two, from different parts of the midwest, met is unknown to this storyteller, but despite the mystery Fred and Anna married in 1925. One of his primary jobs was to adjust and calibrate compasses on various water-going vessels. On August 31, 1951, Fred was on board a boat moored in a Chicago harbor on Lake Michigan, doing what he did best, when an explosion occurred, knocking him unconscious and into the water. Fred drowned that day. He was my mother's father. Three days later, on September 3, I was born in suburban Chicago, the first of Fred's 16 grandchildren. To hear the stories, it was more than bittersweet. My mother (Shirley Huntman) had to endure losing her father, but then gave birth to the first child of many in her family, me, something her father was not there to see. My mother's family was always very strong and I always felt close to my aunts Marilyn, (my Godmother), Janette, and Judy, and my uncle Phillip. In my youth we attended many family gatherings and reunions both in the Chicago area and in downstate Illinois, where most of the family on her father's side had originated. Visits to Kenosha to visit grandmother's side were also not unheard of.

William Taylor (Sr.) was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1897. Miriam Delaney was born in 1901, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Delaney's moved to Collingswood, NJ and it was there that William and Miriam met and in 1920, married. William worked in industrial sales for a couple of different companies over the years. Miriam was a housewife, which was pretty much standard procedure in the early 20th century. While Miriam's story was fairly unassuming (at least insofar as I know), the family did have some interesting connections. Miriam's sister, Marguerite (Aunt Peggy), married Henry Lofft (Uncle Harry), whose sister was noted award-winning children's book author Margerite di Angeli. To progress a little farther, di Angeli's daughter Nina, married the son of the great American composer, pianist, and educator, Vincent Persichetti. I was not aware of the Persichetti connection until I read Margerite di Angeli's autobiography "Butter at the Old Price", and unfortunately, only had minimal communication with this aunt-in-law, though I do have and have read a number of her books. William Taylor Jr. was born in Collingswood in 1922.

The Taylors eventually moved to Elmhurst, Illinois, in the Chicago area, and it was there, during college, that William Jr. met Shirley. While Dad had pretty much declared when he met Mom, that this was the woman he was going to marry, the progress was interrupted by World War II. He joined the army and ended up fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, where he suffered a severe leg wound in the process of taking out a German machine gun nest, which hospitalized him for a year. I honestly do not know the exact series of events during this period, but Mom and Dad married in 1950, and I came along late the next year. Unfortunately, much as Mom wanted it Dad refused to ever go to France again, or even Europe.

Mom and Dad were pretty amazing. The best words I could use to describe them would be "incredibly benign." While there were, on very rare occasions, differences of opinion between them, I never, in my entire life of experiences with them, heard them raise their voices at each other or hurl any sort of harsh word. While we did, as kids, manage to push them now and again, even when they were angry they were totally reasonable. If you wanted to tell a story of emotional upheaval you would not want to choose my parents as protagonists, but if you wanted the best possible parents you could ever ask for, mine would be the ones you'd select.


I was born in Elmhurst, Illinois, suburban Chicago, in 1951, a Virgo... which only means anything when I want it to. Harry Truman was president, the Korean War had not yet reached its halfway point, Stalin announced the Soviet Union had the "bomb", penicillin reached a new level of mass production, and color television was first introduced. My unremembered childhood was pretty unremarkable unless you want to count the ten days I spent in an iron lung with pneumonia at about age 2 1/2. Apparently it didn't mean a whole lot to me, though I understand my parents were more than a little concerned.

Like his father, Dad was an industrial valve salesman in Chicago, but apparently hadn't yet finally decided where he should pursue his career. About the same time as my illness Dad changed jobs and we moved to Wadsworth, Ohio for a year or so. Somehow the house we had previously occupied in Lombard was still available when he decided to return and go to work for his dad at Powell Valves, and so we moved back into it.

My first brother came along about four years after me at about which time my folks decided to add a room onto the back of the house. I don't remember Mom's piano before then, but it was moved there where I have since always remembered it. During our period in that house, which lasted until I was about 7, the events I remember, while not necessarily major, were probably most significant in developing my approach to life. Among the physical traumas like scraping up a knee while trying to learn to ride a bicyle and landing on a nail jumping out of a tree in the park down the street, there was the indelible image of being "trapped" in a tunnel built by neighborhood boys. This tunnel was actually no more than a shallow ditch covered with a few sheets of plywood and sprinkled over with dirt. I was the first one ushered into it and had I been cognizant of how easily I could have escaped by pushing up on the wooden cover I might not have been so freaked out. It also would not have been so disconcerting if the other end of the "tunnel" actually opened to the other side, but it had only the one entrance, a poor example of civil engineering if you were to ask me. I did manage to convince the others that my preference would be to allow me to extricate myself from the confinement, though I'm sure I was forever labeled as the chicken who didn't want to be buried alive!

I suppose later I might have found retribution at a birthday party in the same house, though it also proved to be rather a matter of moral education. The party was in the basement of the afore-mentioned offending house. Numerous games were set up for play, but it was pin-the-tail-on-the-whatever that would suffuse me with an early sense of fairness that I would thenceforth feel obligated to nurture. The game is traditionally inaugurated by placing a blindfold on the player, spinning him around several times, then handing him the tail to attempt to accurately pin. On my turn the blindfold was tied around my head and over my eyes and I was asked if I could see anything. I said I could not. That was a lie. I actually was able to see just enough under the mask that I could recognize the world around me. I was spun around numerous times and pointed in the general direction of the target. While I may have given the appearance of randomly reaching out, the dead giveaway should have been, if in fact it wasn't, my successful placement of the tail exactly where it was supposed to be. I won. But I really didn't. I never felt good about that episode, despite my struggles in the tunnel. It had to be that early signal in life that there was a thing called morality, even if I did not yet know the word existed.

In one manner or another I have been a musician all my life. Both my parents were fine musicians in the Chicago area. Dad, William Russell Taylor, though a valve salesman by day, was also a trumpet player who ran the Bill Russell Orchestra from his high school days until he was nearly 80 and no longer had the strength to lug equipment around or lung capacity or lip to make much noise on any of his horns; and Mom, Shirley Ann Huntman, a trained classical pianist who, at age 14, performed the Grieg Piano Concerto with the Chicago Youth Symphony, and eventually expanded her musical world playing jazz and big band when she married Dad and took over as pianist in his orchestra.

At 5, Mom started teaching me piano, which I pursued for about a year, then gave up because I didn't want to work on scales and exercises, I wanted to play "real" music. (Silly me.) Nevertheless, it was the musical foundation on which everything else was built. At seven, Dad handed me an Olds trumpet and started teaching me to play it. Having gone through the piano escapade, the frustration of being taught by a parent led me to lessons with Stewart Liechti, but at least this new frustration was not enough to overcome the love for music that was growing within me. I continued playing trumpet until about the 6th grade, age 11, when braces on my teeth forced me to find an instrument that had a mouthpiece large enough that would not cause me pain and suffering as I played... this would logically be the tuba. But that's a little later.

Kindergarten 1956, was full of new experiences. Finger painting was one that tended to stick out, and maybe "stick" is the operative word. Seems to me I used my fingers to make stick figures and stick houses, stick sun and stick sky, not really anything you'd want to hang on your refrigerator. Certainly I, as forever my own worst critic, was never happy with much of it.

I developed my first crush that year on a girl who lived a couple houses up and across the street from us, Karen Bailey. For my 6th birthday I wanted to invite her to the party my parents were hosting, but was told she couldn't come because her grandmother had just died. I don't think I really understood that at the time, but I suppose it eventually sunk in. Still, it was a big disappointment for me. If you look at the class picture that year I sat in front of her with a very sheepish look on my face... the result of mixed emotions from being close to her and not knowing how to act being close to her. This is what they call awkward.

By first grade I was walking back and forth to school on my own, though usually with friends. In that school year I remember the cigar box filled with valentine hearts I'd spent hours cutting out and decorating and that I never gave to another classmate, another Karen (Kirstling) on whom I had another crush. Walking home with her one afternoon, as I left her at her door she planted a kiss on my cheek. This was my first kiss and both exhilirating and stupyfying. (Do you get the impression that my experiences with girls was always going to be peppered by emotional dualities?)

Third grade, 1959, happened at a new school, Edgewood and was the only grade to happen there. After that it was back to Westmore where my first classes had occurred. Certainly by this year many things that would stick with me for life were beginning to appear, especially music, art, and morality. By this time, age 8, I was well-versed in reading and playing music. Our class was provided with tonettes, small recorder-type instruments, to introduce us to the performance of music. I really never thought about it at the time, but I expect relatively few classmates had ever had the exposure the music that I was fortunate to have and so didn't really understand why everyone was having so much difficulty playing these cute little instruments. I was frequently called upon to demonstrate for the class just what the thing and the tunes were supposed to sound like.

By this time we were all (insofar as I know) reading, and math and the multiplication tables became imprinted in our young little heads. Creative assignments were given and I relished them. 1959 was the year that both Alaska and Hawaii were admitted to the Union. I wrote two reports that year, with one state each as subject. They included somewhat crude illustrations I'd made. For Hawaii I even wrote a poem. I'm not sure if there was one for Alaska as well.

Then came morality with a hint of ethics. As I'd reflected earlier in my pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey story, morality was finding a home in me, but not always as ratioinally as it should. During this year in school we had a small assembly in which a puppet show was presented. In order to attend we were asked to bring in ten cents to pay the entry price. Whether or not I kept forgetting to ask my parents for the money or simply forgot to bring it in on the day of the show, I had not paid it when the time came. It was something of a trauma for me, but I felt it only fair that I not attend because I had not paid the price. I remained in the classroom while all my classmates filed out to see it. It was possibly halfway through that my teacher, apparently noticing my absence, came in and found me sitting at a desk in some tears. She insisted that I come out and see the remainder of the show. Fairness has always been part of my value system and I have never wanted to cheat in order to get something, but I also will defer to others if I feel it is their place to make the judgement call.

I remember getting my first camera, a Brownie Instamatic, and trying to learn to take pictures not only for the record, but for their beauty and structure. In late grade school and high school I would spend many hours building model ships, from 6" long brigs to 3' long cutters, all meticulously painted and rigged, and then there were all the pencil drawings of those ships. But high school was the true awakening of the artist in me.

So how did grade school happen and what happened in grade school?
Kindergarten, Karen Bailey
First Grade, Karen Kirstling, hearts/cigar box, first kiss
Third grade

I started playing in the grade school band in 4th grade. By junior high, despite the braces, I was playing in the orchestra as well, (and even singing in the chorus.) I began to experience the classical side of music even more than I ever had. It was something that just inexplicably connected with me, and I suppose had done so all my life to that point, from hearing my mother practice Chopin on the piano to my father's limited collection of classical LPs. I remember asking my father once, when I couldn't have been more than 10 or 11 years old, about a particular album he had on his shelf. He said, "Oh, that's some of that 'new' music. You wouldn't like it." It was Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and I totally fell in love with it.


Tuba playing carried into high school, and actually so did trumpet playing once I discovered that by covering the braces with beeswax I could play pain-free with very little adjustment to my embouchure. But tuba was growing on me and was the direction in which I chose to concentrate. By sophomore year I was playing first chair in the concert band and remained there for the rest of my high school days. So many things during that time were the greatest joys of my young life: playing in both the band and orchestra and touring with both groups, touring and performing with the brass quintet, participating in the Allerton Wind Symposium,
Thanks, Gary Ofenloch!
At Allerton in 1968
Illinois Summer Youth Music, and all the solo and ensemble contests, which also included my first conducting experience resulting in a superior in the woodwind choir ensemble performance my senior year. I also had the opportunity to lead the orchestra in a rousing rehearsal run-through of the Finale of Kalinikov's First Symphony, which would solidify my love of conducting, even if it never really went anywhere. With tuba, however, there still was a matter that may have held me back.

In the Chicago area at that time, and maybe even in the world, the premiere teacher for tuba was the long-time tubist with the Chicago Symphony, Arnold Jacobs. Unfortunately, and for whatever reason, despite my many visits to Orchestra Hall to hear this great orchestra, I never knew who Jacobs was, much less had any idea how accessible he might have been. One of my tuba cohorts at that time, Gary Ofenloch, did, in fact, study with "Jake" and ultimately became, until his retirement in 2018, principal tubist with the Utah Symphony, doing summers with the Boston Esplanade Orchestra. But I studied with David McCormick. David, I discovered may years later, was a member of a brass quintet that included Stew Leichti, my early trumpet teacher, and Richard Kamm, my high school band director. This ensemble was one of the best quintets in the area at the time, and David was certainly a more-than capable teacher, but there was no one on the level of Jacobs and David was probably not the one that might have taken me into a career in music.

Another possible missed opportunity was Interlochen, a summer arts camp in northern lower penninsula Michigan at the least, and a full-time boarding high school for the arts at the most. Once again I really did not know what this place was at the time, but since then have gotten a much better understanding from several people I now know who attended. Among those that I DID know at the time was Jane Marvine, who went on to be principal English horn with the Baltimore Symphony, so I know great talent has come out of there.

I'm not sure if my parents were aware of the opportunities that existed and chose not to take them, or if they were just as unaware as I was. I certainly don't remember and I'm sure will never know (at least not in this life), but I'm also sure this oversight would be the bain that would lead me in a very different and somewhat disappointing direction in college and perhaps in life... at least for awhile.


Before heading to or even deciding on a college, discussions with parents and counselor led to the conclusion that one couldn't make a living at music and that I should be finding another career to study for. (Dad always posed the question, "Do you want to end up being a ditchdigger?" Of course I eventually found out how much ditchdiggers can make which ultimately put it all in an entirely different perspective. He made his living selling valves to engineers and constructors and only did his music as a sideline, albeit professionally.) It was determined that with my expertise in math and talent in art (other than music), architecture would be a good direction to go. In addition, throughout high school I'd spent much of my time on the gymnastics team, and with a significant number of gymnasts from my school attending the University of Iowa where they'd won the NCAA championship the year before I graduated, I decided I wanted to be involved in this great bunch and chose that college as my destination. In very clear retrospect this was not a good decision. From a gymnastics perspective, I was not really good enough to compete with the gymnasts already there, and in the newly evolving area of all-around competitors the fact that I was a pommel horse specialist did not allow me much room to grow. As for architecture, I came to find out after the fact that Iowa had no school for architecture, so I had to settle for a general engineering program, not having any idea at the time which discipline I might find most tolerable.

Despite graduating in the top 10% of my high school class, my college engineering studies did not go well. Between TA's that didn't know how to present difficult subject matter, classes that were too early in the morning for a night person like myself, lack of enthusiasm for the courses required, and a constant distraction with all things musical, my school days would ultimately be numbered, and the numbers would be smaller than they should be to accomplish this new goal.

I tried to study engineering for three semesters. This was 1969-1971. Disruptions at the end of each of my school years due to Vietnam protests and riots did not help my results at all, but still were no real excuse for the poor showing I presented. While in engineering I would spend my summers working for an engineering firm in downtown Chicago as a drafter, getting more familiar with the actual processes within the field and with the understanding and expectation that I would continue my engineering studies. When the end of my third semester came around, however, I could no longer tolerate the curriculum, and I decided, rather too belatedly I would come to find out, and at a less than ideal time in the school year, to transfer into music. As a second semester student in classes for which I really needed first semester prerequisites, the results there were not much better than they had been in engineering despite the fact that I felt so much more comfortable in the new surroundings. Theory was difficult for me to grasp without the basics of the first semester information, and after analyzing my skills on both tuba and trumpet, opted to continue tuba studies despite having only a CC tuba available and even having only limited access to that. (I'd been playing BBb all along and didn't have any idea what the different keys were for tubas, but having never owned an instrument I was stuck with what was there and soon came to find out that I would need to relearn everything I'd already learned over the years.) I should note, however, that all was not a total loss. Studies in composition with Richard Hervig gave me good pointers in how to make the best, most interesting music possible, and the class in Contemporary Music was an eye-opener into the limitations, or lack thereof, of music that could be created.

In any case, one semester of music and the conclusion of my second year in school would prove to be the last of my formal accredited education. Ironically, after leaving school, a friend of my dad's was looking for a drafter for his engineering company. Being in need of a job and having already familiarized myself with the requirements through my earlier summer experiences, I would leave the school-owned tubas behind and begin what would be an almost continuous 50+ year career in engineering, despite my many objections to it and lack of objectives within it.


[MOVE EARLIER]I remember kindergarten and how much I enjoyed painting even though I also remember never being very happy with what I'd created. (Of course, using fingers as brushes limits one's technique.) I remember first grade and the cigar box filled with valentine hearts I'd spent hours cutting out and decorating and that I never gave to a classmate on whom I had a crush. I remember getting my first camera, a Brownie Instamatic, and trying to learn to take pictures not only for the record, but for their beauty and structure. In late grade school and high school I would spend many hours building model ships, from 6" long brigs to 3' long cutters, all meticulously painted and rigged, and then there were all the pencil drawings of those ships. But high school was the true awakening of the artist in me.

Macaws, oil on canvasboard

During high school I began to paint, taking over my dad's oil set. At first it was one or two paint-by-numbers, then I got hold of my first blank canvas panelboard and proceeded to use the oils to populate it with a pair of macaws. This time, unlike my kindergarten experience, I was actually pretty happy with the results. I tried my hand at watercolors and made my mom wonder what the heck it was I saw in a telephone pole that made me want to paint it. I found some loose canvas and went into the basement to build a couple of stretchers. On these surfaces I began the oddly imagined shapes that would eventually become what I would call "neo-surrealism."

My senior year I joined the Art Staff, run by Anita Owens, one of the nicest and most wonderful teachers I'd ever known. In Art Staff I had the opportunity to play with different media and different ideas. I began to do a lot of shape drawings, studying and applying the effects of light and shadow. One of my good friends, Tom DeForest, fellow gymnast and Art Staffer, whose father ran a commercial art studio, taught me the rudiments of silk-screening, which would come into great play later in life.

Big Cat, oil on canvas
After I left high school there was not much good opportunity to engage in art. The places I lived at the University of Iowa were shared with very limited space. My second year, living in a house with a rented room, I set up an easel on the enclosed front porch that I'd turned into something of a living area, but winter came on quickly and in Iowa in a pretty much unheated (except for my small portable electric heater), and somewhat drafty porch, it was very cold. I went back to Iowa at the beginning of what would have been my third year, to help get the fraternity I'd joined set up in their new house. After spending a brief period in one of the upstairs rooms I moved into the basement, which was much more spacious if rather less inviting. I was able to do some painting there, including some experimentation with black light colors, but was forced to leave due to the inarguable fact that I was not enrolled in school. So I junked my rather broken down '61 Corvair Greenbrier van and hitchhiked out of town. When I left school, (the fall of 1971), but before I picked up the engineering job my dad had found, my aunt and uncle suggested I spend the winter living in and caring for their house on Powers Lake in southern Wisconsin. I definitely got even more serious about art there. The Big Cat painting, which was admittedly modeled after a photo I'd found in a book, really established a level of skill that I'd been slowly working toward, and which was quite gratifying. As it turned out, my biggest limitation was my slight red-green color-blindness. (When I gave the Big Cat to my mother as a gift, she was thrilled, but asked, "Why is the grass brown?" Well, because I THOUGHT it was green!) Untitled 1 also occurred during this period, a request of one of my other aunts, but which she was not happy with and consequently refused.

Soon the job came along and after a month or two of commuting from Powers Lake to northwest Suburban Chicago I moved into an apartment in Mount Prospect, Illinois. With little furniture to speak of, except what I proceeded to build, there was a lot of room to play. I purchased a used (and rather poorly functioning) electric keboard (2 octaves short on the top, one short on the bottom) and could work on some piano skills with my headphones plugged in. I also set up a drafting table and began doing some pen and ink wildlife drawing. Over the next two years and three jobs, I got restless to leave Chicago and try to sell myself as an artist. Music, while still my greatest love and always somewhat active, was nevertheless pushed aside for awhile. But it was finally time to leave for good. On my birthday in 1974, I packed everything I could into my Datsun 1200 and a rented U-Haul trailer and headed west.

A job that was supposed to be waiting for me in Colorado Springs, never materialized, so I moved into a little cabin in the mountains west of there and began again to paint, write, and, at least marginally, compose. It was an absolutely lovely location in Green Mountain Falls at the northern foot of Pike's Peak, where I had my first experience with the gorgeous autumns of Colorado. I completed a number of drawings and paintings and as the weather turned toward winter, dragged them into the galleries of Colorado Springs and ultimately up to Denver, where I was told that my work was a little too far ahead of the art scene there. Disappointed, and now out of money, I found myself again returning to engineering. I took a job in Denver and did the long commute again for a couple months from Green Mountain Falls. But the winter snows made it a risky venture and I soon moved into a rental house in Denver.

During the first of my six years in that house, and despite a period of depression when the engineering business and a disparaging social life left me questioning my path, I met quite a few people and did a few things that would prove to keep me level. When I first moved into the house, I reserved one wall for a piano, this time a real one, and before that year was up had refinanced my car in order to purchase a $700 Mehlin and Sons upright grand. It was (and still is) a beautiful instrument with a great heavy harp that even the movers groused about. This would be the beginning of some serious piano learning. It was not unusual for me to sit at the piano for five or six hours straight on a weekend trying to learn to play, and ultimately making me ask myself what I intended to do with it.

Around the same time, I met an artist working at Stearns on the same project, Bill Landing, who ended up teaching me a lot about painting and the use of materials and tools. I admired the easel he had which put my little folding stand to shame. Another friend, Tim Lucero, had a saw in his garage and one day I brought over a few pieces of red oak and we cut them per the design I had devised for an easel of my own. It took a little time, but the end result was not only a true piece of ultimate antique workmanship, a piece of art in itself, but a tremendous stimulous to energize my painting again.[PHOTO OF EASEL]

Bill Landing bears a little extra mention here before moving on. As artists, whether visual, audio, or otherwise, I think we tend to be more sensitive to the world around us, maybe even to the universe around us, then the average person. And sensitivity to the universe provides a little more spiritual enlightenment or, at least, curiosity, than average. The time I spent in Green Mountain Falls was not only one of artistic development, but of a certain spiritual consciousness through the process of searching. I'd been raised Lutheran, though I really had no idea what that meant with reference to any other Christian sect, but I was never satisfied with teachings that were expected to be believed simply because they were in the Bible and I was not ready to believe something based strictly on faith, especially if there was no logical sense to the argument. Through various other readings I had come to visualize a universe of spiraling growth from our lowly origins to some pinnacle of truth well beyond our understanding, but it was still a raw concept. Bill was not much different in his search for spiritual fulfilment. We had frequently talked about it and one day he brought in a book that he thought I might find interesting called The Urantia Book. Bill didn't particularly believe in it though he recognized some reasonable foundations through some incomplete reading he'd done, but I did find it quite remarkable and after reading only a few papers in his copy had to go out and purchase one for myself. Bill, as far as I know, never got further into it, but I did, in fact, continue to read the book from cover to cover over the next year. Many years later, when I visited with Bill briefly in Sedona, we again approached the subject of faith and truth. He'd found a rather unusual (and perhaps questionable) method of divining the strength of belief someone might have in a subject. While I might not have accepted the validity of his test method, his determination of the strength of my belief in the Urantia Book was neverthess quite accurate.

[CHICAGO] Several works happened in that Denver rental house, including a couple of Chicago "portraits", one of which was never finished. In 1981, I finally purchased a house, where a converted garage made a large and comfortable studio. I started making attempts to exhibit and sell a few things. Several wildlife charcoals were placed on consignment in a small local gallery, and two neo-surrealism works were chosen to be part of the Celebrate 125 exhibition in Denver in 1983, but no sales were ever generated from either enterprise. Still, I did not stop the creative process. In addition to the neo-surrealism oils, I played with many different media and many different artforms. More wildlife pieces, and now some landscape painting developed, mostly barns owing to some inspiration from my grandmother. The new drafting table I built during that time was a great assist in doing logo and other graphic design. I turned my old drafting table into a light table, which I still use today. Art Products Ltd. was officially born and later on in the mid 80s I expanded into T-shirt printing. I built a screen press, cut my own frames and stretched the fabric, and using exclusively emulsion-based screen preparation, began to make all sorts of designs for the shirts.

Zebras serigraph
A client base began to develop, but I came to find a definite problem in that in order to make the business profitable it would be necessary to get so much work in that I would have to hire at least another worker, which would in turn require leasing a larger production facility and acquiring specialized equipment, which in turn would require an even bigger client base... and the cycle could go on and on. The bottom line was that it was not really worth pursuing. But as with everything else there were skills and lessons learned in the process. One of the best was learning how to do fine art silk screening (serigraphy). The Zebras serigraph took advantage of this newfound skill.

The late 80s were not particularly good in Denver. Downturns in the oil industry left it, along with some big Texas towns, hanging by a thread. My last couple of years there were difficult financially. Jobs came and went. During one of the long dry spells and partially as a result of a mutual decision with a close lady friend, I purchased a styling salon, which we ran for a year and a half before finally having to let it go for lack of profit. (That lady friend and I also parted during this time, though during our early relationship she provided enough inspiration for eight or ten pop songs, the longest and most intense period of involvement in that particular genre. More on that later.) The salon and art businesses were actually running concurrently and no doubt the stress of having two enterprises, neither of which was providing workable income, simply added to the pessimism. There were short jobs that gave me the chance to travel as well as learn new aspects of the overall engineering business-- roof and pavement inspections in Atlanta, San Antonio, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and boiler flue gas sampling in Italy. I continued to paint and write music, but between the economy and the parting of ways with that special lady, it was all getting very disconcerting. Increased frustration was thinning my output. Finally, in January of 1988, as I stood on the edge of losing my house to forclosure, I decided to take to the road for contract work. It was a good decision as it rapidly brought me back from the brink, but it would also mean the last of my extended time in Denver. With the Zebras I put away my silk screening press. I painted my last barns for that special, but now alienated ladyfriend, and stowed my easel. And so this intense period of art, from 1981 to 1988, would be my last for a long while. Though the book would not be finished, this would close one big chapter of it.


As I got to know music through the process of playing it and listening to the classical albums I would purchase, and even some of the pop and folk music on the radio, I developed an extremely strong desire to write music of my own. In grade school and high school I learned playing technique, including scales and some basic harmony, but I did not know theory, and it would not be for MANY years that I would finally gain that knowledge and put it to good use, but this did not stop me from trying. One of the first things I attempted, probably about 1967, was a duet for tuba and 'cello. It was never finished because of too many things to ennumerate here, not the least of which was the simple fact that I didn't like it at all. But before high school was out, I would write and perform a brief piece for brass quintet, written with an attempt at "contemporariness" through the use of odd meters, but little else unusual. And to demonstrate my lack of knowledge at the time I had even managed to transpose the horn part into the wrong key. Thankfully the horn player was not able to get out of his class that day to play it! That would have been disaster.

When I got into college I would spend time writing music (when I should have been studying engineering), but again, my lack of knowledge held me back. I would get pieces started, establish themes and even roadmaps for works, but could never really take them where I wanted to go. That fourth semester, after I'd transferred into music, the composition class I took required a couple of works and it is then that I finally did complete something a little more substantial and worthwhile. While the two pieces, Two Movements for Solo Clarinet, and the Woodwind Trio, were nothing to write home about (I really didn't need to write home as I'd written much of the Trio at the kitchen table there), these things really did serve to solidify my interest in the craft and encourage further efforts to create more music.

Until I moved to Denver and acquired the piano, I did very little music writing of any sort. I did a little song-writing and tried my hand at a couple of piano arrangements of Schubert taken from some orchestral recordings I had, but that was about it. When the piano finally moved into its rightful place in my living room, things began to change. Obviously the first thing to happen was an open floodgate of practicing the music of others that I loved so much: Liszt, Beethoven, Debussy, Schubert... and that whole crowd. But gradually I began to perceive a foggy process that led me to write a few things down.

The house I'd been living in from 1975, was a rental. In 1981, I finally purchased a house, stretching both my budget and sanity to their limits, but making it a little easier to get the composition projects going. The three Piano Preludes date from this period, though they would ultimately be significantly revised. In 1984, I met Dawn (that special lady I'd mentioned earlier), and the shifting, uncertain, tumultuous relationship we had turned me back into a songwriter for awhile, probably more as an emotional outlet than a creative one, which would also explain why women in general, not just she, led me to put my thoughts and words into such creations. We permanently parted ways at the beginning of 1987, after which there would only be a few more songs before turning back to "classical".

Interesting sidenote, women and songs... the songs "Lullaby for You", "You Are the One", "The Wind at Our Backs", "Heartbeat", "Trust in Me", and "Mariner of Souls" were, along with a few others, written for Dawn. Some were positive and happy ("You Are the One", "The Wind at Our Backs") and some were full of anquish ("Lullaby for You", "Heartbeat"). The situation with her and my consequent mood shifted wildly throughout our limited time together and the songs really demonstrated this. There were other women that also germinated a few songs. A woman I met briefly while working a job in Golden, Colorado, and who worked on the other side of the cubicle wall from me, but with whom I never really interacted, prompted the song "Don't Let It Slip Away". Another song was born in anticipation of meeting a woman through a dating service ("I Can't Believe") and though it turned out we would not hit it off for dating, it did result in a good friendship. While working for Boeing in Wichita, Kansas, one of a pair of twins really piqued my interest. I never had much opportunity to talk to her, but when I would see her there was something about her eyes that drew me in. It was especially unusual since she and her identical twin both worked there, but the twin did not have the same spark. This one brought out the song "Magic Eyes". While I was in Pampa, Texas, I wrote the last song to date, "Butterfly", an instrumental, and though I tried to relate it back to Dawn again, it really was more the result of inspiration from purchasing a couple of sequencing synthesizers that just made the writing fun. That tune is probably one of the few that cannot be directly attributed to a woman. So certainly from a creative point of view, there is a lot of value to relationships, both good and bad.

Well, back to our story. In 1987, the classical writing re-emerged in earnest. Before permanently leaving Denver in 1989, I managed to complete the first movement and about half the Finale of the First String Quartet. The first movement was based on a motif written during my college occupation. When I left Colorado and began a new relationship with Mimi (whom I'd met during a weekend trip to Arkansas while working in Texas) it was unfortunately neccessary to store the piano away. Between the relationship, which was very enjoyable particularly because of our mutual love for travel and golf, but time-consuming, and a long period of apartment living, all music, except listening, was indefinitely put on hold. When I finally bought my first music software I began to write again... this was about 1996. The learning I gained from this initiated a real change from what would be acceptable composition to that which I finally considered at least somewhat accomplished. The String Quartets were not the greatest, but the Piano Etude and slow movement of the String Symphony, both of which happened without much concern for the result, i.e. just for fun, are still very satisfying to me today.


Early in 1989, the poor economy in Denver drove me to the brink of foreclosure on my house. I was quite literally within a matter of days of that happening. As a means to recovery and while still officially a resident of Colorado, I took jobs on the road, first at Boeing in Wichita, Kansas (until May that year), then the Texas panhandle. These successfully turned the tides on my finances, but also significantly changed my direction for awhile. During a trip to the Ozarks in the fall of '89, I met Mimi, who was making preparations to move to Olympia, Washington, where her parents lived. She and a friend stopped for an overnight on their way west and our subsequent conversations ultimately led me to follow her to the Northwest, where I first found a job in Portland, Oregon, until December of that year, then another in Bellingham, Washington, until I decided to leave in August of 1990, head back to Denver briefly to prepare my house for rental, and make efforts to get permanent work in Seattle. That finally happened in December. I took up residence with Mimi in her small apartment for a couple months until we found a full-size place together on the Eastside of the Seattle area.

Mimi and I had been living together since late in 1990. By the fall of 1997, we were both antsy to make some changes. We had earlier looked at the possibility of buying a house together, but could never agree on what or where. We'd talked about it once or twice and determined that if each of us had our 'druthers she'd like to be central to town and I'd like to have a house with a yard. Ultimately we went our separate ways, acquired what each of us wanted, and managed to remain friends.

I purchased the house in West Seattle at the beginning of 1998. Within a few months I returned to Denver to empty out the storage space I'd had there and drag everything, including the piano, to Seattle. While there was little or no music writing for the next two years, music definitely became the focus again. After eight years it was wonderful to have the piano back home, and I now took advantage of the private walls, practicing long and hard once more. Then at the end of 2000, things changed again.

For many years I'd thought about buying a tuba, but could never justify the $2000-3000 I expected it would cost, on the chance that I might get truly serious about playing it again. While visiting my folks in Florida that Christmas holiday, they told me about a member of their church choir who was wanting to sell a 3/4 size BBb Yamaha tuba for $850. We cruised over to his house where I tried it out. For the price I couldn't pass it up. The flight back to Seattle proved to be both entertaining and successful and I immediately began my brass rehabilitation after some 30 years. [See the Holiday 2001 Newsletter for the story of the trip home with tuba in tow.]

I'd never had reason to investigate the community bands and orchestras in the area and so never had reason to expect there to be a lot of quality to them. While in Chicago so many years earlier, I'd played some with the Wheaton Municipal Band (which was already a great group but would become the premiere community ensemble in the whole Chicago area) and the Belleview Concert Band (not so good) and had only these references to guide me. As I started to play again I began to look around for places that might work. The first orchestra I contacted was the Federal Way Symphony, a group that appeared to be as much for fun as anything else. When they asked me to send over a resume I knew I'd bitten off more than I could chew. That put things in a little clearer perspective.

During the next eight months of practice, I also managed to complete the Piano Preludes, begin a Sonata for Tuba and Piano, and write a series of etudes for the tuba in order to improve skills in the upper range. While several other pieces were also started around this time they never really progressed very far. But I felt my practice did, and I was ready to get out and play again.

The husband of one of my co-workers happened to run the stage for a local group, the Highline Community Symphonic Band. They were most pleased to welcome another tubist to the fold and that September, 2001, I started to play with a band again. Then came September 11.

Within a week after the terrorist attacks of 2001, I began work on In Memoriam 911. Only four weeks later it was complete except for final orchestration. Since I now had a band to play with it was my intention to orchestrate it for and play it with that band, but after telling our director what it was and handing him the short score along with a MIDI recording, I never heard another word about it. I suppose it was just as well as other things would come up.

I continued to play with the Highline Band and was especially excited when I discovered that heading up the tuba section was the recently retired Seattle Symphony tubist, Michael Russell. He was one of many students of Arnold Jacobs in Chicago and realizing this I urged him to give me a couple of lessons. Mike gave me some very good advice, especially considering I almost felt like a beginner again, and admittedly the last time there when he effectively told me he couldn't help me anymore and almost advising me against having any lofty goals on the instrument, probably did more to push me to accomplish as much as I possibly could, though I seriously doubt that was his intention. Nevertheless, this established our musical relationship, and a good personal one as well.

In December of that year, Mike and his wife decided to take a three or four week vacation out of town. He'd been playing tuba with the newly formed Black Diamond Brass Quintet and it turned out the quintet was in a bit of a lurch needing rehearsal time but having no tuba player. They asked Mike if there was anyone he knew that could sub for him, and apparently mine was the only name he could think of. (Could have been some of that long-term memory loss that musicians get... who knows.) So Mike called me up and asked if I'd be interested in filling in while he was gone. Of course this brought back all my fond memories of the high school brass quintet and other small ensembles so I naturally jumped at the chance. Rehearsals were at the first trumpet player, Al's house and Mike told me to be there at seven in the evening. I got there that first night and chatted with Al for awhile, especially as no one else had arrived yet. This went on for a couple of weeks, but I couldn't help wondering why I was always the first to arrive. Finally one evening I asked. Al answered, "Well, if we told Mike to get here at 7:30, when we actually start, he wouldn't show up until 8 o'clock. As long as we told him 7 he'd be here by 7:30." Naturally, when Mike finally did figure this out he started showing up at 8 and after I eventually became the permanent tubist for the group I came to understand that while my playing may not have been as good as Mike's at least I was there. That's my story about Mike and my early first experience with Black Diamond Brass.

I was always amazed at how little I knew of the local amateur music scene before getting involved with the Highline Band, but even more amazed at what I found on the other side of that door once I passed through it. During the first season with Black Diamond, a not-too-unusual state of affairs occurred, the need for a substitute in that group, in this case on second trumpet. Denny Schreffler sat in with us in early January, and as the evening progressed eventually asked me if I wanted to play in a brass band. I'd already had one request which I determined was too far away to be worthwhile, but this one, being a little closer in particular, made me want to give it a try. That was the beginning of my association with Brass Band Northwest. Once in that group I got to know Kevin, who in turn turned me onto the Pontiac Bay Symphony, a mentoring orchestra which concentrated on film music. It was pretty much all downhill from there. Along came various other subbing gigs, which have ulimately included most of the many community bands and orchestras in the Seattle area (including the Federal Way Symphony, not only on tuba, but bass trombone as well). Get your foot in the door, play well, and you never know what can happen.

With In Memoriam 911, a truly renewed interest and enthusiasm for composition arose. While time was always a limiting factor, I still managed to squeeze in enough composition to finish a few decent pieces, though there were a couple of years that passed getting back into performing before it would really settle in. Up until 2005, I had filled in the composition lane with more arranging than composing, particularly music for the brass quintet, including a rather dismal attempt at converting one of my tuba etudes into an "etude" for brass quintet. But in 2005, things started to move forward again. That year would see the creation of the Concertino for Tuba and Symphonic Band as well as one movement of a Woodwind Quintet. 2006 saw a number of pieces for various brass combinations, including the Expressions for Trombone and Piano, and two new brass quintets, Blues Town and the Blue Moon Variations, both of which would finally get published in 2011.

The significant compositional event of 2006, however, would be the summer intensive courses with the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program. This was a two-week introduction to film scoring presented by Emmy-award-winning composer Hummie Mann, (whom I'd met when he conducted the innaugural concert of the Pontiac Bay Symphony), and which presented the first two of five levels of classes in this two-week period. The courses would ordinarily meet once a week for ten weeks (or more), and it was, in fact, intense doing each of two ten-week programs in one week each. While the classes did not immediately result in any new pieces they certainly aided in finishing one or two of them that year. The following January, I retook the theory class (full-length this time) and then proceded to finish the program over the next year and a half, including being on the team to write music for the student film "A Fistful of Mud". This was immediately followed by my first piece for the brass band, March Maligned, and shortly thereafter by another tuba solo, this one also with the brass band called Incantations. The premiere of March Maligned at the 2009 Northwest Brass Band Festival also turned out to be my first public conducting effort since those long-gone days of high school, and Incantations provided me a rare (though gradually less-rare as time went by) opportunity to play a tuba solo in concert in June of that year. In fact, soloing became more frequent. Following a couple performances during the 2009 holiday season of Frosty the Snowman with Brass Band Northwest, the Highline Band accompanied me for the premiere performance of the Concertino for Tuba.


I always enjoyed traveling. No doubt from that first ride home from the hospital after being born I savored the journey. Whether it was a two-day trek to a vacation destination or a quick trip across town to Grandma's, I always found it exciting and filled with education and experience.

There were never any "major" trips when I was young, but the term was relative. In my youngest of days we would drive from our Chicago area home to the lakes of Wisconsin and Minnesota, first to Wild Rose, Wisconsin, then Brainerd, Minnesota, and finally Bemidji/Cass Lake even farther north. These were major trips to me. Side trips to Lake Itasca State Park (headwaters of the Mississippi) and the iron mines of the Mesabi Range near Duluth were totally fascinating. Finding a piece of limonite on the side of the road after driving into one of the open pit mines, was a thrill, especially when we returned home and I could actually identify it.

The drives themselves may have been the most enlightening of all. As we rolled across the hills and rivers, stopping for fuel where I could always pick up FREE (those were the days) maps of the states and cities we visited, I was frequently engaged in determining our exact location at any time and knowing what geographic sites might be nearby. After a weekend or two at the Wisconsin Dells, that location established itself as one of the milestones I always held dear as we traversed the newly-completed (and in many cases still under construction) interstate highways to the northlands.

Some of my most enjoyable memories included a visit or two to Great-Grandpa Hlapcik's in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where the little knick-knacks they had all over the house kept me searching for clues as to what they were. Being just up the steet from the Nash automobile factory also made it seem special for some reason. During our travels to Minnesota we would occasionally stop in Minneapolis for an overnight rest. The Foshay Tower, now dwarfed by many other higher structures, and taking in a Twins game at the stadium long before the dome was ever built, were cherished highlights. Years later I would also learn to appreciate the locally brewed beers but that would be another story.

Late in high school, probably the summer following my junior year, I stayed behind for the first week of the family vacation, then flew to Bemidji to join them for the second week. The journey to get there ended up being one of the most memorable flying adventures I've probably had to this day. The flight was to be from O'Hare Airport in Chicago, to Minneapolis with a layover of about an hour, then on to Bemidji... total travel time about five or six hours. The plane in Chicago had some sort of mechanical problem with the ventilation that delayed our departure by about two and a half hours, (in fact I believe we were actually forced to change planes, but don't remember for certain,) so I already knew up front that I would be missing my flight out of Minneapolis. When I arrived there I was quickly assigned a seat on another flight, but of course, there aren't many headed for Bemidji in any given day. That flight wouldn't be for another eight hours. Well, those days were long before computers, cell phones, or even very many televisions in the terminal. For a sixteen-year-old kid this made for a pretty boring wait, but eventually the time passed and I got on the plane heading farther north. As we began to approach the general vicinity of our destination, a number of thunderstorms developed. One in particular became so large and so severe that the pilot announced we would be forced to go around it. This was expected to bring us into Benidji from the back side, the north instead of the south, but as we began to slide westward along the southern edge of the storm, watching near-continuous lightning embedded in it and pretty much directly over Bemidji, and never making the turn north, it quickly became obvious that the plan would have to be altered. As we continued to travel west we finally got the announcement that it was just not going to be possible to get us into Bemidji that night. We would continue on to Thief River Falls, Minnesota, some 40 miles east of Grand Forks, North Dakota, and take a bus approximately 70 miles from there into Bemidji. As the day (and night) dragged on the bus finally made its way into the empty 1AM streets of the city, where, unbeknownst to me, it would be making two stops... first at the airport, then at the bus station/hotel in town. Since no one had bothered to tell me what information had been passed on to others I assumed that my folks would pick me up at the original location, the airport. But, of course, they'd been told to find me in town and when I didn't get off the bus there they went into the same panic that I did when I was left at the airport (which by this time was closed) and no one around to pick me up. Fortunately my folks were told about the second stop, and that a youngster might have gotten off there, and came out to check, which finally resulted in our meeting and the end of the saga. The question has often come up, what did people do before cell phones? Well I'd say they took a lot longer to do things, relied on intuition, and sometimes made some big mistakes.

There were certainly other travel experiences that occurred before I left home. A couple of visits to my Aunt Peggy and Uncle Harry Lofft were luscious excursions into the hills and mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee. Beyond the simple pleasures of their hometown of Knoxville, there were so many other "side trips." My uncle had been an engineer with the Tennesee Valley Authority and project engineer for the Fort Lowden dam. During one visit he took us on a private tour of the dam and powerhouse. Ironically, while I did find standing over the huge turbines as they spun electricity from that tremendous flow of water completely fascinating, the thing I probably remember most about that tour was him standing outside on the grounds before we went in and pointing up to a tree 100 feet away to tell us there was a Brown Thrasher up there. I suppose under normal circumstances this wouldn't seem like such a big deal, but my uncle was monochromatic -- black and white colorblind. I was always amazed how he could be a birder with that limitation. Driving through the Smokey Mountains was another great adventure, especially the year we chose Cade's Cove on the North Carolina side as our destination, where we spent several hours on easy horseback through the woods and hills of this beautiful parkland. And I suppose I will also always remember that day when we arrived at the Lofft house to the sounds of classical music on the phonograph. My uncle asked me if I knew the piece. I said I'd never heard it before but it sounded like Rimsky-Korsakov. It turned out to be his Russian Easter Overture... one of my favorites to this day. Uncle Harry was one of the most remarkable people I knew growing up. In his spare time and after retirement his engineering acumen was directed toward the building and collecting of clocks. The house was filled with them, some that he'd built from scratch. When trying to sleep in their house it was probably best to go to bed either just after ten or to wait until past midnight as the plethora of chimes on the hour could be a real dream crusher. I should mention, too, his sister, Marquerite de Angeli, with whom he always maintained contact and introduced us, at least through long distance communications. She was an illustrator and award-winning author of numerous childrens' books.

College days finally allowed me a little freedom of my own to travel, though my mode of transport often varied. During my first year at Iowa traveling was limited as I had no vehicle. Among the travel experiences that year was taking the train back home to Chicago after being dropped off in the Quad Cities. It was my first real train trip, even preceding the commuter runs I would eventually take to work every day during my subsequent summer breaks. There was also a trip to Miami during the Christmas holidays to engage in a gymnastics clinic being held there. Considering my grades were already beginning to suggest difficulties, the trip was definitely against the wishes of my parents as well as my own better judgement, but I was young, adventurous, and a bit stubborn. And ultimately there was nothing particularly spectacular about it except a welcome respite from the brutal Midwestern winter.

At the beginning of my second year, 1970, my folks had allowed me to borrow the Volkswagon bug for a week in order to move a few smaller items to school. During that week, I and a couple school friends decided to take a road trip to Lawrence, Kansas, with an overnight in Des Moines. One of our crazy stops was at the gates of Leavenworth Penitentiary to inquire about tours. Needless to say, we were pretty much sent packing. (Ironically, I would eventually get involved in project H.O.P.E., an Iowa City group that worked toward reducing recitivicy of ex-convicts, and which did entail visits to the Jefferson County Jail, Anamosa State Penetentiary, and the Rockwell Women's Reformatory.) Later that school year I decided to spend a weekend visiting friends in Bloomington, Illinois. This time the travel method was by bus. The ride was fine from Iowa City to the Quad Cities where the bus stopped in each town. By the time we reached Rock Island, our last stop, there were only two seats left on the bus, one next to me and one on the opposite aisle about three rows back. Two ladies got on the bus. One, I would estimate, weighed in the neighborhood of 250-300 lbs. Naturally she sat next to me. And as it turned out these ladies had been trying to get to Peoria by first taking the train from Chicago to Rock Island, then picking up the bus, but the train had arrived some eight hours earlier and they'd spent the interceding time at the bar. The whole trip from there to Peoria they spent laughing and giggling, and of course, every time Miss Heavy laughed the seat shook. The nap I had hoped to get was actually spent with my head regularly knocking against the window. I swore I'd never take another cross-country bus again after that (and still haven't).

Late in the summer of 1971, I purchased a 1961 Corvair Greenbriar van (for $125). This was my first vehicle (unless you want to consider bicycles) and it was a real thrill. As a burgeoning hippy-child I was quick to outfit it with window curtains, a red carpet, and a mattress covered with imitation leopard skin. I had even managed to put in a couple of non-functional but aesthetically pleasing oak beams in the ceiling. I now owned transportation and was happy to use it for several trips back and forth to school, although I was not enrolled at the time. Unfortunately, while the van was wonderful to sleep in, mechanically it was not worth more than the $125 I paid for it. Having to hang onto the stickshift for half the distance from Chicago to Iowa City to keep it from falling out of gear was not the most fun I've ever had driving. In fact, the new tires I'd purchased for it were probably worth more than the van itself. After ultimately junking the vehicle, my final exodus from Iowa City was a hitchhiking venture ultimately leading me to Purdue in Lafayette, Indiana.

I suppose at this point it might be appropriate to ask if I'd ever inhaled. Yeah, you know what I mean. And I would certainly have to answer that I had, (even if this prevents me from ever getting elected to a Senate seat). So let me talk about that for a moment, especially since I know there will be a lot of you out there, just wanting to be entertained, keeping tabs on all the gossip from movieland and looking for something juicy, that just want to hear one more off-color story that might make you feel like life is all worth living. OK. Here you go. After a very straight-laced and boring, if not quite troubling, freshman year in college, the beginning of my sophomore year opened my eyes and lungs to the experience of marijuana. Before the school year actually began, and before that colorful trip to Kansas, a friend asked me 1) had I ever tried grass, and 2) would I like to. We popped into that borrowed '68 Volkswagen and headed out of town to the north of Iowa City. Once we'd left the city behind for the wide open farmscape we found a rural road that led us into the late-summer cornfields of the midwest. On an unnamed gravel road, surrounded by 8-foot tall walls of corn stalks, we pulled over. After igniting this oddly shaped cigarette and taking a couple puffs from it, my friend handed it over to me and urged me to try a few, quickly training me in the courtesy of not 'bogarting' the joint. We passed the smoking treasure around the three of us, savoring the pungent aromas, and analyzing our conditions. I was asked, did I feel anything? No, I couldn't say I did. Well, often one didn't react to the first experience with marijuana. We might have to try it again another time, but let's try this second joint anyway. I think it was probably about halfway through that second stick that a phenomenal rush began somewhere at the top of my head and rapidly proceeded to the ends of my toes. I could no longer, at this point, deny that I was feeling the effect of the cannabis.

Somehow, despite it being my first experience with the drug, I managed to drive us back to the dormitory, where the first thing I proceeded to do was write a poem. Alan Ginsberg, look out. This would no doubt be one of the greater influences of my second year in school. This is a good time to interject that the earlier drive we took to Kansas, by way of Des Moines, was laced with occasional stops to stone up. Driving through Leavenworth, when it just happened that a cop was behind us, was one of my first real experiences with the paranoia of possibly being caught. Nevertheless, my college days did see a fair amount of marijuana use, but despite the frequent "toke-ins" it never grabbed me like it did many others, though I did have some involvement in the drug culture for perhaps another six years after leaving school. After the plunge into pot, there was something of a natural experimentation with other psychadelics, including mescalin, mushrooms, and the many flavors of LSD. In that period of time, and indeed in my life, I had perhaps a dozen trips on these various transports. Some of them were relatively insignificant, amounting to little more than watching "trails" while listening intently to Firesign Theatre albums, but there were a few quite remarkable experiences as well as something of a grand conclusion when it was all over and behind me. Here are some of the most notable highlights.

Drive to Cedar Rapids Airport - herd of cows
All nighter in Lamda Chi Alpha fraternity - playing card shootout
4th of July at Coralville Reservoir
Theater impromptu at Purdue (add "The Book")

Roommate Bill


Growing up:
- Relatives (grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings)
- folks never allowed us to drink
- Little League
- Christian Service Brigade (Joliet State Penn)
- CAT: Kishwaukee River location (6th grade?), fossils, poetry, in love with classmates
- grade school band, Mr DeWalt?, orchestra, choir
- other school- tonette, puppet show, alaska/hawaii reports, school fairs, corner store, cinder path/ almost hit, m/f drawing, ship drawings (James Janacek), bicycle attack
- ship models
- cold war scare
- church and church choir
- boating, boat club with parents
- Dad's business/personal friends
- gymnastics
- other sports
Ft. Lauderdale
Great Western Trip 1974
Colorado 1974 (Green Mtn Falls, South Park)

(horseback riding with Buck)
During one of the few days I stayed with Buck in Colorado Springs, we went horseback riding near Cripple Creek. To that point I had only ridden a horse on a trail ride in the Smokey Mountains and on carousel horses at the local carnival, but it may be the carousel horses that came in most handy.

Cross country trips (running out of gas, bllizzard)
Later: GA/TX/NH, Italy, Big Bend/Chihuahua/Guadalupe/Carlsbad, Yosemite, Cancun, Greece, Japan, Yellowstone (Missoula, Aurora borealis), Puerto Vallarta, Cabo

Kindergarten: Karen Bailey
1st Grade: Karen Kirsling (first kiss)
6th grade (CAT) Judy Bishop, Susan Price (crushes)
High school: Jackie; Fay (later); Diane (later); Barb Kelly

Senior Prom with Barb Kelly, 1969
- Mary Jackson (flute, Wheaton Band)
- hippie at frat house; redhead at gymnastics (Cec McCord); Barb Tappan (date?)
Working (Illinois):
- Starlight ball escort
- Lynda Warren
- Debbi Langner
- Jill Russell
- also Julie, Sue Carlson
Working (Colorado):
- Pat Wernsman
- Nancy Christian
- Paula Hutman
- Zoe Erisman [Pierre Fournier concert, Claudio Arau concert] - Margaret
- Celeste Plante
- Dawn [scary movies, circus]
- Mimi
- Donna
The women in my life and my experiences with them are not very easy to describe. Not all women were "loves". Some I didn't realize until much later (too much later).
- first asked out Jackie
- first date: double with Barb and friend Phil as prelude to senior prom
- Senior prom: Bill Russell Orch played, went downtown to polynesian restaurant; next day to Lake Geneva... boring
- college dates: hippie at frat house; redhead at gymnastics (); Barb Tappan (date?)

Probably the most significant "love" of my life (as opposed to "woman") was Dawn. Dawn was the prettiest, most intelligent, most creative-artistic, and most communicative woman I have ever known. And she had the most remarkable blue eyes with flecks of green in them. They were like sunsets and I'd never seen anything like them before nor since. Her place in my life started in about 1977. I was working at Stearns-Roger in Denver at the time and had met and gotten to know Dawn's mother, Rosemary Winans a bit. She was a fun albeit quite eccentric older lady who was planted in the administrative garden of the company. She was preparing to teach a series of Gregg shorthand classes and piqued my interest in getting involved. My love of languages and the potential for company-related work once proficient at the art, were significant reasons by themselves to take the classes, but the possibility that there would be a plethora of women outnumbering my insignificant behind with the consideration that I might meet someone that could add luster to my life, was no insignificant driving factor. As I got to know her, Rosemary, it turned out, was a semi-professional musician, organist at her Episcopal church, and she and I frequently got into musical discussions, some of which included my learning the piano but having no clear direction or evaluation of my potential. Rosemary informed me that her daughter, Dawn, was a well-trained pianist who could probably offer me some insight into what I might be able to do. I agreed to contact Dawn and set up an appointment to come by the house, sit down with her, and talk a little shop.

I arrived at the Winans residence early one fall evening. It was dark already and the day had significantly cooled, but there was otherwise nothing overbearing about the weather. I walked up to the door and rang the doorbell. When the door opened I was dumbfounded, speechless, sent into a spin, and otherwise virtually incapacitated by the monumentally gorgeous creature that stood before me at the door. I did the absolute best I could to maintain my rubbery legs and came in to sit down next to her at the piano. I played through some of the last sonata of Beethoven and we managed to spend the whole of the interaction on the subject of pianistics. As the evening ended I was so enamoured that I forgot to even inquire about what I might owe in remuneration. I left the house that night with far more than just music on my mind... or maybe a different kind of music. But that was it. There would be no lessons and no further contact. I would be left with my love of music and the memory of a portrait that would prove never to fade from my mind or my heart.

In 1983, I began working on contract for Stone & Webster in the Denver area. Sometime during one of my wanderings through the office corridors, who should I run into but Rosemary, who was now also employed there! I sat down with her in her office soon after and we caught up on old times. Where have you been working? Have you kept up on your shorthand? How's your daughter? Is she still single? After finding that she was I asked if she thought it might be OK if I called her. She gave me the number, which was her own house as Dawn was living with her at the time (again, not still). It wasn't long after that I called her up and asked if she'd be willing to meet me for lunch.

It should already be obvious that I would probably not stop at anything to entertain and try to appeal to this remarkable creature and so came lunch. I've always been something of a gourmet cook (particularly since the day I prepared a lasagne without knowing that a "clove" garlic was not the specific name for the garlic type, but one peeled-off section of the garlic... the whole thing went into the lasagne!) I pulled out all the stops. It was another early fall day, but the sun was shining, the temperature comfortable, and the grass pleasantly green where we planted ourselves between trees on the lawn outside the company office. I had prepared a number of appetizers including hard-cooked quail eggs, Chinese BBQ pork, and star anise beef tongue, several main dishes with rice, and a bottle of fine German auslese, all set up on a home-made folding table with table cloth close to the ground so we could sit on blankets. It was a picnic to remember, which obviously I have done for the most part.

After that lunch, (observed by several compatriots of the office), things were slow to pick up, but over the next several months we gradually spent more time together. [I found myself frequently depressed and managed to relieve it some by writing the love songs for her.] [Don't forget dislocations that finally led to surgery and more skiing with Dawn.] As a well-trained classical pianist I had expected she'd enjoy going to symphony concerts and the like. While we did, in fact, go to many concerts, not a single one was classically oriented. When she'd come over to my house to help work on some of my songs, she'd sit at the piano and play Joni Mitchell. After Joni, Dawn's musical interest was primarily in country western. I could not bribe her to go to a classical concert, and believe me I literally tried. There was some rock music she liked: Genesis and Phil Collins, James Taylor, Alan Parsons Project, Dan Fogelberg, much of which she introduced me to, but even after spending time with her instructing some rock band acquaintances in fundamental music theory, the idea of classical music being any part of our relationship was a complete washout. Nevertheless, I was willing and took her to David Bromberg/Jerry Jeff Walker, Leon Redbone, James Taylor, Kris Kristofferson, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Boz Skaggs, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash. She only made it through half an Al Stewart concert before insisting on leaving. Her favorite movies were the horror/slasher types, far from the adventure/sci-fi's that I enjoyed, though we did find some common ground in some comedies as well as a few occasional others.

Despite the time together and my obvious intentions, our physical relationship did not start for a year and a half. It tended to be something of a sore spot for me, which led me to continually question whether we should be or even were together. On numerous occasions we simply stopped contacting each other for a month or more. Finally, just after the New Year in 1986, and after one of those long separations, she called and asked if she could come over to spend the night. Somewhat thunderstruck I said "sure". She brought over a bottle of wine and with music behind us (her style, of course) the sun finally shown in the dark of night.

Over the next year many things happened. Dawn's mother got remarried and we spent time getting to know and enjoy Bob Perkins, her new hubby. Ironically, at their wedding was the first and only time I ever saw Dawn in a dress (and she was gorgeous). Bob sold his condo and Dawn and I christened it before it changed hands. We spent numerous weekend days at the South Canyon Hot Springs west of Glenwood, where clothing was understood to be optional. We went on several ski trips to Copper Mountain and Vail in particular. A couple camping trips, including one to the Steamboat Springs area where I almost managed to cook a decent omelette over an open fire. A couple of hikes, and then a serious event occurred. I had just recently purchased two motorcycles with thoughts that we might be able to do some riding together. One summer night after about a month on the older, but more reliable, of the two, I was on my way home from her house when, as I headed into the intersection of Federal and Evans in Denver at about 40mph, someone in a big old pickup truck who failed to see me, made a left turn across my path. I collided with his passenger side door, pretty much square in the middle, and promptly went down for the count. In addition to the severe rip that happened over my right knee, my right wrist was broken, left shoulder dislocated, and was cut under my chin by the strap on my helmet, which, by the way, had I not been wearing, I would likely not be writing this story right now. I spent a week in the hospital and had two surgeries on the knee, which fortunately was only superficially damaged. (By the way, Dawn only came to visit me once during that time before coming to pick me up on the last day. I know the one time she visited I kept falling asleep while talking to her and because of the pain medication would drift off on weird subject tangents. I gave her the benefit of the doubt that this was her reasoning for not wanting to come back though there might have been other reasons that I'll touch on later.) When it was finally time to check out I had to determine what I was going to do. I had just begun remodeling the only bathroom in my house when the accident happened. The job was only going to take a couple days before it would be fully usable again, but with the sudden limitations I had there was no way I would be able to finish the shower area and have a functional bathroom that I could use, so with some hesitation on the part of both of us, I moved into a room in the basement of Rosemary's (Dawn's) house for a month. Our relationship probably began to grow cold during this time, but we still made our efforts, or maybe mostly I did.

As I healed over the next ten weeks I also settled with the insurance company. The driver was only minimally insured, but he had been very concerned and stayed at the accident scene until I was taken by ambulance to the hospital. A lawyer I talked to suggested sueing for more than the insurance would pay, but with my health policy taking care of medical expenses I couldn't, in good conscience and knowing his blue collar position, even think about asking for more than the $25,000 the insurance would pay out. With the insurance money in hand, and more or less back on my feet, I made two significant purchases. The first was a $4000 Tascam multi-track tape deck, which finally allowed me to write and record my songs without bouncing back and forth between casette decks. The other was about $7000 for a hair styling salon just outside downtown Denver. Dawn and I had talked about going into business together and I'd been working a few contract jobs that were not very consistent at the time. She had a cosmetologist friend who knew the seller and we made, what I thought at the time, would be a good business decision. I had already created Art Products Ltd. and so with input from Dawn and her friend, we named the salon The Best of Everything (Lo Mejor de Todos... yes there is a lot of Spanish spoken in Denver). The intent was to provide a sort of full-service salon-botique where someone could come in for a styling and find clothing that might be fitting for a night on the town. Well, we never got to that last part, and between four cutters over time, found that the consistency of both personnel and clientelle was very erratic at best.

Dawn and I ran the business for several months before we began to talk about other possibilities. [The evening I learned of her fear that she would fall in love but have to live with her lover dying.] We began looking into opening a greeting card store, specializing in "The Yard Card", the first of a planned series of wooden cards to be rented, delivered, and set up on someone's lawn to announce some special event. This first card would be a stork to announce a baby's birth and provide birth information. We assembled a dozen of the storks, created a Yard Card flyer, put together a business plan in booklet form, and began to approach banks in attempts to get funding for the project and business. We even had a location tentatively set up in the new Bear Creek Village shopping center. But the project never flew. Despite our reasonably professional presentation, our projections had no real basis in fact and our experience in operations was lacking. No one was willing to lend us money. This would prove fortuitous I suppose. As Dawn and I tried to stabilize and finalize our plans for a business, her ethic for play over work began to rear its head. We had a significant argument one day when we had planned to work on our proposals, but which ended up being such a beautiful day that she just wanted to go play. Knowing what we had to work on I couldn't bring myself to do that. She left, I didn't, and I would suggest it was probably the beginning of the end. We never pursued the card shop any further and by about six months into The Best of Everything Dawn came over one evening to tell me that we would no longer be seeing each other. I wrote her portion of losses into our tax return in 1987, then took over the business in its entirety on my own. Over the next six months with nothing but losses in the salon I finally "sold" it to one of the cutters, for considerably less than what I had originally paid, and for which I was never able to collect the sales price anyway. Since it was very little real property and pretty much name only, trying to pursue any kind of collection would have been a further waste of time and money.

Since I had met Rosemary long before I ever met Dawn I maintained contact with her even if Dawn and I never had anything to do with each other again. Unfortunately, what could have been at least a distant friendship turned quite sour due to a serious misunderstanding, which I admit was my fault in creating. Dawn had moved into a house with a lady friend of hers, Sue, and her two daughters (I think 14 and 16 at the time). I was at Bob and Rosemary's one evening when the girls were visiting. One of the things Dawn and I had done together once was to go ballooning. We'd met very early in the morning at the balloon port at Chatfield reservoir southwest of Denver, and proceeded to take a couple of cruises over the reeds and rushes along the lake. I'd already done this once before, but as her first experience Dawn got to have the full initiation into ballooning, a very fun and memorable time. In an errant attempt to stay on at least the periphery of Dawn's life I thought trying to do something fun with the girls might just do the trick. I knew where the older of the two worked at the time and stopped by there (it was a fast food restaurant in Cinderella City) to ask if she and her sister would like to go ballooning. I told her to make sure and ask her mom if it would be OK, but not to mention it to Dawn. I guess I hoped that if I could establish a connection with the girls it would keep them and ultimately Dawn on my good side. Somehow, it got interpreted as "don't tell anyone" and Dawn completely lost it. Had that been what I'd said and intended she would have been fully justified, but it wasn't. I'll admit in hindsight, that what I'd hoped might happen wasn't going to even under the best of circumstances, but what DID happen couldn't have been any more disruptive to my hopes and dreams. Needless to say I never spoke with Dawn again. Dawn's long relationship with Sue (they had moved together to New Mexico at one point, then ultimately back to Denver) would make me seriously question her sexuality anyway and wonder if that wasn't the real reason we were never able to make that link. From here the point is moot, but I will never forget her eyes. [I never had any interest in even looking at another woman when I was with Dawn, something I can't say about nearly every other woman I've been with.]

Life with an alcoholic or artists are born to suffer
Stories about alcohol-related problems

  • 2006. Spring became domestic partners. Difficulty breathing. D told me she couldn't stop. Went to Schick. BAC 0.38. Came out sober but fights ensued. I spent 6 mos living in garage.
  • Found her one morning inside her bathroom leaned against door in a pool of blood after loosing balance and falling against the edge of the door. Took her to emergency for sutures to her head.
  • Came home twice found her wedged between her bed and a plastic bin, pinned and unable to move. Both cases caused temporary nerve damage to her shoulders requiring doctor and medical help. Added child rail after second time.
  • Had lost balance and fallen over edge of bathtub cracking a couple of ribs
  • Was by her on living room couch once when she had seizure. Called ambulence then she snapped out of it. She had another in her bedroom once when I wasn't there, finding everything knocked off dresser. These were only times.
  • We wrestled once at back door when I was concerned about chest pain and wanted to drive to hospital. She didn't want me to drive, tried to stop me and we fell on the floor. She was dialing 911 in the process and cops/ambulence showed up. Cops claimed domestic violence. Neither of us agreed. They were almost ready to leave when D started being verbally abusive to cops and wouldn't stop. They finally took her to jail and some $10,000 in legal fees later, without my testimony against her, she was released.
  • One Sunday morning when I was playing church services, she got upset by barking dog. Confronted the neighbor over it and threatened harm to the dog. She was arrested. I could not find her when I got home and didn't know until a call came from county jail. That required some $5000 in legal costs, a one-year no-contact order, anger management training, and community service.
  • Always having to walk her to bathroom.
  • Threatened to kill herself with knife which brough her parents over. Threatened several more times during fights.
  • Speaking of fights... many and major.
  • Sleepwalking. Ran up and down street naked and screaming.
  • Sleep-drove down to Lincoln Park where she remembered police told her park was closed. Sleep-drove home.
  • Hours of calls to me at my office which I could not charge for.
  • Biggest one was 2007 New Year's Eve. She was angry about how I washed my clothes and left the house (Florida) walking. Fireworks were just beginning and in panic she tried to cross 6-lane highway at intersection without official crosswalk. Was hit by car traveling 45 or more mph. Broke both legs. Intensive care for three days. In trauma for another 10. Nursing center for another 10 before surgery to fix worst break, then another several weeks in nursing care before being allowed to return to Seattle.Went into Lifecare nursing center until April then released and starte PT. Doctor would not prescribe further narcotics and after 4 months without alcohol (though with drugs) went back to drinking. Insurance paid $100,000 after $7000 in medical expenses.
  • She knocked me over causing dent to tuba.
  • She hit me a couple times with baseball bat.
  • She threw plate at me, which fortunately missed, but shattered into tiny shards in my bedroom.

    These are just the things I can remember. Watching her go through her struggle was agonizing for me, too. Memories of her past would constantly cause her anguish and depression. The stories of her growing up and her younger days. Drug use. Victim. Horrible experiences.

    But tragedy led to recovery.

    THE ENGINEERING BUSINESS (and other work)

    My first job was peddling an ice cream cart around local neighborhoods in my home town, probably 1966, age 14. Sales were slow and never brought in enough to make it worth pursuing. I probably quit no more than two weeks after starting.

    During the summer of 1968 I found a job as a service clerk at the nearby Jewel food store. Because of regular activities during the following senior year at school I did not take this job past the beginning of the school year.

    In the summer of 1969, after high school graduation, I worked on the grounds crew at what was at the time, Brookwood Country Club in Woodale. I've often remembered that in the first 25 days of that job I performed 25 different tasks, from cutting the greens and raking the traps to sandblasting spark plugs, to helping clean out the grease pit behind the restaurant. It was interesting, particularly working with a couple geezers from West Virginia who tried to teach me how to drink beer. (I emphasize "tried".)

    In the summer of 1970, after my first year in college with engineering studies, and due to connections my father had in the business, I worked my first job in engineering at Sargent-Lundy in downtown Chicago, doing basic drafting and learning how projects went together. I worked with them again in 1971, after my second year, but during that year in school I had transferred to music and was therefore not allowed to return to S&L the following summer.

    I did not re-enroll in school that fall but did travel back to Iowa City for a short time to clean up loose ends with the fraternity (Theta Xi) that I had been elected president to. Before Thanksgiving I permanently left UI behind and headed back to the Chicago area by way of U of Ill and Purdue. Shortly after that Thanksgiving I moved into the summer home of my Aunt Marilyn's and Uncle Stan's on Powers Lake, Wisconsin, then by January had begun my permanent immersion in engineering, going to work for another friend of Dad's, Charles R. McDonald & Assoc, in Park Ridge, IL., making $1.75/hr. This was now January of 1972. I commuted for a couple months from Powers Lake then found an apartment in Mt. Prospect for the next two years.

    I was actually only at McDonald's for a year before he ran out of work and money and farmed a couple of us out to other companies. I worked in Schaumburg for about three weeks before again taking advantage of my dad's connections and going to work for Brown & Root in Oakbrook. This would have been early 1973. [Met Debbi Langner] In May of 1974, I took a trip west to investigate where I might want to move as I didn't want to stay in the Chicago area. The three-week trip took me west through South Dakota, the Badlands, Rapid City, and Mt. Rushmore. On through Wyoming to Devil's Tower, west over the Big Horns, and up to the eastern entrance to Yellowstone. That entrance was still closed in early May so I backtracked a bit then headed down through the Wind River and up into the Tetons. From there further west through Idaho, down into Utah, finally turning east again into Colorado. I drove US40 through Steamboat and over Berthoud Pass into Denver, then north to Fort Collins and Poudre Canyon, where I stayed with Lee and Ron, hiking into the hills one day. Colorado Springs was the next stop where I found a potential job with a friend's company during my three days there, then drove west again on US50 to Royal Gorge, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and Mesa Verde. Down through Shiprock and the Navajo reservation, through Petrified Forest and stopping at the end of that leg to visit Trish in Tucson. (Trish was married and living with Scotty at the time. I also had other social interests I was pursuing, and never had any desire to take up with Trish anyway.) In the two days there I went to Organ Pipe NM, the Saguaro Desert Museum, and Mt. Lemon. Going east from there I crossed the LONG stretch of New Mexico and Texas, finally reaching Baton Rouge (actually Hammond) where I had hoped to establish a relationship with the sister (Julie) of a lady I worked with (Pam), but to no avail, returning, somewhat depressed, to Chicago by way of St. Louis. Despite my somewhat dashed feelings, on my birthday in September of that year, I packed up my Datsun 1200 and permanently left for Colorado.

    The anticipated job there did not pan out due to an unexpected hiring freeze and I spent the next four months living in a motel/cabin in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, painting and doing a little music writing and arranging, until necessity forced me to go back to work. In January of 1975, I started work with Stearns-Roger in Denver, commuting from Colorado Springs for a month or two before finding a house to rent in Denver. (Stearns had arranged to move me from Green Mtn Falls but I had not yet found a place to live so I commuted until I found the house on Virginia and then had them load a truck for the relocation.)

    My first year at Stearns was a very social one, including learning to ski with my fellow workers, getting into volleyball and basketball, as well as the Friday night gatherings at the Sports Page lounge. (This was also a time of continued marijuana use as well as some cocaine and speed, though the latter was pretty short-lived owing to may lack of tolerance for it.) But the socializing nearly cost me my job due to lack of production. Fortunately rather than getting fired I was transferred from the main office on Colorado Blvd to the annex on Monaco. That's where I met artist Bill Landing who ultimately taught me a lot about painting techniques, and Shirley, his live-in. (Were they married? I don't remember.) The Pawnee project I'd been assigned to probably went on for another year and a half. At about that time Bill left the company to pursue portrait art full time and I got moved to another project in another part of the building, (where I met Dave Close). I also met Rosemary Winans who was teaching classes in Gregg Shorthand. While my real purpose in taking shorthand was to meet the various ladies also taking the classes, it ultimately led to Dawn, Rosemary's daughter, who was a pianist and whom I sat down with one evening to evaluate my future in piano playing. I was totally smitten with her, though did not impart that feeling to her at the time, but it would nevertheless be the only time I would see her for quite a few more years. Around mid-1978, after learning about job-shopping and the money that could be made there, I left my $6.50/hr job for a contract position at R. W. Beck at the incredible rate of $11/hr! This WAS a major jump in income and that first position lasted for about two years, during which time I not only learned a lot more about engineering, but learned about the many things I still did not know.

    Job shopping was rather hit or miss though I did take the opportunity to buy a house in 1981. During the next eight years or so, I would end up working for a dozen different companies for various durations, from five weeks to another two years (Stone & Webster, where I finally linked up with Dawn as Rosemary had gone to work there.) During some of the slow periods I pursued art, from fine art to screen printing T-shirts. Dawn and I also established a hair salon together, with money received as settlement from my motorcycle accident in 1986. By the end of '86 the salon was proving worthless and Dawn and I were on our last legs. She and I saw each other for the last time in early '87, and shortly after the salon was effectively dissolved. Engineering work was very thin about this time. In late '87(?) I did the roof and pavement inspections in Atlanta, San Antonio, and Portsmouth, NH, and in early '88 went to Italy for the boiler flu gas sampling project at the air force bases there.

    By the end of 1988, income was too small to survive on and as my house edged dangerously close to foreclosure I opted to head out on the road for contract work. Before January of 1989 was out I was on my way to Boeing in Wichita. Anticipating a 6-month stint I leased an apartment for that period of time, however, after 3 months my services were no longer required in the facilities electrical engineering and I was going to be let go. I was able to find a couple more months of work in the company doing layouts for their computer network. While it still did not take me to the 6-month point, leaving town with only a month or less on my lease was an acceptable loss.

    I was only in Denver for another week or two, enjoying the extra money I'd earned as well as appreciating the mortgage coompany's willingness to reconfigure my loan, thus saving me from forclosure, when the enjoyment was disrupted by the next call for work, this time at Hoescht-Celanese, a butane refinery in the Texas panhandle an hour northeast of Amarillo.


    HOUSES AND LIVING LOCATIONS (Chicago, Green Mountain Falls, Denver, Wichita, Pampa, Portland, Bellingham, Seattle, Kawasaki, Desert Hot Springs)


    I'm not sure which is worse, the disappointment of making mistakes in life with the realization that you can never go back to fix them, or the boredom of never making a mistake, which, I would imagine, would lead to complacency and consequently the making of mistakes. So maybe it doesn't really make any difference at all.