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I was born in 1948. Starting at a young age, I enjoyed being alone, entertained by my imagination in a private world of pretending. . As I grew, I came to love observing people and their reaction to situations, especially their interactions with other people.
My very intelligent brother often went to rummage sales (which is what they were called in the 1950’s) to collect old books. Sharing them with me, I read Cyrano de Bergerac in the 5th grade, The Canterbury Tales in the 6th grade and Shane, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s all before I finished high school
By age 16, I decided not to go to college and dropped all college preparatory classes. I guess too much reading got me thinking.. Identifying with many of the characters in the books I read, I wanted to get started in life. After high school, I became a general laborer until I could get into a trade as an electrician. I started an Electrical contracting business in 1979. Before I retired, I built it into a national multimillion-dollar business.
The Arts were always close to my heart. My uncle gave me my first photographic camera when I was eight years old. In 1981, I walked into a photograph gallery with my picture portfolio and was given my first one-man show. A highlight of this avocation was a signed letter I received from Ansel Adams inviting me to attend his 1983 workshop in Carmel California, along with Ruth Bernhard, Lucien Clergue, Cole Westin, Jerry Uelsmann, and others.
Writing came later. In 1994, I was asked to participate on the Connections Leadership Project for the State of California. I served on an advisory committee to the editor of a book intended to help high school students deal with prejudices. Half way through the three-year project, the editor asked if I would write and submit something for the book. I submitted three works. To my surprise, all three were published in the book titled: Options, Making Connections in Today’s World, published in 1997.
The committee had a final luncheon to celebrate the end of the project. Everyone connected with the project was there so it was a large crowd. Near the end of the luncheon, the editor rose at the head table to address the group. He said -- as the last order of business-- he wanted to leave us with one final thought from one of the articles in the book. He began to read my article on the death of my son. Immediately I recognized my words and become very uncomfortable as the crowd began to look around. Finishing his reading, he then introduced me and said, “Thank you,” and concluded the conference.
I quickly gathered my belongings and headed for the door. Nearly there, I heard someone calling my name. A middle-aged gentleman was making his way through the crowd heading towards me. He approached and stood there for a second, searching for words. Then, he said, “I couldn’t let you leave without speaking with you.” He paused for a moment, composing himself. He continued.” I too, had a devastating lose recently. Your words have given me a new prospective. You changed my life.” He reached out and shook my hand, then turned and left, disappearing into the crowd.
In that moment, I understood why I, and others, write. .
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