I Want to go back…



2015 ended with some change at work.  In August the department I work in was notified the department head would be retiring at the end of the year.  He is only 55.  I’m 65 and not in any mood to have to learn anything new… we had already been notified that our transaction software would be changing.  The company would be moving to something new but as of July undetermined… we were in the process of migrating to a new email system.. I’m the email manager and not in any mood for change and learning anything new.

In October the replacement for our current department head has been hired and starts to work.  He has a private conversation with each member of the department and I decide to retire effective March 31, 2016.  I’ll be around for about 6 months to give the company time to adjust and for me to figure out what I’m going to do.

Time rolls on and the day arrives.  March 31, 2016.  I’ve saved well, house is paid for.  No Debt and the car is paid for… so all should be OK.

Retirement is a lot like telling a story that’s not lined with back story.  We sometimes make the path up as we go…

I’m an amateur photographer, videographer and I worked in the IT profession for 17 years.  I graduated college with a major in psychology, a minor in music and philosophy…

As a child I never had a music lesson.  It wasn’t until I was a junior in college that I became interested in a musical instrument.  I met a young woman during a summer racket ball session that I signed up for, she was working at the new racket ball center and we became friends.  Later I met her boy friend who was a classical guitar major and I later signed up for lessons from a graduate student who gave lessons to make a few bucks.  I actually learned a lot about the technique, but learning to read music was a challenge.  I eventually audited a few guitar classes and took several music history courses and guitar classes to qualify for a minor in music.  I was at one point practicing as much as 2 to 3 hours a day.  I don’t play at all now, but do listen and collect classical guitar music.

A short excerpt:

Full Suite:

I always thought it ironic; funny that I never had a music lesson as a child but was taking classical guitar in college… I ended up with 21 hours in music and the classes gave me an appreciation of exactly what it is to be human… perhaps Friedrich Nietzsche  was correct when he said, “Without music, life would be a mistake.”

Enough class hours for a minor in music and also enough hours for a minor in Philosophy and Religion.  I graduated with a degree in Psychology in 1976.

While finishing my degree, I worked part time as a janitor.  I continued to work nights as a janitor for 3 years after graduation.  If I hustled each evening, I could be finished with my work responsibilities in 2 hours and then wuld spend time reading or practicing my guitar to quitting time.

One of my favorite philosophical novels is The Moviegoer by Walker Percy.

The Moviegoer tells the story of Binx Bolling, a young stock-broker in postwar New Orleans. The decline of tradition in the Southern United States, the problems of his family and his traumatic experiences in the Korean War have left him alienated from his own life. He day-dreams constantly, has trouble engaging in lasting relationships and finds more meaning and immediacy in movies and books than in his own routine life.

Wikipedia Summary

I spent time in New Orleans working on a dredge boat after graduating from high school and made the trip from New Orleans to Panama City Florida many times.

I lived in a small trailer home in a trailer park on AirLine Highway.  I worked 10 days on and 4 days off.  The dredge boat launched out of Venice La.

I worked on the dredge boat for 18 months and have a wealth of stories to share.  I was drafted in December 1969 which ended my drives from Airline Highway to Venice and my drives to Panama City Florida.

Another book about New Orleans that I enjoyed reading is A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.

The book’s title refers to an epigraph from Jonathan Swift‘s essay
Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting:
“When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this
sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”
Its central character, Ignatius J. Reilly, is an educated but slothful
30-year-old man living with his mother in the Uptown neighborhood of
early-1960s New Orleans who, in his quest for employment, has various
adventures with colorful French Quarter characters. Toole wrote the
novel in 1963 during his last few months in Puerto Rico.

Dredge boats, if you aren’t familiar with dredge boats keep the shipping channels in the Mississippi River clear.  The dredge boat I worked on was basically a large vacuum cleaner.  It had 3 large hoppers and arms on either side that were lowered down to the bottom of the river to suck the mud and other debris into the hoppers.  I started as a deck hand, sometimes managed the hoppers and steered the ship from the orders given by the mate on duty.

Up and down the Mississippi River.  Fill the hoppers and into the Gulf of Mexico to dump the debris.  The cycle was repeated 24/7, 12 months a year.  I was 18 years old and had much to learn about the world and I learned a few things while working on a dredge boat.

In January 1969, police in New Jersey confiscated copies of the John Lennon-Yoko Ono album Two Virgins because the photo on the front cover violated pornography laws in the state.  The New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl 19 to 7.  Richard Nixon in his first inaugural address proclaimed that Americans “cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another.”
Writer John Kennedy Toole (b.1937) committed suicide at the age of 32
Mar 3, Apollo 9 blasted off from Cape Kennedy
The Battle of Hamburger Hill began and lasted to May 20. In Vietnam US military strength peaked in this year with 550,000 men. Identified on American battle maps as Hill 937 the battle for Hamburger Hill, actually Ap Bia Mountain, which cost Americans 46 killed and 400 wounded…
In May, the United States sent Apollo 10 to the moon in preparation for a moon landing later in the year.

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