Mom was a farm girl. Dad was a city boy. The war was over and they met in St. Louis. I was born in 1948 in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and grew up in Kennett (about an hour to the south). Dad was a “radio announcer” and mom worked for the “welfare department.” Job titles that –like my youth–vanished years ago.
A little piece of shrapnel from the Baby Boom, I watched a lot of TV. In the early 50’s I sat two feet from the Motorola, staring at the Indian-head test pattern until the afternoon programming got underway. The spirit of Norman Rockwell hovered over me through a near-perfect childhood.
The Beatles released I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND in the US just after Christmas in 1963 and it a very big deal by February of ’64. Hard to imagine a better time to be a high school sophomore. We weren’t paying much attention to Viet Nam, yet.
By the time I started college in the fall of 1966, getting and keeping a draft deferment was top of mind. I quickly switched my major from Business to Theater. Guys were coming back from Viet Nam and bringing good drugs and great music and protesting was catching on, even in the Midwest.
I was part of the first draft lottery and drew number 210, just low enough to be dangerous. Following graduation in 1970, I goofed off all summer before –at my father’s suggestion– entering law school at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. I attended classes and kept my deferment until Nixon froze the draft (in December of 1970) at lottery number 195. I quit law school the following week, just before finals.
In the spring of 1971, I went to work for the U.S. Postal Service as a Postal Inspector. After three months of training in D.C. I was sent to Pendleton, Oregon, where I audited small post offices in Oregon and Washington. I counted stamps and money orders for almost a year and investigated exploded rural mail boxes (a federal crime). Like law school, not what I had in mind.
In early ’72 I returned to the Midwest and hung around Memphis for a few months before returning to Kennett in early summer. In July, I started working at KBOA on the overnight shift and found my true calling. For the next dozen years I spun records and MC’d the Little Miss Christmas Belle Pageant.
In March, 1973, I met Barb at Tommy’s North-End Cafe and fell in love. We dated for six years and married in 1978.
In June, 1984, we moved to Jefferson City, Missouri, to work for Learfield Communications. For the next 15 years or so, I handled affiliate relations for the company’s various radio networks. When the Internet came along, I got the bug and slowly started migrating in that direction. I now spend most of my waking hours online –with periodic breaks for Barb and the dogs–and look forward to every day.
March 8, 2003
I retired from Learfield on December 31, 2012. What’s that? Twenty-eight years? Some would say I had “retired in place” a couple of years earlier and there’s more than a bit of truth in that. Always thought I’d die in harness but became intrigued with the idea of doing nothing. Despite what you might have heard, it can be done.
I’ve done a bit of traveling but don’t much care for it. I’ll do it if there’s someone(s) interesting on the other end. Getting there is not half the fun for me.
These days I spend my mornings online at a local coffee shop. After lunch it’s home to play Red Ball with Hattie and Lucy (Goldens); a long walk; a nap; meditation; a little ukulele practice; some reading and the day is shot. The current plan is to stay with this routine until perfected.
January 8, 2015