Personal History, Part 6

Well, I’ve just got out of the Service and I’m looking for my fun … no, no … that’s the song.  I was just looking for a job.  I began living with my parents and dating Sue.  I played my songs at a special meeting with her senior class (at the High School).  I helped her parents with the animals on their small farm.  And I worked several jobs in the area.

The most significant job was the last one with Cambridge Memories in Poughkeepsie, making semiconductor memory chips.  This was the job that launched my future.  But, I’ll say more on that later.

I lived with my parents for three and a half years.  During that time, I spent some time with Bob (from college … I bet I forgot to mention that he grew-up in that area of New York where my family was originally from).  He got me out-and-about and half (or sometimes fully) smashed many a night.  And, Sue was a big factor in getting me out, too.

But, me and Sue … that died, too (as the song goes).  So, to console myself, I bought a used Harley Davidson 1200cc motorcycle.  My buddy, Al, from work helped me get my motorcycle endorsement on my license.  Yep, I took it on that big Harley, on a wet Fall afternoon … wet leaves all over the place where I had to do figure eights.  But, I got it done.

I loved that Harley.  Yet, I could only go about 250 miles before it turned my hands to rubber from the vibration.  Truth was, it was an AMF version … 1973.  Some would say not a true Harley. So, the engine had issues.  Ah … but the stories.  And, again, that’s gonna have to wait for the book.

One thing I will mention:  I took a few glider lessons from a school in Wurtsboro, NY.  There was an old WWI era flight field there where the lessons were given.  It was both fun and scary.  But, it was also too expensive for me.  So, I only managed a few rides.

In 1976 that all ended when Cambridge Memories closed our plant.  The Engineers all found jobs in other parts of the country and I just sat, wondering about my next step.  Well, my old boss called me from Minnesota saying he was now working for the new Semiconductor Division of Univac and would like me to interview for the job.  I said, “sure thing.”  So, I bought a ticket for St. Paul.  But, the agent gave me a ticket to Minneapolis.  I said, “but, I’m going to St. Paul.” She looked at me like I was an idiot and said, “It’s the same place!”  OK.  Sure.  My geography was a little weak in regards to the mid-West.

I interviewed and got the job, even getting a $1000 pay raise before I actually started.  So, on September 3th, 1976, I packed my car with my guitar and amp and as many boxes as I could (the rest and my furniture … all 5 pieces of it … would get picked up by movers later) and headed West.  But, I left my Harley behind.  After all, who rides bikes in Minnesota?  Man, was I dumb!

Well now, I drove through Hell!  Literally!  On September 5th, a large portion of I-94 in Wisconsin was in the middle of a huge forest fire.  And here I was, driving through it, smoke and flames all around me.  But, I made it.

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