Personal History, Part 7

Again, for the sake of sanity (yours), I’ll just hit the high points of the next 40 years.

For two years (1976-78) I lived just across the street from work at Sperry Univac.  The plant was in Eagan, MN, a suburb of St. Paul.  I worked a lot of overtime.  But, when I wasn’t working, I was home writing songs.  And smoking a ton of cigarettes. I didn’t get out much, since I was back into my walking everywhere mode.  But, I did get around a little.

After two years, my rent was getting high enough that I was worried about where to stay in the coming future.  A co-worker owned two houses and rented one of them to people.  He had the first level on that one available, so I took him up on the offer.  It was on Alice Court in St. Paul, on a quiet circle behind an apartment complex built on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi.  And, again, I wrote a lot of songs there.

Soon after, I met a beautiful woman at work, Judy.  She was a single parent with two young boys and a dog.  We all got along very well together.  So, after a getting-to-know-you period of about 4 years, we were married.  My whole family came out from New York to Minnesota for the wedding and my brother was my Best Man.

Again, there’s potential for a whole chapter every decade after that.  But, I’ll just hit the main points so that you know a little about the rest of my life.

I worked for Sperry Semiconductor for about 12 years, taking on different roles.  During the last few years I went into programming, working on Process and Manufacturing Control software.  Then, in 1986 (or thereabouts), Burroughs and Sperry merged to form what was later called Unisys.  The Semiconductor Division became redundant in the new company and was closed down in 1988.  I managed to fill an opening in their Airlines Division writing code for their Cargo group.  That was good for about 4 years.  But, an economic down-turn forced a number of us onto the street.  Yep, that career was done.

I worked as a software contractor for about a year and a half.  I had about three good customers.  But, the support they needed was just bleeding me.  I couldn’t keep it up for much longer. Fortunately, my favorite customer (where I actually had 2 projects going) had a job opening for a person of my expertise and caliber.  The Dakota County TVI was looking for a person to install and maintain a student database system, in conjunction with the State of Minnesota.  I interviewed and got the job.

Here, again, I could go on and on about the challenges.  But, I won’t.  I’ll just say that for the next 20 years and two months I did whatever it took to support the staff and students at DCTC.  [Oh, yah … a few years after I started, the State of Minnesota merged all Community and Technical Colleges plus the 4 year campuses into one entity that most of us called MnSCU (Minnesota State Colleges and Universities).]  I did database stuff, web stuff, web applications stuff … all kinds of stuff.  But, I didn’t fix computers: not my kind of stuff.

I retired from that job in 2014.  It was a good time to leave.  Change was coming, I was getting tired of keeping up with all the technology, and I really wanted to work more on my music.  But, I really miss the people I worked with.

Meanwhile, on the family side, the boys grew up and each went off to college.  The oldest went on for advanced degrees and has done quite well in both industry and as a professor at Duke University. He married a wonderfully talented and smart young lady. And they now have two beautiful and smart children. Being as they are in North Carolina, they come out here almost annually, and Judy and I get to go visit them almost annually, too.

The younger went to college in Wisconsin and came back to work at G&K Services.  He married a beautiful young Wisconsin woman. Together they’ve had four beautiful and smart kids (really, now … aren’t all grandchildren beautiful and smart), plus two dogs (at separate times).  They don’t live too far from us at the moment, though they did spend some time in Iowa while he managed a plant down there.  He, too, has done well for himself, working his way up the ranks.

I left out a lot in this story.  That’s because I do write songs about them, more or less.  A few side items to mention would be:

  • Judy has a sister in Phoenix and it is fun to go visit every so often. I’ve had a few song ideas (that need finishing) on several of those trips.
  • We have two great friends, Norm and Diane, who have shared so much with us that we are almost family. In fact, I’ve written at least two songs while up at their lake home in Wisconsin.
  • I love visiting the North Shore of Lake Superior.
  • We both love to travel.

That’s the nitty of it all.  Like I say, the gritty will have to wait for the book (ha-ha) or songs.

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