Letter To AHS Class of 1974 / A Short Biography

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This is a letter that I posted on the www.classmates.com website around July of 2008. 

Dear Classmates: 

Since I don't think I'll be able to make it back again for a visit I thought I'd tell my classmates something of my life since graduation. It's been rough. I've had four near-death experiences and have been disabled three times. During my last semester in 74 I developed a temperature that turned out to be just the beginning of a long road of illness. I carried this temperature throughout the last semester of our Senior year because it just wouldn't go away. I was bleeding internally and the doctors couldn't stop it.

I was never the same after the 74 wrestling season.

My poor health is something that I've tried until now to keep from you all. It's a shame thing. I don't know of any other way to express it. Strong one day, dying the next. Belinda Hogget, who happened to be a student in the same hospital, did discover me though. When confronted I denied her.

Thanks for keeping the secret Belinda.

So severe was this disease that at one point I weighed only 90 pounds. I lay in bed for at least 18 months. On my 21st birthday, January 4th, I lost 50 pounds over night during a life or death surgical procedure performed by 30 or 40 doctors. The surgery lasted something like 18 hours. Strange how the body works. Overnight losing 50 pounds like that. The same thing happened to me twice more. I suppose it's all a part of the healing process. The body immediately drawing upon its reserves before giving up.

This is not the way to lose weight.

One of my favorite authors, Robin Hobb, used this same phenomenon in her books 'The Farseer Trilogy'. But unlike Hobb's hero in her books, Fitz, I didn't recover in real time. Recovery took me nearly three years and several other major operations to overcome. By then I was 22. And when I could finally get out of bed I weighed 132 pounds.

For years I couldn't drive past a hospital without getting the heevie jeevies.

The cause of my illness goes unknown to this day. Something to cause throwing up several times a day, day after day for weeks and months.

Additionally, there have been family problems. Problems with sister and brother. Mother died at 73 in 1997. Father died at 59 in 1985.

My sister hasn't spoken to me since before I got sick. She bailed after High School and never looked back. Use to be she said she was running away from Mom. I don't know. Cathy never came to the hospital once when I was sick and has only spoken with me maybe 20 times since I was 15. Most of these communications occurred when my Father and Mother died.

And I have resented how she has treated my brother Jon. Jon has been retarded since birth. She abandoned him as well. I think it's a fear thing, like, don't get too close to the retard or others will think you're a retard.

It's this same fear that I believe she has applied to me, don't get to close or others will think you're the same.

What is such a mind blower about my sister behaving this way is that she's a social worker with three degrees!  A BA in Business, a MA in Social Work and a Master's in something else related to Social Work.  Now it becomes a professional issue in my mind, and one of the primary reasons I don't believe in social workers.  For here is a person being paid to give advice in family matters yet she can't handle her own family business without running away.  And her advice now becomes, "...don't heal the wound just cut it off..."?  Brutal.  Unforgiveable.

I saw this, "...just cut it off..." advice later during my divorce in the Family Law courts.  I don't have any respect for them either because they seem to rely on the advice of a whole bunch of social workers when rendering a decision.  Again brutal.  Again unforgiveable.

I have nothing but bad feelings for my sister, Catherine Elizabeth Morton nee Steele. On my death bed she never came to say good bye. Not once in decades. Not a letter. Not a card. Not a call. Even though she lived only 28 miles away in the SFSU dormitories when I was dying. She is such a selfish coward bailing out on me and my brother. She is such a poor example of a woman.

And of course, I'm writing this because Cathy is also an AHS graduate. Class of 1970. Her name appears right after mine on this website. Here's your friend Linda Miller. Here's your friend Kathy Ames.

Despite these problems I've lived in order to have a basically similar life as you all. I eventually graduated from college, found a career, had a wife, two children, a divorce, my own house w/ no mortgage, had new cars and seen a lot of the country. Here are some comments about the places where I've lived.

Roseville, CA: Maybe my favorite place. After the humidity of the Northeast the ARID heat of Roseville was heaven on Earth. I swam nine months of the year. Loved the boating in the sloughs. Loved the water skiing. Loved the people. Went to Reno on the weekends.How could anyone not like Reno? I made money every time I went here playing Three Card Poker. $6,000 total winnings playing cards on the weekends, not including room and board which was always covered by my winnings.

Fort Collins, CO. Where I attended college at Colorado State University and received a Bachelors of Science degree in Computer Science. I came here with a woman that I had lived with in LA. An older blond voluptuous Armenian Starlet from Hollywood and The Broadway Stage whom I followed around blindly. (* Who wouldn't? *). I worked for IBM during their downfall. Saw the largest corporate cafeteria in the world. It was very empty when I was there. All except for about a hundred of us who were phasing out the dismissed IBM'ers in their Super Computer Labs. These labs are vast. Nothing like computer labs of today. Basketball Arena size labs. All full of kitchen refrigerators lined up row after row. They weren't kitchen refrigerators though. They were disk drives all linked into four IBM Super Computers located in the center of the arena in the shape of a cross.

Ran 5 km everyday for three years with a Blue Heeler and a German shepherd. Bicycled 30 to 60 miles 3 or 4 times a week. Ran and bicycled in the same day often.

It's easy to run at high altitude.

Cheyenne, WY. Worked here for a trucking company for 3 months under an internship while attending CSU. WY is the tenth largest state and if you want to visit the moon to see moonscape then come to WY. It has the smallest population of any state in the union because there's nothing out there. Towns are hundreds of miles apart, tiny, and usually exist only for oil or ranching. It's worth visiting here just to see the difference. It's worth visiting here just to see the Tetons and Jackson Hole and Yellowstone. It's also worth visiting here just to investigate the 'Jack-A-Lopes'. Maybe the size of a medium sized dog the Jack-A-Lope is a jack rabbit with antlers. I have the head of one mounted to my wall in my home office. Hard to shoot because it's so fast, people aren't sure if it's a part of the rabbit family or part a of the deer family.

All must visit the San Juan Mountain Range in the Southwest corner of CO. This is where Telluride and Silverton are located. If you drive in from NM and North on CO Highway 14 then you will see the best of the Rockies. It's like a Walt Disney Movie set. You drive into Silverton on a sheer cliff that scales 3000 feet straight up and 3000 feet straight down and you never forget it.

Loved the CO cowgirls. You can always tell a cowgirl because she's always well toned and muscular and fit. Loved line dancing and the country swing. Loved dancing in CO.Pacifica, CA, Linda Mar. My favorite place in the bay area. Lived in Linda Mar next to the beach just North of the Devil's Slide and went to the beach daily. The beach was a quarter of a mile away and I remember my second German Shepherd running for hours up and down the beach. She would focus on one bird in a flock and the bird would stay ten feet in front of her. Kind of like a greyhound chasing a mechanical rabbit around the track.

Learned to sail on the bay with the Cal Sailing Club out of Berkeley. Sailed in boat races on the weekends and often under the Golden Gate. We would night sail to Sausalito for dinner and watch the city lights. This may have been the best time of my life. Never learned to surf or wind surf correctly. Linda Mar is where I got my Master's of Science degree in Information Systems while attending Golden Gate University.

LA: Hated the urban areas but loved the rural areas. The old timers who lived here after WWII called this place a Garden of Eden. Then the smog came. I remember standing on Santa Monica Blvd. looking west and watching the intersections disappear in the smog. The forth block was hard to see, the fifth block almost impossible, and the sixth block not at all. LA County is 99% Mexican or of some other overseas nationality. The people live in islands of concrete based upon their nationality. Armenians take up 12 square blocks, Koreans take up another 14 square blocks. Etc. When I first arrived in LA I Lived in an apartment behind Mann's / Grumman's Chinese Theater a half a block from Hollywood Blvd. I saw a lot of famous people like Dick Van Dyke, George Kennedy and others whose names I've forgotten. Valerie Bertonellie! You see these people grocery shopping or on the sidewalk. You spot them and it blows your mind.LA is where I went to discover God after almost dying. When you're dying you're trying to find God and communicate with him. Or you're just laying there taking it. I made a promise to pursue him if I got well and kept that promise by going to LA. Here I lived cheaply and eventually found a place in Culver City just down the street from MGM Studios where I lived for about 18 months. Times were tough here. I didn't feel like working and was forced to live in both a car and a garage for awhile.

I read a lot religious books in LA.

The Wizard of Oz was filmed down the street from where I lived on Washington Blvd.

For a couple of years I investigated Eastern religions, Islam and Sufism for example, and also Western Religions like Catholicism and the Methodist Church. I meditated on the Rosary during this time to the Holy Mother. Found Jesus and then God and found both through the Holy Mother. I also explored the Hare Krishna's who were just down the street on Venice Blvd. I bought a Mantra from Transcendental Meditation and have kept it a secret all these years.The Hare Krishna's were very similar to a Christian Cult called the 'Fundamentalist Army'. In my opinion, their members appear to be social outcasts from their homes and people who were looking for a family to belong to, rather than pilgrims trying to discover God or Jesus or a higher power. Obscure lonely people that you might have grown up with. Timid people.What a racket the Fundamentalist Army is. When you become a member of this Church the Church puts you to work and takes care of you. Then they withhold 90% of your paycheck for rent, groceries, expenses, and tithing. Tithing is 10% of what you make.

Mechanicsburg, PA: Fourteen miles from The Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant, Mechanicsburg sits on the same Susquehanna River, and drinks the same water as the reactor. Before Chernobyl Three Mile Island was the worst nuclear accident in history. If you go to the John Hopkins Cancer Center which is located in Baltimore several hundred miles away, you'll find eight out of ten patients are from the Mechanicsburg area. Many of the citizens feel their illnesses are a secret. How could so many be so sick with cancer from one area and no one talks about it?

Hershey Chocolates is also nearby and on the same Susquehanna River. In fact, when the Nuclear accident occurred, Hershey Chocolates was forced to close down until after clean up.Yummmm. Love those Hershey Chocolates. :-)

Two of the biggest roller coasters in the world are also in this part of PA. But I loved the monkeys in Safari Land. If you bring carrots, the monkeys will sit on your car and give you the biggest blast while eating carrots. I remember a dozen on my car several times.

Except for Philadelphia, which is an arm pit of a city, and Harrisburg, which is the State capital, and Pittsburg, PA is all White! Seriously. PA is all White! And this is a big state. It takes eleven or twelve hours to drive across. And what religious White people! Not just the Amish. Lots of Lutherans and other kinds of Protestants.

I was working in Mechanicsburg when a gunman walked into an Amish Grade School 40 miles away and killed all the Amish Girls but left all the Amish Boys alive. I believe there were fourteen or fifteen of these little girls shot down and murdered.

When a Hunter goes hunting he only kills the bucks so that the doe's can still have babies and the population regenerates. This way he doesn't wipe out his food supply. But now the Amish can't regenerate. This gunman was trying to wipe them out.

I've never seen so many women without makeup as PA women. And it's so refreshing when contrasted to NJ women who all go around wearing the heaviest padded bras a woman can buy and gobs of makeup from a very early age.

Cancun, Isla Mujeres & Cozumel, MX: Honeymooned here. When you parasail over the beach you can see tons of sharks surrounding the swimmers. They're always there. Flying out, an engine lost its fuel pump & we almost crashed in the jungle. The pilots did a 180 at 3000 feet before landing. (* Mexicana Airlines *). You can float for hours in the Sea here because it's so salty and fly like superman in the currents. Saw big balls of fish with barracuda above them. Drank water every 20 minutes because of the heat which is brutal. Saw the Mayan ruins and climbed the pyramid. The current Mayans are pygmies who beg at every stop.

Did not like the food here at all.

Richmond, VA: You know when the committee meeting is over at Capital One when you hear the word "dismissed". Most para-military organization I ever worked for. Food is fantastic in VA. Especially after eating the processed, tasteless food of the NY / NJ areas. I loved their yellow onions as well as their barbeque. Nothing like it. There's something to be said about Southern food.

NYC: Dirty place, dirty people. Dirty in lack of cleanliness and morality. Greedy people. All dishonest. All trying to figure out a way to be your friend and get a loan. Any way to get into your wallet or bank account. I refuse, and have refused to work here.Saw the Pope in 2008 land at Wall Street in a small fleet of double bladed helicopters. I was attending a class at the time. Climbed to the top of the World Trade Center before it was bombed. Turned down a job in Tower Two with the Port Authority in July of 01 just three months before the bombings. Truth.

There is nothing worth visiting in NYC.

New Yorkers are very arrogant people who insist that theirs is best but live in dirt and filth and don't know the difference. They're all 'nose deaf'. Most expensive dirt and filth in the country. And you get nothing for your expense. Not happiness. Not consideration.Long Island, NY: The top half of the island is the Gold Coast. Just beautiful. A lot of White people live here. The bottom half contains NYC traffic 24 x 7 and has 3rd world ghettos in many places. Long Island is hard to travel through but worth the visit if you can get to the North side of the island.

Burlington, VT. Loved the three months of summer weather, hated the nine months of snow. Hairy arm pitted, hairy legged, hippie / mountain women. Great people. True believers all. True American's all. Loved sailing Lake Champlain. You can sail from Montreal to NYC through the canal and if you go in July and Aug then it's a trip you'll never forget. Very historic area. I had no idea how historic. There are more sunken wrecks in Lake Champlain than anywhere else in the country.

NJ. I wish I had never moved to New Jersey because I can't get out. Even though I owned a house outright and made more money here than anywhere else, I wish I had never moved to NJ. The people are all on drugs. The Jersey Girls you wouldn't want to marry because they've done so many and probably have something. The scouting organizations are all afraid of lawsuits.

They limp along as shadows of past scouting organizations. The little leagues of football and baseball and basketball are similar. All afraid of lawsuits.

There is no bicycling in NJ.

I weep for this generation. The kids don't have childhoods like the childhoods that we had. They have no freedom whatsoever. Just rules and laws and never leave the house without an escort.

Where's the childhood in that?

NJ has more attorneys per capita than anywhere else in the world. If you're not an attorney then you're a wanna-be attorney. Truly, everyone sues everyone here. Worst cops I've ever seen. NJ Law Enforcement does only what's good for NJ law enforcement. Every bad thing that you ever heard about NJ Cops is true.

Note: No More Polish Women! I've had three children in my life, one aborted, and all have been from Polish women. My ex is Polish Ukrainian. For pictures of her and my children go to: w w w dot n i c k s t a c e y dot o r g

Both were voluptuous blonds.

Remember all the Polish jokes from our childhoods? Lot of truth in these jokes. Polish people do some amazing things that you truly can't believe.

The Pentagon paid for my relocation from CA to NJ and gave me a new car to drive. I worked at Fort Monmouth in Tinton Falls. My office was in the building where the army developed an electromagnetic pulse weapon. This is a communications lab. Fort Monmouth is the Army's center for all communication specialties. This lab contains a 40 foot high circular steel door that closes in on a vault. This was where the weapon was detonated and tested. Truly impressive. But it was emptied long before we got to it.

Surrounded by two sets of 10 foot high barbed wire fences and with video cameras every 20 feet, I actually locked myself out of this lab once and became trapped in between these two fences. The self locking doors closed in behind me when I was the last one out and there was no one there to release the second door. I had to climb over the barbed wire or stay there all night trapped.

Atlantic City and other Jersey Shore towns like Forked River and Ocean City MD. Hated AC. It's one big black ghetto. I never won a dime there. Especially in any of the Trump Casinos. Still, it's a nice place for a weekend and I'm still a member of the Borgata. But note, never go to a Trump Casino.

I love the little towns along the Jersey Shore and loved Ocean City. At least, during the Summer months. The rest of the year this area has very rainy, humid, overcast, dark weather. Storm cloud dark, not foggy overcast dark. You never see the moon. You often don't see the Sun. When you do see the moon you're startled because you can't remember the last time you saw it.

Ocean City, Maryland is the start of Highway 50 which traverses the country and ends up in Sacramento. It predates I80 and runs parallel to 80 much of the way. Very similar to route 66 in the Southwest.

After graduation, marriage was the last thing on my mind. I wanted to see the world and satisfy my wonder lust. I knew I had to satisfy it early too because my doctor's were so surprised that I lived. After almost dying in 76 and 77 I felt like I'd be cheated in life if I didn't do it early. So I postponed my career and having children and followed a woman to LA.

I've been a Unix admin for many years now and am considered an expert in HP-UX. It's very satisfying. If you Google my name and HP-UX you'll get hits on some of my work. At the time of this writing I currently work for Motorola in Long Island in Holtsville, NY. And believe that I am now the farthest traveled from our class. It use to be Glenn Silva. He's supposed to be out here somewhere but I'm not sure where.

I never saw any of this coming and often never planned any of it. I usually ended up where I ended up because of a woman. NJ for instance. I married a Jersey Girl and have a Jersey Girl and a California Boy for children.

Looking back I wish I had known more girls in high school. Kind of like the kids today but hopefully without becoming so perverted and losing your soul.   For example,  Holmdel High School, Holmdel NJ.  While working for ATT in 2007 a co-worker told me a story of cheer leaders giving lap dances to football players in the lunch room.  I mean, really, did you even know what a lap dance was in high school?  

Looking back having a son and daughter are the best things I ever did. Looking back, finding the Holy Mother, finding Jesus, and finding God, was the best thing that ever happened to me. (* You can feel them if you try. *)

So, see ya when I see ya and always trust a man with a tear in his eye.