A little about me. I was born in NJ in 1953. That makes me just 50 as I write this in April 2003. When I was about 4, my family moved to Wallkill, NY, about 80 miles north of New York City, and about 15 miles west of the Hudson River. My father passed away when I was 13, and my mother passed away when I was 18. My mother had lived with a debilitating disease, similar to multiple sclerosis since I was about 4, and my older brother and I grew up fast helping out with her care. That early dose of responsibility figured prominently in my early life. In 1969, I turned 16, got married, got my driver's license, saw my first child born, graduated from high school, and went to work for IBM - in that order.
That first marriage resulted in two kids. Chris Jr, and Melani. It only lasted about four years though, and when it dissolved, the kids stayed with me. I remarried about a year later and in 1975 moved to Dallas. That marriage lasted about four years too. In 1979 I remarried, and guess what? That one lasted about four years too. In 1985, I tried it one last time. That one lasted about twelve years, but also ended in divorce. Each relationship had it own ups and downs, and entirely different reasons for not lasting. And, remarkably, all the spilt ups were more or less amicable, and I kept in touch with three of the four.
My kids survived all this turmoil relatively well. Obviously they could have had a more stable environment, and they had their share of teenage turmoil, but they have both turned out to be wonderful adults. Chris Jr. lives in Phoenix and is a manager at a company that processes medical billings. Melani lives in Scarsdale, NY and together with her husband owns a tree care company. I am the proud grandpa of four. Melani has an 13 year old son, a 32 month old daughter, and 17 month old twins, one boy, one girl. This info was as of December 2004, so if it later than that as you read this, do the math.
My career has been in the computer industry. For any younger readers of this, there was (and still is) a computer industry long before PC's and the dotcom phenomenon. Wallkill, NY where I grew up, was about 15 or 20 miles from Poughkeepsie, NY, which was the home of IBM. In 1969 when I hit the job market, IBM employed about 1/3 of the working population of three counties in either the Poughkeepsie, Kingston, or East Fishkill plants. My eighth grade math teacher had arranged a tour once, for the math club, of the IBM plant in Poughkeepsie where they built the large main-frame computers of the day. Something about that day triggered me when it came time to find work. I was very fortunate to be in the right time and place to go to work for IBM right out of high school. Over the years, many kids have asked me how to get a career like mine, and I've always been careful to point out that my circumstances wouldn't happen today. In 1975, the East Fishkill plant had grown to be the largest single IBM installation in the world, and they were looking to reduce the work force there. This was in the days when a layoff at IBM was unheard of. As a result of this redeployment, I accepted an opportunity to move to Dallas, TX. The move to Dallas put me in a job where I was in contact with IBM customers. After a few years, I realized that I could make a lot more money if I switched jobs. Keep in mind that I came from an area where if you got a job with IBM, you planned on staying for life. Making that first move to leave IBM was probably the hardest decision of my career. But, in 1980, I left IBM and moved to Greenville, TX, to work for a defense contractor called E-Systems. They specialized in putting electronic stuff in military planes. They also did aircraft interiors, including Air Force One. In 1983, I switched jobs again and went to Wichita Falls, TX to a company called White's Stores. They were a regional retailer. In 1985, it was apparent that White's was about to go out of business, so I moved to Phoenix, AZ, where wife number four was from, and went to work for American Express. All of this work was of a similar nature, working in various jobs surrounding IBM's premier database management system. It was made public in 1969, when I started this career, and is still the main data store of the majority of Fortune 500 companies. In 1997, I moved to Houston, to work for a software company that was built selling products that compliment the IBM database products. This is where I am now, in 2004, contemplating the future.
A significant thing I have done since in Houston is joining the Galveston Bay Parrothead Club. If you don't know, Parrothead clubs are groups of people all over the country who not only are fans of Jimmy Buffett, but moreover are people who love the tropical, laid-back lifestyle that Jimmy sings of, and who party with a purpose. Parrothead clubs raise money for many charities, both local and national, while having a good time. Part of embodying this lifestyle has also reinforced my dream of sailing away someday. Stay tuned...
Well, if you have read much of this website, you know the dream came true. To update numbers, I am almost 57 now, my oldest grandchild is 18 and in college and the other three are six and seven. Barb and I "retired" in April 2005. We had planned to retire at the end of May, but BMC needed to do some staff reduction. Since we were planning to leave anyway, we were worked into the reduction program. We left six weeks earlier than planned with a nice severance package. We spent the next four years cruising as detailed elsewhere in this website. In mid 2009, we were out of money though and back in the States looking for work. Barb found work immediately but as of the end of the year I'm still looking. Hopefully we will be back to cruising in a year or two.