After 1976 I tried to be a self-employed Starving Hippie Potter for several years. But working for $0.50 per hour got really old. So, I enrolled in the Helena Vo-Tech Diesel Mechanic program. I liked being a mechanic but my various pieces and parts began to wear out early. The work wasn’t mentally challenging either. The best part was that I met and fell in love with the love of my life, Patricia Corry in 1984. We eventually got married in 1989.
I went back to school for the third time since high school, got an engineering degree at Utah State University, and started a job in the San Francisco Bay Area. Pat was in Montana so we did a long-distance relationship. Then I moved back home and did stack testing, air modeling, and other environmental engineering until we moved to North Carolina so Pat could get her PhD.
I got a pretty good consulting job in NC. Most of our projects dealt with distributed power generation, energy saving devices, fuel cells, etc. That’s when my mechanic, NWES, project design, math, and even some art abilities really started coming together. I was definitely a late bloomer but I discovered that I really like engineering. We also made friends with a bunch of wonderful people, played a lot of music, went to the beach, ate a raft of Hush Puppies, learned local history, and enjoyed our life in the Southern United States.
Nearly ten years later a job at Malmstrom Air Force Base (near Great Falls, MT) opened up. I jumped at the chance to finally come home and live reasonably close to Pat. I rent a place in Great Falls during the week and go kayaking, hiking, and socializing with Pat in Helena on the weekends.
It’s been a while now at the Base, so maybe retirement is on the horizon for me. But I do like my job. I’m even involved with the Nuclear Garbage Trucks. Remember them?
Best wishes and I’ll see y’all Friday afternoon.