I was thought of in 1938, conceived in 1939, and born on April 12, 1940, in Utica, New York. My childhood was fun, growing up in a small community. I should mention I was a devil in school. At thirteen, my father asked if I wanted to attend college. When I said yes, he told me to get a job. I protested I was too young. The next day he found me a job as a dishwasher in a local restaurant.
I attended Utica College, a subsidiary of Syracuse University, for three semesters. After changing majors three times, I flunked out. Needless to say, my parents weren't very happy. I went to work at a local restaurant as an assistant manager, and met my mentor, a wonderful man who guided me to a worthwhile career. After a year and a half hiatus from school, he helped me get into a hotel, restaurant management junior college in upstate New York. I graduated with honors, and went on to graduate from Michigan State University.
My first job out of college was assistant food and beverage manager at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. This meant working 16 hours a day, six days a week for $6800.00 a year. After two years of this, I realized I was on a road to nowhere. I then became food service manager at a new ford plant in Saline Michigan. Five days a week, eight hours a day, and more money. I'd been given a new lease on life. After a few years of this, I was promoted to vending branch manager in Detroit. I was responsible for the vending machines in the Ford and Chrysler plants. The job was a blast.
After turning down a promotion numerous times, I gave in and moved to Chicago to become national accounts manager for a subsidiary of the parent company. I was responsible for all the food service accounts at the Sears Distribution Centers around the country. This included lots of travel, which became old hat. I was then transferred to New York City, and became a regional food service director for the parent company, some of my accounts were McGraw-Hill Publishing (lots of lavish parties), Chase Manhattan Bank, the NBC commissary, just to mention a few.
New York was too expensive, so I accepted a position with another company, in Gary, Indiana. One of my managers and I began buying and rebuilding corvettes each November, and selling them in the spring. After nine years, coupled with my love for the automobile, I decided to go into business. I reopened a closed up gas station as a used car lot, this gave me an opportunity to fool around with older cars, as well as those for income. In 1986, the automakers came out with 2.9% financing, and the steel mills went on strike. Business fell off, so I sold the property and everything, and became general manager at a Cadillac agency. After five years, a friend of mine bought a Honda franchise, and I ran that store for him for five years. Again, it was time for self-employment, so with a friend another car lot was opened. I was there, with a break, until my stroke forced me into retirement in January 2004.
Now to back up a little. My father was part owner of a men's clothing store, and my mother was a homemaker. I had a brother 7 years younger, who died of cancer at 22 in 1969. I always wonder what life would be like if he were here today. My wife (Avery), and I grew up together in Utica. She went to the University of Michigan and prompted me to attend MSU. We were married in 1963, and had a daughter (Lisa), now a stay at home mom. David came along three years after Lisa, and is a senior computer programmer at Disney World. Lisa has two precious adopted sons, and David and his wife are planning a family. In 1990, after some rough years, Avery and I got divorced. We remained friends, and while on vacation in Key West with her sister and husband, got married again.
In 1994, we sold our house, and went to Gainesville, Florida, no place to live, no jobs, health insurance running out. We had the best time. Rented a townhouse and met great people, both got jobs at the University of Florida, and had health insurance. I was a police service technician, working the front desk at the university police department. Talk about career shock. Money was not to be made there, so we came back to Indiana where the car business was still up and running. Avery's only request was to have a house near Lake Michigan, so we live in a resort community one-half mile from the lake.
I'm fortunate in that my stroke was not as bad as it could have been. I get around fairly well, and am able to do many of the things I did before, at a slower pace. My family has been very supportive, especially Avery, who has been my left side since January. The help and encouragement of friends and strangers, like my water therapy teacher, are the best.
One more thing, my sense of humor has gotten me through the tragedies in my life. I try to stay positive, and keep a smile on my face. This is just another bump in the road I have to overcome. Join me; we'll do it together.