The first photo was taken in the front yard of our farm near Polo Illinois in
I was on the cover of Life magazine in 1946 and on most of the pages detailing my one room school in Pecatonica.
I was drafted in 1963 and ended up running the computer center at the Presidio of San Francico. I worked as a business analyst for Blue Cross during the 1980s. I joined a dance group in the 1990s and danced at many venues around the City. In 2013 I was featured in the Asian Art Museum quartely magzine as an outstanding member. I now try to go on vacations every year for my birthday on February 4th. In 2015 I took a cruise to Jamaica and in 2016 I went to Portugal to celebrate my birthday! As of 2016 I have been in the computer business since 1959 and now create web sites as a past time!
Here I am in
2006 celebrating my 66th birthday in
Woodland Hills, Santa Monica and San Francisco. As you can see, retirement is certainly a good life as far as I am concerned!
so off we went on another great vacation. The trip also included three days in
where we could unwind after driving over 1,500 miles in New Zealand!
My trip in October of 2014 was to Ireland with a new traveling companion, Virginia!
I have been busy traveling
the last 30 years but the first trip I took away from Illinois was in December of
For some reason I decided to go to the
where I learned how to suba dive. It was a fantastic trip on a sailing ship, even caught in a hurricane in the Bermuda Triangle! After that all I could think about was traveling all over the world. It took a while but I am slowly traveling all over the world!
In 1982 I went to
and in 1984 I visited
and a cruise on the Nile in
Egypt. In 1986 I went to
France. In 1989 I went to
and in 1992 I went to
In 1994 I spent two weeks in
mostly at Machu Picchu and then went to the
on a weeks cruise. In 1996 I went to
and took a boat ride on the Yangtze River. In 1998 I went to
Russia. I took a boat cruise from St. Petersberg to Moscow. In 1999 I sailed on the Magellan Straits from
and then flew back to Santiago and then after a few days visiting there, took a flight to
for a week.
In 1999/2000 I went to
for the Millennium New
Year with my friend Viviane.
we then went to
to celebrate the actual Millennium New Year. Then I went to
for my 62nd birthday in February of
My next trip in
and in February of
I celebrated my 64th birthday in
I also took a cruise in 2004 with my friend Gail to the
Then I went to
in November of 2004 where I met a new traveling companion from Seattle, Barbara. In
I went to
for my 65th Birthday in February and then to
with Barbara in October.
Walnut National Park
In March of
I went to
South Africa with my friend Gail.
Barbara and I decided to go to
Vietnam and Ankor Wat in
where I celebrated my 67th birthday!
In February of
Barbara and I back packed all over
Nicaragua , visiting the major cities and volcanoes!
Barbara and I went to
Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and then to
Argentina and at the end of the trip, we took an extension of a few days to relax after two weeks of rushing around. We stayed in the little town of Colonial del Sacremento in
Uruguay. It is a delightful small town and very friendly!
In June of
my friend Gail and I flew to
Yellowstone National Park
and rented a car to tour the area. We also drove to
Grand Teton Park in Wyoming.
My sister Yvonne and I decided in September of 2010, to take a trip to see all of the western canyons. We saw the
in Arizona and continued on to view the
Zion National Park
Coral Pink National Park
in Utah and the
I celebrated my 71st birthday in
along with a cruise through the canal. In
I celebrated my 72nd birthday in
My sister always wanted to see
so we booked a cruise from Alaska to Vancouver in
the fall of 2012
and had a wonderful time.
Barbara contacted me in
and said she found a great trip to
Virginia and I took a cruise from Miami in 2015.02.04 for my 75th Birthday
Western Caribbean, visiting
In 2016.02.04 I celebrated my 76th birthday in Portugal. I visited Lisbon and toured the area and took the train to Porto for more tours plus tast testing the famous Port Wine!
And my next trip was with my friend Barbara in Seattle and we are went to Cuba on 2016.06.01, for ten days and two full days in Cancun and went to see ruins of Coba!
In 2017.02.04 I celebrated my 77th birthday on a cruise around the islands of Indonesia and then visited Singapore in 2017.02.15 for a days tour before flying back to Tokyo and San Francisco. I even got to see Mt. Fuji from the airport in Tokyo!
In 2018.02.04 I celebrated my 78th birthday in Sicily and then visited Sardinia,
Algeria and Spain on the Viking Star cruise ship.
My traveling companion Virginia and I got a special deal on a trip to Europe on 2018.11.01 and we decided to add on a few days in Basel Switzerland.
We then continued on with a Viking cruise on the Rhine, visiting France, Germany and the windmills of Holland. The cruise through the castles of Germany was especially wonderful! Next year for my birthday we hope to travel to Jorden and see Petra and the Dead Sea!
Here are a few photos of me celebrating my birthdays in different areas of the world.
This is an overview of my life from 1940 to the present!
~ Born at Home on the Farm Between Polo and Brookville Illinois!
was born in 1940 on a farm a mile from
and my sister was born in a house near Pearl City in 1932.
The picture on the right was taken
1938 and is the only known picture of the house where I was born. My grandparents, Martin & Anna Peterson,
parents of my mother, are standing in front of the house!
A month after I was born we moved to a
farm half a mile from the house I was born in and my parents then bought
this farm. We
moved within a year to Pecatonica on a 500
acre farm we rented along with owning the farm near Brookville. I
went to a one room school house near the rented farm and my sister
graduated from the Pecatonica High School and moved to Rockford.
~ General Overview of My Early Life!
My parents and I moved back to the farm
near Brookville around
where I finished grade school in another one room school house and I
graduated from High School at Polo in 1958. I then worked at
(my first computer job), Rockford, and was
drafted and worked as a computer center supervisor at the Presidio Army
Base in San Francisco in 1963 where I have lived every since!
When I was born on a farm
my sister said she was in the next room and heard my first cry.
They had plowed the snow off
the gravel road just in case the doctor was needed. Our father
went to the neighbors to call the doctor to come out. I
weighed 'ten and one half' pounds and as my sister said, "I
wasn't red like most babies, I was white and had rosy cheeks and curly
hair!" She said I tried to walk when I was only six months old and they
were worried as I was so big and heavy, I might become bow-legged.
Well at least that didn't happen! As you can see, I was an angel
as a baby!
Scrappy would check the basket I was in to make sure I was all right! My sister told me my first ride was on a hay wagon around the first of March, just a few weeks after I was born. It was the middle of winter and very cold!
Within three weeks we moved to the next farm which my parents had
thing I remember about the farm before we moved to Pecatonica where we
rented another farm, was our Christmas tree decorated with candles just
like the old German Christmas trees. The candles were lit for only
a few minutes, then blown out for safety! It is strange how I can
remember that so clearly and nothing else during those early years!
~ Trouble at Only Two Years of Age!
My sister told me when I was two
years old I was already misbehaving. When they did the threshing
and piled the straw into a huge pile, a straw stack you know, one always went to the top and slid
down it as it was so much fun! I guess one wasn't suppose to do
that when the straw was fresh and hadn't settled as one could sink in
and suffocate! So I decided at two years of age to get onto the
straw stack and dance around on the top of it. Well it was bad
enough I managed to crawl on the top of the straw stack, the next thing
I did was to take off all my clothes and dance around. My sister
said the hired man saw me dancing around and yelled for someone to take
care of that boy and get him off of the straw stack!
she did the same thing when she was two years old, took all her cloths off
and stood on the concrete base of the windmill in the front yard as the
neighbors drove by. Our father came by and scooped her up. So
now I know where I got my exhibitionist qualities from, my sister. One
has to blame someone!
was eight years older, she said she always thought of me as a real live doll
and took care of me while our parents worked outside. She used to
dress me up and put me outside to take a photo with our Brownie box camera.
I would stand there and the neighbors would drive by, I told her that was
why I was so screwed up in later years, she 'made' me dress up in those
funny clothes. She laughed about that!
~ Big Trouble by a Little Boy!
I told my sister about the first faux pas I
remembered doing as a child.
I thought I was around six or seven by she said I was
three years old! She
said I certainly have a good memory for something that happened 63 years
are when I was three riding on our pony! I am the one hanging on
for dear life!
As most children
on farms or I guess, anywhere, matches and fires are something that is
magical. We had the big ‘farmers’ matches and I loved to play with
them. One day in the early
fall the grass was about a foot tall and everything was dry as there
hadn’t been any rain for a considerable amount of time.
I decided to take some matches and go into the
backfield behind the buildings where there was an old orchard with dried
tree trunks and grass. I lit a match and watched the fire take hold. Well it certainly did, suddenly
the entire area was on fire.
It was bad and I was scared.
Suddenly I heard my father yelling and I was even more scared. He came running back to the fire
and screamed at me to help put it out.
I didn’t know what to do so I ran across the road and into the
pasture and down to the neighbors house, Annie and Gusty, who were
sitting on their porch rocking away.
I came screaming up to them and they just sat there thinking, “That boy must be in Big trouble!” So I decided the safest place was
under the porch where is was dark and I just sat there shaking. My
father came down the road in the car at 80 miles an hour and flew up to
the porch. “Where is that
boy?” Annie and Gusty just
sat there. I think he looked under
the porch and saw my beady little eyes reflecting back fear!
I knew he was going to catch me so out I flew and across the field to
our house. He got in the
car and we met at the same spot at the same time in front of our house! Everything after that is a blur
for some reason! Of course
I was punished but they were more worried about the farm burning down.
Well I did learn
my lesson but as I told my sister, a few days later I took some matches
to a plowed field and dug a hole and put in some dried leaves and lit
them and said to myself, “To bad, I will have a
fire if I want to!”
Bad boy! But from then on I made sure if I
made a fire, it was in a safe and protected place. So I did learn something from the experience and my sister
had to laugh as she said she also went into the fields an lit fires and
danced around them. Must
run in the family!
So can you believe it, I remembered all this
and I was only three years old.
I still have a good memory in 2006 so that is something to be thankful
~ Burst Appendix - Penicillin Saved My Life!
The inserted newspaper
clipping from 1944 brought back many memories since we had moved to Pecatonica, Illinois, a 500 acre farm we
rented after buying the 160 acre farm by Brookville! When I was
four years old I was running around the yard and suddenly I was
dreadfully ill. My stomach ached and I lay on the couch and felt
like I was dying. We called our doctor in Pecatonica and his
diagnosis was, stomach flu! Well after several days they thought I was
going to die so off to the doctor. Now he said I had a burst
So off to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy operation. My insides were full of
peritonitis and I was unconscious and expected to die. I was told
they took a lot of my insides out and washed my insides but to no avail.
So they were going to write me off as I had been unconscious for a week.
out later, penicillin had
just been sent to Chicago in 1944 after being used in the Pacific war
zone with miraculous results! The penicillin was rushed to the St.
Francis hospital and given to me just in time. I was so weak I was
in a wheel chair for weeks, too weak to walk. I remember coming
home and having to stay in bed. Yvonne of course, was in school
and my parents told my I had to stay in bed as they had to go out and
work the farm. I, of course, knew better so I tried to get out of bed to
get something. I fell on the floor and that was that. I
couldn't get up so laid there for a few hours. My mother came back
to check up and of course, there I was. Well no sympathy for me!
She just got me up and back in bed. She figured I probably
had learned my lesson! So here is the news item, seems awfully
small for such a major operation and almost the death of me!
~ Saturday Nights on the Farm ~ Our One Evening to Go to Town and the Movies!
I remember when I was
around five or so, we used to get cleaned up on Saturday evening after the
choirs and go to one of the small towns to shop and see a movie. Yes,
we all used the metal wash tub to take a bath and I was usually the last one
to use it. I remember one evening we were almost ready
to go and I was still in the wash tub. I decided there
wasn't enough soup suds so I got out and took a box of I believe, Lux soap
flakes and poured them into the tub and then proceeded to wave my arms
Well the next thing my mother came in and the entire kitchen floor was
covered with soap suds with me in the middle of it. I think words were
spoken. She was not amused but the floor was certainly clean after
that episode! Aren't kids fun!
It is hard to believe we
would go to
Ridott or German Valley and watch a movie from a
projector running in the outdoors. In Ridott they would shut down
the main drag and put a screen up. Next to it was the General
Store where the farmers bought their supplies while we kids ran around
and then watched the movie while sitting in the street!
Valley the General Store was in a big white building and the one wall
was about two stories high and perfectly flat. It was a perfect
movie screen and the area by that wall was a large grassy area so we
could picnic and relax while the movies were playing. Needless to
say, I can't remember any of the movies but it sure was exciting at the
Now I have a
60 inch TV, a surround sound system and a satellite connection and 200
channels. Times certainly have changed!
~ A Big Year as a Celebrity ~
Life Magazine Cover !
Life Magazine decided in 1945 to run a
sequence of photos of a one room school house in the mid-west
so the people over seas would remember what they
had been fighting for! Our one room school was picked in
Pecatonica and the teacher was Miss Meyers. It was the old story
younger people have heard too many times. I and my sister would
walk to school in all kinds of weather. And our teacher made us
mind, or else.
Life Magazine sent out a reporter for several weeks in 1946 and of
course we were all excited as he had the latest cameras and flash bulbs!
But after a few days, we forgot about him and went on with our lives.
So he was able to get fabulous shots of us doing our daily schedules.
There are about four pages of pictures in the magazine and I am in
almost all of them!
We used to go to town on Saturday night, our big night out after taking
our bath in the big tin basin in the kitchen, to shop and if lucky, go
to the movies. I remember that since I was on the cover of Life
Magazine people like the check out ladies in the grocery store, would
pat me on the head and say what a cute boy I was. I, of course,
disliked the head patting and tried to ignore it.
So much for fame
Note: I found this photo taken in 1946 of the The
Wagner One Room School near Pecatonica and it is so clear. By the way, my sister graduated the year before I was on
the cover and told me if she was still in our one room school, she would
have been on the cover, not me! I always wondered what the meant,
would she have pushed me aside? No, she said, she was cuter
One has to laugh as one looks
through old pictures and newspaper clippings. We lived on a farm
and I always thought we were in the middle of no-where! Then
I see the local newspaper clipping and had a good laugh! We had
birthday parties and of course, our uncles and aunts were invited and
they came to Pecatonica from Polo, Freeport and Brookville. And
they attended dinner and brought presents for my sister and myself!
Well that sure makes me wonder about how things got into the newspaper.
Someone had written Feb. 3, 1946 on this clipping!
~ Famous on the Farm - The County Paper had Write Ups of Us!
A second clipping I found is interesting also
as it details a Sunday entertainment as a six PM dinner. We were
on the farm so a six PM dinner
seems strange to me! Our aunts and
uncles were there, all Buntjers. Mr. & Mrs. Marvyn (Babe) Buntjer, Benny
Buntjer and family, Faye, our father's sister and husband George
Copoulus and another sister of our father's, Elizabeth and her husband
Tony Agiou of Freeport!
My sister and I were 'honorees' and received
many gifts and wishes for many happy returns of the day! Here is a
picture of me at seven years old!
So I guess we weren't quite in the back waters of the farm land as I
thought, especially since I was on the cover of Life Magazine in 1946,
my 15 minutes of fame!
The photo on
the left is when I was in second grade in 1947. I an on the left
second row. Lots of curly blond hair then. I attended the
one room school until 1951 when we moved back near a small village
called Brookville where I finished my eight grades in another one room
~ Cowboy Chuck and Cowgirl Yvonne ~ Outfits and
Horse Back Riding!
And here I am in 1947, with my cowboy outfit with the hat and of
course, the six shooter! We used to ride our horses to Pecatonica
and we rode in the opening rodeo's grand parade! I only did that
once but it was fun as maybe a thousand sat in the grand stand as we
circled and weaved our way around the fair grounds!
her cowgirl outfit, was always riding and used to jump her horse
and do the runs around the barrels and so on. Now isn't she cute!
We had a trail ride on our farm once and a few days before I remember we
did a ride around to select the best places to ride. I believe my
sister lead the trail ride.
Many times people would come from miles with horses in trailers and
there would be food and so on for sale.
Our farm was about 500 acres with a river running by it and an Indian
mound on a high hill and 200 acres of forest. We had a great time
riding and hiking all over the land looking for Indian relics and
swimming in the river and so on. Huckleberry Finn I think!
~ Spring Floods - Fishing - Trains!
Spring Floods and Fishing and Trains!
Almost every spring, the river in the low lands of our farm, flooded.
It covered all most of the farming area and then the land had fresh
black soil, great for growing corn, oats, alfalfa and other things such
as soybeans. Our house and barn were on the top of a hill so
we could look down on the waters. I remember some nights with a
full moon, the entire bottom of the farm was covered with a bright
silvery glow from the moon.
I remember our neighbors and uncles and cousins would come to our farm
after the river level had fallen back into it's banks. There would
be huge lakes all over the low lands and as they dried out, the fish
would be so numerous one could just walk into the water and catch the
fish by hand.
In this photo I am holding a carp. There were bullheads and other
fish but as far as I was concerned, they were bottom feeders and not
very tasty. Ever since then I have liked shell fish such as crab,
lobster and especially the huge prawns or a light fish poached with
butter and white wine.
I remember standing in about two to three feet of water and fighting the
fish as they were slippery and very wiggly! We caught gunny sacks
of the fish and now I wonder what people did with all these dead fish.
I also remember in the spring when the rivers over flowed, sometimes the
super express trains from Chicago to San Francisco and Los Angeles would
come by. The tracks were very old and not too stable for such big
passenger trains and they would hardly move as they watched to make sure
the tracks were still in one piece. One night we saw lights and
then the Pullman cars and some had the glass dome on the tops for
viewing. I was impressed and wondered if I would ever be lucky enough to
ever ride such a train, let alone every see some place like Los Angeles
and Hollywood! My sister said one train was called the
City of San Francisco
and the other the
City of Los
My sister said wasn't it funny that now I live in San Francisco and go
to LA many times a year! All this from 60 years ago!
Well look at me now, living in San Francisco for over 43 years as of
February 2006, just back from Beverly Hills besides traveling all over
the world, such as this trip in 2006, to South Africa. Farm
boy makes good!
~ Family Reunions on Both Sides of the Families - We had such Great Times!
I remember all the
great family reunions we always had each summer. Everyone would
come and sometimes the reunions would be at our
grandparents houses or later in Freeport at the
Everyone brought food and all we did was eat and relax, except of
course, the children. We had too much energy just to sit around
and I do know some aunts were grumpy and thought we should be seen and
not heard! Well of course that didn't last long.
Also, we children had to sit at our own table so as to not disturb the
grown ups! Excuse us! Well, we would have been bored sitting
there listening to them talk! So here I am with the
Peterson boys at our own special table! This was at our
grandparents Petersons near Pearl City Illinois! My uncle and aunt Johnny & Vera and their
eventual seven children lived down the road from my Grandparents
~ Thoughts About the Times Around the Farm
My sister found the picture of me on the right
that she never knew she had! I of course, an out in the fields helping
with what ever type of grain was
being grown. I certainly had a big nose then. Thank goodness it
has gotten smaller or my head has gotten bigger!
This picture reminded me
how much had changed on the farm in a few years. In 1944 I remember helping out
in the field walking behind
a combine pulled by horses and picking up and stacking the
sheaths of oats into small pyramids. This was done in case it
rained, three or four sheaths were stacked together and a last one put
on top, if it rained, this would protect most of the grain (we hoped!).
Within two years after the war was over, 1947, we had a new tractor
and a combine that cut the oats, separated the grain from the shaft and
put the grain in a container to be picked up later, and the straw went
out the back. Our big farm horses were suddenly out to pasture and
everything was mechanized. (But our toilet was still out back of
My sister told me she had
kept this photo of me in her billfold for over 50 years and I didn't know
about it! She said she really loves it! Such a nice sister!
It was taken in 1949 at the Sauerkraut Festival in Forreston Illinois.
Every year the little town had a festival and all the German and other
nationalities would come to the town for a weekend of Sauerkraut and
sausages. A carnival would also come to town with rides and side shows
so we all had a great time.
My sister thinks this
photo was taken in one of those photo booths and I wonder where my mother
every bought the outfit I was wearing! Snazzy for a farm boy in
Illinois. My mother was very smart and artistic even though she only went to
school for a few years and then had to work at home. If I remember
correctly, sometime in the 1960s or so, the festival suddenly was smaller
and finally disappeared from view. That is too bad as almost all of
these types of happenings have disappeared from the local landscape!
~ The Original House near Polo Before Being Remodeled!
This picture taken
around 1949 is the Buntjer family in front of our house on the farm that
we owned near Brookville and before we did a major
remodeling job on the house and build a new barn and machine shed.
We had all the latest in house wares, beautiful kitchen and bathroom
with all the latest fixtures.
This was a lot different than when I was small and had to use the 'out'
house! Especially bad in the middle of the winter at night!
~ Summer Picnic at the Wagner One Room School!
This picture taken
at our summer picnic at the Wagner one room school. I was in
fourth grade but we moved that year back to Polo where we owned a 160
acre farm by a little village called Brookville.
We also had been renting
a 500 acre farm near Pecatonica Illinois to help rebuild the house near
Polo plus a new barn and machine shed and oats bin.
In 2010 I got a message on
Facebook from Sandi Lender who appears in this photo on the first row,
right. She also sent me a photo that I also had, when she was in
first grade and I was in second grade. I am in the left back
row with Carol Neuberger! Sandi and I can only figure out five
people in the photo!
We have been trading many
stories about attending a one room school and she said she and several
others from the school still had my Life cover and the photos inside!
~ Our New House Near Polo Illionois!
This is how the house looked after we
remodeled it in the early 1950s. This picture was taken in 2004 on my
sister and my mid-west tour of Illinois, Iowa and Missouri.
We drove to
Polo and then to Brookville to see the farm.
pleasantly surprised to see the entire farm almost the same as it was 50
years ago! Even many of the large trees are still there!
The house has
been taken care of remarkable well considering how many farms around
were left to fall apart or were torn down to build newer ranch house
Check out this link for bigger photos
that shows the house in 1949, 1951, and also a photo taken of my cousins and
my sister and myself in May of 2004!
~ My Sister Yvonne and Her Fabulous Wedding!
This was a big
occasion as my sister was getting married to Kenneth Burt in November.
A beautiful wedding was held at the Brookville Church
with candle stands all along the windows of the
church and by the alter.
My cousin Randall Peterson and I were the candle lighters and were
dressed in tuxedoes. (I was told in a Protestant Church, the person
lighting the candles is commonly called the acolyte - how is that for
My cousin Nancy Copoulos was the flower girl and my sister had the
most beautiful wedding gown.
It was a fantastic time and we all
seemed to enjoy the occasion. After wards there was a grand set
down dinner for guests!
So here on the left is Randall, Nancy, and myself looking dashing for
And of course, on the right, Ken, Yvonne, and our parents, Walter and
~ Another One Room School in Brookville!
went to another one room school after my stint in a one room school house in
Pecatonica and the cover of Life Magazine. This was in a small village
I have been talking with Sharon, a student there with me and she is doing
research on the one room school but there isn't much information for the
sister was married in the beautiful small white church on the edge of town.
She and I took a car trip in 2004 from Chicago to St. Louis and drove
through Polo and then into Brookville. Well the school-house was gone
and so was most of the little village. A few run down houses and
broken down cars were in the yards. A school mate of mine, Sharon
Smith, is doing research to see if anyone has photos of the school or the
My sister found a letter I
wrote to her and her husband dated 1954, a year after our mother's death.
I was going to a one room school house in Brookville Illinois, a short
distance from our farm near Polo. I stayed at a woman's house
for part of the school year until things were straightened out after my
mother's death. My sister had married and moved to Rockford before our
mother died so I was basically alone for a time. Check out the letter and verbiage
about my time in Brookville! (Note: This is the only photo I was
given of the Brookville One Room School House! Sharon K. Miller informed me
it was demolished in 1958 in a letter I received from her on August of 2008
along with the photo!)
~ Thought About the Goings On This Year
This is the only photo I have been able to find of
my father, Walter, and myself.
It was taken a year after my mother passed away
with breast cancer, a horrible time for me as I felt alone and adrift.
You can read about my staying at a woman's house in Brookville while I
finished grade school there before going to Polo High School.
interesting I still sign my signature as Charles W. Buntjer!
seems very strange we didn't have many photos taken but then, I don't have
any with my mother either - just the one when I was a baby.
We are spoiled
with our digital cameras today. Instant gratification! As
you can see, we both were very trim from working on the farm.
I tired to
drink milkshakes and so on for years to bulk up. Even in the army I
was trim due to marching miles at a time. Of course, when I turned 55,
suddenly everything went to my waist. So goes life!
believe in 10.29.2009 I was looking in my jewelry box containing my cuff
links, tie tacks, rings and so on. I noticed behind the backing was a
paper and I wondered what it was. What a surprise! Can you
believe after 55 years I saw a certificate stating I was enrolled in the
Polo Community High School. Now I wonder how it got there!
~ Junior Class Photo
Here I am with the Polo Junior class. My
sister found this photo in a box and we aren't sure where it came from.
Sharon Miller sent me the names of the students in the photo from 1958.
She has been in touch with me since our 50th High-School reunion. She and I
also went to a one room school-house in Brookville Illinois. I had to
laugh, I left Pecatonica and the one room school-house and moved back to
Polo where I was born on a farm and ended up at another one room
school-house in the village of Brookville.
Front Row: Nancy Cox Parke,
Chuck Buntjer, Karl Dauphin, Larry Bott, Sandra Abels Hummel, Nina Andrews
Wagner, Theda Butler Levy
Back Row: Evelyn Davison
Hewes, Bill Clayton, Bob Dempsey, Ken Deyo, Jack Dohse, Don Ditzler, Larry
Bowen (Passed away in 2008)
~ Polo High School Graduation
Here I am graduating from Polo High School looking rather pale and
young at 18.
Check out the
picture taken of me five years later in the army uniform in 1963 looking
much older and very professional if I do say so myself.
school days were busy as I had a car and was able to go and do what ever
I wanted to with a little help from my father's gas tank on the farm!
I wonder how many tanks of gas I went through dating and going roller
skating at the White Pines National Park, the drive in movies, dancing,
and just plain goofing around!
~ A New 1959 Two Door Hardtop Buick!
Here is my first brand new automobile - A two door
hard top Buick!
still haven't figured it out after 50 years, as to why my father decided I
needed a new car and he suggested a Buick.
I was shocked as I loved the new 1959 Buick hardtop with the huge windows
and the speedometer that had a red line to display the speed rather then a
needle as even today in 2010, most have. And this is the color of my
car, a spiffy green with a white roof.
I wonder if my father thought
the Buick would make me perhaps, want to stay on the farm!
When I was drafted in 1963,
after being stationed at the
Presidio of San Francisco, I drove the car out here from Illinois and drove
it for about five years before I let it go and ended up with a British
Motors Spitfire two door convertible from a friend of mine.
moving to Manhattan in 1968 and asked me if I would like to have the sports
car for free! Of course I said. I loved that car and drove all
over the Bay Area with the top down most of the time. Certainly
a different life style, riding a horse or tractor in Illinois and a few
years later driving a European sports car around San Francisco!
~ First Jobs in the World of Computers in Illinois!
My first job was at
Burgess Battery in Freeport where I was sent to Chicago to learn how to wire
boards to program 402 and 403
IBM machines at the age of 20. I then worked for
Anderson Brothers, Ingersoll, and Amrock in Rockford before the Cuban
Missile crisis changed my life. At this time I also decided I needed
to work on my inter-personal skills so I went to
Arthur Murray's Dance Studio of all places to learn how to dance. They
offered me a job to work in the evening and I decided, why not. I
would get paid to learn how to dance and also I could make some extra money
on the side. Plus we had great parties after work and sometime we gave
dance exhibitions around the area. Not too bad for a farm boy, working
in computers during the day and dancing my feet off at night and only 22
~ Dating in the Midwest Before the Army Called Me Up!
dating a very nice woman while living in Rockford Illinois. I originally was
dating her and then dropped her for another girl, Pat. There
were four of us and we all had a great time together double dating.
The other woman, Pat, was very beautiful and she wanted to become a model in
Chicago or New York. We used to go out dancing two or more nights a
week at the local cocktail bars, very sophisticated for Rockford. We
went for years and we were underage.
Interestingly, on my 21st
birthday, the manager of the cocktail lounge had a good laugh, said he had
never checked our I.D. and if the police ever came in he probably should
have checked us out. Well he had a good laugh, my birthday, number 21,
was the next day so we had to leave until the next day!
When I was dating Susan she was
in college for a while in Wisconsin and I went a few times to her annual
college dances and we had great times. In this photo, we went to a
Halloween party in Rockford. We were suppose to be Roman and my sister made
up the outfits plus I had glitter on my eye lids, not too Roman, I think
Years later I learned that
Susan had gotten married and had a baby but then had cancer and passed away
in her 30s. So sad. And my hot date, Pat, got mad at me for not
wanting to get married and told me off. She got married to
the hot motorcycle number in town and I was drafted in the Army during the
Cuban Missile crisis! I found out later she had a baby and her 'hot'
husband used to beat her. Well imagine my surprise when I got a letter
delivered to me at the Army post in San Francisco at the computer center
where I was the manager. The guys of course, were interested. I
opened it up and read the following.... I miss you Chuck and my
daughter and I would love to come and visit you in San Francisco. I
guess the other 'men' knew something was up and asked to read the letter.
They had a good laugh and I ripped up the letter and dumped it into the
waste basket. Sorry.... No Chuck here or a second-hand Daddy!
~ My first plane rides
I decided to take my first trip to see the Atlantic Ocean and take a cruise
on a Windjammer ship through the Bahamas I had to go to
the O'Hare Airport in
Chicago and board a plane to
Miami. Can you believe the first plane I
ever flew on was a Pan American Boeing 707. Here are some facts about the
Pan Am was the first airline to operate the
707; the aircraft's first commercial flight was from New York to Paris on 26
October 1958. American Airlines operated the first domestic 707 flight on 25
January 1959. Airlines which had only ordered the DC-8, such as United,
Delta and Eastern, were left jetless for months and lost market share on
transcontinental flights. The 707 quickly became the most popular
jetliner of its time. Its popularity led to rapid developments in airport
terminals, runways, airline catering, baggage handling, reservations systems
and other air transport infrastructure. The advent of the 707 also led to
the upgrading of air traffic control systems to prevent interference with
military jet operations.
After I got to
Miami and spent
a few days enjoying the hotel on the beach I flew for my second plane ride,
a one engine pusher propeller sea plane. Exciting to fly in as there
had been a hurricane and the waves were very dangerous.
We didn't think we were going to make it from the ocean to the shore on the
island of Bimini. We did make it but it was hair raising!
Then off on the Bahamas cruise!
So for my third
airplane ride, when we got back from the cruise and landed in Miami, our Pan
Am 707 flight was canceled and we were asked to fly one of the new turbo
jets, an Electra (plane on the right), that had many crashes. This flight was going to New
York and almost the entire passengers said no way will we fly on that plane.
So they put us on a four engine propeller plane to Cleveland and on to
Chicago and was I surprised.
After the first ride on a jet passenger plane, the prop engines chugged
along and the plane vibrated and was not very enjoyable as the jet but, with
in three weeks I had flown on three very different types of planes.
I did eventually ride an Electra when I got out of the Army boot camp in
Fort Knox Kentucky and flew back to Chicago
before flying United to San
Francisco in 1963. After that I regularly flew United 707s back and
forth from San Francisco to Chicago to visit my father near Polo and my sister
in Rockford Illinois.
In 1967 I flew back to Rockford Illinois
where my sister was living. Rockford is the second largest city in
Illinois (at least at that
time), and when I landed in Chicago decided to take a plane into the Rockford
airport instead of a bus or having someone drive all the way to the airport to
pick me up. Little did I realize I would be riding in a pre-World War
DC-3. Talk about a bumpy ride, so low to the ground.
Then in 1982 I finally
flew in a one engine propeller plane flying from a secluded island to the main
town of Suva in Fiji! I had the jump seat next to the pilot so got to see
the islands and reefs as we flew into the Suva airport.
And finally in 2008 I flew a glider over
Lake Tahoe in Nevada. That was a great thrill and now I only haven't
flown in a helicopter for some reason. I almost did in Hawaii and in
Zambia Africa over the Victory Falls but both times I was too cheap to spend the
money to fly in the helicopter.
1961 ~ My first big trip - Carribean Cruise on the Wind Jammer!
is hard to believe that in 2006 my sister found this photo 45 years
after I took this trip to the
She called me up and said she had been
unloading boxes of things she has been keeping for over 50 years or so and
scanning photos and throwing out things no one would want or even know about
I told her I remembered very clearly I
was excited about my first trip in 1961and went to a camera stop in Rockford Illinois where she lived
and I was working. So I found a camera I liked and bought it and
took it on my trip to the Caribbean! Check out the Bahamas link on my
Home Page for a full blown description of my first big trip of my life!
I remember about half way through the trip, suddenly the camera
wouldn't load the film and the shutter wasn't working correctly.
Well of course I was mad and I think I managed to rewind the film or I
took it back to the camera shop. So I figured there weren't
any photos in existence from my first big trip in my life.
Low and behold, my sister
found in the bottom of a box, a negative of me on the Windjammer Cruise!
Not a photo but a negative all by it's self! Strange! She
said she just put the negative on her scanner and low and behold,
presto, a not too bad copy of me at 21, hanging onto the rope of the
ship as we sailed from Bimini to the rest of the islands in the Bahamas
and almost to Cuba! Actually that is pretty funny, in 1961 I
almost landed in Cuba and in 1963 I was drafted because of Castro and Cuba
and ended up as the top sharp shooter (rifleman) of the battalion and a
chance to go to Officer's Training to be a Second Lieutenant! I
didn't think so, not with computer training under my belt!
I was very lucky and ended up
in San Francisco in a plum job at the Presidio managing the swing shift
in the computer center under the Golden Gate Bridge for only two years
and then off to the corporate world and eventually consulting at all the
major companies in the Bay Area!
1963 ~ A Very Big Surprise - Drafted!
I had several jobs in Rockford before being drafted in 1963 during the Cuban Missile crisis and ended up as the swing
shift supervisor at thePresidio Army Base in San Francisco. I was sitting in a bar after
working an eight hour day at a company in
Rockford Illinois called Amrock. This was an up and coming business
with the latest computer equipment. I remember even then, they had the
latest disk storage memory in the country. It was the size of a large
refrigerator and had about 12 huge magnetic disks. There were 12
read/write arms, one for each disk. So when a record was read, the
entire system of arms slid back and forth to find the data to read or
So with my
training in computer systems, I was lucky enough to be the swing shift
supervisor at the Presidio, over looking the Golden Gate Bridge and my
barracks over looked down town San Francisco!
Most of the other men in basic training. (Fort
Knox Kentucky), ended up in places such as Fort Benning Georgia, not a
very nice place for training. I was the top shot in basic training and
received a medal for being a sharp shooter!
Due to my high IQ and
computer ability, I was asked to go into officer's training but decided
I was better off as a civilian and working in the open market rather
than living a regimented life that I would find hard to follow.
I also found my
Army Discharge Papers and was surprised to see in 1969, they still had my address as RR 2 Polo Illinois! They indicated I had completed all my service requirements and was officially discharged. I don't know what they ment by fulfilling my requirments but someone told me perhaps I should have done some summer military exercises. Huh I said. Well what ever happened, I was happy living in San Francisco and working in the biggest computer center west of Chicago at Fireman's Fund Insurance!
1965 ~ Visiting my Sister in Rockford after the Army - Ready to live in San Francisco!
was just about to get out of the Army
at the Presidio of San Francisco and decided to visit my sister,
brother-in-law and my nephew, Bill.
As you can see, he was still
very small and when he was older I told him I used to change his diaper.
This went over big and my sister
had a good laugh about that!
I decided when I got out of the
Army, I would never live any place else but California and San Francisco
unless it was Paris or Venice. Well so far after 45 years as of 2008,
I am still living the good live in San Francisco and California.
I have never missed the
mid-west or wanted to move to another state. It is a state of mind!
This photo was taken in 1965 in
the yard of my sister's house in Rockford Illinois.
1966 ~ After the Army I started to work at Fireman's Fund - 18 Years!
After the military, I
Fireman's Fund Insurance as a supervisor for 15 years
(See the photo of me at Fireman's
Fund Insurance - 1969).
I then became
a consultant working for major companies around the bay area through the
90s during the dot-com era starting with some of the following
Boole & Babbage
of America - Y2K Fix
Franklin Templeton in 2002.
1967 ~ DC 3 - Flying from Chicago to Rockford Illinois!
father became ill this year and I flew back to Rockford Illinois where my
sister lived. Rockford is about 85 miles northwest of Chicago. I
flew many times on United to and from San Francisco and Chicago while in the
Army and afterwards. After many years my sister lived in a
suburb of Chicago but when she was in Rockford, I flew to Chicago and then
flew to Rockford on a DC-3 airliner. Talk about some ride!
During the 1960s I flew on Boeing 707s so were used to the big jets.
Imagine my surprise when I went
from the United 707 to board the local airliner to Rockford! It was a
DC-3 and had a small aisle and one seat on each side of the aisle. The
seats were very small and hard. There were large windows by each
seat but there wasn't a door to shut between the pilot and co-pilot and the
After we took off the
stewardess asked me if I wanted a cup of coffee and if I wanted cream or
black. I said black and watched her go to get it. She went to
the front of the plane and dug around under the first seat. There were
two thermos bottles and she poured me a coffee and brought it back.
I looked out the window and we
were flying so low I thought I could see the leaves on the Oak trees!
Then I looked across the aisle and saw a man in a suit looking very pale and
secretive. The next thing he reached inside his coat and took out a
bottle of whisky and took a big slug! He continued this the entire
time we flew to Rockford. I can't remember but the trip probably only
lasted a little over an hour in the air.
So this was the only time I
flew on a DC-3 but it was quite an experience. Another one for the
books! Of course since then I have flown on aircraft around the world
on my travels but this one remains one of the more interesting!
A total of 10,655 DC-3s were built at
Santa Monica, California, Long Beach, California and
Oklahoma City in both civil (607) and military (10,048)
versions. 4937 were built in Russia. A total of 487
were built in Japan. The overall total produced was 16,079.
More than 400 remained in commercial service in 1998.
1968 ~ Party Time in the City - Flower Children on Haight Street!
During the 60s those of us
lucky enough to be living in San Francisco, were in the middle of the Flower Children and Love and Peace movement. I was
working at Fireman's Fund Insurance so I wore a suit to work. Then
came Friday evening and we would be off to Haight Street. We would go to
the clubs and meet people, dance and what ever all night, be invited to
someone's apartment and the only furniture would be one bean bag chair, that
was it! We would drink, smoke grass, dance, kiss and hug all night,
from Friday until Sunday night! Then home and off to work for five
days and then start the weekend all over again. We wore 'love' beads and bell bottoms along with long hair,
well, not too long for the office, and thought we were the in crowd.
So it was funny, during the week I was in a suit and swing shift supervisor,
then on the weekend, Mr. Love Child! This was just the
beginning of an era that is now long gone!
Check out this link on a history of the club scenes and life in
1960s through the 1980s as lived by me! It makes great reading if I do say so myself!
(Of course these stories are only the tip of the iceberg so to speak!)
1969 ~ Chuck - The Novice Skiier!
Patti Memoli and I met at
Fireman's Fund Insurance Company in 1967. It was the largest computer
center west of Chicago, state of the art at
that time. She and
I began a long
friendship. Over the years we took tap dancing lessons, cooking
classes and I took my famous skiing lesson at a ski resort near Patti's
winter/summer house in Truckee.
started working at the Fund in June, 1967 (19 yrs old) making $74 per
week as a Tape Certifier. I was a computer
operator and I was making $95 a week! Here we are in 1969 at the swing shift at Fireman's
Fund! Patti on the left of the photo and in the front row center
with the spiffy jacket, me!
I was a novice at skiing and
she suggested I take a lesson, me take a lesson as I am so good at doing
everything I put on my skis, went to the 'bunny' slope and
there were about 15 people to
take the class. I, of course, went to the top of the bunny slope
ahead of everyone. The instructor just looked at me and I gave him the
look, like do I need a lesson?
Well suddenly my skis started
to slide and I turned sideways to stop and ended up sliding over everyone's
ski tips and then proceeded to fall down. No one said anything but the
looks, like you twit, running over the tips of our skis and then falling
Mt. Lassen is where you had your famous 1st lesson.
There was only a rope tow, no chair lift and you had to stop before the
bottom of the bunny slope. Why? Because over the bump at the bottom
were the hot springs. If you missed stopping, you would get wet. We saw
several beginning skiers do this and always thought it was hysterical.
From then on I was
quiet and followed instructions, especially how to stop or fall down if
At the Mt. Lassen Motel, our rooms had 2 doubles,
You would always take one and loudly announce "I am not sharing this bed",
leaving me to crash with whomever had come with us. Never a fun thing for me. The rooms were 1950's tacky with knotty pine walls and orange shag
In the winter of '69-'70, we had
our famous Swing Shift Ski Trip. That is picture of you and I in front of
Dave's car (married, brought wife and kids - I have a couple more pictures
of the gang). Well I just got in 2011 several photos from Dave and
here I am sunbathing at Mt. Lassen. He also had a photo of many of us from
the computer installation at Fireman's Fund on a fun weekend - ah, the good old
1973 ~ Patti and Chuck - Skiing Adventures!
and I had lots of fun during our skiing adventures. Here I am in 1973
looking like I know what I am doing at Squaw Valley. One Friday
afternoon we packed up the car and off to Truckee and her house to have
cocktails, sit by the fire,
tell stories and just have a good time away from the computer center and all
the trials and tribulations we encountered there. We were on the freeway after a few hours and suddenly
there was a mass of cars and we were told the freeway to Tahoe was closed
due to snow but we could go as soon as the snow ploughs opened up the roads.
So in the middle of the freeway, we opened a bottle of wine and relaxed.
We got almost to her house and
the snow was two feet deep and we had to put chains on the car to make it
the rest of the way. The freeway was a mess. We got to the house
and Patti had a fit. A man down the road was suppose to clear off the
flat roof of the house when too much snow got onto it. There must have
been three feet on it. We had taken another 'friend' with us and she
put the two of us onto the top of the roof at three a.m. and told us to
'shovel' or else. We got so hot we took our shirts off. Then we
finished and came down and proceeded to have cocktails.
If I remember correctly, Patti
went to change for bed and I ripped off my clothes and into the big bed -
perhaps passed out from the snow shoveling and then a cocktail. That
is my story and I am sticking with it!
Patti said, I don't remember or I was asleep, (a good excuse), and she said
she was not sleeping with that other twit so!
Each morning we would have a
good breakfast and off to the slopes to ski all day and at times, stop at
noon for a wine or cocktail. Ah, the good old days.
One time we even went to the
local Ski Shop and tried various skis and boots and were deciding how much
to pay. Eventually we decided just to rent instead of spending a lot
of money and then having to store the skis over the summer.
We rented equipment at
Don's Sporting Goods on Geary St., but bought boots after the 1st season.
Later I bought all the equipment.
We continued to ski Lassen until winter
'72-'73 when Barry and I bought the 3bd/2ba mobile home in Truckee. Our
adventures continued. You and Barry shoveled the roof after our 9 hour trip
to get there. The picture of you in the white T-shirt is at Sugar Bowl. From
Truckee we skied on Saturdays at Alpine Meadows or Squaw Valley and
Boreal on Sat. nights. On Sunday we skied Sugar Bowl (remember taking the
tram ride? into the village) because it was right on Highway 80.
1975 ~ Party Time in the City!
During these years, every
weekend was a party. We drank, danced and did what ever we could from
Friday night until Sunday night and everything was wide open. Everyone
partied. We would open the bars at six AM and drink and play dice and
gossip and then dance by the jute box. We
would do this all day and night but would stop to have a nice
dinner in the evenings with before dinner drinks, martinis, wine with
dinner, desert drinks such as Black or White Russians after, then back to
dance and drink some more. Then at two AM the after hours places would
open and off we would go to watch entertainers do drag shows and listen to
musicians and songsters. We would meet actors from the Broadway Plays
who would come after the performing in the shows to be entertained and to
drink and relax and gossip.
One day a bar
on Polk Street had a Hawaiian party and the Hawaiian bartender at the
Tender Trap in the Tenderloin, called his relatives in Hawaii and had
them go out and pick special leaves to make me a lei and also one for a
friend of mine with flowers. He said only the chieftains could
wear these special leaves so it was very special! They had the
leis flown over to the coast and we wore them all day, dancing around
the streets and to the bar on Polk Street. Ah, the good old days!
1981 ~ A Condo on Twin Peaks - My Friend Patti Wood found this place for me to buy!
After my father passed
away, I took the monies willed to me to buy a condominium on Twin Peaks with a view of the
entire bay area. I moved
1976 and lived there until 1992 when I moved to the 28th floor of the Fox
Plaza downtown San Francisco with another spectacular view of the City.
On Twin Peaks
I needed a car to get around. The view was tremendous but owning a
car in the City is exorbitant and one gets parking tickets every time
you go shopping. The weather is another factor in moving as it is
very foggy and windy on top of Twin Peaks.
At this time
I was busy driving to Sunnyvale and Silicon Valley working on large
projects for Boole & Babage and Sterling Software development. I
sometimes worked 12 or more hours, (getting paid for over time so made
out like a bandit), and driving over two hours round trip a day.
This is why I look so thin in this picture! I also was dancing
five nights a week so I was not only trim but very healthy, if not
tired! Ah, to be young again!
I was going through some old photos in 2014 and couldn't believe it, I found some photos of my condo taken around 1980. I loved the sofas and the layout of the rooms. I put mirrors on the entire wall of the dining room making the room even seem larger!
1982 ~ Blue Cross was a Great Place to work at until the new CEO, a friend of Reagon, closed down the Operation in Oakland!
After I had become friends with my
coworkers at Blue Cross, we had many occasions
to party and to celebrate holidays such as Halloween. As you can see
on the left, I liked to dress up and even had cufflinks on my shirt sleeves.
I loved that red sports jacket and at
times felt bad over the years when the casual dress code came into being.
Many dressed like they were at the beach and even one time at Sterling
Software near Stanford, one consultant came into the weekly management
meeting wearing shorts and flip flops. Excuse me I thought, give me a
One woman I worked with, Ruth
Stellwagon, had parties and invited us over to eat, drink and dance at her
new apartment. It was a sock hop and she wore her high school prom
There was a group of us that
worked as business analysts for Blue Cross and the processing of claims.
We designed the forms to be sent to clients, worked with the data entry
people on inputting data, worked with personnel from the computer division
on setting up programs for use in health care subscriptions to clients.
We had many experiences during
Halloween. One woman I worked with came in one time dressed as a
bumble bee! She had on a yellow and black outfit and on her head were
two large antenna! I wasn't going to be so silly and dress up.
Well I went down the street a few days before Halloween and saw a store that
sold very cheap looking fake fur. Hmmm I said, maybe I could go as
Conan the Barbarian!
I bought the fur and made an outfit with a top and covered my cowboy boots
with the fur. Not to bad looking for such a short time to make an
outfit. Now I wasn't sure what to wear underneath but decided a gold
skimpy underwear was perfect. Well Ms. Bumble Bee decided we needed to
walk down the street and get lunch. Huh I said. Well why not. So off we went
and of course it was noon and everyone was out for lunch. The new
building next door was full of lawyers and they happened to be behind us.
Ms. Bumble Bee suddenly said, I lost one of my antenna so I bent over and
picked it up. Of course my very short barbarian fur coat pulled up and
everyone could see my golden undies. One of the lawyers asked the
other one, What is going on? He replied, It is just those Blue Cross
workers as usual! Blue Cross after that decided maybe it was
best if we dressed up to stay inside or just forget about Halloween costumes!
We also had a coworker, Jim,
(see the photo of us at Fisherman's Wharf), who had an old 1934 or so automobile that looked like something out of a
crime movie in the 30s! So we got together and decided we would dress
up like mobsters and Jim would drive his car to Oakland and we would drive
around trick or treating and in the evening go to Jack London Square by the
bay and hit the bars. The women dressed up like gun molls and we
certainly were a hit at work and when we drove around town. Talk
about good times!
1982 ~ Fireman Fund Friends and a Trip to Fiji and Scuba Diving!
My friend Betty and I worked at Fireman's Fund Insurance for years and we and other
employees became close friends during the 1970s and 80s
and are still friends after all these
years. We not only worked in the computer division but after hours did
various fun things along the way. This picture was taken during
the Christmas Party of Fireman's Fund at the St.
Francis Hotel on Union Square in
downtown San Francisco. Betty picked me up in her Cadillac so I felt
especially Special as we danced the night away!
Here I am in 1982 by the entrance to my
condominium on Twin Peaks, thin as can be!
A group of us used to meet
for lunch at work and we all started playing dominoes. It was cut throat
and we used to have a great time but I think the rest of the employees
thought we had lost it!
took up tap dancing lessons and after a year, our teacher who then was
around 80 years old but could tap the feet off of us who were then, only
in our 40s! This stopped at Christmas as we heard through the
grapevine we were going to put on a 'tap' fund raiser! We didn't
think so and the next week we did not showed up for the tap class!
Then we proceeded to take
cooking lessons and did Italian, Asian, and Greek. We would take a
lesson, then prepare the food and have a taste test afterwards.
This is a great way to learn how to cook and bake exotic dishes!
We also went dancing and out to dinner at different restaurants around
This year I was going to Egypt but
due to the volatility of the region, my travel agent in Oakland said I
shouldn't go! I was very unhappy but she said she had set me up
with a new location, in the sand, in the sun and so on. So imagine my
surprise when the next week I was in the sand and sun but in
had a wonderful time staying on the man island for a week and then on a very
small island with only one resort. It was heaven and the snorkeling
was unbelievable. I saw huge fruit bats flying over the full moon at
midnight and got to fly back to the main airport on a single engine prop
plane as you can see by the photo!
1983 ~ Suba Diving Lessons and Trials and Tribulations of Learning!
I decided, belatedly it
would seem, to take a course in scuba diving. The reason I decided
this was the fact that I had first been diving in 1960 in the Bahamas, in
Mexico, and Hawaii without any training. Little did I know how little
I knew and how much I needed the class. It was held at the YMCA in San Francisco in the Olympic
pool in the basement.
Now I have to tell you a
funny story about the class. The first night we all got together, the
instructor suggested we all chose a partner for the duration of the class.
There was a 'hunk' in the class. Very handsome and all the women
wanted him for a partner. Suddenly he said, "I want this guy to be my
partner!" My, my, I thought to myself as the women were miffed to be
sure. Well I had to laugh as he was so tall and had such big muscles.
I thought, at least I have someone who will be able to handle himself in the
pool. One of our tests was to go under the water and have the one
person lose his oxygen mask and the other one had to do a buddy air share
and at the same time pull the person from one end of the pool to the other
end - all under water! Well we went first, down we went, my 'hunk'
partner took off his mask and as I tried to share my ventilator and pull him
through the water, he panicked and tried to drown me! Excuse me,
I had to fight him and
drag him from one end of the pool to the other! When we got to the
other end the instructor said I had done a great job. I told the
women, they could have this man as a partner anytime they wanted to trade!
They all laughed and said, "Too bad, but he is yours now!" So I had to
drag this hunk through our drills and everyone thought it was funny except
me! We dove off the coast near Russian River, north of the City and by
the piers in Carmel where we spent a weekend diving and eating! I did
get my certificate as you can see and used it in Fiji and other locations
around the world!
Life Magazine Cover Story - 1983
While I was working at
Blue Cross someone found out I was on the cover of Life Magazine when I was
six years old. They asked me if the company could put my photo on
the monthly Blue Cross letter. I, of course, said Yes!
They set up a contest to see if anyone could recognize me almost 40 years
later as I was 43 at the time. As you can see in the Employee
News letter they had my photo from Life Magazine and the eternal question,
Who is this?
kept guessing and one day suddenly, a woman came flying over to the 18th
floor where I worked as a business analyst.
She grabbed me and said she couldn't
believe it was me! I asked if I knew her and everyone wondered what
She said she
was in second grade in of all place - 1946 - Hawaii! She said they had
a big discussion about me living on a farm in the states and what the school
was like. She then said something that was very funny!
She said she and her classmates
looked at the photos and for some reason since they were in black and white,
the states didn't have green grass or trees, just dark colors. Later
her parents brought her to the states and she said she was so surprised,
there actually were greens and other colors. Everyone in the business
unit had a good laugh about that and of course, she won the prize for
knowing the boy on the cover of Life Magazine. Another
interesting story in the life of Chuck!
1984 ~ Traveling to Mexico for the fifth time and Finally Cancun and Chichen Itza in 1987!
actually have been to
about four five times or more and visited Tijuana, Nogales, Mazatl'an, Puerto
Vallarta, Mexico City, Cancun, M'erida and
San Felipe - Baja. This has been from 1970 through 1987.
I spent a week
in Mexico City in 1984 visiting the museums, palaces and the famous Pyramid
of the Sun and Moon outside the city. I met a
England who was traveling around the world. She said she had just been
to Egypt and saw Kufu's pyramid and the Pyramid of the Sun probably would be
small. We decided to hire a cab and took a drive to the pyramids.
As we crested the hill and saw the large pyramid she said, "Crap, this is
much bigger than I thought it would be!" We had a good laugh. At
that stage I hadn't been to Egypt so I couldn't make a comparison. We
did climb to the top, I made it but she decided two thirds of the way up, to
sit and enjoy the view!
favorite spot was
Chichen Itza in the Yucatan Peninsula
in 1987. The ruins are fantastic but are weathering very badly due to
the acid rain. I also spent time in M'erida, and actually celebrated
Christmas services in the local cathedral! On this trip I also drove
to Tulum on the Atlantic coast just south of Cancun. Beautiful water
and views and beaches.
1984 ~ I became a Press Correspondant for a Radio Station Covering Current Events in my Spare Time!
When I was working at Blue Cross
as a business analyst in Oakland, I became friends with Tim.
One day he asked me if I would like to work part time for him during my off
hours as a business analyst at Blue Cross as a radio announcer and reporter!
I was surprised, as I didn't know he had anything to do with the
radio or reporting. He said I would get a press pass and attend
private movie showings before anyone else and I would review them and give a
two or three minute expose about them on the air! I would also do
previews of the latest books in the market along with interviewing notable
people in the area.
He said his operation was just a one-man operation but had affiliates in
London and surrounding areas, New York area and Australia! He would
tape the reviews or interviews on a weekly basis and send to the affiliates
around the world. I was amazed and asked, "Why me?" He said I
was good at talking to people and also had a good speaking voice and would
sound good on the radio. Well who am I to discourage someone who said
that about me! I,
of course, said, "Yes!"
So suddenly I
was a reporter with press credentials and started to go to private movie
showings in the evenings. It was interesting as most people never
knew some of the office buildings in San Francisco had private screening
rooms with huge individual cushioned seats to watch the movies along
with a glass of wine! I also reviewed the latest books and our
biggest splash was the first time the "Gay Parade" had been presented on
the radio. We started at five AM and worked until after eight PM.
We ran all over interviewing people and our biggest catch was on the
podium in front of city hall. There was our Senator giving a
speech and Tim and I grabbed him after his speech and he was kind enough
to give us an interview. His wife thought the entire parade and
interview were good for a laugh and said they had a wonderful time
watching the parade and meeting so many nice people. This show was very
popular in London and Australia!
Tim said he
did get some comments from the affiliates as to who was that 'man' with
the deep commanding voice! We had a good laugh about that!
Tim decided after several years that the time and money needed to
maintain a private radio commentary was too high to continue!
So my career as a radio personality was over!
When the Blue
Cross offices were closed in Oakland and moved to Woodland Hills, I
began to do consulting. My first contract was at Boole and
Babbage, a software company in Sunnyvale. In the mean time,
Tim had inherited some money after his mother had passed away and he
bought a 65 foot yacht! Oh, baby, was it nice! The photo
shows us having lunch at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. Tim had
sailed his yacht into the harbor and after lunch, we and several other
friends that we had worked with at Blue Cross, cruised around the bay
acting like we were millionaires. We had a great time. About
a year later Tim contacted me as he was doing some work at a nearby
company in Sunnyvale and said we should get together for lunch sometime
to talk over old times. We were around 45 years old then. I
was excited to see him again but thought it was strange as I never heard
from him after that phone call. Then one day I saw someone in San
Francisco who had worked with us at Blue Cross and he said Tim had
suddenly passed away! I was shocked needless to say as he was only in
his late 40s!
So I was glad
he did get to buy his yacht as that was something he always wanted to
have before he died but little did I realize he would be gone so soon.
At least I have a nice photo of him and some great memories to put down
for posterity and my several years as a radio reporter and interviewer!
1985 ~ Blue Cross was Famous for it's Halloween Parties!
This year we had a lot
of fun as each year Blue Cross let people dress up in costumes and come to
work. One year I dressed up like a cave man and
one woman dressed up like a honey bee!
We left at noon to go to lunch
and two business men were behind us and one said to the other, there go
those Blue Cross workers! Excuse me!
The next year a bunch of us
were talking about dressing up and one of the guys, Tim, said he had a
1930's car that looked just like a mafia car or one from the 1930's movies
about evil gangsters and their molls!
So the men dressed up in suits
with cigarettes and cigars hanging off their lips and the gals dressed up
like molls. Tim drove the car to work and we met him down the street
and arrived at work in the car and got out causing a stir. I am in the
center and Tim is on the right.
After work we drove around and
ended up at the wharf in Oakland and proceeded to have cocktails and we
created quite a scene. Ah, the good old days!
1986 ~ One week in London and two weeks in France!
Wings 2/9 - Chuck 2/4 - Linda 2/20 - Donna 1/13 - Diana 2/8 - Bob 12/28
happy group worked at Blue Cross in the 1980s until one of Reagan's henchmen
came to take over as the president of our non-profit
He lied and said jobs were safe
and within six months, moved the computer operations to Southern California
and dumped all most all of the staff, over a 1,000 people.
here we are at the local bar/restaurant having a great time since there were
so many Aquarians in our department with the
of one, Bob!
It was humorous as the bar was 'gay'
but had good food so everyone went there for lunch. Only in
California! Here is a list of the people with Aquarian birthdays!
I decided to go to France but my travel agent said as long as I was going that
far, just fly to
and visit London
for five days, the take the hover craft over to Cala and then on to
to tour Paris and the Loire Valley countryside.
1987 ~ Between Consulting Contracts - A class to obtain a Realtor's License!
When I was between
contracts I would take classes in case another job was not in the wings!
One time I took a course on scuba diving at the YMCA which covered
diving and safety procedures. But
this class was a realtor's class taken in Daly City in 1987 with Century 21.
I went three times a week for three weeks. Then I took a weekend
course that guaranteed you would pass the California state test or you would
get your $100 back! Not a bad deal. After the weekend course,
they stipulated one should answer the questions and not stop until finished.
Do not go back and reread as most people would do, then start to change
answers and fail the test. This was a valuable lesson for me as I
found when taking other state tests such as the Certificate to become a
Senior Residence Manager! There must have been over 150 people taking
the three hour test. I finished in 45 minutes and took my papers to
the tester and she said to leave my papers and when finished doing what
ever, to come back to finish the test. Everyone looked at me as I
said, "I am finished!" Gasps from everyone. But I just left as I
had looked at the first question and thought it was wrong, then the next
one! No, I said, just forget it and leave. Six weeks later I got
my notification I had my realtors license. I then was representing
owners of a house on Twin Peaks, asking price, $800,000.00. And this
was in 1987! Well as I was presenting the house and had a perspective
buyer, a contract came up for me, a year long and probably worth at least
$80,000 a year so I had to make up my mind. Stay in the realty
business or continue with the contracting. I decided to stay with the
computer industry which was a good deal as I made out during the 1990s and
the dot-com era!
1989 ~ Consulting at Boole & Babbage, the Earthquake and on to Thailand!
I was consulting at
Boole & Baggage Software Corporation near San Jose and had just setup my
Imagine my surprise when I was working late
finishing a major project before leaving, when the big earthquake hit.
There wasn't anyone there and I thought, great, we haven't had a good quake
in a long time. Ha....
The building shook and swayed and I thought this is not fun! I stood
against the wall while the building shook and then the lights went out for
about ten minutes. They came back on and I figured I might as well
keep working on the project. I decided to leave around 11 P.M. and was
stopped by the police. Imagine my surprise when told the roads
were down from collapsed bridges! So I went back to work, finished the
project and drove home the next day.
My condo on Twin Peaks was fine
but I was worried as the airport had been closed down. I went to
a local store for some traveling clothes and there was a T-Shirt salesman
with a shirt that had printed on it, "I Survived the 6.8 Earthquake of San
Francisco!" I had to laugh, the second day and a shirt out all ready.
I bought it and fly to Thailand the next day. I came down for
breakfast in Bangkok and wore the shirt. People were reading the
London Times and so on, the papers said San Francisco was in ruins and here
I am with this shirt and the message. People couldn't believe it and I
said the City had not burned down and most of it was just fine.
I didn't have anything planned
but was picked up by a woman travel guide and she happened not to have a
tour group so I hired her and her driver for a week for about $200.00.
Such a deal. We drove all over the area around Bangkok and then took a
boat ride to the Summer Palace. I then flew to
Pucket, located off of the Andaman
Sea. I had a great time boating all over the islands. A great
vacation as usual!
1990s ~ Consulting at Major Corporations!
Here is a picture of me
looking very professional consulting at William-Sonoma at Fisherman's Wharf
in San Francisco in 1997. This company also owns Pottery Barn and
other businesses involved in selling household goods in stores and by
catalogue. Here is a partial listing of corporations I consulted with
during the 1990s:
- Boole &
- Banc of
America - Y2K Fix
- and many
other corporations in the Bay Area
Here is my personal name plate to place on my desk where ever I
was hired to consult on IT projects.
This agency was my favorite one that I worked for.
1991 ~ Dancing with the Stars - West Coast Swing Exhibitions!
I was in college at Rockford College in 1959, I went to Arthur Murray's
Dance Studio and asked if they would teach me to dance and become a teacher
at night for pay. I figured being on the farm and not really knowing
how to dance, getting a good background in dance would be good for my social
life and in the business world. Of course I am sure my family thought,
there he goes again! Little did I know 30 years later I would be
dancing and teaching classes in San Francisco in my spare time while doing
consulting on software development. Well the owner of the studio in
Rockford Illinois said I could take lessons to become a teacher and not get
paid! Huh! I said excuse me, I expect to be paid one way or another.
Get this, the owner thought if I was so up front and pushy, I would be good
as a teacher and sales rep for selling dance courses. I was the only
one who was paid for three months while learning to dance. You can't
a few months of teaching the guys were all after this tall dark haired
gorgeous dance teacher who had been working there for a while. One
evening while we were all sitting in the coffee room she ran in and hugged
me and gave me a big kiss. Well everyone wondered what was up with
Nancy. She told me she had been in school with me at the one room
school in Pecatonica, she was in the seventh grade and I was in first grade!
I vaguely remembered her and she told me she had a boy friend (she sounded
like she was a gun moll
as far as I was concerned), and was moving to Los Angeles and she wanted to
talk to me before she gave notice and left for the West Coast. Well I
was unhappy, she was getting out of town and going to Los Angeles and here I
was - stuck in Illinois. Well little did I know within five years I
would be on the West Coast in San Francisco! I eventually would be
flying to Los Angeles and Beverly Hills on a regular schedule for several
years while working part time for my friend Viviane in her Senior Residence
in Woodland Hills plus visiting just for fun. I always wondered what
happened to Nancy - could she still be there?
in the City I started to take West Coast Swing lessons. It is very
difficult and combines swing and almost has a Cha Cha feel to it. I
believe it was developed during the 1940's in Los Angeles during the War
Years. The dance floors would be so crowded that the leader stayed in
one spot and the partner would be spun around him on a more or less straight
line - or back and forth. I met a partner who was about five foot five
and 100 pounds so I could do almost anything with him! I used to
drive from Sunnyvale after work to the local bar and dance until almost
eight P.M. The bar had free dance lessons during the week nights and
many times they would let us dance on the huge dance floor alone for up to
two hours as people really liked to see us dance. We did western and
ballroom but mainly West Coast Swing and that irritated many purists as they
said this wasn't really western dancing. We decided having the word
West in it was enough reason to dance it.
also taught at a local dance bar on upper Market Street called the Corral!
It was mostly western and I also taught line dances and west coast swing!
I also danced nightly at the Rawhide during the week, a dance bar south of
market for over ten years. I was working in Silicon Valley, consulting
at major corporations and would drive back to the City and meet my dance
partner and dance from about 6:00 P.M. until the free dance classes started
at 7:30 P.M. We were so good that many times we dance alone on the
floor, doing west coast swing and the two step but with lots of turns which
infuriated the so called purists. If in Texas, one just flew around
the floor on the two step, no fancy turns for those butch numbers. But
guess what, many times 60 or more people would just stand and watch us and
some nights we danced into the actual class time!
Black & White Ball is one of the biggest
events in San Francisco and I attended it in the 1990s with a dance partner from
a dance bar called the Rawhide.
Black & White Ball is held every
two years and is very expensive but worth the price. Everyone wears black
and white and diamonds or what ever one can afford.
entire Civic Center is closed off and bands play in the Symphony Hall, the Opera
House, the State Office Buildings, the Marines Memorial Building (Where the
United Nations Charter was signed), the City Hall and also in many tents set up
around the streets.
of people attend and drink champagne and eat great food and dance the night away
until early in the morning. Then it is time to go home and rest up for the
next Black & White Ball! Here am I looking
spiffy in my tuxedo and some rhinestone jewelry.
joined a dance group, Partners For
Peace, in the late 1980s while I was dancing at the local bars in the City.
The group, Partner's For Peace was a lot of fun and we had about ten people
in the group. We danced different places around the City and one of
our nicest was an Aids benefit in the Marine's Ballroom on the top floor of
a building in the downtown area. Two women made copies of our dancing
at a benefit in Olives in 1991, a bar restaurant near the San Francisco Bay.
Unfortunately they forgot to bring the lights so the movie is rather dark
but still one can see we didn't look too bad for amateurs. I had a
friend cut out the portion of my west coast dance and it lasts about three
minutes! When I look at it I can't believe I knew so many steps in the
dance. I uploaded the video to Google and my dance number may be
viewed by clicking on the following link.
Chuck's West Coast
Swing - 1992
Partner's For Peace - A Chorus Line
Swing - 1992
1992 ~ Hong Kong - Athens in Greece and a trip all over Egypt!
decided in 1992 to start traveling
the world as much as possible before I was too old to get around with out
any help! Time flies! By this time I was consulting
many of the major corporations in the bay area. This year I was
working at Sterling Software near Sunnyvale helping to design a backup and
recovery service for mainframe computer systems.
Well this year I saw an
about a special to
hotel room and a day tour of Victoria Island for $999.00. Such a deal.
Of course I went for a week and it was during the time the British were
negotiating with China over the turnover of Hong Kong to China.
Every morning I had breakfast
on the top floor overlooking Hong Kong, a fantastic buffet that was included
in the trip. We were given the London Times to read and keep up with
the local news and the negotiations.
Hong Kong was easy to get
around in, walking on the main boulevard or taking the ferry over to
Victoria Island was easy and inexpensive. I met some people who were
in the know and they took me to the in place in Hong Kong, a fabulous dance
hall with lots of action.
The weather was superb, only
about 80 degrees. I also did a tour of Macau before it was returned to
China. Macau is famous for gambling casinos that see a lot of action
from the women during the day who live in Hong Kong. The day we
visited and were having lunch, a huge rain storm hit the island and a man
from India said it was just like a monsoon! Clouds were very strange
and yellowish and greenish! The ride back on a hover craft was very
rough and the waves shot over the bow but we arrived safe and sound. A
great trip for a great price!
This year I finally did get to
on a great tour. There were only about 24 of us and the country was still dangerous so there weren't many people visiting Egypt. We had trouble getting to Egypt via Athens and Olympic Airlines.
read all about that horrible experience on my flight to
on the web pages of Egypt or the Greek home web pages. Because of all the trouble Olympic Airlines gave us flying to Greece and on to Egypt, we were given a day in Greece with a hotel and a cab driver who took us all over the city. So we had an extra country to count on this trip!
1993 ~ Moved Into Fox Plaza Apartments ~ 1993.09.27
I moved from Twin Peaks in the fall of 1993 to the Civic Center. I rented a studio on the 28th floor.
I never expected to live there that long but as of 2015, I have been here over 22 years. A good thing as the building is on rent control.
I was checking my files and found the original
Fox Plaza Lease
I signed in 1993!
Now studios around the area are costing up to $3,000.00 a month because of all the high tech workers moving into the City. Across the street from Fox Plaza is Twitter, Dolby Labs, Yammer and Square!
My one bed room would probably rent right now for over $4,500.00 a month but with rent control, I am paying less than $1,500.00 a month!
Plus parking is around $300.00 a month if you need to park a car in the building.
Another plus is all the busses stop in front of the building, the subway system, BART, is a block away plus City Hall, the Symphony, the Opera/Ballet, Herbst Theatre and the Asian Art Musuem all within two blocks from here!
1994 ~ One of the Wonders of the World - Machu Pijchu in Peru!
This year I was consulting at
IBM on an outpatient booking system for
Kaiser Permanente. Of course I always wanted to go to see
Machu Pijchu in
finally realized my dream. First I flew to Los Angeles and then to
Lima. There I spent five days touring and walking around the city and
the coast. Then I flew to Cusco and toured the city and then took the
train to the ruins.
At this time the hotel that overlooked
the ruins only had about 18 rooms in it and only four rooms had people in
them for an overnight stay. There were six of us and three of the
people had altitude sickness and never came out. A couple from back
east were there and we had a great time together.
Hard to believe but the next
day the train had a problem and didn't make it back so we had an entire day
to tour the ruins, just three of us. I actually climbed the other peak
(this is the spelling on the brochures at the ruins!). This is very
dangerous but worth while if you have the nerve.
After this excursion, I flew
back to Lima and on to Iquitos Peru for a few days and then into Brazil for
an Amazon Cruise!
1994 ~ Fantastic Amazon Cruise from Brazil into Peru - Flood Stage of the Amazon!
visiting the ruins of Machu Pijchu, I flew back to Lima and then into Iquitos on the
Brazil border. We flew on a small jet into
Tabatinga Brazil and
taken by taxi to
Leticia Colombia and then by
dugout canoes to the boat that looked
like something out of an old movie!
There were about 80 people an
the ship and all were very friendly. The guides were nice and helpful.
The captain said this was the first time in 30 years there weren't any bugs
or mosquitoes bothering people when the ship docked in the evening. We
were able to have cocktails on the outdoor deck and also our evening dinner.
All very nice.
Late at night we would take the
launches and go into the foliage and look for the local crocodiles. We
also so the huge lily pads that are about 12 feet across and were told we
were lucky to see them as they get big during the flood stage.
The river was 2,500 miles from
the Atlantic but it looked like a huge lake as sometimes we couldn't see the
shore. We stopped at
local villages and saw them making canoes out of huge logs by chipping out
the centers. We also saw bark cloth and other means of living off the
All in all, a great trip and
1995 ~ My Brother-in-law Told Me to Sign up for VA Health Care!
I have photos
of the VA Hospital
in San Francisco where I have my health care and pictures of the fantastic views from the hospital
including the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean!
I had lost my health insurance during some of my consulting as health care insurance isn't provided to self employed workers. Ken Burt, my favorite brother-in-law said I needed to apply to the VA Hospital to get health insurance. Well it was one of the best things anyone could have told me. I now have had health care for many years and most everything is paid for. I also go to a Dental School and most of the dental care is free also. I had consulted at Blue Cross at one time and asked them around 2000 what it would cost me as a single man living in the City. They said around $600.00 a month! I don't think so!
1996 ~ I was Consulting at Deltanet and a cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow - Russia
This year I was consulting at Deltanet
in the San Francisco Financial Center.
decided to go to
and take a river tour from
St. Petersburg to
Moscow through around 18 locks. The river
is only open for the summer months and the rest of the time it is frozen
over and the towns are basically cut off from the rest of the country.
Good thing there is television and hopefully internet by now.
We toured St. Petersburg and were
lucky as the weather was about 80 degrees, the best weather they said they
had had in years! We went to
Petrodvorets - Peter
the Greats Summer Palace
on the Gulf of Finland. Next the palace of Catherine the Great, here I am in
front of the palace.
We toured the Hermitage and
even went to a dress up ballet exhibition at the private theatre that seated
perhaps 250 or so.
The river tour was great and we
saw lots of interesting old wooden buildings and summer dachas that the town
people vacationed in during the warm season.
We also saw the Kizhi Island - a
completely wooden Transfiguration Church built in 1714.
We finally made Moscow and the
Moscow Circus, the Ballet, the Armory Museum, Red Square and so on.
Four of us left the ship and went to the subway system and toured the city
and ended up taking an afternoon tour on the river. Everyone else was
jealous that we took things into our own hands and toured the city on our
1997 ~ William-Sonoma Consulting and a trip to China
This year I was consulting at William-Sonoma and I worked with programmers
to document AS400
programs for updating applications to fit the user's needs.
I always wanted to go to
and see the Three Gorges, the Terracotta
Warriors and the Great Wall and I finally made it! I flew into
Shanghai and we toured the city and then flew to
Wuhan and our boat the "Beidou" at
the junction of the Yangtze and the Han River.
We saw the beginning of the super dam
being built on the Yangtze Ricer and then took small boats into the side
gorges for great views of things that will disappear under the rising waters
behind the dam.
We ended up after hundreds of miles
of visiting beautiful temples and villages and then to Chongqing, the next
big city to rival perhaps Shanghai as the terminus of the huge lake behind
the dam. We toured this city and then flew to Xian and the Terracotta
Warriors. This was a great experience but it was very hot and smoggy.
Then to Beijing and a tour of
the Forbidden City, a trip north to the Summer Palace and finally a tour of
the Great Wall of China.
The last few days in Beijing
were exciting but the air pollution was terrible and probably will get worse
with them burning soft coal for energy. Still, the people were
friendly and helpful and there was plenty of food and great tasting.
All in all, a very nice trip to
an interesting country.
1998 ~ Best Friends - Fireman's Fund Insurance
I met Betty in the
1970s at Fireman's Fund Insurance and we became good friends then. We did
a lot of things together with other employees at the company. Patti,
and I took cooking classes one year. Every week we would go to a person's
house and the woman would teach us a specific type of
cooking such as Italian, Japanese, and so on. After we listened to a
lecture and then helped prep and prepare the meals, we all sat down and had an
We also took
tap dancing classes with two sisters who were around 80 years old. The one
couldn't do much tapping but the other one was thin and wiry and could tap
anyone under the table. Well we did an entire summer of tap lessons and
one evening we came in the the tap teacher told us Christmas was coming up and
they always had a tap dancing extravaganza at a local school or for a benefit.
We informed the teacher that we had never been asked about this and..... we
never showed up for another tap lesson. Our big chance for a tap dancing
career went out the window!
For a long
time we played dominoes at our lunch hour at Fireman's Fund Insurance and
there we met another person who would become a friend, Jim Fera. He
and his partner Ben now live in Southern California and I visited them in
2004 with my sister.
The photo on
the left was taken at Betty's 70th birthday and I was a surprise visitor.
The photo on
the right has Ben, Betty, Jim and myself looking very spiffy!
1999 ~ Cruise through Tierra del Fuego - Chile and Argentina - Patagonia!
T his was a big contract
at Banc of America Securities in San Francisco.
I set up testing
standards for the Year 2000 program changes and documented the test scripts
for nine systems in the Montgomery Securities BackOffice Division. Assumed
testing lead over three teams to coordinate and ensure the base line testing
correctly. Documented results from the base line testing and used the
results to set up the testing criteria for Y2K production testing for each
test script. Tested systems against
the current production environment and against the production environment
with the Y2K program changes in place to determine if the results were the
same. Finally tested the systems against the Y2K program changes with
aged data to ensure all of the Y2K program changes match the test criteria.
Results are reviewed and reliability determined
by the auditors and the SEC for final approval of the Y2K testing for the
first phase of reconfiguration of the Y2K interactive program changes.
So I decided I needed a really big trip!
This trip was composed of
and the Patagonian Park plus an
island of penguins. I flew to Los Angeles, then to Lima Peru, then to
Santiago, then to Punta Mont and then on to Punta Arenas.
The adventure started on the
M/V Terra Autralis
cruise ship that only carries
114 passengers and we started our seven day journey with a welcome dinner
and introduction to the crew, then castoff to cruise through the Tierra del
Fuego islands which included the Strait of Magellan and the Beagle Channel
around the island of Tierra del Fuego.
We visited the Agostini Fjord
where we could take pictures of the Serrano glacier that dislodges from the
Darwin Mountain Range.
We docked in
Argentina at the remote city of
Ushuaia where there again were several
alternatives in visiting the area. We decided to take the train and visit
the Tierra del Fuego Park in Argentina.
The entire trip was a great
experience but then I flew back to Santiago for a few days and then flew to
Easter Island for a week!
1999 ~ Argentina then to Chile and on to Easter Island
figured as long as I was in Santiago
and so close, 2,000 miles, I might as well go to
I didn't realize that Patricia and Bill who are from
Glasgow, were on the same flight from Santiago, they had been on the Tierra
del Fuego cruise also. They had heard I was going to Easter Island and
also that I was staying at the Hotel Okai and wanted to surprise me there.
As fate would have it, their Lan Chile airline seats were right behind me,
we all were surprised!
Our hotel is
situated in Hanga Roa which is the only town on Easter Island. Most of the
2,000 Rapanui people that live on the island reside here. The only port on
the island is situated here, as is Cook's Bay, where Captain Cook anchored
his boat just offshore in 1722.
Island is over 2,000 miles from the nearest population center, (Tahiti and
Chile), making it one of the most isolated places on Earth.
Island today, remains one of the most unique places you will ever encounter;
an open air museum showcasing a fascinating, but unfortunately lost,
culture. The Rapanui are among the friendliest people you will ever meet,
and the landscape is truly amazing - with its volcanic craters, lava
formations, beaches, brilliant blue water, and archaeological sites. We
visited two of the craters on the island that contain fresh water and native
plants, about the only place there are any left!
I had a great time and one week
is enough time to see everything and just relax at the local restaurants and
Millennium New Year in Vienna and Budapest!
Viviane, whom I met on
the trip in the spring of 1999 to Chile and Argentina and she had planned a
millennium trip to
with a side trip perhaps, to
She hadn't found anyone
to go with so she called me by chance. "Would
you like to go to Vienna for the Millennium New Year?" she asked.
"Yes!" was my instant answer as I was
consulting on the Y2K fix for Banc of America Securities and wanted to get
for a few weeks. I think she was surprised at my quick response! So we
currently have our airline tickets on Air France to fly to Paris where we
will change planes and fly on to Vienna where we also have made hotel
reservations in the heart of the city, five minutes away from all the sights
at the Pension Shermin!
We saw the famous Freyung
Passage (covered gallery kind of like in Milan) and then lunch at cafe in
Herrengasse (more goulash soup). We
walked through the Ring Street gallery, Vienna’s version of the shopping
mall and dinner at the Schwarzenberg Cafe with a no smoking area, hurray!
Checked out arts and crafts fair at Karlskirche (Charles Church) and time to
get dressed for New Year’s Eve, all dressed up
and a lot of places to go and be seen! Started at City Hall (Rathaus)
where the stage is set with orchestra and waltz performers and saw many
dancing and pushing towards Burgtheater and streets leading to cathedral and
then a stop for champagne at the American Bar and another stop for champagne
at another bar With 15 minutes to spare, dashed to Karlskirche, grabbed a
champagne and toasted the new millennium where we met people around one of
the many fire barrels.
After the New Year we took a
train to Budapest to sight see the town and go to the famous Gellert Hotel
and a long needed soak in thermal baths. We accidentally got on the
wrong train coming back to Vienna, it was the Orient Express! But the
military guard saw us sitting in one of the private rooms and he smiled and
said not to worry, just stay put like we belonged! So we had dinner
and champagne on the Orient Express and arrived back in Vienna feeling just
So we had a fabulous time in
Vienna and Budapest, what a Millennium New Year!
2000 ~ Y2K Fix for Banc of America & my 60th Birthday Celebration and a tour of Morocco!
This picture was taken at the Banc of
America Securities when I was working on the Y2K fix with other consultants
The group I worked with were very nice
and when they heard I was having my big
60th birthday on February 4th, they
decided to throw me a big party at a local bar and restaurant not far from
had drinks before, champagne and wine with dinner, and then more drinks
The next day quite a few people were
late to work for some reason! I of course, being a consultant, was
there bright and early!
Shortly after my birthday the Y2K fix
was in and I left the next month to go to Schwab and work for a director
there on several major projects.
I also went to
this year for
the real Millennium New Year. I went with my friend from Beverly
Hills, Viviane. We had such a good time in Vienna and Budapest for the 1999
Millennium New Year we decided to do it again in 2000!
We flew from Paris to Casablanca and
took the train to the capital, Rabat, and spent a few days there. The
took the train to Fez and the famous rug merchants.
Then we hired a Mercedes and driver
and went over the Atlas Mountains and on to Marrakech for the real
Millennium New Year and finally to Casablanca and the world famous mosque,
one of the largest in the world. All in all, another great vacation!
2002 ~ 62nd Birthday on the BIG Island - Hawaii!
decided to go to
for my 62nd birthday but on the actual day,
February 4th, I got up at four AM and flew to the big island, Hawaii, and
took an all
day tour of the island.
We visited the coasts, the volcano, had
lunch overlooking the craters, then a walk in the rain forest, a hike
through a lava tube and finally a tour through the orchid farms.
Back on the plane and arrived in
Honolulu and the hotel by ten PM. A long but fulfilling day for my
Check out my Hawaiian trip on the home
And this was the year of my last
contract working in the computer industry after over 40 years! Time
The last company was Franklin-Templeton Insurance and I worked on
2003 ~ Woodland Hills (Astoria Senior Residence and a trip to Guatemala!)
decided to retire from the computer industry and travel around the world as
can be seen on the Home Page of my web site!
I also am a
business partner in a senior residence in
California with my friend Viviane.
We met on a
trip in 1999 on a cruise through the Magellan Straits in Tierra del Fuego,
South America. In this picture I am wearing a
shirt and I am holding a cup with the
name printed in gold on a blue background. Our advertising budget for
had to take a California State test to have a license as a care giver
manager for a facility and I work
part time in running the business which means frequent flights to LAX or
the Burbank Airport.
am also active at the local YMCA and serve on various committees and I am
associated with several of the local museums. This year I traveled
as you can see in this photo taken in Antiqua!
I took up oil painting of
landscapes and still life in 2003 and these are for sale and may be seen
on the link on my Home Page.
2004 ~ Cruising the Netherlands and a Two Week tour of Turkey!
Well I have
been living in San Francisco for over 42 years and decided to take two trips
My first trip was to the Netherlands ! in the spring with my friend Gail from Van Nuys Los
We took a Uniworld
Cruise and had dinner at the Captains table on the last night of the trip.
Everyone was very jealous!
As you can see, we enjoyed a lot of champagne
at our favorite table on the Cruise! Our waiter made sure we always got
the best spot!
Gail and I also
traveled to Zambia and South Africa!
And on the right, a
photo of me in
November of 2004. This was a great trip as I made two new friends.
Jeff works only two blocks from me and we go to many Broadway Plays in the
City. I also met Barbara and since this trip, we have taken several
others including Vietnam and Cambodia.
As you can see, semi-retirement
is certainly a good life as far as I am concerned!
2005 ~ Driving 600 miles around Costa Rico!
And here I am in front of a fantastic
falls near Arenal in
My friend Barbara, whom I met in 2004 on
my Turkey trip, and she
fly there and drive over 600 miles around
We were caught in Hurricane
Stan and had to land in El Salvador and then couldn't take off due to a
Finally we arrived in Costa Rica and drove to Arenal where that volcano erupted making a fantastic spectacle at
We drove to the cloud forest in Monteverde and then onto Manuel Antonio to
hike through the jungle, swim in the Pacific and finally, do the
zip-line through the jungle canopy.
All in all, a great trip and
another great year in and out of San Francisco!
2006 ~ Fantastic Trip to Zambia (Victoria Falls) and South Africa!
this year of March
2006, I went to
with my friend Gail.
We left February 27th from LAX and on to Paris
and then Johannesburg and all around South Africa and Victoria Falls in
Here we are
enjoying cocktails and canapés before continuing on our evening safari
at Leopard Hills, a five star resort in the jungle of South Africa!
On the right
is a photo of one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Victoria
Falls in Zambia.
I also have
gone to Beverly Hills and will continue to travel to Los Angeles to
visit friends and hopefully, get to travel to another exciting country
in the near future!
2007 ~ Visiting Beverly Hills, Vietnam, Cambodia and Crater Lake!
year started out on a very busy note! A quick trip to
four days to run the Astoria Senior Residence in Woodland Hills.
In January my friend, Barbara and I flew to
where we spent two weeks touring the
country from Ha Long Bay in Hanoi to Hoian and Hui in the center of the country and finally
on to Saigon and a boat trip on the Mekong Delta!
We then flew to
for four days to tour the ruins of Angkor Wat.
I celebrated my
Siem Reap - Cambodia!
Lots more to do in
the year, theatre, such as teaching yoga and so on. I just saw Jersey Boys at
Curran Theatre and have at least four or five more plays to go to this year!
I also saw Whose
Afraid of Virginia Wolf and finished my 40 hours of classes that are needed to
fulfill the requirements to renew my Administrative License every two years to
run the Astoria Senior Residence in Woodland Hills when necessary. I also
have seen Mama Mia, Sweeney Todd and Annie Get Your Gun among the many Broadway
Plays running in the Bay Area.
I also just took an
eight day trip in August along the
of California, Oregon, and into Washington State to see
Mt. St. Helens. My friend Barbara and I also saw Crater Lake and drove the
Columbian Gorge and climbed Mt. Hood!
I also traveled to
Tucson Arizona to visit my favorite sister Yvonne and also traveled to Beverly
Hills and the L.A. area about six time this year. Time to plan my
trips next year in 2008!.
2008 ~ Visiting Nicaragua, Reno, Cananda and Yosemity!
Talk about a
busy year! First to
Costa Rica for two days and Nicaragua for ten days plus the flight from San
and on to Liberia
Then to Reno and a glider ride over Lake Tahoe, then a tour of Yosemite and
finally perhaps, a trip to Toronto and Niagara Falls!
We returned from
Managua Nicaragua to San Salvador, then to Atlanta and on to San Francisco.
This trip was to celebrate my 68th birthday!
Here I am on the
left getting ready to go on the San Juan River to
from Los Chiles Costa Rica.
the right is a photo of the very active
about 30 minutes out of Granada, Nicaragua.
Also, here I am on the ferry to the island of Ometepe
in the middle of Lake Nicaragua.
Barbara and I had a
great time and spent a lot of time going on boats and busses all over the
country. Check out my web pages and photos of our trip.
2008 my friend Viviane gave me a glider ride
over Lake Tahoe for a belated
present! We were going to take a balloon ride over Reno and
Lake Tahoe but it was too windy and the company gave us the option to take a
glider over the lake for the same price. Such a deal!
The weather was perfect and we had a great time. Then we had champagne
dinner at the Roxy in the Eldorado Casino and Resort in Reno, Nevada!
My sister Yvonne, visited me from
Tucson and we did a two day tour of
and the ranger said the falls were
about the best they have had in
years. We also toured San Francisco and visited with friends in the City
and the South Bay.
the agenda for this year besides the museums and Broadway plays, the fall
opening of the new 450 million dollar Academy of Science across from the De
Young Museum in Golden Gate Park and the grand opening of the San
Francisco Jewish Museum.
I have another free
ticket to fly any place Southwest Airlines flies so need to think of someplace
to visit in the U.S. My friends Annette and Juliette have a free condo at
a ski resort north of
and I will fly into Buffalo and take a bus to Toronto. Annette is picking
up a luxury car and we will tour around Toronto and finally visit Niagara Falls!
Well we did the trip for a week and had a
great time driving all over the area about 100 miles north of Toronto, plus a
day tour of the city and a water front tour. Then a day at Niagara Falls
and finally home!
Christmas at my friend Patti's and
hoping for another great year in 2009!
2009 ~ Visiting the Wine Country - Cruise to Cabo San Lucas - Trip to Brazil, Argentian and Uruguay, busy year of travels!
So far this year,
not too much to tell. For the last four months I have been treated for
Ocular Myasthenia, double
vision in the eyes so I missed going on a special trip for my 69th birthday.
I woke up one morning and suddenly
noticed double vision on the left and right side of my vision! I have had
a spinal tap, three MRIs,
a treadmill exercise for blood pressure, at least 12 neurologists, a professor
of optometry and so on.
So far the only thing they found was a chemical covering on the ends of the
muscles controlling the placement of the eyes - so double vision.
Otherwise, they said, everything else looks fine. So far after four months
of medication, nothing has improved but will be meeting with more neurologists
and general practitioners and optometry specialists until, hopefully, the
problem can be solved either with drugs or new glasses! I am lucky to have
the V. A. Hospital for care as they are the best! In the mean time I have
been going to Museum openings and Broadway plays, the
and entertaining friends over dinner. Several trips are in the planning
stage and time will tell when I feel up to going on a long trip. The last
time I saw the neurologist he said, "Just go on a vacation and live with the
problem!". My optometrist had a good laugh and said he guessed my
neurologist was also my psychologist!
So as far as vacations go, as of
April, I have looking at vacations such as Alaska for about $500.00 but with the
single supplement, $1,000.00! I don't think so! Since my
doctor's and dentist appointments should be coming to an end by April, hopefully
I can schedule a trip to some place exotic!
And can you believe it, another two
years and I just completed another 40 hours to receive my Administrator
Certificate to manage our
Senior Residence in the L.A. Valley!
Well suddenly my trips to exotic
places and local places has picked up finally!
So far since my many appointments at
the Veterans Hospital, I haven't taken a vacation. So my friend Gail from
Van Nuys drove up and we
went for a week to
and also did the wine train. A great experience as you can read about it
on my Home Page! She and I also went on a cruise to the Netherlands
and then to Zambia and to South Africa!
We tasted champagnes at all the major
wineries and found our favorite was Gloria Ferrer champagne! We also went
to dinner in the City the first night Gail visited me and the weather was
I meet my sister in San Diego on September 27th for three days touring the
city and the world famous zoo. We also toured the Midway Aircraft Carrier
and another day we did a South and North Harbor cruise.
Then I treated my sister to a four day cruise to
Cabo San Lucas
at the tip of Baja on the Elation ship owned by the Celebrity Cruise Line.
We had a great time eating, drinking, gambling and watching the numerous floor
shows on the ship.
In another three weeks on October 29th
my friend Barbara and I will fly to Rio de Janiero, next to
, then to
and on to Colonial del Sacramento, a World Heritage City in
We had a great time with a great group
on our tour and ended up seeing the 'gay' parade on the last day in Rio!
Then we flew to Iguazu Falls and on
the second day hiked over five miles in 110 degree temperatures and also did the
river rafting into the falls, such a treat!
Then to Buenos Aries and lots of
walking and shopping.
Finally to Colonia del Sacramento, a
World Heritage city that was clean and relaxing after such a busy schedule.
There were lots of great sidewalk cafes and we certainly did relax! So for
a year that started out very slowly due to doctor's and dentist appointments, it
suddenly was very busy with travels from the wine country in Napa to going all
over the eastern side of South America!
2010 ~ Celebrating my 70 Birthday at the Belagio in Las Vegas - Trip to Yellowstone National Park and the Western Canyons
I started out this year by
deciding how to celebrate my
! I talked to my friend Gail in Van Nuys and
we decided to go to
my birthday. She made reservations at the Bellagio for dinner and champagne
and also reservations to see the Cirque du Soliel 'O'.
Here we are having our champagne before a great dinner overlooking the fountains
of the Bellagio!
also got tickets to see Ballys great Ziegfeld Follies show
Jubilee and toured the new Eight and a half billion dollar City Center
and the Crystals Retail & Entertainment Center.
We also walked the Vegas strip and had cocktails at the Paris Casino/Hotel and
went to the top of the Eiffel Tower late at night to view the city and the
Bellagio fountains from the 55 floor. Weather was great and we had a
Can you believe it, my friend
Viviane in Beverly Hills and I decided that she should sell the
Astoria Senior Residence
in Woodland Hills since she is moving to Austin Texas.
So I now do not have to finish the classes to retain my Administrative License
to run a senior residence. I had 20 hours of classes needed for the 40
hours but that is no longer needed.
I learned a lot taking classes
on aging and also flying down to Los Angeles three or four times a year to run the facility while Viviane was either doing Parkinson coordination in LA or visiting her family in Belgium. We had a great run in Woodland Hills
and the senior residence, now it is time for me to take a trip to visit her in
Austin sometime as that is one place I haven't visited.
the senior residence
when Viviane was called away on business or visiting her
Here we are
having a special
King Tut martini
due to the great
Tut Exhibit at the de Young Museum of San Francisco! And here is the last
business card I had as an administrator at the Astoria Senior Residence in
Woodland Hills California!
I was asked to join the
SAC (Senior Advisory Council) YMCA
in April to attend meetings on our membership updates, projects, classes, field
trips, parties and free tickets to theatrical, sports and other venues of
entertainment. This is a monthly meeting to ensure the seniors at
get full benefits from their subscription rates.
Next, Gail and I are going to
parks on June
for a week! I flew to Salt Lake City and Gail flew from LAX to Salt Lake
City and then we flew together on Skywest, a two engine propeller plane, to West
Yellowstone, a small town in Montana, just a mile from the park in Wyoming.
We also drove to the Grand Teton
Park south of Yellowstone and viewed the fantastic mountain range from both
sides. We also saw lots of Buffalo and Elk but no Moose! We
also drank most of the champagne in West Yellowstone as we watched the Lakers
win the championship basketball finals. The waitress said we drank
all the cheaper champagne and only the big bottles that were $100 or more were available.
Most people drank beer or hard liquor, not champagne as we did!
I am not sure where my next trip will
be. I do have to visit my sister in Tucson and after that, who knows!
I did visit my favorite sister, Yvonne, in Tucson on September 21st and rented a car. We
drove over 1,500 miles in only six days and visited Flagstaff, on to the
then to Page and on to Kanab Utah and
Zion National Park.
Then on to
Pink Coral Sand Dunes Park. We spent the last two days of my vacation cleaning up the porch
that had been overgrown with vines and of course, played a lot of Skippo, our
favorite card game! We went to the Indian Casino for lunch and also had
lunch with friends. We also talked about maybe celebrating my sister's 80th
birthday on a cruise to Alaska. We shall see!
2011 ~ A trip to Panama for my 71st Birthday and a visit to Austin Texas.
I started out this year by
volunteering as I usually do for the
YMCA's New Years luncheon. We rent a
huge room at the Salvation Army to seat as many seniors
possible. Last year we had about 200, this year 250! We have great
food, gift packages and after a hot meal of turkey, we give out goodie bags with
fruit and other produce. We also are lucky to have the Gay Lesbian band
and the Dixie Dykes play for us. The seniors love the bands and many get
out and strut their stuff. I usually do some set up but mainly focus on taking
photos for posterity! All in all a good way to start off the first day of
the New Year!
also was voted in as the president of SAC (Senior Activities Committee) for the
senior center of the
YMCA plus I also assumed the duties as secretary as most of
the other members just sat there and looked dazed or did not want to do either
decided to take a quick trip for my 71st birthday and called up one of my travel
agents at American Travels and said I hadn't been to
before and would
like to go for my birthday on February 4th. So they set up a quick seven day trip with a
tour of the old town, a cruise through half of the canal from the Pacific side
and then three days in a five star hotel in the jungle!
I had a private guide, a scientist from
the University of Panama as my guide. He was very knowledgeable and
explained a great deal about the bird
life and how their feet changed through
evolution to meet differing demands when living in the jungle. All in all
a great trip even if the temperature hit 95 degrees in the middle of the day!
So now I am going to visit my friend
Viviane, originally living in Beverley Hills, but now the proud owner of a five
bedroom French style château in
on May 10th I have never been there so
should be a good experience, time will tell! I spent four days
there, actually three full days and most of my friends said I did more in three
days than they did in a week or more. Temperature was around 90 degrees
but no humidity and no bugs!
We visited most of the museums in
Austin plus the Capital and the Johnson Presidential Library. Plus we did
the monthly "I
Love Art" Congress Avenue downtown walk on the second Thursday of the month,
meeting the art gallery owners and artists, plus having champagne, wines and
Margaritas. All in all a great trip.
decided after 30 years or so to march in the Gay Parade! So we made
plans at the last minute and rounded up about 60 people and we went down to the
parade grounds around ten a.m. and waited until about noon and finally it was
our turn to start to march from the Ferry Building on the bay to the Civic
Center, about a mile and a half walk.
They had speakers in the lead car
and play of course, YMCA
for an hour and a half and we sang and danced and did the movements of the
letters and I must admit, I was worn out after the parade. I had a great
time with my Wellness Coach, Karma as you can see!
I will be going to visit my sister in
in September and later perhaps take another trip besides my Panama
birthday trip this year. Also planning to go to Alaska next June or so to
celebrate my sister's 80th birthday and my 72nd birthday, who would have
thought! Well it was 108 degrees in Arizona and we basically stayed inside, played
cards, had cocktails, went out for a quick lunch and then a nap. But
always nice to visit my sister any time of the year!
2012 ~ Celebrating my 72nd Birthday in Old Town San Juan Puerto Rico in February and a trip to Alaska in September with my sister Yvonne.
I started out this year by
volunteering as I usually do for the
YMCA's New Years luncheon. We rent a
huge room at the Salvation Army to seat as many seniors
possible. We have great
food, gift packages and after a hot meal of turkey, we give out goodie bags with
fruit and other produce. We also are lucky to have the Gay Lesbian band
and the Dixie Land Dykes Jazz band play for us. The seniors love the bands and many get
out and strut their stuff. I usually do some set up but mainly focus on taking
photos for posterity!
We also had for the first time, the Asian Chorus, 30
plus singing and dancing with costume changes between each song! All in all a good way to start off the first day of
the New Year!
Besides being the president of SAC (Senior
and the secretary for the
senior center of the
was asked to be put
up as the newest member of the
Board of Directors as of January 4th. So on January 2012 I was voted on
Board of Directors. Now I am a member of the board and also
President of the Senior Activities Committee. And they say being
retired is so relaxing!
I always wanted to see the Arecibo
Radio Telescope and Museum in
and finally did do that plus visit the caves, rain
forest, the HMS Bounty, Old San Juan and the Bacardi Rum factory. All in
all a great eight day trip celebrating my 72nd birthday.
The YMCA had a fund raiser on May
25th at 111 Minna Gallery in the Financial District for seniors in the
Tenderloin District. Robert Melton set up the fund raiser and asked me to
represent seniors and to bring two of my paintings to have front row placement
on the stage with the DJ. Greg, the Director of the senior center of
Y was asked to get up on the stage and give a talk about the seniors around
Suddenly Robert announced Chuck
Buntjer and an over view of my life and then proceeded to ask me to come onstage
and gave a presentation. I was surprised but put my best foot forward and
gave a short speech. I also had my paintings listed along with a
photo in their catalogue. So a great nice and a chance to meet a lot
of fellow artists.
Well I decided to go to the
it was the last time one could see Venus
transit the Sun until 2117! 105 years from now.
There were only about 60 people there, I was surprised. One man had a big
telescope and fastened it to a large metal shade with frosted glass at the
bottom. It showed a great picture plus a woman had a small tripod with a
lens that distinctly showed the planet. finally did see it after
multiple tries with shaded glasses.
The next big event is my 72nd
birthday and my sisters 80th birthday, we are going to
even though we are Aquarians in January and February but I had decided to go to
for my 72nd birthday in the mean time! Here I am on the
Sapphire Princess checking out the Hubbard Glacier on the second day of the
cruise from Anchorage to Whittier, then Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, and on to
2013 ~ Another busy year with a trip to New Zealand and Hawaii.
2012 and started
2013 on a
different note than usual! Last summer I woke up with a pain on the top of my
left shoulder. I thought it was the pillow
and then maybe the mattress and then maybe I had sprained it working out at the
The doctor thought the same thing but finally I said something is radically
wrong late in the fall and the doctor set me up with an
on December 14th, 2012.
That evening they called and I ended up in the
emergency ward on heavy antibiotics. I was in the hospital
for six days
and at home with a PICC
Line to infuse my blood with antibiotics twice a day, two hours each time for
So after the six weeks they
will take white cells and radiate them, infuse back into the blood stream and do
a CT Scan
to determine if the infection in the bone is cleared up. So for the last
years I have gone on a special vacation to celebrate my
birthday on February
4th, this year I will be celebrating it in San Francisco. Mu nurse was
Paula and she was the the best nurse anyone could ask for. Here we are
having wine and dinner at my apartment, celebrating a new friendship!
I also had to take my driver's license
test again. The clerk had a good laugh, I could read the bottom line
of letters and she said surprisingly, you have 20/20 vision, some things do get
better with age! I had my photo taken and then the written test of 17
questions. That clerk gave me a strange look and I wondered if I had done
poorly on the test as I usually have no problems. He laughed and said, you
missed one question, you should have answered them all correctly. So that
is done for another five years!
I have been a member of the Modern of
Modern Art for many years and have gotten to know many of the employees and also
the people working at the restaurant on the first floor plus the wonderful
people working the Blue Bottle Coffee Shop on the fifth floor by the sculpture
garden. I love to go to the cafe and read the paper and have a coffee and
croissant. Later I go to the sculpture garden and relax and have a latte
and read or talk to the staff or visitors. They are closing for three
years to build a new 300 million dollar addition to the museum to house the Gap
modern art collection valued at over 50 million dollars. So I am out of a
wonderful place to have coffee and relax, at least for three years.
I did go on Saturday to wish all of the people at the museum the best of luck in
finding new jobs and to tell them how much I will miss them! In the
mean time I will be going to the new Exploratorium on the waterfront for my
weekend coffee routine.
Well it is April and so far no vacation
or exotic location to visit as I fell down and almost broke my left knee running
after the bus and falling on the pavement. Honestly, I just saw the
Girl with the Pearl Earring by Vermeer and Rembrandt's Century at the de Young
Museum and chased the bus for no known reason. I ended up getting infected
in the knee but no broken bones or infection in the joint.
On a better note, I became a charter
member of the new ExplOratorium
that will open on April 17th. I get to go to the charter members only
preview on April 6th! Such a deal.
I am still on the Board of Director's of
the Central YMCA
and also the Chairperson of the Senior Advisory Council of the
and a volunteer.
Pecatonica High School reunion was
to take place in May but I again was not able to attend the reunion in northern
Illinois. I added my photo to the reunion photo shot of my fellow senior
also am lucky belonging to the YMCA as we have ushers from the opera, ballet and
Broadway Theatres and one day Loren, an usher said he had two tickets to see The
Gospel of Mary Magdalene, a new opera with the premier opening in San Francisco.
I instantly said I want them and my neighbor Trish and I went early to hear the
Pre-Opera-Talk at 7:05 p.m. and then an intermission and we will then look up
Loren to thank him for the tickets and to have him seat us in the extra special
seating, Orchestra Premium.
I also attended one of my favorite
musicals in a long time, Priscilla Queen of the Desert! In the lobby of
the Orpheum Theatre was a big computer screen. You stood in front of it
and you could see yourself in the screen with some of the actors or actresses or
what ever and the costumes they were wearing. The crowd went wild and at
the end the entire audience stood up and clapped and yelled for minutes!
I also found out the end of June
that my traveling companion on some of my trips had found a trip to
and I certainly was happy with the expenses, 10 days in
New Zealand and three in
Honolulu, all for around $2,000.00 plus gas and food. Airfare, four star
hotels and a rental car included in the price.
Well we did go and had a great
time. We did a lot of driving though, over a thousand miles and of course,
on the left side of the road. I did have a couple of nervous situations as
I careened down the streets of Auckland trying to make a turn and not into on
water and green hills, not too many sheep now, mostly milk cows on the north
island. In many towns the people were in bed by 9:30 p.m. and most stores
were shuttered. Some people said the stores closed at five p.m. and some at two
p.m. on Saturday.
A great place to retire if you only
want to sit and look at sheep or cows or the ocean.
We also did spend two and a half days in
Oahu, and drove all over the north end of the island stopping at the Dole
Pineapple Plantation and the beaches along the way. A nice way to
few days relaxing after the nine hour flight from New Zealand!
2013.10.30 ~ I was photographed for
the Asian Art Museum Quarterly Magazine!
I was asked by the Asian Art Museum staff if I would be interested in being in
the very slick quarterly magazine with a great photo
me and a story about the Asian Museum when I visited it in the 1980s. It
originally was part of the de Young
Museum in Golden Gate Park. Now they are in
the renovated Civic Center Main Library.
an employee of the Asian, in membership, wondered who would be a good candidate
to have a photo taken of them and a story about something that happened to them
that was note worthy in the museum. I kept thinking and did a phone
conversation with the magazines editor about a happening. After a while I
thought this was not a good story so I thought about what to say.
An inspiration hit me after a while,
the Mandala I had see over 30 years ago the Tibetan Monks were creating was an
मण्डल Maṇḍala, 'circle') is a spiritual and ritual symbol in
Mandalas often exhibit radial balance.
The term is of Hindu origin. It appears in the Rig Veda as the name of the
sections of the work, but is also used in other Indian religions, particularly
Mandala was huge and they worked on it for months. Then one day I saw in
the newspaper, a man had run in and took his hand and messed up the pattern
screaming strange things.
I and others were irritated and rushed over to
console the monks and see the damage. Well the monks just smiled, told us
nothing is permanent in the universe. Thing come and go, that is the
nature of the world. Just keep calm and brush off the sands and start over
again because in the end, the sand and patterns will be brushed into a pile and
put into a bag for safe keeping.
employee thought that was a great story so hopefully it will appear in the
magazine. I also was taken down into the basement by Kaz, the official
photographer for the Asian Art Museum and he had me pose for half an hour to get
the perfect photo of me.
It is a good photo and I do look good for
73 years of age! And no Photoshop was used in making this photo. So
I had my 15 minutes of fame when I was six years old and on the cover of
Life Magazine in 1946 in the one room school I went
to in Illinois. Now I am in the Asian Art Museum's
quarterly magazine in 2013 at the age of 73, 67 years later!
I also got to watch the American Cup up close and ended up the year by traveling
for 11 days and four in Oahu. Here I am with the American Cup that was displayed at City Hall and the Asian Art Museum!
2014 ~ A very busy year and a trip to the Farallon Islands and Ireland.
started 2013 with a
hospital visit for three days after running after a bus following an exhibition
at the de Young Museum.
I was not a pretty sight, infected knee, cuts all
over and bruised ribs and right hip. No more running after buses, I am
retired so why should I run after a bus?
But things did straighten out I
attended the Central YMCA Board of Members meetings and chaired our monthly
Senior Advisory Council plus going to all the museums and theatrical events.
So far I have been to the Ballet, theatre multiple times, and many museums exhibitions
for previews by members only. I have been lucky to have a friend, Laurent,
who can get me free tickets to the opera, ballet and some plays.
Here is a photo of Laurent, my next door neighbor Trish and myself at the
beautiful Opera House where we saw some of the ground breaking ballets being
performed for the first time.
The last few years I have been clearing out my apartment and by now have everything given away that I do not need or want. I put all my clothes and paper work and so on in large clear plastic containers so I know what is in them.
Everyone who visits at first are astonished and then irritated that I bit the bullet and actually cleaned the apartment so there was hardly any extranious articles around! Good for me! Check out my living room and the fabulous view from the 28th floor!
It finally happened, after over 100 years the
is closing and the entire membership is terribly sad as the management, after promising for six years to build a new Central Y, has left us out in the cold. Very nasty to dedicated members such as myself who for six years volunteered and also
worked with a grass roots movement to build the new Y. The Y management made sure that anything we did was canceled out by their actions.
So on August 11, 2014, we held our last Senior Advisory Coucil meeting that I was Chairperson and Secretary. For years we worked to advance the senior center programs but our funding was cut to almost nothing so we finally gave up after it was announced that they would move the senior and youth programs to the worst park in the City, dangerous, drug dealers, homeless and so on.
So it is the end of an era. We did have a good laugh as the YMCA will celebrate the 150th year in the City and wants comments about the Y. Well probably not from the Central YMCA.
Time to find a new place to exercise and perhaps meet new friends and activities. Life does go on even when you will miss the many friends from the YMCA Senior Center.
So after 50 years of thinking about going to see the
Farallon Islands, 27 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge, I finally took a six hour cruise to them. The weather was probably the best weather ever had to take a cruise to the islands. It was around 80 degrees, no wind and the Pacific Ocean was flat as a rock. Not a single wave was to be seen or felt!
We saw a Humpback Whale, Harbor Seals, Pelican and Cormorants and many other birds that nest on the islands. It is a huge oceanic national santuary for mammals, fish and bird life. What a trip, as you can see by the photo of myself and the Farallons!
I am moving on with my life after many years at the YMCA. Virgina, a friend from the YMCA
and I will be going to Ireland
for ten days on October 15th, 2014. We hope it isn't too
cold or rainy. I did meet five young people from Ireland on the tram the other day and I
told them the price dropped about $250.00 a person if we left on the 15th and not the 1st of
October. They laughed, said two weeks will not make a difference so saving that kind of money
is great, enough for a few drinks and maybe a souvenier!
So we left San Francisco to New York and on to Dublin on October 14th, 2014! We had a fantastic time and to top it off, in North Western Ireland we got caught at the end of the hurricane that hit Burmuda. 90 mile an hour winds and hail for an hour. But otherwise, we saw the entire country and most of the famous points of interest and of course, had to kiss the Blarney Stone!
Eventually I told Virginia that I would like to do something special for my 75th birthday and she said she had gotten an email for a Norwegian Cruise Lines special eight day cruise through Western Caribbean. We made arrangement with the cruise line and Viginia got us a good deal on the American Airlines tickets round trip to Miami. So I am waiting for 2015 and my special birthday trip!
2015 ~ A Special Trip for my 75th Birthday to Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel on the Norwegian Epic
I decided I needed to go to another special place for my 75th birthday. My traveling companion on the Ireland trip suggested we go on a short cruise from Miami. It was only eight days but enough time to enjoy the cruise and site see on three islands. Virginia likes her cocktails as I do so we get along just fine! Need to start looking for something next spring!
And here I am, celebrating my 75th Birthday in Jamaica of all places. I did add a collection of photos of places I have been when on vacations for my birthdays starting in 2002! One of the most memorable birthdays was in 2007 where I had my 67th birthday in Angkor Wat Cambodia!
We had a great time going on tours in
and Grand Cayman islands plus Cozumel off the coast from Cancun Mexico!
I also have season tickets to many Broadway Plays such as Motown the Musical, Kinky Boots, Newsies, Matilda the Musical and Phanton of the Opera (Again!), at the Orpheum Theatre just two blocks from me.
Also plays at the 42nd Street Moon Theatre, mostly musicals from the 1930s and 40s. Some of the venues have been Dirty Dancing, Scrooge in Love, The Boys from Syracuse, Cabaret and other productions! This year I will attend at least 30 or more plays! I also go to the New Conservatory Theatre, and that is only two blocks away!
I have membership at the de Young Museum, Legion of Honor, Asian Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum (MOMA) and the Exploratorium of San Francisco, San Francico Opera and have attended over 25 members only previews of exhibits such as 28 Chinese, J.M.W. Turner, Botticelli to Braque, High Style: Brooklyn Museum and many other exhibits.
I should also start to think about the next trip, either this year or next year. It is good to plan ahead!
Interviewed and Photographed by The New York Times
I was shopping at a new high end store called the Market on Market in the
across the street from where I live.
As I was shopping, a woman came over and said she was a reporter, Kim Severson. She said I looked knowlegable about the area and could she interview me for the New York Times food section? Of course, knowing me I said "Yes" immediately! Well I didn't think much about it until on 2015.09.11 when I got the following email:
I am the photo editor for the Food section of The New York Times. We'd like to photograph you for Kim Severson's story. Would you have some time during the day on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week? We could photograph you in the Twitter food market or out on Market St. somewhere.
Many Thanks, Tiina Loite
Needless to say, I was very surprised so am looking forward to see if my photo actually appears in the New York Times food section! I got a response almost immediately from Tiina and will meet the photographer on Thursday 2015.09.17th around 1:00 p.m. to have my close up taken! (I,m ready for my close up Mr. de Mille!) How many times have I said that!
Hi Charles...how about Thursday? I will have a photog over at the Market in the Twitter building then, so he could photograph you after finishing there, maybe around 12:30-1:00-ish, something like that? Is Thursday ok? cheers, Tiina