I have dabbled in many fields of endeavor in my life, I started as a paperboy, hand delivering, over 300 papers on two routes, I was fourteen years old then. Did I get to keep the profits or enjoy them in anyway, no, the bill was paid weekly, then the money was handed over to my step-father. While many of my customers would give me big tips, little did they know I was not the one spending what they gave me.
I dabbled in many areas as I said over the years. rebuilding a home with my step-father, rebuilding a stone wall for it too. We did masonry work, to carpenter work, to auto repairs also. There were very few areas I did not try in my life, including plumbing and more.
What areas did I like or not like did not matter, they were jobs which ultimately led me to first factory work when I dropped out of High School at 16. As my step-father and mother told me neither of them would go to the school with me for a meeting to get me back in. So my step-father said no school, get a job and pay me rent to live here. Thus began a lesson in hard work and earning my way.
I went on to factory work, working all kind of hours to make a buck, my years in Uniroyal, I did 80 hour weeks many time in the years I worked there. I was a serviceman, delivering and putting up parts for sneakers on a conveyor line making Keds. It was repetitive, boring and in the end didn’t last for me. But, I made good money while i could. Although a job is repetitive and boring once you get used to it, you still do it just to survive. Thus was my case. Factory work never was my cup of tea so to say, so as I grew a little older I struggle for jobs, many times living without on unemployment.
Two years after I quit High School, I went and took the GED Test, which is the equivalent of a High School diploma. Passed it the first time around. Then I stood around and wnet what do I do next. So I ran down and made a move I regretted later joining the U.S. Army. I was young and dumb and yes I failed at it and was given a Trainee Discharge and of course Honorably Discharged. I didn’t have the ability at the time to concentrate and make it, due to attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity and basically, immaturity. I did last 6 month approximately. I was a M-88 Tank Retriever in Training.
I returned home fora short period of time and wondered what to do with myself. I was living week to week, meal to meal and day to day on bare minimum. I ended up in a room at the YMCA, by myself, lonely and just surviving among older men who were basically sick or alcoholics. Of course I became bored and kept looking for what to do next.
After jumping around from factory job to factory job washing dishes, and peeling potatoes for a restaurant and cleaning the place to eat for a while, for meals, I finally said ok enough, I went up and joined the National Guard in my hometown. I would serve there over a three year period, as a Machine Gunner Scout. Two meetings a month, plus two weeks in the summer for training. It supplemented my income for me to survive as I struggled through odd jobs.
After three years of doing this, I decided there was no place for me in my hometown to survive, no jobs there to make a real living on. so I went down to a Recruiting Office and joined the United States Navy. The U.S. Navy began for me, that December 1978 and would last till July 1989. I had hoped to be an electrician actually, but the Navy said i was partially color blind, so, I became a Boiler Technician, when I signed up.
The military now became my life, I was in Great Lakes , Ill., and then Norfolk, Va. and my final duty station turned out to be Portsmouth Naval Hospital. I served like i said as a Boiler Technician, aboard three ships, a Guided Missile Destroyer, a Oiler, refueling other ships at sea and the last one was LPD, which didn’t last long due to my injuries. When I was done in the Navy, I had served as, a Boiler Technician. a Master At Arms,a BEQ or Barracks Manager, to name a few positions. My being discharged from The Navy was a sad moment for me, but, I had no choice in the matter, I could go back to sea on a ship with six herniated discs in my spine so I was Medically Discharged. BY the time of my discharged I was at the time married with two daughters. I lost my home and ultimately my family due to my discharge for I had no income to keep us afloat.
Surprisingly, I came home looking for work once more, and ended up in the Hotel Business as of all things a Front Desk Clerk, then later asa maintenance man. During this time I went to the Veterans Administration and they decided I needed new training and I was offered a chance to return to school. The Veterans Administration tested me for a fit and it turned out to be Hospitality Management, I went to college at Naugatuck, Valley Community Technical, I started in a summer program taking remedial courses in math and english. Three years after I began, I graduated with a 3.75 average out of a possible 4.0. I am a Member of Alpha Beta Gamma and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Societies. I won the 1997, Connecticut Lodging and Attractions Award and more. I went on to manage Hotels for a short period of time. But, when your disabled, in pain, bored it doesn’t work for you.
I would go on to find out, I suffered from PTSD from childhood beatings and military PTSD also and need help to keep going. Again the Veterans Administration helped me, I was given full benefits. Life has now become bearable and liveable, and has been for over twenty years now, I am now 64. I balance myself by staying alone a lot with my second wife. I never was a big social animal and still am not to this day, I hate crowds, I hate too much loud noise, and I hate men who beat on women or abuse them in anyway, including verbally. All comes from my rough childhood I had.
But, in the end I took to just being me, so I write some. I did some poems, some short stories and numerous blogs, no I am not rich, nor am I famous, who can be when they can’t edit well or really write that well, no matter how much they try. I do, try to sell what I write some, but, I have been at it too long to not know, .99 cent pamphlets are not books. They are just shorts I do, my attention span is too short for much, unless it is a passion I am speaking of. Part of me, knows, the stories are there in me, I just can’t get them fully out in my current condition. So, I dabble and pass he time.
There must be millions of Veterans like myself out there, unable to work, barely getting by and bored. I know the syndrome I have seen it many times before. Old Veterans, end up along, we end up bored, depressed and thinking of a way to end the boredom. We get depressed because we can’t live with memories, past pains, and the fact we can’t do much for ourselves anymore. So, I have turned to blog writing, and it keeps me going for now, we all need a way to vent and let it out don’t we?
In case some Doctor or therapist sees this and goes oh no he sounds like a coming suicide case, I say this not yet. I have been taking care of my wife who is sixteen years my senior since 2006, when she first came down with breast cancer. It’s been a struggle yes, but I wouldn’t give up ever and won’t on her. In The Middle of it all, when she went into remission for a bit, I came down with lung cancer myself. It was 2013, September 4th, when they removed a lobe and a third of my right lung. I survived it after long surgery and recovered too. Only to find out my wife’s breast cancer is back again.
Since, 1972, cancer has been a part of my life in one way or another. My Grandfather died of it that year, a girl I knew in high school had it too. In 1984 my real father died of lung cancer, my stepfather died in 1990 of it too and then ultimately my mother went also in 1991 from it. So, in one way or another cancer has chased my life and me around.
Now, it is 2020, my wife will be 80- years old come September and our marriage anniversary will be our 20th. If we both make it there that is. Her cancer is still with us, she suffers daily and nightly and I care for her the best I can at home. Her latest bout with cancer isa long one for sure, and I have no idea how she keeps going on. Today, she has gone by chemo treatments and radiation, they worked for some years, Now we are on to immunotherapy, and shots for her bones. Every three weeks this poor woman must go into a Cancer clinic and take the meds and shot. Blood draws get taken and her tumor markers are traced. The last visit was about a week or so ago, she came out acting chippy and happy to be alive, and waited till we drove away, heading home to tell me her tumor markers had risen slightly. As any doctor or cancer patient will tell you, rising tumor markers usually mean, the treatment is failing, But, she looked at me and said we shall see in 3 weeks. She doesn’t give up and we will fight on together, only time can tell us how long it will be.
So, for those who think, I am crazy, I am sometime unrealistic, or over passionate about some subjects, maybe so, but my reasoning is simple as you can now see, after reading this, I do what I can to survive in the best possible way I can and to keep my wife alive too, daily.
We live now day to day, like all in the world, hoping for a new day we can wake up to. Never knowing when we won’t is rough. As the world today faces coronavirus (Covis-19) as it is called and thousands die a day, because they won’t listen to the experts, I want all of you to stop and think, what of the ones like us, my wife and I, we have to fight cancer and other illnesses and injuries to survive, and now coronavirus too. What a life we must live, it’s a long road to hoe and pave to try to stay alive these days!.