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Life Moves On

David's Bio

After my wife's death in September 2000, I have spent many hours working on the sailboat I purchased following her death, that will eventually become my home.  Most of the work, while labor intensive was not mind taxing - and doing most of it alone,  has given me much time to reflect on who I am and what life is about.  The short answer to both questions is the same - I do not have a foggy clue!  But to that end I thought it would be fun to write down my history - at least as much of it as I care to share with anyone.

On this page is an overall view of my life from birth to present.  There is a lot of detail left out that would make a single page far too long, so I plan to add sections dealing with specific areas of my life, i.e. each child, religion, work, fun, and whatever else comes to mind.

My parents were living in Saltville, Va. when I was born on March 10, 1951.  As I have heard them talk about life in Saltville it was amazingly different from today.  They arrived there after my father graduated from college to work at a chemical plant.  Saltville was the source of salt for the Confederate Army during the Civil War.  Daddy drove a truck with their possessions, while Mother and my older sister, Jo Ellen, flew.  Jo Ellen was a baby at the time and Virginia would not allow babies to cross the state line by a ground vehicle due to Polio.  They had no car then.  I only heard recently that due to an interruption of my father's education by WW2, that he actually finished his schooling at NC State in December.  NC State only had one commencement service and it was following the spring semester.  In order to receive your diploma, you had to be present at the commencement, barring a hardship.   Daddy was allowed to not have to return for commencement since they did not have a car and the bus trip was many hours long.  Ten months after my birth, Daddy accepted a new job for a paper mill in Roanoke Rapids, NC.  We moved into a rental house on Franklin Street where we lived until 1957.  I do not remember a lot about those years  - but a few of the things I recall, we had a large (at least it was to me) dog named Storm - he disappeared.  We had a black lady as a maid that had been a majorette.  I once left my Flexi Flyer (a snow sled that had wheels rather than runners) in the drive way so Daddy would have to move it - he did not see it and ran over it instead!  Mother and Daddy got their first Boston Terrier, Tinker Bell, there - I remember carrying her around in a pillow case.  There was some green vegetable that I did not like and once was left at the table until I ate it - I scrapped it behind some flowers outside when no one was looking.  A final memory was the passing of Hurricane Hazel.  My great grandparents arrived a day or so before the hurricane.  In the midst of the hurricane I was sitting on the floor and calling my Daddy on a play phone to come home from work.  He did come home (not because of my play phone call), and during the time the eye of the hurricane was passing over, Daddy went outside to reconnect one of the main electrical feed wires to the house.  Some how he managed to end up holding the ground wire in one hand and a hot wire in the other.  Unable to to let go, he had the presence of mind to kick the ladder out from under him.  The fall broke his grip on the wires - but the landing caused him to break his ankle.

My Mother's grandparents on her Mother's side lived in Hamlet, NC.  Hamlet was a train town, and I can remember traveling there by train.  The most vivid memory was looking out the window when the train was in a curve and seeing the rest of the train behind us.

In the spring of 1957 my parents started construction of their first new house.  We moved into the house in the summer of 1957 - I was sent off to my Mother's mother house in Wilmington for the move.  When I got back, while we were in the house, the yard had not yet finished being graded.  The backyard was considerably lower than the front and the landscaper had made a two tier grade between the two.  I thought it was a mistake and took a rake and started making a single slope of it.  The landscaper caught me at it and was not very happy!  The new house was located in a new neighborhood on a circle called Rightmyer Drive.  It was a dirt road at the time.  The post office would not deliver mail there as there were only about 5 houses on the circle.  Our mail box was about 1/4 mile away - down and back up a dirt road hill.  It was at this house I learned to ride a bicycle, and can not begin to count the number of times I crashed going down the hill to get the mail.  Usually I would crash going down the hill after getting the mail as well.  Eventually enough houses were built on Rightmyer Drive that the roads were paved and mail was delivered to mail boxes in front of each house.  I had lots of friends growing up there.  Langdon Owen lived two houses down, Scott Harris two houses down from Langdon and Frank Hayes lived on the other side of Scott.  Later a road was put in beside our house and Bob Overby moved in behind us.  The municipal swimming pool was just past where the mail boxes use to be and it only cost 10 cents to get in for 4 hours of cooling off. 

The fall of 1957 I entered the first grade at Akers Elementary School.  Not much to say about grade school except it was about a mile from home, and mostly down hill - so it was great to ride your bike home from.  On October 31, 1957 my younger sister was born - Billie Luck.  There were many jokes about her being a witch having been born on Halloween - but I must confess, this many years from the event, she appears to not be so bad.   Pets were always a part of my family's life.  As already mentioned we had a Boston Terrier named Tinker Bell.  She loved to play ball and would spend hours at the new houses getting the workers to throw her ball.  We also had parakeets (one at the time).  I guess the most vivid memory of grade school was the day that the church I belonged to (First Presbyterian) caught fire.  We were lined up on the second floor of school to enter the auditorium and could see the fire being fought through a large picture window.  Interestingly enough the cause of the fire was blamed on the organ.  The same benefactor gave the Presbyterian, Methodist and I think Episcopal church each an identical organ.  A couple of years after the Presbyterian church fire, the Methodist church burned down, again due to the organ.  The Episcopal church did not ever burn down.  I do not know if they got ride of the organ before hand, or if they had better connections with heaven.

The school system in Roanoke Rapids was different than any other I ever experienced.  There were a number of elementary schools that covered grades 1-6, and a single Junior-Senior High School that covered grades 7-12.  Classes in the high school were 100 minutes long - great for PE and classes you like -sheer  misery for those classes you did not like. The schedule was 1-3-5 on MWF and then 2-4-6 on TT,  the next week 2-4-6 would be MWF and 1-3-5 was TT.   My years in high school were turbulent years for me.  I guess it was just part of growing up, and so many changes taking place.  It was during English one day that the principal came on the intercom to announce that President Kennedy had been assassinated.  The summer after the 7th grade, I fell from a tree I was climbing and broke both wrist in a 26 foot fall.  It was shortly after this that I got a call from a girl who later became my first real girl friend - Shannon Roberts.  We dated from the 8th grade until sometime in the 10th grade.  She lived on the other side of town from me and it was quite a haul on a bicycle - but I never seemed to mind for some reason.  One on the funniest things that ever happened while we were dating was when we went to the movies to see the Beatles in "Help".  In those days if you paid to see the first showing of a movie, you could stay to see the second showing as well.  My Daddy had taken us to the movie (as I did not yet drive), and got worried when I did not call for him to pick us up after the first showing.  We had enjoyed the movie enough to watch it a second time.  Shannon had her head laying on my shoulder when Daddy walk up behind us.  He took Shannon home and then gave me a lecture about "necking" in public.  I did not argue with him - but I did not see the big deal about her head touching my neck.  It was some years latter that I learned that necking was a term for kissing!  Shannon's father was a craftsman and built a camper for their pickup truck.  They took 4 weeks one summer and drove across the United States.  A most miserable summer for me.  I got lots of letters from Shannon - but did not get to talk to her until they got home.  

Music is another area that I found great enjoyment in.  I stated taking band (cornet) in the 6th grade and continued in band through the 12th grade.  I was not great at it, but ended up 1st chair my senior year.  My junior year I played electric bass in the concert band.  As with any thing electrical that make music, the band director was always telling me to play softer.  One day I had my amplifier in stand-by where it looked like it was on, but was not producing any sound - and guess what - yes, I was called down for being too loud.  I took up 6 string guitar in the 7th grade when I got a guitar for my birthday.  I got good at chords, but never could pick a lead solo for squat.  I got involved in a band, "The Monocos" with Ames Hudson, Frank Hayes and Charles Gabriel.  I stated out as the lead singer, but Ames eventually took over.  Ames was just learning guitar, Charles was pretty good at solo leads and Frank played drums.  We played mostly at Gaston High School and birthday parties.  We almost got to play at our own high school a couple of times but it never worked out.  Later I joined another band "Lucious Jr. and the Leftovers".  I was the oldest of the group, and the only non-drinker.  I played cornet in this band and did some backup singing.  Over all this band was much better than The Monocos.  We did get to play at the local high school several times, as well as other places such as VWF Legion posts in Weldon and Tarboro.  We even got a week long engagement at Atlantic Beach one summer, but the main singer tended to go hoarse after one performance, so we only lasted a couple of days there.  I continued to play in that band through most of my freshman year of college.  I could play cords on the piano with the best of them.  I finally took two piano lessons while in high school - but did not have the patience to start from a beginner's book.  And of course I had a record player that saw many hours of use.  I still have today many of those vinyl records - both the 33 rpm and 45 rpm.  At one point I started moving them to CD, but never got very far.

Through my grade school and junior high school year summers, I would spend two weeks in Winston Salem with my Daddy's parents.  It was a wonderful time I always looked forward to.  Their daughter was the director for a city park located only a few blocks away, for a number of years.  I got to go swimming, participate in basketball free throw contest, and learned how to weave baskets.  My grandfather was an outdoorsman - and fishing or hunting was the only time he did not wear a tie.  We would go fishing on the weekends when I was there.  About the 8th grade a new dam was built outside of Roanoke Rapids creating Lake Gaston.  My parents purchased some property there and we spent many a Saturday at the lake fishing and swimming.  It was during these years that I learned to sail a neighbors Sun Fish.  I built a sailboat - it was to be a catamaran - but I ran out of patience (and probably money) after building one hull.  I made sails for it from canvas and took it out for a sail.  With a tall rig and no keel or ballast, it did not stay upright long.  It never saw water after it's first sail.  It was during these years that I first starting giving thought to sailing around the world.

Most of my non-classroom hours in high school were spent in the band area.  Looking back at an annual the other day, it was amazing the number of people from my class that I did not know by name or face.  I was rebellious, and it cost me.  I argued with a geometry teacher over points that could take no space - in the end I had to take geometry a second time.  I should be an expert at French - I took French 1 and flunked it, took it again and passed it, took French 2 and flunked it.  High school never received the effort I should have given it - and that lack of effort followed me into college.

In the 11th grade I started dating other people since Shannon and I had broken up.  It was a painful time.  One girl I had dated a couple of times turned me down when I asked her to go to a basketball game - she had to wash her hair.  Imagine my surprise (read hurt) when I went to the game alone and she came in and sat behind me with a group of girls.  I stated dating Patti Taylor that year and through the next year, on into my freshman year in college.  She was a year younger than I.  When I graduated from high school I had been accepted to ECU in music education and NC State in conservation.  I could not go to ECU since I had not successfully completed two years of a foreign language.  We ended up getting married in the spring of 1970, and rushed out of town as soon as she graduated.  Our Mothers got us a one room apartment on the campus of NC State University where we both attended summer school.  Patti suffered from morning nausea, and would have to leave class at the same time every day.  She did not enroll in the fall semester.  On January 4, 1971 Patti gave birth to a healthy boy whom we name John Paul.  Following her hospital stay Patti and John went to stay with her parents while she recovered.  During the time she was back in Roanoke Rapids I stayed in Raleigh - I had a job at Buchanan Music Company at Six Forks Mall that I continued to work.  I had started this job shortly after we moved to Raleigh.  It was during this while I was in Raleigh alone that I received word that I had been placed on academic suspension.  While I had only flunked one course (Intro to Computer Programming), I had made many C's and a few D's.  I did not understand that you could flunk out without flunking numerous classes.  I applied for a second chance but was denied.  I asked for a full time job with the music store and was accepted.  However my Father would not have it.  He scoured the colleges in the state and got me into Campbell College under academic probation.  Patti, John and I moved into a one bedroom apartment that had a separate kitchen and living area.  Campbell suited me, plus the fact that being asked to leave NC State had a profound impact on me.  I did well on all my classes making almost all A's and B's.  One of the classes I took was Astronomy - I made 100 on most of the tests, including the final exam.  The instructor asked me to be an aid the next year.  I accepted and was his aid for the next 3 semesters.  Patti took a job as a teller at a bank in Lillington, a town 4 miles away.  I majored in Physics and Education, and graduated with a BS.  I did my student teaching in a Cumberland County high school.  I was offered a job at that high school, but declined it.  I had been accepted to UNC-Chapel Hill graduate school of education to obtain my masters degree.  This was a fully paid opportunity courtesy of the National Science Foundation.  As part of the program, I was to go to school half time and teach half a day in a local high school.  The high school I were I was to teach had hired a full time chemistry/physics teacher and I was to be his helper for the year.  This did not suit me or my advisor and knowing my love of astronomy, my advisor got me a position on the staff of the Morehead Planetarium as a narrator for school shows.  Patti took a job on campus as a secretary, in the chemistry department as I remember.  I attended classes for 2 summer sessions, the fall and spring semester and then graduated with a Master of Art in Teaching in the spring of 1974.  

I made many friends at the planetarium, the best was Jimmy Horn, who at the time was the assistant technician.  I continued to work at the planetarium through the summer.  I was offered a job as director of a school system planetarium in Alexander, Va. - but Patti and I were already experiencing marriage difficulties and  moving that far just did not seem wise.  I accepted a job with the Alamance County School System as a Chemistry/Physics teacher at Graham High School.  The weekend of Thanksgiving that year, Patti and I separated.  I moved into a one bedroom apartment in Carrboro.  Teaching in 1974 was not a way to get rich.  Even with a masters degree my gross was about $6k/year.  Christmas 1974 I did not feel like going home, so I stayed in Carrboro.  Jimmy asked me to Christmas dinner with his family at his Mother's house.  I attended most of the Graham High School football and basketball games that year.  The basketball team did well that year and made it to the regional playoffs.  The cheerleaders needed a chaperon to ride on the bus with them.  Some one told the head cheerleader to "go ask Mr. Fansler - he is single and has nothing to do".  Such was the first meeting between Ann Donaldson and I.  We became good friends after going to several games.  I was into photography and took lots of pictures that first year of teaching, which I shared with my classes.  At one point the spring of 1975 I was called into the principals office and warned about dating students.  It seems that one male student felt it was his mission to get me in trouble - mainly because I was flunking him.  The person I was "suppose" to be dating was not Ann.  Following Ann's graduation we starting dating.  It did not take us long to get serious.  She attended Elon College the fall of 1975 and spring of 1976.  When my divorce from Patti came through, Ann and I became engaged.  We were married on July 24, 1976.  According to her dad, it was the hottest day of the year.  Jimmy Horn was the best man.  We honey mooned in Myrtle Beach.  One night we had watched someone shoot bottle rockets on the beach.  That night Ann woke up with me sitting up and raising my arms saying "boom,  boom-boom".  Oh man what have I gotten into she thought!

We moved into a two bedroom apartment in Graham.  She started working with the Veterans Administration office.  I continued to work at Graham High School during the school year, and the planetarium during the summers.  In the summer of 1977 the assistant director of the Morehead Planetarium announced that he has accepted the position of director of a new planetarium in Jackson, MS.  He offered me the position of Programming Engineer - second in command.  At the time my salary was $11,100/year and the offer was for $14,000/year.  I was not happy teaching - I felt that I took a group of students and taught them chemistry or physics for 10 months and then started all over again.  There was no growth for me.  I accepted the job and in late October of 1977 Ann and I moved to Jackson, MS.  It was hard on her parents to have her move so far away - and it was hard on her.  She cried the first 30 minutes on the trip.  We purchased a 3 bedroom house in Jackson that felt like a mansion to us.  

The planetarium was still under construction, so our first office was in the lobby of the ladies room in the basement of the municipal auditorium - which was adjacent to the new art museum, which was adjacent to the planetarium.  The planetarium building was unique - first it was built over a drainage creek, second it stood on four legs, and third it had no first floor (the second floor was offices and work areas, the third floor was the planetarium and display area).  The planetarium opened in the fall of 1978.  In the end, the politics of a city owned planetarium became more than I could stand and I resigned in May of 1979.  In the meantime, Ann took a job as a secretary in an insurance firm.  We had a great time in Jackson.  We were own our on for the first time since being married - without family near.  We bonded as a husband and wife should.  We joined a Presbyterian church and made lots of friends.  Leaving those friends was hard, but we were both ready to be closer to family again.  Ann was pregnant at this time.  She had a couple of miscarriages prior to this, but this time it seemed to be going well.  In June I packed all our belongings into a 24 foot U-Haul truck, climbed in with our two cats and left about 7 AM one morning.  Ann was 8 months pregnant and so I had her fly home.  Eighteen hours later I arrived in Burlington.  Ann arrived the next day.  We stayed with her parents, and I worked for her father that summer.  Her parents were not very fond of animals, so the two cats went to live with my parents on Lake Gaston, NC.  Ann went into what was termed false labor 2 days before she finally gave birth.  The night before she went into the hospital she started having real contractions.  Every time one would start she would wake me up and tell me - then when it was over she would tell me and ask me the duration and how long between contractions.  I soon realized that if I did not do something I was not going to get any sleep that night.  So I pulled my TRS-80 Model I computer out of the closet, took about 30 minutes and wrote a basic program.  When I finished I leaned the keyboard up against the bed and told Ann that when a contraction started just reach down and hit the keyboard.  When the contraction finished, hit the keyboard again, and the monitor would display the length of the contraction and how long since the last one.  With that I told her good night and went to sleep.  She was not very happy with me - but knew that one of us needed some sleep!  Justin was born the next evening.  A different experience than when John was born - I was in the delivery room.  When Justin was delivered, there was a knot in his umbilical cord - it was loose so he was ok, but had it ever tightened up he would not have survived.

Three weeks after Justin was born, I started to work as an electronics technician for Biomedical Reference Labs in Burlington, NC.  Because of "creativity" in new electrical designs, I was warned that this job was repair only, no redesigns.  I accepted that as such.  One month after I started working, I had gone out to a local Radio Shack to pick up a needed repair part.  I had a Honda 360 motorcycle that I drove, leaving the Monza for Ann to drive.  The Radio Shack that had the needed part was located in a plaza with K-Mart.  I was driving down a aisle in the parking lot, when a woman who was cutting across the parking lot struck me in the side with her car.  The impact threw me off my bike, doing a 3/4 somersault and landing on my head/back.  Other than bruised badly, I had on deep cut on the inside of my right foot.  The bike was totaled.  While I am not mortified to get on a bike now, I do not have any desire to own another one.  The problem is too often not the motorcyclist fault, but rather that car drivers just do not see motorcycles.  And with having a 3 week old child that could have lost his father, just did not make having a bike seem that important to me.  After about a year my creative juices were starting to get the better of me.  There was one particular piece of data collection equipment that the company was buying used for over $7000.  It used a discrete logic that predated TTL and was becoming difficult to find.  I purposed designing and building a replacement for $1000.  At first my supervisor scoffed at me, but final agreed to let me build a prototype.  It turned out to be a grand success.  The original data collection device was called an "802 SMART" (SMART stood for sequential multiple acquisition reporting terminal.)  I named my unit the "1802 SR", which stood for the microprocessor used (RCA 1802) and SR for Smart Replacement.  The VP which approved the prototype being built named it the "Fansler Automated Reporting Terminal" or FART.  This success lead to the construction of a number of other special projects for the company that were not commercially available.  The success of my designs lead to my final project which took 5 years to complete.  I was awarded a European patent for one aspect of the project.  In the end, a deal was struck with Olympus Corporation medical division to turn the instrument into a commercial product.  The last I had heard Olympus was on the second generation.  On side benefit of this project was two separate trips to Japan ( and a side trip to Hawaii).  

About 1981, Biomedical Reference Labs was purchased by Hoffman-LaRoche and renamed to Roche Biomedical Labs.  During the time I was working on the last project, RBL purchased the remains of a imaging analysis company.  A new side company was created called Roche Image Analysis Systems (RIAS).  After the completion of the project, I was asked to join RIAS to build the instruments they sold, which were PC based.  Eventually my department grew to where I had 3 people helping me, plus I was put in charge shipping/receiving department with two people there.  After a year or so, my departments were moved to a new facility (along with several other departments.)  As a side job at the new facility, I was placed in charge of the network there.  After a couple of years, the person who ran the network at the primary facility resigned and I was asked to move back to the primary facility and manage the network for the entire company.  Roche Biomedical Labs merged with another company and RIAS was spun off as a new company named AutoCyte, Inc.  An addition was added to the facility I had been in and the entire company was once again in the same building.  Sometime later AutoCyte "merged" with another company in Redmond, WA, NeoPath, and formed TriPath Imaging, Inc.  In reality had the merger not taken place, NeoPath would have gone bankrupt within about 9 months.  Prior to the merger I was supporting the network, phones, PC help desk, and some of the security for AutoCyte for over 100 people.  Following the merger both former companies were trimmed in size - the former AutoCyte had about 60 people, and the former NeoPath had about 60 people.  The hard to digest fact is that of those 60 people, 6 were dedicated to do the job I did by myself.  I was assigned a supervisor located in Redmond who was also over the Redmond IT department.  Life under the new company was less than happy, and in the end I resigned after about 18 months (about 6 months after Ann passed on).  

I would like to back up 21 years now - after Justin was born in August of 1979, Ann and I continued to live with her parents until December of that year when we purchased and moved into Ann's grandparents house.  It had been empty for a couple years and what a disaster it started out to be!  There was clogged drain pipes and leaking water supply pipes.  Over time all these problems were fixed - in fact I ended up replacing every supply pipe in the house.  Ann went to work for a lawyer and later for a team of lawyers.  In August 1981 Ann gave birth to our second child, Laurin.  Following Laurin's birth, Ann was laid off from her job with the law firm.  Until she could find another job, Ann started keeping her bother's child who was the same age as Justin.  This lead to another and another, until it became a full time job at home.  She ran her daycare for 13 years and was given the honor of named the county's first "Daycare Provider Of The Year".  Following the closing of her daycare, Ann took a job with a non-profit organization for a year or so.  From there Ann went to work as a job recruiter.  She was, as usual, very successful in her new job, surpassing my salary in her second year.  It was Ann's success at her last job that lead us to plan and build a new home.  In June of 1997 we moved into a beautiful home on 2 acres of land, including a pond.  While our house was being constructed Ann studied, took and passed her recruiter board exam for the state of NC.  While all this was going on, Ann started suffering stomach cramps.  She put it off to stress of building a new house and studying for a major exam, but after we had been in the house a while the pains worsened.  Finally she took the issue to her doctors, and in early December of 1997 a large tumor was discovered in her colon.  Less than a week later it was removed, but a CT scan revealed tumors in Ann's liver.  She fought her cancer with a bravery beyond description.  But less than three years after it was discovered, the cancer took Ann's life on September 23, 2000.  She help to plan her "Celebration Of Life" - she would not allow it to be called a funeral - which took place a week after her passing.  It was one of the most attended "funerals" ever in Burlington, NC - over 600 people were in attendance - a true testimony to the number of people she touched through her fight with cancer.

I would like to stop at this point and thank the people of TriPath Imaging for their out pouring of compassion and prayers during Ann's illness.  A donation of vacation days by many if the employees (mainly in Burlington) allowed me to be at home with Ann the last two weeks on earth.  It was their generosity and compassion that made it difficult for resign from TriPath. 

During Ann's illness she developed an appreciation for life that is difficult to develop under a "normal" life.  It became important to her that people should enjoy life for the time they have rather than being so involved with making money and to not put off dreams until the "right" time.   It was at her urging that we went to Oriental, NC and took a sailing school in June 1999 and purchasing a 27 foot sailboat.  We had many hours to talk about what I would do after she was gone, and the teenage dream of sailing around the world was re-awakened.  Since her death, I have purchased a Morgan Out Island 41 Ketch with such a plan in mind.  Since purchasing this boat, which was renamed "Annabelle", the nick name I had for Ann, I have done an almost total refurbishment.  All new instruments, new sails, dual heat pumps, a 12 volt generator are among some of the items.   She sails like a dream and is an easy boat for one person to handle.

Backing up again to 1979 and my start of employment with BRL, there was a person also in the electronics department that I became close friends with - Chuck Amos.  Chuck and his wife, Diane, took up sailing first with an 18', then 22', followed by a 27' and finally a 30' sailboat - all Catalina's.  Ann and I went sailing several times with Chuck and Diane, including a week long sail in the British Virgin Islands on a 51' sailboat to celebrate Ann and mine 10th wedding anniversary, and their 20th anniversary.  Chuck and I started eating Monday lunches together, something we did for over 20 years, until I retired.  Chuck and Diane divorced sometime after the purchase of the 30' Catalina.  Chuck retained possession of the boat and has recently moved it to Oriental and is in the same marina as my boat.  Chuck has remarried to a wonderful woman.  Ann went to work for Diane as a job recruiter - Diane owns her own recruiting company and has been quite successful.  I remain friends with both Chuck and Diane and their new spouses.  About a year after I started working at BRL, someone suggested to a programmer, Ben Morris, for the inventory system that he come see me about a problem he was having with the IT support group - it seems they could not get RS-232 terminals to run on his DEC computer.  The problem turned out to be that there were three wires needed to hook up a terminal and the IT guys could not figure out how to hook up the three wires!  It did not take Ben long to understand how to attach the wires to what pins and to start using a standard for the 3 colors.  He and I became quick friends.  We both had TRS-80 Model I computers, and moved up to a Z80 CP/M box and finally to PC's.  Ben and his wife purchased land across the street from the land Ann and I had purchased.  They started their new home about a month before we did, and moved in about a month before we did.  We took up the habit of eating lunch on Fridays and did this for over 19 years - till I retired.  Ben and his wife Lisa have been a wonderful help in taking care of the dogs for me while I spend weeks on end in Oriental.

Life has started moving forward for me once again.  For many months I felt as if I were just marking time, watching the days go by with no real reason for being here.  I was not suicidal - just did not understand the big WHY.  In November of 2001, I was lying in my bed in the aft cabin of the Annabelle pondering my situation, when suddenly I felt an immense burden lift from me and the distinct feeling that it was time to seek out a new best friend who could possibly become a wife.  Not as a replacement for who I had lost, but as a new chapter in my life. 

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