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I climbed on the back of a giant albatross... and ended up somewhere in Scotland

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May. 26th, 2015

Just found out my ex-mother-in-law has died... she passed away in late February.  She was 70, just like my mother was when she died about six years ago.  Too young.  70 doesn't seem as old as it used to seem.


March 1997

Another exciting look back at events of my life in 1997 as told in my journal:

March 2, 1997, Salem: "I took a walk this morning around the Willows... read the paper... now this... I've decided to accept the job offer from MKS Instruments in Andover for the position of Manufacturing Engineer. I also got an offer from ametek Aerospace in Wilmington for Test equipment Engineer but I'm taking the other one for a lot of different reasons... but I guess the main reason is that I think I'd like the job responsibilities of Mfg Engineer better than Test equipment Engineer which is a little more narrowly focused... So I'll be giving my notice to my sucker boss tomorrow. Michelle K and her fiancé Dean came for a visit last night... I cooked the lasagne this time (a rare occurrence, but F was busy)... We went out to see a movie and sat around a bit..."

March 8, 1997, Salem: "They cloned a sheep in Scotland a few days ago (or at least it was announced a few days ago). That's a first for mammals..."

March 15, 1997, Salem: "Yesterday was my last day at Teradyne. Woo hoo! Monday will be my first day at MKS Instruments... Doh! On Thursday, the people I supervised (2nd shift Test Dept.) took me out to a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown... That was really nice... And so ends 4 1/2 years on 2nd shift... I'm looking forward to the change in hours, and change in job... It's time... It'll be nice to be home in the evenings with F... It might be tough getting used to getting up early, tho... We'll see..."

Winter 1996/1997

A look back at life in the winter of '96/'97, via excerpts from my (not very interesting) journal...

December 30, 1996, Salem: ... "Peter's getting big now. He's a little over 1 year old now... in fact, we celebrated his 1st birthday with a party at Brian + Debbie's a few weeks ago... Peter's walking around and has a pretty placid yet inquisitive demeanor. Whereas Michael (although very good at Christmas) tends to sometimes be a bit rowdy and occasionally cranky when he doesn't get his way..."

January 17, 1997, Salem: "The Patriots made it to the Super Bowl this year. They'll be playing the Green Bay Packers next week. We'll be going over to Brian + Debbie's to watch the game and to celebrate my birthday... I've been sending out resumes lately. I'm ready for a new job. I'm still a test supervisor at Teradyne on 2nd shift. Lately, I've been wanting to get on 1st shift but it isn't working out like that. There's still a possibility but I'm looking elsewhere too. My job has become pretty boring... I need a change."

January 19, 1997, Newton: "F and I have come to Boston College today. She had some stuff to do for her social work thesis, so we're here at the Thomas P. O'Neil, Jr. Library at BC." ... "Paul Tsongas died yesterday after a long bout with cancer... I liked him... When he ran for president in '92, I voted for him in the primary... F did too..." ... "Clinton will be re-inaugurated on Monday (tomorrow). Four more years of that sorry excuse for a human being... Oh well." ... "There's been a lot of cruddy things going on in my life lately... but I don't particularly want to write about them in here. I guess it boils down to just boredom and disillusionment. Working is a drag... I need to do something else..." ...

February 23, 1997, Salem: "Kevin and Kim came over for a visit yesterday. It's the first time they'd been to our new condo... F made a nice lasagne dinner, we had a few drinks, and walked down to Derby St. and had a few drinks at a bar not too far away... It was a nice night..."

February 25, 1997, Salem: "I'm staying home sick from work today. Suckers... Besides, I got a call from MKS Instruments in Andover. They offered me a job as a manufacturing engineer. Cool. I think I'll take it..."

Autumn 1996

In September 1996, from my journal:

- Sept 1: "F and I moved into our new home in Salem after the closing on Friday. We bought a condo at 35 Essex St. in Salem... We're a few blocks from the House of Seven Gables, a few blocks from Salem Common."

- Business is slower than it's been, and my employer Teradyne has dramatically curtailed use of subcontractors and temps... and then laid off 300 (but not me).

- Our cat Geronimo died (was staying with my parents). Not sure what happened but he was found dead in the back yard.

October 1996

- Went to a family reunion in New Hope, PA. "I wasn't too into it, tho, and F had a little tantrum and left early. I rode back with my parents."

- "F and I haven't been getting along too well over the past few weeks" ... "it's related to my contacting RB this summer. F and I are getting along better now, tho..."

- Irving the cat is back living with us.

- Oct 30: "I'm voting for Perot again. We need an insane non-politician in the White House."

- We host a Halloween party in our new Salem condo. I am a wizard and F is a witch.

November 1996

- Nov 5: "Today's election day and I just voted... For president, I decided to vote for a 3rd party candidate... I was either going to vote for the Libertarian, Natural Law candidate, or Ross Perot (Reform Party)... n I don't think any of them have a chance of actually winning, but Perot has the best chance so I voted for him..."

- Clinton wins with 50% of the vote and 31 states. Bob Dole got 41% and 19 states. Perot got 9% and no states.

- F turns 30 and we have a party at her mother's.

- F and I consider getting an Old English Sheepdog and we take a look at one called Rambo. We don't.

- We go on a 7 day Caribbean cruise with F's mother, grandmother and my mother. San Juan, PR to Barbados to Saint Lucia to St. Barts to Tortola to St. Thomas to San Juan again.

September 1991

Right... I've had this project that has been on hold for several months... documenting what I did, where I was, etc. based on my old journal books which go back to 1986. Anyway, today I've got it in my head to try to do some more.... maybe catch-up a little and eventually I'll have all that info in here.

Here's my status in September 1991:

- Age 26

- Living with my then wife, F, on the 6th floor at the top of an apartment building on Fleet Street in downtown Portsmouth, NH. A place we only lived at for a short time (half a year I think).

- Worked at GE in Somersworth, NH as a Technical Supervisor in an electronics assembly area of a watt-hour meter factory.

September 1991

- B. Scott H., F's old managing editor, visits us in Portsmouth in early September. I don't feel like going with them down to Cambridge the next day.

- Business at GE where I work has been slow, and some work has moved to Puerto Rico. Employees are trying to start up a union.

- Sept 12, 1991: "Well, like I said in our last episode, they're trying to start a union at GE. Working class scum!! As a member of GE management, I am a highly-trained union basher. 'We do not need a union here at GE, in my opinion.'" (is what I have been trained to say)

- Weekend visit by Kevin and Tim. We go up to Loon Mountain to see the Highland Games.

- Sept 18, 1991: "Communism has fallen. Strange days have found us." (Yeltsin and people power put down the hardliner coup recently)

- In other news... Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court are going on, Yugoslavia is having a civil war, George H. W. Bush addresses the UN about Iraqi nuclear sites, Noriega is on trial, coup in Haiti etc

- My parents and Grandma Dorothy come for a visit in Portsmouth.

- I get tickets from someone at work who couldn't go to a concert by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at Great Woods. F and I attend.

- F and I drive up to Burlington, VT to look around and see some foliage along the way. I get a speeding ticket.

- Sept 30: "Here's the ABC News. 1. Education here sucks. 2. Russia agrees not to blow up the world. 3. U.S. will stop spending so much money on death and destruction." etc

True Love Ways

Entering my personal Song Hall of Fame...  "True Love Ways" by Buddy Holly.

At my first wedding (to F in 1990), this song was for our first dance.  It was going to be "Strangers" by the Kinks but I forgot to bring the CD to the reception.  Thinking quickly, we had to choose a replacement song for the first dance which the DJ was likely to have... so I came up with "True Love Ways."

I've read on Wikipedia that Buddy Holly actually wrote this song for his wife as a wedding gift... recorded it shortly after marrying in 1958 and before dying in the airplane crash in early 1959.  The song was released in 1960, posthumously.

Just you know why
Why you and I
Will by and by
Know true love ways

Sometimes we'll sigh
Sometimes we'll cry
And we'll know why
Just you and I know true love ways

Autumn 2006

A season in the life... Things that happened in Autumn 2006:


PC finally gets fixed.

Saddened by the news of F's grandmother passing away.


Linda bumps into a Porche when parking her car, apparently. A long story goes with this, but not here.

We get wireless broadband for the house.

I try growing a beard, not very successfully.


We get new windows and a new front door installed in the front of our house.

The MacDonald Brothers are on X Factor. Surprising because we had seen them play at a place in Ayrshire the year previously when we were on a little holiday.

Tabitha the rabbit goes missing, presumed escaped.

Summer 1991

June 1991

  - F and I celebrate our first anniversary.  I get her a nice watch from Karten's.  F buys us a tree.

  - Illinois interview went well, I thought.  Ultimately didn't get the job offer, tho.

  - It was announced F won an award for investigative reporting from the NH Press Association.  We go to the banquet.

  - Kevin visits us in NH...  we drive to Portland and Freeport, ME (L. L. Bean)

July 1991

  - F and I find a new apartment to move to in Portsmouth, NH...  On the top (6th) floor of a brick building in the downtown area, two blocks from Market Square.  My commute to Somersworth is cut in half.  F's to Derry is doubled.  We move in at the end of the month.

 - F and I have a yard sale.

August 1991

  - Hurricane Bob blows through.

  - We treated my parents and Grandma Dorothy to a Tanglewood concert in western Mass.  We also went to Chesterwood where the sculptor Daniel Chester French (Lincoln memorial statue, minuteman statue in Concord) worked and lived.

  - Someone's trying to start a union at work.  Better call in some gun thugs ta break it...

 - Business is bad at GE Meter & Control where I work.... there's a recession on.  I've survived two layoffs.

April 1991

I've been busy, and I've fallen behind in this little project I've been doing of chronicling my life....  I'm going to try to catch up a little today.  First, here's some stuff from about 20 years ago...

April 1991

 - my father turns 51... he had been on a business trip to England before we gathered for his birthday.  He had been near Manchester where my direct line of paternal ancestors are from...  they left there for the Philadelphia area in 1858.

  - I owe the IRS $565 this year.  I sell 8 shares of GE stock @ $71 per share to cover it.

  - "Next week, F and I are taking a week off for a vacation.  We don'r know exactly what we're going to do or where we'll go yet.  The problem is, we don't want to spend too much money.  We have built up quite a debt over the past couple years.  Two car loans, a ring loan, several credit cards...  We kind of spent too much money that we didn't have.  Now it's time to pay up... "

 - GE Somersworth (my workplace, where I am a Technical Supervisor) announces a salaried lay-off, but I'm not affected this time.

  - We decide to drive down to Florida (from New Hampshire) in the jeep for our vacation.  We plan to visit Rudy, F's old roommate), and F's aunt Alice and aunt Tillie.  Our plan is to camp out on the way down.  "I have $299 in my wallet...  I'm going to keep track of everything we spend in a futile attempt to keep costs down."

  - Because of the weather, we don't camp on the first night in Salisbury, MD... our expenditure was $123.94 altogether that day and night.

  - We make it to a campground near Jacksonville on the 2nd night and we make it to our destination, Boynton Beach in the early afternoon.... total spend on the way down:  $236.93.  In Florida, we soon spend the rest and have to get some reserves from the cash machine.

 - We swam in the waves at Delray Beach, also in a pool at Rudy's apartment complex, drove around Palm Beach, went to the Jai Alai where we gamble a little.... I came out $14 ahead.

  - After staying two nights, including visiting Alice and Tillie and staying overnight there, we head back up the highway northwards.  Stayed in St. Augustine and then camped near Washington, DC.  I stopped counting money but we have enough reserves to get home.

  - We stop at New Hope, PA on the way up and found the graves of my paternal relatives.

about 15 years ago... Jan - April 1996

Events in my life 15 years ago... from my journal:

January 1996

  - Nephew Peter is a month old and Nephew Michael is about a year and a half.  Unfortunately, I turn 31.  "I got a walkman from my parents.  Michael liked Pearl Jam when it came thru the Walkman...  Petie was more into Nirvana..."

February 1996

 - Primary season starts !!  (which I'm always interested in)    Bob Dole wins the Iowa caucuses.  Pat Buchanan comes in 2nd after having already won contests in Louisiana and Alaska.  Then the NH primary...Buchanan beats Dole there.  Steve Forbes wins the Delaware primary and then the Arizona primary.  Dole wins in ND and SD.  The race is wide open!

March 1996

 - "We went over to Brian and Debbie's on Sunday.  Michael is repeating words now.  What a smart kid...  Peter hasn't shown the same intelligence, but give him time, he's just two months old..."   Michael "likes to run at you full speed so you have to grab him and pick him up.  He rolls a ball across the floor and says "bowling."  Now that's smart !  Peter's OK too."

 - Today was the Massachusetts primary (aswell as 7 or 8 other states).  I voted for Forbes.  I go for those non-politician types..."  Dole wins all the primaries, so pulls ahead of the others and looks like he is going to get the nomination.

 - "F and I had a nice weekend last weekend...  We went down to Yarmouth on Cape Cod and stayed at a place called the Ocean Club.  It was a great place !    It had a jacuzzi, 3 rooms, 2 bathrooms,  3 TV's, a fireplace, a kitchen, a nice view, 3 beds... a little more than we needed, but since it was in the off-season, it didn't cost much for what we got.  I really enjoyed it...  We walked on the beach a little, went out to dinner at a nice restaurant...  On Sunday we drove over to the Cape Cod National Seashore, to Nauset Light, then over to the Natural History Museum in Brewster where we took a nature walk.

F slipped waist-deep into the marsh...

She was jumping over some water onto a little island but she jumped too far and went right into the deep water up to her waist.  It was more funny than traumatic.  Good thing the weather was pretty nice...  not too cold...   We walked back up to the Natural History Museum and she changed into some dry clothes..."

April 1996

 - My father turns 56 and there's a family get-together at my parents' house.

January, February and March 1991

about twenty years ago in my life...  living in Kingston, NH.

January 1991

 - "Happy New Year.  1991 doesn't look too promising.  We're in a recession... We're on the brink of war with Iraq...  Other than that, thing's are good.  The cold war's over.  Democracy is taking hold in Eastern Europe.  I still have a job and it looks pretty secure right now..."  Went to New Year's Eve in Portsmouth, NH with F, Kevin, Tim and Andy... very cold.

 - "Today was my first day back on the dayshift at GE" (as a technical supervisor).  "I think I'll like it.  I can watch the war on T.V. when I get home."

 - Got a postcard from Andy S who has driven back to Albequerque, NM where he's going to grad school.

February 1991

 - "We're in the 4th week of the war.  The longer it takes, the longer I think it will take."

 - News of a war protester in Amherst, MA who sat down in the middle of the common and set himself on fire.  (He died, but the war continued.)

 - Iraq begins to withdraw from Kuwait, but is following a scorched earth policy, setting many fires and killing civilians.

 - The ground war starts.  The war is "over" a few days later.

March 1991

 - "Karen from New Jersey arrived yesterday.  She'll be staying with us awhile while she and F write a book about the Pamela Smart case.  The trial started yesterday." (March 4).

 - "Pamela Smart was found guilty of the three crimes she was charged with:  accomplice to 2nd degree murder, conspiracy to murder and witness tampering.  She was sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole.  Bad news for her but good news for F and Karen and their book.  The book proposal is being marketed around to publishing companies in order to get a book contract.  Last I heard, Putnam Books was showing some interest."

15 years ago... 1995

Chronicle-ing my life, continued.  Here's Autumn and December 1995 highlights, from my journal...

September 1995 - not much going on in my journal...  put in some holiday pics from Maine, and visits with Brian, Debbie and little nephew Michael...  O.J. Simpson trial is the big news at this time...

October 1995-  Kevin marries Kim, and I am an usher / groomsman at the wedding in York Harbor, Maine....   O.J. is found not guilty....  The politically incorrect Atlanta Braves beat the racially insensitive Cleveland Indians in the World Series.

November 1995 -  F turns 29.  Our cats, Geronimo and Irving are brought to F's mother's house in Wellesley because of a cat hair allergy F seems to have.

December 1990 - Nephew Peter is born.


Autumn and December 1990

Turning the Way Back Machine dial to the year 1990....

Living in Kingston, NH.  Working at GE in Somersworth, NH.  Newly married to F.

September 1990

Sept. 4, 1990 journal entry:  ..."Looks like we're heading for a recession.  Companies are laying off right and left."...  "And to top it off, the U.S. is throwing itself into a war (with death and destruction soon to follow) all over oil and a few pampered sheiks."

Sept. 7, 1990:  "The show 'A Current Affair' came to Derry the other day to do a story on the Pamela Smart case.  That's a big case F has been reporting on..." ...  "It ran on national TV a few weeks ago and F was in it.  Well, she was in one shot anyway.  Sort of in the background.  The show also showed a few Derry News stories" on screen, with F's byline...  "And the Geraldo show called the other day and for a little while it looked like they wanted F on the show to talk about the Smart case."

Sept. 12, 1990:  "I went up to Kennebunkport a few weekends ago with Kevin, Tim D. and my cousin Tambi.  We had a party at our house the night before...  Bush was up there but we didn't see him.  I bought a George Bush dish towel."

October 1990

Oct. 26, 1990:  "My other dream was about playing golf."...  "The 3rd hole was tough tho.  It was in President Bush's living room in Kennebunkport.  Barbara Bush was there.  The tee was on the coffee table and I had to hit the ball up the stairs at a really wierd angle.  A very difficult shot.  Barbara Bush told me to be careful not to hit the paintings on the wall."...

Oct. 27, 1990:  "We went to see Jesus Christ Superstar at the Wang Center a few weeks ago."...

November 1990

Nov. 7, 1990:  "I love elections for some reason."  Election Results...  Bob Smith (R) beats John Durkin (D) who I vote for, in the senate race in N.H.  Bill Zeliff (R) beats my candidate Joe Keefe (D) in the House race....  etc.

December 1990

Dec. 15, 1990:  My parents are out in Palo Alto, California for my father's work.  Grandma Dorothy is in the hospital.

Summer 1995... 15 years ago

Here's what was going on in my life 15 years ago, according to the hardcopy non-online journal I had back then:

June 1995

 - Wife F is off to Smith College, studying for a master's degree in social work... She is in Sunderland while I am staying in Beverly.

 - On a weekend visit, we drive in the jeep to Great Barrington to see the tornado damage there... then over to the Holyoke Mall and the top of Mt. Holyoke.

 - Nephew Michael, about 10 months old, is standing and walking around unassisted.

July 1995

 - My Grandpa Howe died...  "although we weren't close, the times we were together showed me that he was a very nice man.  Someone I would've liked as a grandfather down the street rather than 3000 miles away.  We were together only about four or five occasions."

August 1995

 - Grandma Howe died.  My mother had spent several weeks out there in Washington state after my grandfather had died... and sadly had to fly back out there when this sad news came.

 - Nephew Michael turns one year old.  F and I buy him a little car to ride around in.  His other aunt and uncle also buy him a little car to ride around in.  Doh !

 - F and I spend a couple days in Boothbay Harbor, Maine for a little vacation, which was really nice.

Summer 1990, part 3...

20 years ago...

July 1990

 - My parents go to Europe....  visiting Switzerland and Germany.

 - GE, where I work as a technical supervisor, has a layoff of 80 hourly workers.  

 - We go to see Crosby, Stills and Nash in Manchester, NH at the end of July.  F did a phone interview with David Crosby for her newspaper.

August 1990

 - My Nissan Sentra car breaks down... something wrong with the electronic control unit...  expensive.

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