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I've always wanted kids :-))

Table of Contents

- Life is strange - I hated being a kid, yet I always wanted kids
- Continue college to comfortably have kids
- Proposal
- Marriage & Kids
- Family Life
- GrandKids
- Attending the launch of the 1st Space Shuttle
- tour of the Hubble space craft at Lockheed

Life is strange - I hated being a kid, yet I always wanted kids -

I have no real clue why I wanted kids. Ideas include:

Continue college to comfortably have kids

I had gone to college the first time - because - well - it was the thing to do.
Not wishing to be a dependent child any longer, I also worked as a janitor and then teamster loading trucks with Nabisco crackers.
But after floundering for four years - quit - and went to work in a machine shop.

The Korean "Police Action" was raging, and not being in college, the draft board sent me a notice. That was OK, because the machine shop owner and I agreed that my mind was not in the machine shop. Lets try the Army -

A little research reveled that I could:

  1. evade polishing brass (or fighting) for two years by volunteering for a three year stint in the army,
  2. with the promise of a 1 year techie school (if I kept my grades up)
  3. (and if 2 above) a techie job in missiles.
After a year in school in Texas, and two years as a techie on a Nike site in corrupt Chicago, I decided that family life in the Army would be crap.

After the Army, I (finally) got a techie job, but after 6 months realized that even scrimping and saving and lots of overtime - that life with a family would be very cramped financially.

Back to college - for an electrical engineering degree !! :-))
I had the "G.I. Bill" and was very used to working while going to college !!


I was 27 years old, in college (I never said that I was swift) in Milwaukee when one evening it hit me that TIME was leaving me behind.
I would be an old man with no kids to amuse or be amused by. Hmmmm what to do? I had been dating a nice secretary (Irene) in Minneapolis. Maybe she would marry me and we could have kids :-)) She was bright (had been salutatorian of her high school class of 50), healthy, moral (taught Sunday School), seemed like a plan. I called a friend in St. Paul about borrowing his car. Called the airport about the next airplane. And probably that very evening flew to the St. Paul/Minneapolis airport. I don't remember when I called Irene for a date. In any case, the very next day, during broad daylight, intended and I were on a country road. I was in the borrowed car, on a knee, no ring, proposing.

Of course, when contemplating proposing, one worries about the response. Almost anything is possible. But what happened had not crossed my mind - my intended burst into tears, said she didn't love me, but would marry me anyway as I was "interesting" - she would not be bored.

We had not ever talked about:

- marriage
- money
- kids
- prenuptial agreements
- religion
or any of that important stuff. I figured we both were rural, "things would work out" :-))

Marriage & Kids

So about six months later we were married in Minneapolis where Irene had relatives, and we set up house keeping (second hand furnature) near my college in Milwaukee. Exactly 1 year later (+- two days) we had our first kid. Irene quit working as a temp secretary and going to college.

A year or so later I graduated - and we needed more money after selling our second hand furnature to drive to Phoenix to work for General Electric Computer Department. Aunt Marion gave us $200 as a graduation present - and we got to Phoenix with maybe $100, but owing nobody.

About a year later, three years of marriage, we were in Allentown, Pennsylvania. We had two little boys keeping wife busy, and I was busy keeping a General Electric computer working. I thought we were getting along a lot better than most. Actually better than any one I knew.

One day, not very different from any other, no particular trouble, wife says "You know Ed, nothing against you, but I should never have gotten married - I'm just not the type". I was almost floored! but figured "things would work out".

While in Allentown, we had lost a full term little girl. A non-fatal placental incident had occurred in early pregnancy, and the little girl was not right - the Catholic doctor and hospital, with our permission, did not fight to keep her alive - I am so grateful, and so sad.

About a year later, I worried about not having three kids, wife said OK, and with in a month we were pregnant again. :-)) I hoped that "things were working out" -

This pregnancy worked out just fine - we now had three fine boys
But as time went on, wife went to college, resonated to "The Feminine Mystique" by Betty Friedan, entered corporate life, and left when two of the three kids were in college.

We had come from college with a second hand car, used furniture, hoping for cash to get to my new job in Phoenix,

to 20 years later amicably split 1/3 million dollars - Legal fees about $300.

Over the years I knew that the wife was preparing to depart - We had seen lots marriage councilors, I think most are useless, many frauds -

But awareness of coming departure is nothing like the real event!! Death in the family!! She would come back on weekends and I/we? would cry a bucket of tears. Life was a yo-yo, strained weepy weekends, horrible Monday ->Wednesday, better Thursday, Ok Friday, then another weekend - after a few months I asked that we stop.

She is now an active and loving grandmother to our/my grandchildren. Every now and then she introduces a new boy friend.

Family Life

Given the unspoken fact the marriage was terminally ill - the family did indeed have interesting (the happy type, at least for me) times. lots of auto travel, hiking (Phantom Ranch at the bottom of Grand Canyon twice) Serria lots of times, ski touring, shows, ... most thought us the ideal parents and couple. Wife and I hardly ever had cross words, never argued in front of the kids, had pets, had a little ski boat for a few years, ...
I have not dared ask the kids if they had a good time or thought us good parents - I'm so afraid they think their childhood was as crappy as I thought mine was.


A farmer's delight :-)) Strong bright new life, lots of energy, lots of promise.
One hopes there is good soil, adequate rain, plenty of butterflies to enlighten and amuse, that the locusts don't come, that various blights and disease stay away, that some machine/event/group causes no harm.

Below are two techie stories

a) Attending the launch of the 1st Space Shuttle
b) tour of the Hubble space craft at Lockheed

Attending the launch of the 1st Space Shuttle

P.S.  I never did see a Saturn launch -
    but I brought my kids to the first Shuttle launch (of Columbia)
     from the Cape in March 25, 1979
    We drove from Northern California to Central Florida
   It was great !!!

   We had me, two Thelen boys (and boy and girl from neighborhood)
        all with driver's licenses. - in a large van
     with sleeping bags, lunches, water, 
     only outside things required: road, gasoline, potty stops, 

   Driving discipline on  the "long march" - driving day and night -
     a) driver, pays his/her tickets, to report any getting sleepy
     b) assistant driver to be up with the driver at all times
     c) if trouble with a) and b) - pull over and rest
     d) no loud talking to disturb sleeping folks
     e) potty and gas stops every three or four hours.
   We got there two days before the scheduled launch date -
       lots of time to reconnoiter, figure the best viewing areas -
          Even brought a portable TV to see live news
   Stayed at relative of wife
   On the big day we were sent down some road for casual visitors,
        not a good place - but the launch was called off 
            the Shuttle computers did not agree.
   Two days later we were back for another try.
       I had learned a little
           -  got a red pass instead of a blue pass
       but that still would not get us to the best area.
   Our van was practically first in line when the gates opened for visitors.
           We streamed in leading thousands -
    At the critical road check, the guard said to turn right -
        I said "YES SIR" - and drove straight ahead to the best area.
          Like what is he going to do? leave his post?? shoot me??
    We got to an area where Lockheed employees and families
         were parked -  Yea - this is GREAT
   So, we were standing on the van, could see over everybody,
          clear, great view. 
   We got the TV going and watched network coverage  :-))))
   As about count went down to ZERO, the smoke plume started,
          a few seconds later came the SOUND - LOUD - THUNDERING
   Someone was rocking/pounding the van we were standing on.
       I looked around ready to hit the fool -
   There was no one!!!   The SOUND was rocking the van !!!
    Later the Lockheed people said this was nothing 
        compared to a Saturn launch !!!
    Especially a night Saturn launch  !!!!!


   We left Florida promptly, with a flat of wonderful raspberries,
     hoping to get onto Edward's Air Force Base
      in time to see the first Shuttle landing from space.
   On the way we left the interstate to briefly visit New Orleans
      and Bourbon Street - it was daylight and resting,
       no Blues Trumpet, no Louis Armstrong, roused the sleepy afternoon.
   We get to Edwards AFB in time, park, wait an hour or so,
      recovering, then the PA system blares something, again,
      and the double sonic BOOM, not nearly as noisy as
      the take off in Florida,
   The Shuttle rolls to a stop not over 200 yards away -
      but no one is allowed to advance toward it
         "unexpended chemicals" or some such thing-
   And home to San Jose, soon to be border adjusted to Cupertino  ;-))

   But that is another story  ;-))

   Cheers and Love
     Pops or Gramps as the case may be 


Tour of the Hubble space craft at Lockheed 

Oh Gee -  Preliminary to going to see the first Shuttle launch (above)

  A neighbor - Bert Bulkin - (could play great classical and jazz piano)
    was program manager for Lockheed's role in the 
       Hubble Space Telescope.
    (see Senator Al Gore's hearing - Bulkin's testimony starts on page 41.

  Bert had mentioned the very stringent pointing accuracy requirement -
       0.007 arc seconds - for hours at a time.
  (A star, to a large ground based telescope, in "good seeing", 
     appears about 1 arc second wide.)

   I had asked Bert for a tour, and Bert said that he would try to
     get us outsiders in to see the Hubble space craft at Lockheed.

   He finally succeeded - 
     but Bert's Hubble tour was fixed for the same weekend
      as the first Shuttle launch - and neither date seemed moveable !!  :-((

   What a dilemma for a techie with techie kids -
     So wife, one kid, and some techie neighbors 
         went to Bert's special Hubble Space Telescope tour.
         (Unfortunately, * NO * cameras were permitted !! )
     I and two driving kids and some neighbor driving kids
           went to see the first Shuttle launch, and landing -

   What a wonderful, exciting period in U.S. history -

   And what are we doing now? in 2010 ?
     Bailing out "bankers", printing unemployment checks, importing stuff from China -
   And in 2011 ?
     Same as above, plus complaining that the Chinese
        are not de-basing their currency (printing more money)
        as fast as we are.