What One Is, Changes Over Time
A person’s title, what a person is or claims to be will likely change over time. When I began this blog I claimed to be an author. I started the effort to be an author at age seventy three. Before that my life had taken on a number of different roles and titles.
I had spent my early years on a South Dakota farm and expected to be and wanted to be a farmer. In preparation for my future I became a full time farm worker on my parent’s farm after completing the eighth grade. Our farm was seven country miles from a high school. Busing for rural students hadn’t been considered by the high school at that time. Our family was recovering from the Great Depression and dirty thirties and high school was considered an inconvenient and an unnecessary expense. That had not been an unusual choice during that time and place for farm children.
I had finished the eighth grade about the time Pearl Harbor happened. Everyone followed the war events. I became intrigued by aviation and air war. I began to imagine myself as a fighter pilot in buzzing our home town and battling the enemy in a far off land. At the end of WWII many small towns, felt the need to have an airport associated with the town. Milbank South Dakota, our nearest town, bought a farm about two miles from our farm, laid out two cross wind grass strips and moved in a small building to act as an office. Two men, one an old time barnstormer and the other a recently discharged marine Corsair fighter pilot, who flew combat in the South Pacific, brought in two recently new J3 Cub Airplanes and were ready train locals on how to fly. I became one of their first customers. The ex-marine fighter pilot was my instructor. It was like being taught by God. I soon had my private pilot’s license but my fighter pilot dreams faced the reality of only an eighth grade education. Although I had no good alternative, my interest in farming waned. As a result I enlisted in the Navy with no idea what I would end up doing there. My interest in aviation led me into training to be an Aviation Electronicsman which provided the best opportunity to become an aircraft crewman. My original enlistment would have expired in 1950 if the Korean War hadn’t interfered. I was given the choice of being extended or reenlisting. A two hundred dollar bonus was being offered if one reenlisted. I considered that a no brainer and ended up spending seven years in the Navy. I flew 2495 hours as a crewman on patrol and logistic type aircraft from the time I finished Aviation Electronicsman training until I left the Navy. Although I never became a real pilot, I spent a lot of time in airplanes during that phase of my life. I considered myself to be a aircrewman during my navy service.
Having become eligible for the GI Bill as a result of the Korean War, I attended South Dakota State College and earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. I worked in the computer industry as an electrical engineer for thirty three years. During that time computer technology changed from room sized machines using vacuum tubes to personal computers with microchips with more capability than rooms filled with vacuum tube machines. I considered myself to be an engineer during that period of my life.
At age 63 I retired from engineering and changed directions. I went into real estate as a realtor working in home and commercial sales. I experienced a very steep learning curve during the early days of the real estate business and great change from my engineering experience. Financially I experienced some lousy years and some great years. That is the nature of the business. I considered myself to be a realtor during that phase of my life.
After ten years in real estate I decided to become an author. I had no background or training to back up that decision. As in the real estate business I had a very steep learning curve but different in that the after fifteen years the curve is still steep. Although I self-published three novels and a number of short stories, my work has never been recognized by an agent or publisher. I am still struggling. Although I sometimes claimed to be an author, I really didn’t believe the claim. In any case my days as an aspiring author are diminishing as circumstances are changing what I am and what I do.
Four years ago my wife of over fifty years was diagnosed as having dementia of the Alzheimer’s type. Actually I started recognizing symptoms of memory lose going back over ten years ago. At the point where she wasn’t able to keep track of her prescription medications, a series of tests concluded that she was in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s. I am now my wife’s caretaker with all that implies. It now takes up a large part of my time and will ultimately take more time than I have. So I now identify myself as a caregiver. It is a designation that I am comfortable with and capable of doing and thankful that I am able to provide this care and hope I’ll be able to provide it as long as it is needed. I do not consider it a burden and it gives me a great deal of satisfaction to provide it.
What will happen with the blog that is devoted to writing? I expect that we will see the blogs emphasis change to better reflect the blog masters changing responsibilities.
Alfred Wellnitz Published Book and Short Story Information at: