Attending school in Canada for three years provided two valuable lessons: I looked at the United States as an ‘outsider’ and I lost my Boston accent. My seventh-grade teacher gave me an impromptu pronunciation lesson when I told him, “My fatha had an idear.”
I attended Bates College in Maine, majoring in English literature. During my junior year, I studied at Oxford University and travelled to Russia, France, Italy and Greece during vacations. I graduated in 1968.
I enlisted in the Air Force one step ahead of my draft board’s kind invitation to join the army in Vietnam. For no apparent reason, the AF assigned me to hospital administration. I married Susan, my high school girlfriend, during leave between tech school and my first posting to the Philippines at Clark Air Base. During my final two years in the military, my wife and I lived outside Washington D.C. near Andrews Air Force Base.
Graduate School and First Job
After my military discharge in 1972, I attended Boston University for a Master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism. The following summer, the University of New Hampshire hired me to script and film videotapes about government social programs for the elderly. In those days, a portable video camera was heavy and attached to a bulky machine which recorded images on reel-to-reel tape in black and white. During the recession of 1976, the grant was not renewed.
A Career in Information Technology
Luckily at that time, companies were eager to hire people for their data processing departments. Liberty Mutual Insurance hired me to attend their three-month training course in computer programming. I learned later that the major reason I was hired was my writing and communications background. I’ve often said, “This goes to show an English degree is a valuable asset!”
During my 35 years in information technology, the industry evolved from punch cards for mainframes to personal computers using the internet. I retired from Mass Financial Services in the spring of 2012.
Before retirement I told himself, “You call yourself a writer, but you’ve never made it a priority and done the hard, daily grind.” Since then I spend 3 – 4 hours, 5 days a week, writing, usually in a local coffee shop.
My wife and I moved north of Boston in 1974. We have two children: a daughter and a son. Jessica lives in Ireland with her husband and two daughters. Jeffrey and his wife are pediatricians practicing in Providence. They have a son and daughter.
IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) is an organization that provides programs and support for independent publishers and self-published authors.