More About the Author
I was born in Parsons, Kansas in 1947. My parents were divorced when I was four and I spent the next ten years bouncing back and forth from parent to parent, city to city, pretty much raising myself. I do not recall spending two consecutive years in the same school until I reached high school. By my high school years my mother, two sisters and I had moved back to the place of my birth where I completed four years of high school. Why not tell the truth 'eh. Early on I felt I knew how to make things. My father, who was never around, was a very good craftsman and I guess genetics counts for something. I always felt more comfortable making things and studying physics and metaphysics than talking with people. When I was four years old I would drop marbles in the floor of the back seat of our car as we were driving in order to determine if the marble stopped moving when I released it or if it continued to travel at the same speed as the car.
I attended our local junior college for a year or so and finally ended up volunteering for the draft in '67. After a year in Ft. Monmouth studying electronics I did a year tour in Viet Nam, stationed in Can Tho, south of Saigon where I repaired secure communications equipment. We were seldom shot at and when we were the VC who were shooting proved, for the most part, not to be very accurate.
As a young man who had barely traveled more than 100 miles from home, being in Viet Nam was an outrageous adventure. I met my first Buddhist monks and used to spend one afternoon a week teaching them English. Until I was informed I was fraternizing with the "enemy" at which point the language lessons came to an end.
Back from Viet Nam I enrolled at Pittsburg State College in Pittsburg Kansas. I was planning to study psychology. Since I 'hated' biology, my adviser recommended that I take the course "Biology for People Who Hate Biology". "An excellent idea" I thought. Unexpectedly, I found the course and the professor to be brilliant and when registering for the following semester sought another course that Dr. Riches taught. Again I found it an amazing experience. Finally, having taken every course he taught I realized I was a biology major! I graduated with a degree in Biology, a minor in Chemistry then went on to work for a company that manufactured electronic instrumentation used in bio-medical and bio-chemical research, thus combining my electronics from the military and biology/chemistry from college.
Weary from the travel involved in repairing this equipment, I took a job as a bench technician in an electrical engineering company where, given access to a computer I taught myself assembly language programming, basic and machine code programming. They soon promoted me to the position of Project Engineer where I designed digital controls for industrial machinery and wrote software. While there my boss quit to start his own company and hired me as his first engineer.
I ended up the Manager of Electrical Engineering for a small company in Woodbridge VA where I continued to design digital electronics for industry, wrote manuals and guided young engineers. After several years I was promoted to Plant Manager where my primary responsibility was manufacturing engineering. Finally - I had discovered why I had been created! I loved this job! From there I started my own consulting company, Manufacturing Excellence. When faced with the prospect of extensive travel or making something at home I opted for making something at home so I could be with my three small children, Rachael who was then five, Aaron two and Rosie almost one year old. Were it not for my wife, Wendy's willingness to re-enter the job market this would not have been possible.
It has been interesting and now my children are either graduated from, or attending Mary Washington University. I do not make too many rocking chairs these days but love teaching and research so I continue to teach and do my "rocking chair research". After 18 years of making and improving rocking chairs I continue to make changes. I would have thought that by this time I would have discovered everything. Fortunately, the adventure continues!
My hobbies include making musical instruments, studying the history of religion and the history of humanity on the earth. I am a certified hypnotherapist.