Dear Dad – Catching You Up


Hi Dad.

A lot has happened since you last saw me 37 years ago.   Mom did a pretty good job raising me and Jody by herself.  It was hard for her.  I was pretty young when you left us and I don’t have a lot of personal memories of you.  Jody was so young he has no memories at all.  That was possibly good for him because not knowing what you are missing makes it easier.  Mom never remarried or even dated. She never seemed to have any interest in finding another husband. She was very brave to go it alone.  I guess that is why I am who am today.

I did pretty well throughout my school years.  I never really enjoyed school but managed my way through with decent grades.   I joined the band with Vincent and Gregory in middle school and stuck with it through high school.  I played the oboe.  I know you played the trumpet and I wish I could have heard you play.  It meant a lot to me to follow in your footsteps to appreciate music.  I’m in a community band right now.  It is really quite an amazing group. These people are very talented and we are possibly the best community band in the United States.  I am proud to be in this band.  I wish you could hear us play.  I often look out into the audience and pretend you are out there watching.  Mom once told me after a concert that you would have been proud.   It was one of the happiest moments of my life to hear that.

After High school I went on to San Antonio College and got an Associates degree in digital electronics.   I then continued my education at UTSA where I studied electrical engineering.  Computers were just becoming a thing and I got sidetracked and never finished my degree.

I worked at Brooks Air Force Base for three years first installing networking then moved on to computer support.  I enjoyed my time there.  I worked with a fun group during the network installation time.  It was possibly the best job I ever had.  I felt like I fit in.  Something I haven’t felt since then.

Next I got a position at Southwest Research Institute.  You visited there once before I was born.  Mom has a picture of you and Wanda at the water fountain.  I don’t know why you were there but It always gave me a feeling of connection to you because I worked in a building less than 100 feet from where you were standing in the picture.  I worked there for 18 years.  The job was easy and paid well but was boring an I was incredibly lonely.  My whole life was lonely.  I became extremely depressed and constantly thought about suicide.  It’s a wonder I lasted so long.   Eventually things changed at work and my position was no longer viable.  It was far past time for me to move on so I gave my notice.

I have a huge savings and investment plan so I am taking time off. How long.  I don’t know.  Possibly a year.  I’m taking it easy and waiting for the right job to come along.  I’m not in a hurry.

Personally, I am rather screwed up.  I’m not like regular people and find it difficult to fit in anywhere.   I have a few acquaintances but I find it difficult to call them friends.  Friends are people you can tell your deepest, darkest secrets to and they will still love you.  These people are not like that.  I don’t spend a lot of time with them because we just have so little in common.  I pretend to be as normal as possible but that’s just not me.  I do not enjoy our time together.

So basically, I live a solitary, lonely, empty life.  I take after you in many ways.  I love to build stuff and invent new things.  I don’t take after you in the way you were able to be friends with anyone and be so outgoing.  I often think about how my life might be different if you had been able to share your secrets of life and influence me in the ways of manliness.   It might have made me a normal person like everyone else.

Mom took so many pictures of you.  It’s all I have to remember you by.  I sure wish somebody had taken some video or even audio of you.  I would love to know what your voice sounded like.  You would think a person might remember such a thing but I was so young.  Even the nine years I spent with you has virtually faded away after such a long time.   Video and audio recording was not that common back then.  Super 8 was around but I guess nobody could afford it.  You would be amazed what it is like now.  There are cameras everywhere and being on video and in pictures is so common.  It’s a whole new world of technology that I know you would love.  Things have come a long way since the punched cards you worked with.  People carry around phones that have a billion times more computing power than the mainframe you had at CPS.  Can you imagine?

Mom is doing well.  She’s 84 this year and still very healthy and energetic.   It pains me to see her living alone but it doesn’t seem to bother her.  I sure wish she had someone to make her life easier.  I do my best to make sure she has everything she needs.  I visit her every Sunday.  We go out for lunch and I take care of her to-do list.  She is basically my best friend but I still can’t talk to her about my problems because I don’t want her to worry about me.  There’s nothing she can do about it anyway.

I am 46 now and am so unhappy.  I am lonely and can’t stand living here in Texas.  It is so hot.  I sure wish you didn’t let her talk you into moving here.  Michigan would have been far more suitable for me.  I love the cold and snow.  We haven’t had snow here since 1985.  The heat is killing me and I go to bed every night praying for death but morning always comes.  It is very disappointing.

Texas has become Mexico now.   In your time, everyone was white but now San Antonio is 90 percent Mexican.  It further gives me the feeling of not belonging.   I would really like to move to Colorado both for the weather and for the fellowship.  I visited a small town up there a few times.  I was amazed to see the beautiful people and the weather in summer is so awesome.  They even have snow in the winter.  It’s everything I could possibly ask for.

Unfortunately Mom has no interest in moving and I can’t move away from her and leave her with nobody at all.  Jody and Wanda are not much help because Jody has a wife and job and little interest in helping mom with anything.  Wanda lives in Seguin and hardly ever leaves her house.   I’ve spent little time with her over the years because she has always lived in another city or town.  I’ve been very sad about that.  So basically.  I’m stuck here.

For the last four months I’ve been taking that break from working. I do enjoy not having to get up in the mornings and waste the majority of my life sitting alone in an office wishing for death. I’m afraid that I will not be able to make myself get another job. I will have to do it eventually.  I have enough cash to live about 12 years without working if I have no major expenses.  More like 10 in reality.  I still have like 16 years before I can access my retirement portfolio and another 2 years before I can get Social Security. (If it still exists when I get there.)

I have a number of small inventions that I might make and sell on the internet for a little cash.  I don’t have the money or energy to patent them so if somebody steal the ideas then I just have to give up.  That’s OK.  I’ve been through it before.  By the time somebody else makes and sells them cheaper, I’m tired of the gig anyway.  It would be great if somebody could take my ideas and get patents and give me 1% of the profits.  I would be fine with that and could live happily.

I live a financially simple life.  Not having friends or family makes living cheap.  I paid off my mortgage and don’t have any car payments or credit card debt.  I spend about 15K a year.  I’m studying for my computer certifications.  I never bothered with them because I had a good job and didn’t need to do that.  Now they might look good on my resume.  It should be easy to get them because I already know all that stuff.

I’m also thinking of getting an electrician’s license.  I am naturally skilled in that area and think it might be fun work.  I love electrical stuff.  I took a short sample electricians test without even studying anything and was able to answer the majority of the questions.  I would love to move to Colorado and be an electrician.  Can you imagine?  It’s WAY too hot to do that here.  I love working with solar power.  I built my own solar panel system for the house.  It’s illegally installed but I don’t care.  It saves me $20 a month on my electric bill.

For now I’m just trying to rest and enjoy not working for a while. It’s not easy because I’ve been in school and working for around 39 years.  I don’t know how to relax anymore.  I always feel like I need to be doing something so I try to work on projects around the house and help family and friends with their problems.  I kind of hope that if there is a such a thing as Karma that one day I might get some of that goodness back my way.

I’ve applied for a few interesting jobs over the last few months but haven’t had any luck.  I wish there was a way I could convey my awesomeness in a resume.  It is actually a shame for them not to hire me.  They don’t know what they are missing.  I’ll work on my resume over time.  Maybe in a year I’ll be ready to go back to work and the resume will be as awesome as I am.

It’s near the end of summer now and school has started so now that the masses have returned to their jobs and education I might take a short trip or two.  I would like to explore some of the small towns in central Texas.  That way I might get away from San Antonio but still be close enough to help mom when she needs me.  I don’t know. Change is scary and moving is such a pain.  It’s overwhelming to actually do what I want to do.   Because of that I am basically trapped in a bad life in a bad place.  If I only had a close friend or a family to support me I could be more confident.

Wow.  I have so much to tell you and this email is already really long.  I’ll let you go for now and write again later.   You probably have some harps to fix or pipe organs to program.

I love you and miss you more than anything in the world.