Saturday, October 01, 2005

October 1, 2005 (or is it 1935?)

Greetings, again. Again I find some reason to post here, this time for marking what would have been my father's 70th birthday. My father, Donald G. Clarke, was born on this date in 1935 in Jacksonville, Florida. He spent 20 years in the Air Force (during which time he married my mother, and was stationed in France, Vietnam, several places in Texas, and New Jersey).

My father was a bit of an eccentric. He was very detail and goal oriented. He was also stubborn, anti-religious (which is surpising considering how devoutly Catholic my mother was), somewhat bigoted (especially against Vietnamese). He was into computers early in his Air Force career, and made a living selling computers for retailers such as Radio Shack, Dillard's, and Office Max after he retired from the military. He was one of the early users of the internet- operating an online bulletin board to keep touch with his international friends in the 1980s. He later used Compuserve, Prodigy, and AOL before the ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) made him unable to use a computer. I'm sure if Google or Blogger had been around when he was alive, he would have used them.

Despite his computer genius, living with him (compounded with being a Yankee/Westerner forced to live in his retirement home of Memphis, Tennessee) was extremely difficult, and I moved away right after I graduated from high school. He did live to see his granddaughter Allie; but he never lived to see his grandson Jamie, his daughter's first marriage fall apart, his son's descent into bankruptcy and poverty and depression, or the events of 9/11 that occurred 5 miles from his son's 2001 residence. But in his lifetime, he never got to know his great-aunt Sarah, who died in 1966 10 miles from where he was stationed in Ohio, or his Uncle Milton (his father's unknown-until-2001 half-brother), or his grandmother Jeanette (whose family I discovered over the internet in the last 5 years).

But outside of the war on terrorism and several computer upgrades, not much has changed since he died in 1995. He thought 2000 and the following years would be drastically different from the 20th Century. But so far, I don't think they are.