Updated April 2015:
I finished my 43-year professional career in the field of computers at the end of 2012, and have been retired since then. I began in that field back before it was seemingly the place to be. In fact, I believe Bill Gates was just starting high school at the time. From what I understand, however, he seems to have done a bit better than I did over the years. So did Steve Jobs – at least until a few years ago. Beginning as a systems representative for a couple of major computer manufacturing and marketing companies, my career path included several years as a college computer center director, a professor of computer science and the founder of two different computer-related companies – one a computer consulting business, the other a website design business. My current job as a professional retiree is my favorite, by far.
I find it remarkable that at this stage of my life, I am having the best time ever. Retirement definitely agrees with me. Having lived in Massachusetts for the first 21 years of my life, followed by 27 years in upstate NY and 15 years near Savannah, GA, I moved to The Villages in central Florida in 2011. The Villages is an incredible 55+ community. However, if you are envisioning a bunch of senior citizens with one foot in the grave, you couldn't be more wrong. People come here to live, not to die. I have never been so busy with fun activities – activities that I never would have envisioned as being a part of my life. It is impossible to describe this place to anyone. They have to experience it.
Since moving here I have played in a softball league, played pickleball (yes, that is really a game), gone to clown school and become a clown, play water volleyball, run a billiards group, go hiking and bicycling. I am a member of the astronomy club, the Apple Users Group, Red Sox Nation, and the single baby boomers club. I have also become involved in theater production from backstage to onstage, and I am very active in our local magic club. I go to state parks, museums, race tracks, Red Sox games when they play Tampa, and many concerts. I play golf (very poorly) once or twice a week. I'm on a couple of trivia teams. I go bowling. I see many current movies on one of our 18 screens in three theaters. I've also managed to do some traveling, having ventured to Russia, Australia and New Zealand. My typical day has two or more activities. Life is good.
I have two sons and five grandchildren. My older son, Scott, lives in Charleston, SC. He has three daughters, turning 18, 16 and 12 this year. My younger son, Brad, lives in Tucson, AZ with his wife and two sons. His boys are 17 and 13. I have no idea how I have grandchildren that old!
As for the rest of the family, my Dad is still doing very well at 91. He lives in Delray Beach, FL in the winter and in Sharon during the summer. In fact, he still has the same house on Massapoag Ave, as when I lived there. Sadly, my Mom passed away in 1968 while I was still in college. My brother Stan and his wife Donna live in Anthem, AZ. My sister Amy and her husband Steve and their three children live in Tucson, just a few miles from where my son Brad lives.
I also have, for lack of a better word, a significant other. Elena and I have been together for over two years. A native of Russia, she has lived in The Villages for almost eight years. We met through the single baby boomer club. She's pretty good at English. I'm pretty bad at Russian, although I did take a course in it through our local College of Lifelong Learning.
I do keep in touch with some of our fellow classmates. It's one of the perks of locating “missing” classmates and handling the communication and website for our class reunions. It's always a kick to successfully track down people whom you haven't seen or heard from in decades.
Like most of you, I hear regularly from Milt. Anytime I hear a dreadful pun, I'm sure to pass it along to him so he can make everyone else groan, too. Michael Kravitz and I are involved in daily trivia questions. We like to think it keeps the brain sharp. Michael always amazes me with his knowledge. He's an alumnus of Jeopardy! He never forgets anything. He can tell you the subject of every paper he wrote in high school and who the teacher was. On the other hand, I can sometimes tell you the name of the high school we attended. For the past few years, I have seen Toni Kalb Russo as she travels to Florida with her friend Paul. If you had told me fifty years ago that Toni and I would one day ride camels together in central Florida, I would have wondered what you were smoking. But, we did, and it was a hoot. I've been in touch with Susan Lillard Hale regularly this past year as we have worked to track down those missing classmates. She's done a great job. I see Ronna LaPato Collins and her husband Patrick as they make their trek from their winter home in Florida to their summer home in Onset, MA. I try to get together with Ilan (Alan) Fisher when I am in town, too. Of course, I'm also in touch with Ellen Wolfson Abelson, Bob Hertzel and Howard Elkin as they put together the plans for our 50th year reunion. (If I've left you out, please don't be offended.) Besides the “in person” contacts, I thoroughly enjoy hearing from classmates via e-mail messages, especially after I send out a bulk e-mail to update people with classmate and reunion news.
I try to get to the Northeast for a couple of weeks each summer since moving to the South. It's a nice respite from the heat and humidity and gives me to opportunity to visit with a group of our classmates. Typically, it involves an evening of pizza at Town Spa in Stoughton, reminiscing and catching up. I also travel to the small town in upstate NY where I lived for so many years so that I can visit friends there.
With so much of my family now living in Arizona, it has become a tradition to travel there each year for a Thanksgiving celebration.
I could go on forever, although some might say I already have. Let's just say that I enjoyed my many years in Sharon and appreciate the high-quality education that the school system provided. I look forward to seeing as many former classmates as possible for our 50th year reunion this October.