The Old Fart



University of Utah

I fit in...

In 1969, I moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. Dad was stationed at Hill, AFB, for his terminal assignment. I lived with my Uncle Don and Aunt Rene, in Sugarhouse. Don was working at the U of Utah and I traveled to school with him. After a couple of months, I moved in with my Aunt Olea and Uncle Byron. They lived nearer the U, and it was easier for me to get back and forth.

I majored in Political Science, with an emphasis on Chinese Political Thought. After living in the Far East for 4 years, I enjoyed the classes.

I eventually joined Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity. We lived in a house north east of the campus, AKL was not your typical Frat, we were more laid back and weren't too concerned with normal frat life.

I was probably more of a hippie than most of the guys. Probably a rebellion against a life of rules while living on military bases most of my life. I was still facing the draft, and woke everyday expecting my draft notice. As a result, I wasn't very focused and my grades showed it.

In addition to school, I had to work to pay my tuition, room, and board. I worked as a fry cook in several restaurants, a custodian at the U student center, and as a maintenance worker for student housing.

Funny, the only classes I excelled in were my hardest classes. It seemed that the harder the class, the better I did. I remember my first day in one of Professor Morrison's Chinese Political Thought classes. We met in a large lecture hall. The first day, there were probably 100-125 students in class. I took the class because it seemed a natural extension to the classes I took in Japan. Morrison walked in, looked around, frowned and said, "I don't know what the hell most of you are doing in this class. I realize that the previous instructor was using this as an introductory class to asian thought, but for me, my expectation is that you should already have had a Chinese history class, several philosophy classes, and at least 1 Chinese government classes." The next class period, enrolement had dropped to 25 or so. He moved to class to a smaller room, and said, "That's better, but I have a feeling many of you just didn't believe me."

I got the only A that quarter and decided that this man was going to be challenging and push me. Years later, when I became a teacher, I adopted his teaching style. Many of my students thought I was "mean", I just thought my job was to push them as far as I could. I cared about students who cared, and didn't really worry about students who didn't care.

It was funny, I got A's in all of Morrison's classes and other classes that were related to them. I struggled with classes that were easy and unimportant to me at the time. Probably, because I was usually skiing or hiking in the mountains with my dog, Jake.

Gotta admit, my social life was more important to me then, than it is now. I think I took a lot of classes because some girl was in the class or I wanted to meet a girl.

I had some really good friends: Neil Echendfelder, Dave Hooper, Toad (Bryan) Christensen, Ace (David) Allen, JB, Jewels, Barbara Pattee, Dodie Lewis, Pam. They made life fun and exciting.

I'd been bowling since I was 12 or 13. I was pretty good. One day, I passed a sign in the Student Union building which announced try outs for the U Bowling Team. I didn't know they had one. What the heck, I thought. I tried out and made the team. For 3 years we bowled other Western Athletic Conference teams and had a good time. My average was between 200 and 210 most of the time.

In Nov. 1972, it came to an end when I got a letter which started, "Greetings from the President of the United States...". I had the choice of going into the Army or Marines for 2 years immediately, or Navy or Air Force for 4 years with a delayed enlistment. After spending a lot of time in the Tachikawa AFB hospital reading and writing letters for wounded GI's, I wasn't in a hurry to return in another capacity. My induction day was Feb, 2, 1973.