This is a story about me, never told. When I was about seven I lived on the side of a mountain down the road from Truckee, CA. One day my older brother came to me and said that the father figure we called Paul was not our dad. Turns out the guy that showed up one day and let me drive his car while sitting on his lap, that my mother called her cousin, was our dad.
Paul and my mom had a deal, we never find out that he's our step dad and he would raise us as his own. Ooops, after that, life was very tough. There was no dad there, just severe discipline for my brother and I while our half sister sailed on through.
As a result I grew up with no concept of integrity, honor, and what it meant to be a man. After high school I hitch-hiked around the country while Vietnam simmered and eventually joined the Navy. Why, I have no idea, maybe because I probably would have been drafted, but who knows...
Boot camp in San Diego was weird. Turns out I was the smartest guy in the class, scoring the highest GCT they had seen in a while. I was also in great shape, high school track star and all that. So the day a buddy of mine and I decided to go AWOL and find some fun in town, had them concerned.
They put me in a disciplinary segment of boot camp and tried to break me, but couldn't. One day I was called before a bunch of men in uniforms with brass all over their chest and they told me I was going to be discharged honorably. They said that they realized that the military was not for me, but didn't want to ruin my life, which they thought had great potential. Wow...
I went on (after a brief stop in the Haight Ashbury) to school and an amazing run as a visionary technologist, and finally ended up here all these decades later.
The reason I bring this story up is because I have had two Navy career guys in my life lately, one I'm about to spend Christmas with, and I wanted them to know who I am. If I had been given the gift of honor and integrity from the father figure in my life, I might have gone on to great things in the Navy, instead, it is what it is... Steph, please forward this to Jimmy.