The Burr  
History and Genealogy Site

Writings of a Mad Man

Some Quotable Quotes

"I Always knew that one day I would take this road but yesterday I did not know today
would be the day."


When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”
----------------------John Muir

Norbert Blum on politics:
"There are good kings and bad kings".

 "Excuse me, madam, I thought you were a trout Stream"
"I'm Not", she said.
           - Richard Brautigan

+ "If you are happy....It will pass" +
+ "If you are sad......It will pass" +
+ ...Nagasena +

It takes billions and billions of assholes to make up a single black hole.
Astronomer Carl Fagan

 History is an evil force, - me

  You can calculate the worth of a man by the number of 
his enemies.  -Gustave Flaubert   

A bit of my philosophy: Some people believe that animals are not conscious like us. What a ridiculous notion. They believe that animals have no feelings and that everything they do is by instinct. Simple observation tells me otherwise. They are made from the same fabric as we are. They evolved from the same beginning. They are capable of enjoying life and fear death. The survival of a species depends on a fear of death. It is a product of evolution. The notion that evolution is only a theory is infantile. I’m sure that my dog loves me. I once became friends with a raccoon.  Lastly, I am sure that the earth itself is alive and the universe is God.   

The Emerging Poet

After spending a night at Orleans, I was reminded of a poem that I wrote at the Orleans School, preserved by Mrs. Estey, found in her papers after her death and passed to me through her daughter, a friend of my sister Peg. At that time I went under the name of Burr Arthur <Buster> Cook which is signed on the original document along with my age which was 7 years. Under the signature is the inscription: "Beast powet in U.S.A.". This is the sum and substance of any evidence, in existence, that I did anything in school. It disputes the claim of the Board of Education, that I did nothing at all in school [photo].
The title of my poem is "My Itchen" and is included here in the original spelling, a skill that did not improve until I started using a computer and Word Processor with spelling checker.  

My itchen
I whas itchen in the kitchen
while you was pitchen
the ball
in the hall
while you was pitchen
the ball
in the hall
it started to cry
cy yippiey
and that is the story
of my itch itch itchen
in the citch citch citchen
riten by Burr Arthur Cook
Beast powet in the U.S.A.
Here is the original manuscript :
Burr's poetry



Before I was old enough to go to school I could not wait. I
envied the older children of the family who went off each day
to school. I remember thinking that school must be fun, only
the more mature get to go. I used to look at pictures in the
Book of Knowledge. We had a very old set of these books. I
was fascinated by the pictures and drawings of the solar
system in these books and looked forward to learning of these
things in school.

This was the way I approached my first day at school. I was
disappointed to find that the assignments had to do with
things that I had already learned from my older siblings,
such as, the alphabet, the colors and other pretty boring
stuff. I performed just enough of this work to ward off
punishments such as sitting in the coat closet for hours on
end with the boots and overcoats, or sitting in the corner of
the room where I first contemplated the properties of
triangular shapes.

I hated school. After my first year I knew that I had to
resist whatever it was they were trying to make of me. I
passed the first and second grades without incident, but
rarely had any papers or reports to bring home that would be
worthy of praise. Since my brothers and sisters got the
report cards on the same day as I, it would be difficult to
ignore them, which would have been my preference. My parents
were blessed with adequate IQ levels, and saw no reason why
their offspring wouldn't be the same. My reports were perused
and not much was said to me about it. However, conversations
took place between my parents and teachers, principal of the
parent school in Clifton Springs as well as the
Superintendent of Schools.

In the third grade I severed my relationship with schools and
withdrew. I refused to do anything at all. I remember
thinking, at that time, that I had it made. I was punished at
school by being made to stay after the rest went home. It
didn't matter, however, since I had found a way to direct my
thoughts and escape from their prison. I thought a lot of the
war, which was in full swing, and imagined myself finding
ways to assassinate Adolph Hitler or his Japanese equivalent.
I was well educated when it came to identifying all types of
aircraft, ours and theirs, as well as ships at sea and
artillery in the field. I knew the careers of Eisenhower,
Patton, McArthur, Rommel, Gene Autry and Charlie McCarthy. I
was able to think about these things rather than the long
division, which I detested. To my amazement, not much
punishment was dealt out at home on this matter. Instead, I
was taken to medicine men, mostly on pressure from the school
system. I remember one Doctor, a friend of my Grandfather, in
Utica, who remarked that I looked healthy and that he himself
had never been fond of school. In the public schools of today
I would have been treated as learning disabled and sent to
special classes. I don't know how I would have reacted to

On days that I could not make it to school, because of one of
the numerous physical complaints I concocted, I was sometimes
given the choice of attending school or accompanying my
father and assisting him in his work as an independent
electrical contractor. These field trips were easier to
handle, than school. They usually took us to various cow
barns around the county and chicken coops and sometimes a
warm house. During these times I learned a lot about
electricity without which I never would have entered the
computer field and my life would have been much different.
Years later, my son Jim worked for my father for a period
long enough to learn several building trades which has kept
bread on the table for both of my sons and still does.
I don't have a lot of memories of school. I was pretty
successful at shutting it out. My younger brother, David
passed me by and wound up ahead of me and Jim was not far
behind. Somehow, I managed to be promoted from grade school
with the comment that I didn't earn it but, perhaps a
different teacher might help. It didn't. I became more
imaginative at finding ways to avoid going to school at all.
I recall that I found myself in an Algebra class taught by
Bob Kloepfel. Whenever I attended school, which I did
sometimes just to maintain relationships with friends that I
formed there, Bob Kloepfel would call on me to solve equations
on the black board. He seemed to enjoy watching me solve the
problem correctly, while others in the class could not, even
though I never did a single assignment for the class. Doc
Robbins, the agriculture teacher, liked to have discussions
with me, and I generally enjoyed his company. An English
teacher, Mrs. Spangle once praised my journalistic
capabilities when I decided one day to write an essay in
class. Mr. Foster, a shop teacher, enjoyed working with me
when I did a valve job on a Briggs and Stratton engine in his
class. It was too late for any of these people to reach me. I
was too far behind and involved myself in school only when
they discussed something that interested me. I recall, one
time, showing the science teacher the relationship between
the earth, moon, sun and planets and drawing diagrams on the
board in illustration. I know that he was impressed. His name
was Richard Kishler. He became furious with me when I called
him by his first name one time.

I was not good at sports and still do not know the rules of
the games of baseball, football and basketball. I was able to
run and jump and thus took part in track and field events
until someone decided that attending school was a requirement
for participation.

One day, in the early sixties, I dropped in at the BOCES
computer center, then on main street in Clifton Springs,
where Bob Kloepfel, my ex Math teacher, was in charge. He was
happy to see me but, informed me that he was having
difficulty getting the bugs out of a computer program he had
just written. I wound up spending the afternoon with him and
to his surprised, I fixed all his program problems for him
and showed him some useful tricks on the IBM 1401 computer.

 IBM 1401 Computer

Two things in my life caused a turning point. One was working

in a very boring place, sort of a continuation of my school

experience. I was working, in the 50s, for Chevron Oil

Company, as a general maintenance man, and getting by. The

job was not difficult. It required knowledge of general

construction skills including electrical and plumbing skills.

The second thing, precipitated by the first, was getting

involved in amateur radio, and taking a correspondence course

in general electronics. An FCC license opened doors for me

and got me into companies like Univac, IBM and Honeywell

Bull where computers became my area of expertise.

Prior to my first day at school my name was Buster. That is

the only named I had. I was very disappointed to find that

the teacher would have no part of calling me by my real name

and insisted on calling me Burr Arthur Cook. I had trouble

saying this name and often people thought that it was

Brarther Cook.


One of my earliest memories is of an incident that took place

while I was busy watching a crew of men working on the road

that passed our house. One of the workman looked my way and

said "hey Buster, how about getting me a glass of water". It

was a hot day and the request seemed reasonable, so I went

into the house to pump a glass of water for him. While I

worked the pump handle filling the glass I casually asked my

mother if she knew the man in the road waiting for the water.

She looked out and said that she did not know him and asked

why I thought that she should know this man. I replied that

he, somehow, had known my name, Buster.


My favorite books, at that time, were "Buster Bear" and

"Bobby Coon" both of which my mother would read to me.

Sometimes she would read books to the entire family in the

evenings. She would read a chapter each night and then we

kids would beg her to read another before bedtime. The Uncle

Wriggly books were favorites at those times as well as Peter



I started going to movies at an early age. My older brother

took me a lot and we would usually walk 3 or four miles to

see Tarzan or Gene Autry or Hop along Cassidy (not sure of

that spelling). These were my heroes. Later, the movies were

mostly about the war which provided adequate heroes.

There were two stores in Orleans at that time. Both were

heated by wood stoves in winter. On winter days and summer

nights Avery Hollenbeck's store was a gathering place for

local farmers and retired men. They discussed crop prices,

politics and local gossip. I began stopping there, at first,

while running errands for my parents, but soon started

dropping in there on my own when I knew that the men were

gathered there. I was well accepted by this group and, in

fact, they would dig into their pockets and buy candy and

cakes for me. I did not fully understand at the time why

these men enjoyed my company so much. Whenever I arrived at

the store they seemed to be happy; laughing and grinning and

winking as one after the other would reach in their pockets

for change and saying "wouldn't you like one of these candy

bars here?". I always said yes and while I would be eating

that, another would say "how about one of these pies over

here?" and I would shake my head in a yes. They always bought

me a Hires Root Beer to wash it all down and the laughter

became louder and louder as I ate cookies, cake, pies,

bananas and candy as long as they wished to carry on. The

men always gave up first, thinking that I might explode.

They were amazed at my capacity and their eyes opened wider

with each item that I ate, but I was always willing to eat

one more. When asked, I would say yes I have had my supper

before coming to the store. This worked so well in Hollenbeck's

store that I started dropping in at Fabrizi's store and found the

same kind of reception. I never got a stomach ache although some of the

men seemed to become concerned sometimes. One time I wanted

to visit the store, but the snow was very deep. I had no

boots that were adequate so I put on my older brothers boots

and trucked on over there, by way of the foot bridge. The

boots were farmers type knee boots, but on me they came all

the way up to the groin, which made it difficult to maneuver

through the snow. When I arrived at Hollenbeck's store all

the men were there. John Runyun, Halsey Smith, Avery

Hollenbeck and several others. They looked at my oversized

boots and laughed even more than usual. One asked if they

pinched my feet. Avery replied that I was pinching something

else, and all laughed loudly. It was a long time before I

realized what they meant and worse yet that they were right.

Anyway I waddled home in these boots with a full stomach.

One time I was bringing a loaf of bread home from the store

when some of our chickens jumped on me and started eating the

bread. I made it home with only half a loaf. I guess it was

only fair since we later ate the chickens. We had one large

rooster in the flock that always chased me after that

whenever I got too close. I would run to the footbridge as

the rooster was too chicken to enter the bridge which had

cracks between the floor boards. I have never been fond of

chickens from then on. We raised turkeys for several years,

but I was never attacked by a turkey.



Work History

The following several pages describe my work history in the

Computer field. It will be meaningless to a non computer

person. I just happened to be thinking of work today.

My three page Resume has always contained some of my most

creative writing.



Burr Cook PHONE:(315)299-7706

44 Phelps Street

Lyons, New York 14489



* Over 25 years experience in data processing including four

years of recent experience with ORACLE.

* Experience in multiple roles such as programmer/analyst,

trainer, technical consultant, DBA, and database designer.

* Familiar with structured methodologies and automated tools

for modeling, normalizing and documenting databases.

* Experienced with the following ORACLE tools:





SQL*FORMS 2.3 and 3.0








o Independent Consultant - September 1987 to Present

Developed and presented training seminars on ORACLE releases 4.1,

5.1A, 5.1B and 6.0. Presented courses on ORACLE for Xerox

Corporation, Eastman Kodak Company, Datamation, Buffalo Board

of Education as well as for the Bull users groups NAHU and HLSUA.

This is a continuing part time project.


Developed and implemented an ORACLE transportation (busing)

application for the Buffalo Public School System. Also

created ORACLE applications for the budget office and for the

Magnet School program using a Bull DPS-6 and DPS-7000 system.

The bulk of the development was done on an IBM AT and ported

to the mainframe computers.


Acted as technical consultant and DBA for a project to convert

a large school district accounting system from a Honeywell

DPS-8 to a DPS-7000 environment. The system uses an IDS/II

database and TDS/COBOL TP routines. Also developed on line IQS

queries to integrate payroll with the above system.


Developed and presented training courses on IDS/II, TDS, IQS,

DM6 TP and other topics for various Bull computer users.

Installed PC XT and AT software for various user groups. Packages




and MicroSoft WORD. Created a medical office automation system

using dBASE III and a property management system using dBASE II.

Coded Accounts Payable programs using Burroughs COBOL and DMSII.


o Senior Education Specialist at Honeywell Bull - 6/78 to 9/87

Developed and taught customer and internal training seminars.

Subjects included IDS/II (a CODASYL database), TDS/TP, IQS/AZ7

and ORACLE for DPS-6 and DPS-7 systems as well as MS-DOS and

micro Database seminars.


Consulted with customers in support of Honeywell software products

including on line TDS COBOL, IDS/II, IQS, AZ7 and ORACLE. On one

occasion assisted the Indonesian Department of Agriculture, in

Jakarta, with problems implementing IDS/II-COBOL programs under



o Programmer/Analyst at Ragu Foods - 6/77 to 6/78

Developed and implemented on line COBOL programs for an order

processing system running under CICS 1.3 and using IDMS.



o Teacher at Monroe County BOCES - 6/76 to 6/77

Taught one school year of Computer science and Electronics.


o Programmer/Analyst at Community Savings Bank - 10/75 to 9/76

Developed and implemented a system for administrating IRA accounts

posting payments and producing various reports including monthly

statements. Developed reports from savings and mortgage databases,

by census tract, to comply with new state redlining laws. Both

systems made use of COBOL and CINCOM TOTAL database software. The

redlining system also made use of ADMATCH and census data.


o Consultant with Information Associates, inc. - 9/72 to 10/75

Worked at customer sites developing programs for manufacturing

applications using IBM 370, UNIVAC 1100 and SIGMA 9 hardware and



o Programmer at Fasco Industries - 10/66 to 9/72

Coded BOM explosion and sales analysis model using AUTOCODER on a

1440 system. Converted Systems from AUTOCODER to PL/I and BAL.


o Customer Engineer at IBM - 3/60 to 10/66

Service 1401, 1440, 360 and related hardware.


o Field Engineer at Remington UNIVAC - 5/59 to 3/60

Service NU90 NU80 hardware.





Back in the early part of 1988 I spent several months in

Riverside, California, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

Bob, who was also an independant contractor, and had

a business called B Software, had asked me to run the

business for a few months, while he checked into an

Alcoholic Rehabilitation Center. He had an office on

Wilshire Blvd. in L.A. which housed several data entry

clerks and he had a crew of four programmers working on a

project at A. L. Lewis Corporation Offices in Riverside.

Lewis was a parent company to Lucky's Grocery Chain. The work

was routine and not to demanding. I would fly home every

other weekend on a Pan Am 747 from LAX to JFK airport and fly

from there to Rochester on a small plane that seemed to take

longer than the coast to coast flights. On other weekends I

would take a drive around the area, where the scenery is

breath taking. On weekends that I did not fly home, I would

sometimes send a ticket (when BT Software could afford it) to

Vivian and she would fly out to spend a couple of days. When

Vivian was there for a weekend we always went for side trips

around the west coast area as she did not want to sleep in

the apartment provided for me in Riverside which was a fine

apartment but it had no furniture in it and I slept on the

floor on a sleeping bag.


I like to go to zoos, but Vivian is not that interested.

Anyway, we visited the San Diego Zoo which is one of the best

along with Lincoln Park in Chicago, the Bronx zoo and the

Toronto Zoo, which I recently visited with my grandson Ben.

Vivian likes the ocean side and I prefer the desert. We often

drove down the Santa Monica Freeway to the end and up the

Ventura coastal highway to Santa Barbara. This is part of the

famous route 1, all of which I highly recommend for it's

unparalleled beauty. All the way from the Mexican border to

the Redwoods in Northern California. The Oregon coast is much

the same all the way to the mouth of the Columbia River where

you meet the rain forest of Western Washington. Big Sur is on

this route as is Carmel where Clint Eastwood was Mayor.

On Occasions when I found myself in Riverside on a weekend by

myself I generally drove about 75 miles east on Interstate 10

and turn north to Joshua Tree National Monument where the San

Joshua Tree National Monument

Bernadino Mountains give way to the southern boundary of the

Mohave Desert. This is a wild area about 50 miles North and

south by 75 miles east and west. In this area desert foliage

abounds. I used this place as my Sunday School and spent many

hours meditating and chanting out there. My chanting seemed

to please some of the wild life and one time I found myself

sitting next to a Desert Iguana which was about sixteen

inches long. They sit very still on a rock, in the sun,

lifting one leg at a time. They do it so slowly that you

don't notice until you realize that a different leg is now in

the air. They do that to cool there underside. Also, I have

seen Big Horn Sheep, Rattle Snakes, Mountain Lions, Gilla

Monsters, along with many critters I couldn't identify. The

most impressive thing about Joshua Tree, however, is the

plant life. One time I stopped there just in time to see the

Barrel Cactus bloom. I ran across a guy with a camera set up

to film the opening of this very impressive flower. The drive

through the park is either an uphill climb or going south it

is downhill ride and you could coast for the entire 50 miles.

As you proceed through, the type of foliage, always abundant,

changes at various levels. At the bottom Ocotillo is often in

blossom. Further up you are treated to Tree Cholla groves

with various colored desert wild flowers. At one time of year

it looks like a sea of yellow flowers. Near the northern edge

of the park you suddenly find yourself in a forest of Joshua

Trees with branches that reminded early settlers of Joshua's

arms raised toward the heavens. It is not possible to

describe these amazing freaks of nature. The rock band, U2,

wrote a song about, and named an album after, the Joshua

Tree. To me Joshua Tree is a sacred spot. I have shown it to

Vivian, my wife, Butch, my son, Chuck Lyons, a friend, and

Don Love who lived nearby and never took the time to look it


Joshua Trees

Joshua Trees are plentiful to the north east from here all

the way to Las Vegas and to the north west to Edwards

Airforce Base where the Space Shuttle often lands. Vivian and

I made the trip past Edwards on one weekend that we went to

Sequoia National Park. The trip took us through Boron, made

famous by Ronald Reagan when he appeared in the Twenty Mule

Team commercials.


I didn't know it at the time, but, I am descended from one

Joshua Benson.


Another favorite spot of mine is at Big Bear, in the San

Bernadino Mountains. This is the closest ski area from L. A.

and can get congested. There are points up there where, on a

clear day, you can look out on the Mohave Desert towards

Needles, the hottest place in United States, while standing

knee deep in snow.


I still communicate with some of the people I worked with in

Riverside, especially Don Love who is now in Chicago and Paul

Taylor who lives in his van in San Diego where his ex wife

lets him park his van in the driveway and lets him inside in

the morning to use the bathroom. I last saw Paul about two

years ago when Butch and I used the last of my frequent flyer

tickets to fly to San Diego. We rented a car and after

visiting with Paul we visited The Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree

and Los Angeles. I eventually had a falling out with BT over

our different ideas about business practices.




Later in life

I met my wife at Roseland Park. Vivian lived in Lyons and

since I could not afford a car I moved into the Iroquois

Hotel, by the tracks, in Lyons and obtained work in a

factory. In April of 1953 Vivian and I were married and have

been together since with the exception of a couple of periods

of separation. Before we realized what was happening we had

four children and not much money.


In 1954 I decided to make use of my electrical knowledge and

went to Chicago to Coyne Electrical School and took a course

in Radio/Television repair and tried to make a living at

that. Having been a general screw up all my life had not

prepared me for running my own business. The fact that I

drank a little more than socially at that time didn't help.

I soon gave it up and found a fairly well paying job at

Chevron Oil Company.


The oil business kept me going for a few years but soon got

to be boring and shift work was not to my taste. My growing

hatred for that job prompted me to sign up for a

correspondence course. I completed the lessons rather rapidly

always keeping ahead of the mail man and waiting for another

good grade to come through, and they did. My choice of

schools was The Cleveland Institute of Electronics and the

purpose was to prepare for an FCC license. In 1959 I went to

Buffalo to take a test for a First Class FCC Radio Telephone

License which I passed.


In late 1959 or early 1960 I found an advertisement, in the

jobs column, for Univac Computer Repairmen, featuring on the

job training. I sent a Resume and was called to Buffalo for

an interview. When I arrived for the interview I found about

50 others had come at the same time. We were all given

general intelligence and aptitude testing after which there

were only three of us left of the original 50. The interview

went well and I was offered a job. I was hired, along with

about 400 others from all around the country, to fill a

government contract. We spent 20 weeks in a class room

learning the inner workings of the Univac Computer System. We

learned about the computer from the inside out. I had no idea

what a computer was used for when I started. Attending

classes, eight hours a day, and getting paid salary plus

expenses at the same time seemed like a good deal and it was.

I received a diploma, which certified me as a Field Engineer

on the UNIVAC NU90 Computer System. Shortly there after, the

company lost the government contract and left the entire 400

of us out of work. I was called back to work there at a later

date, but by that time I had found a better deal. I am

grateful to Univac Corporation for launching my career in

Computers, but, I made no lasting friends there and I was

very fortunate to have found a job with IBM. Back to the

class room. I worked for IBM for several years, my resume

above somewhere relates my work history. I made some good

friends at IBM, but, life gets hectic sometimes and we have,

for the most part, lost touch. We lived in Webster during

that period and my house became a gathering place for IBM

"Customer Engineers", as we were called. We had many card

parties at my house. Vivian would usually leave town for the

night while all the rowdies from IBM came by to play Poker,

Euchre and other such games. These parties would last all

night and I always had a head ache the next day.




When I was working at the U of R, around 1971, one of the key

punchers offered me a pet raccoon. She lived on a farm and

had shot a mother raccoon for stealing eggs from the chicken

house. They then realized that the mother had babies. Five of

them. I agreed to take a male. I thought it would make a

wonderful pet for Stephanie. I kept him in a box beside my

desk for a whole day and took him home after work.

The next day I found some boards and chicken wire and erected

a pen. It was about three feet wide and tall and about eight

feet long. On top of that I installed an old dog house, like

a cupola on top of the pen. Rocky could hide in the

cupola as it was entirely enclosed except for a hole in the

floor, also the roof of the pen, to gain entry. I picked his

name, Rocky, after the Beatles song, popular at the time.

On the front of the pen I put a sliding door with a latch.

It took him five years to figure out how to open the latch

and at that time, during the early spring when a raccoons

thoughts turn to love, Rocky left and never returned.


Rocky turned out to be more than Stephanie could deal with

and the responsibility fell on me. At first we tried bottle

feeding, as he had trouble drinking from a dish, but as small

as he was he chewed the nipple off the bottle. His mother

must have been very tough. We then tried a dish of bread and

milk. This he did quite well with and soon grew big enough to

eat just about anything.


His favorite foods were marshmallows and graham crackers. He

had a large bucket of water and dunked everything in it. I

tried giving him a rawhide bone to chew on thinking he would

sharpen his teeth. He softened it up in the water before he

ate it. His teeth got very sharp anyway and later I regretted

trying to help them along.

I lost several friends during that time because Rocky bit

them. I always warned them, but they had to find out for

themselves. They would see me walking around with Rocky on a

leash and him climbing up on my shoulder and sometimes on top

of my head. He seldom attempted to bite me, but I never

forgot that he was a wild animal. I could never feed him from

my hands as he was very protective of food and would bite any

one that went near it. I usually would put his food in the

cage while he was sleeping. He slept during the day and

wanted to play at night. He would allow me to snap a leash on

his collar as he knew that meant I would take him out to

play. He got along famously with my dog, Missy.


I took Rocky to the Vet once a year for shots. He needed both

cat and dog shots as raccoons can get both types of diseases.

The Vet was a little afraid of him. I don't blame him as

Rocky had powerful jaws and his bite could be severe. I was

never severely bitten by him as I learned what kind of

situations made him angry enough to bite and avoided them.

Rocky was a friend of mine.


Honeywell and Later

In the spring of 1978 I was getting tired of boring

programming jobs, and I looked into the help wanted section

of Computer world. I was working for Ragu Foods at the time

and was comfortable there and treated with respect. Sometime

during the winter of 1977/78, along with Bob Christ, a fellow

programmer at the spaghetti sauce factory, I attended a

training class on CICS programming. The instructor for the

class seemed to live an interesting life, traveling from city

to city, teaching a five day course in each place. I found an

ad for just such a job and set up an interview in Wellesley

Hills, near Boston, with Honeywell Information Systems.

My first interview at HIS (Honeywell Information Systems)

was fairly standard. I talked to several people and had to

demonstrate that I could talk to a group by giving a ten

minute lecture on a subject of my own choosing. I presented a

lecture entitled "Zen and the art of Writing Bubble up

Sorting Routines in COBOL". This presentation earned me the

alias "The Guru from Ragu" which stuck for quite a while.

Fortunately, I had some experience, teaching, with RBI, ECPI,

IBM, BOCES and at U of R Computing Center.


My second interview was with Al Manson who was to become my

boss for ten years and also a life long friend. I talked to

him on the phone just before Christmas, this past year, and

exchanged cards. For some reason this interview was to take

place at five in the afternoon, I suspect that it was because

of last minute flight arrangements. When I met Al, it was in

the parking lot, as he was on his was to a party, which is

not unusual for Al as he was invited to everybody's parties.

He asked my only one question and that had to do with the

accuracy of my resume. He said that if at least half of it

was true, he wanted to hire me. I assured him that it was. He

then handed me an expense voucher and told me to find a nice

hotel in Boston and have lobster for dinner. A flight home

was not available until morning. I did as he suggested and a

few days later I received a very nice offer including a very

adequate expanse account and salary about $5500.00 more than

what I was accustomed to.


My title at HIS was "Education Specialist" and a few years

into the job it was "Senior Education Specialist". My job was

to develop training courses on HIS software/database

technology/transaction processing technology and

manufacturing software. It was also my responsibility to

teach the course a few times while training an instructor to

use the material, usually consisting of a student handbook,

an instructor guide, and slides. Most of the seminars were 3,

5, or 10 day presentations.


Once I established myself as a productive member of the

Honeywell team, I was allowed to do my course development at

home and fly to Boston when I needed to use computers or

equipment that I did not have at home. The software that I

became involved with became more and more esoteric. At first

my territory included Boston, New York City, Toronto,

Baltimore, Washington D. C., Buffalo, Pittsburg and

Philadelphia but soon I started stopping regularly at

Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, L. A., Phoenix, San Diego,

Sacramento, Minneapolis, Detroit, Seattle and Boise and most

other US cities, spending more than half of my time away from

home. I also made many trips to London, Paris, Frankfurt,

Dusseldorf and Helsinki, traveling well over a million miles.

Vivian accompanied me to Paris one spring and on another

occasion she joined me in Angers, France, near LaMans.

Recently, Vivian had occasion to visit London, Salisbury and

Stone Henge. I made the same trip, alone, several years



After spending over 20,000 per year on my American Express, I

was granted a platinum card. One of the best benefits were

the Frequent Flyer Programs, where by free tickets could be

obtained after flying a certain distance on a given airline,

usually 20,000 miles. Getting these free tickets allowed me

to take a traveling companion along now and then. I

especially enjoyed being the tour guide and showing someone

else some of the places that I hold sacred. I have made at

least 100 flights into Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix and on

every visit I would make it a point to drive to the Grand

Canyon, each time being a spiritual experience. Vivian has

accompanied me, many times, to places like Atlanta, Phoenix,

Sacramento, Seattle/Tacoma, San Diego and many other

interesting places. My expense account allowed us to rent a

car, except in New York City and Chicago where Taxis were

used instead._





I am in the mood for reliving some of my travels. In August

of, what I think was 1973 I took a 15 day trip to the west

coast. Prior to that time I had never been further west than

Chicago, where I attended an electronics trade school in



The trip was supposed to be a family vacation taking

advantage of some time off between jobs. I had been working

for the University of Rochester in a very interesting job,

helping Doctoral Candidates and those involved in Medical

research projects, to use the computer to analyze their data.

Anyway I was between that job and my new job as a consultant

with Information Associates, Inc. in Rochester and had some

time to kill. For some reason that I no longer remember,

Vivian had to back out from the trip at the last moment. That

left just Stephanie, then barely 11 years old, and myself, so

I asked my good friend Ike Ike and Burr to

travel with us in my 1962 Plymouth  with push button shifting.

62 Plymoth

We started out on a Saturday morning, although I don't

remember the exact date, but, Spiro Agnew resigned as Vice

President while we were on this trip.

The first night of our journey was spent in Indiana, in a

campsite with two large ponds with swimming. We set up two

tents, the same way we did more than a dozen times on the

trip. Ike [photo] had a one man pup tent and Steph and I shared

 a roomy umbrella tent which was easy to set up. After this

first night, Stephanie could set up the tent by herself,

which she did, and often she would help others set up their

tents as they arrived at the campsite. While Steph was

working on the tents, I would start a charcoal fire and cook

our evening meal. Breakfast, being the cheapest meal of the

day we ate in restaurants and diners, almost always having

pancakes, and for lunch we snacked either in the car or at a

roadside table. We took no interstate highways and stopped

frequently to take in the sights. I remember having a nice

campfire to space out on before going to bed. Stephanie was

very fond of toasted marshmallows. Stephanie has photos from

the trip and one of them was taken of this campfire.

We started out in the morning of the second day on US Highway

36 which took us through two state capitals, Indianapolis and

Springfield and spent the second night on the Mississippi

River Stephanie and Father at Hannabal Mo. The town is

full of Mark  Twain memorabilia including the picket fence and

the cave. We swam at the campsite but the water was muddy.


On the third day we drove, on US 36, through St. Joe, Mo.

where Bonnie and Clyde once robbed the bank. We continued,

driving over half way through Kansas before stopping for the

night at Prairie Dog State Park where we were the only

campers to stay the night. We swam in a man made lake in the

park. We saw a jackrabbit and I convinced Stephanie that it

was a Jackalope, a fictitious animal of the area, a rabbit

with horns like an antelope. I later found a post card with a

picture of a lope, as we called them for short. I don't know

how long she was fooled, but, now she is middle aged and I'm

sure she no longer believes in lopes.


The next day, our fourth of the trip, was a very exciting

day. Like all the days and nights of the trip, the sky

remained clear. Just when we thought we couldn't take another

day of flat countryside, their came the mountains as if they

rose abruptly out of the plains. For some reason I wanted to

change my cloths before getting into Denver so I stopped and

went under the highway in a dry river bed where I saw a very

large king snake watching me from a nearby rock. I wasn't

sure just what kind it was at first and went hopping back to

the highway while putting my trousers on.


We encountered a severe gas shortage in the Denver area.

Fortunately we had enough gas to get well out of the area and

up in the mountains we found a gas station with no attendant,

you had to put one dollar bills in the pump like a vending

machine. We had a couple of ones and got enough to get us to

a town that had gas, I believe it was Durango Co. We came

upon a hail storm in the mountains and I thought it would

brake the windshield. We found pock marks on the roof of the

car. Before stopping for the night, near Durango, we went

through a long tunnel under a mountain, and also we found a

place where we could make snowballs in August, high up in the

Rockies. It got very cold in our tent that night, but, we

were prepared and slept comfortably in our sleeping bags

instead of on top of them as we had done previously. We took

a picture of the tunnel Rockie Mountain Tunnel

and some  high country scenery. I

enjoyed experiencing the freezing temperature in the middle

of summer. It made me realize once again that the Tao is

all powerful and that I am influenced profoundly by the Tao,

while the Tao itself remains unshakable.


The fifth day of our excursion took us over some very

impressive mountains Stephanie in the Rockie Mountainsbut by mid-day we

were out of the mountains and into a semi-desert area. Here we

found some dinosaur tracks and stopped also, at the four corners

where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah meet. Four States, Four Corners The only place

in the US where four states come together and a national

site. We continued traveling southwest through the Painted

Desert which seemed very western and very colorful. Like I

remembered from the cowboy movies I enjoyed as a youth. We

pitched our tents for the night in the middle of this desert

area and all night long I had to be careful not to move

around too much as cactus spears would poke through the

bottom of the tent, sleeping bag and blankets and everything

else I could find to protect myself. Still every now and then

during the night I got the point, when rolling over. This

campsite was on the Hopi reservation. Buying Navajo JewelryCoal had been

discovered on the reservation and, since the government

didn't know about the coal when they promised the land would

always belong to the Hopis, they were in the process of

slowly driving this very colorful people off the land. When

the miners came in, they would show no respect for the Hopi's

corn fields with their bulldozers etc. I had further contact

with Hopis later in life, but that is another story. Later.

Day number six of this trek took us to a town called North

Rim on the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon

Most of the  morning took us along the Vermilion Cliffs and

the side trip to  the canyon rim took us through a beautiful

Pondarosa Pine forest.


We saw the canyon around noon time when it is free of shadows

and took many photos of this amazing place. This of the first

of many trips to the canyon for me. It is a sacred spot for

me just like Joshua Tree and Organ Pipe Cactus National

Monuments. This was, however, the only time I visited the

north rim and the only time I drove all the way. Phoenix

became a regular stop for me in the 80s. I would fly into Sky

Harbor Airport and rent a car and stay in one of my favorite

hotels. When my work was done and the week end rolled around,

I would start out alone, when I couldn't interest anyone in

going along, and head for the canyon and sometimes to the

Hopi Reservation to visit my favorite people. OK back to the

north rim. After taking several pictures and having a near

nervous collapse when both Ike and Steph got too close to the

edge of the canyon for my taste. There were no railings or

safety features at that time.


After we left the Grand Canyon we went north into Utah and

passed thru Zion National Park. It is a very special place.

One feature was a four mile tunnel. The mountains in Zion are

of yellow rock. No other place is anything like it. Each time

we entered a National Park or Monument there was normally a

substantial fee involved, which we never paid. We found out

right away that if the car contained someone over 65 years

old the admission was free. I think Ike was actually about 62

at the time, but easily passed for 65. A couple of times the

toll booth attendant asked for ID and I would shout at Ike as

if he were deaf and he would pretend not to hear. I would

shout "he wants to see your ID" and Ike had a pocket full of

various ID cards, none of which indicated his date of birth

or age. They always gave up and let us in for free. Stephanie

found all this horse play by grown men to be hilarious.

That night we camped at Cedar City Utah. We got the last

available site as the camp was full. It was a possemans

convention and everyone in camp was some kind of deputy. We

behaved ourselves. Just as I was getting dinner ready to

serve Steph wanted to go to the camp headquarters where home

movies would be shown. She insisted so I gave in. Five

minutes later she was back. When I asked about the movies she

said they were all about God and stuff. It seems that the

place was run by Mormons. For the second night in a row there

was no place to swim.


On the seventh day we drove across the Mohave Desert in

southern Nevada. Here we saw our first Joshua Trees. We did

not know what they were. The scene was most unusual but got

boring after a while; Just sand and dry lakes. After a while

we saw the Sierra Nevada Mountain range rising out of the

desert. The road we took over the mountains was only open

from May through September and it took us up to the snow

line, about 12000 feet. When we finally descended we were in

the Yosemite Valley and took a little side trip to the falls Yosemite Falls

which afforded a rest while Stephanie made a nervous wreck

out me by climbing around on the huge rocks at the foot of

the falls.


It got dark shortly after we left Yosemite. I called my

friend Bart in San Francisco and decided to drive on to the

city on the bay and sleep in a bed and shower. Around

midnight I woke Steph to see the Oakland San Francisco Bridge

Tunnel which was recently damaged by an earthquake during the

World Series Games.


We arrived at Bart's and put Steph to bed and partied into

the night with Bart and Dave. In the morning Rita took

Stephanie to the Zoo at Golden Gate Park and had a chance to

ride the cable cars and see China Town and take many photos.

On this, the eighth day of the adventure, we left San

Francisco heading north across the Golden Gate and followed

Highway 101 toward the Redwoods. We camped about two hours to

the north in a remote campsite occupied only by a family of

back packers from Kingston, New York. All of the redwood

trees in this area had all been cut down. You could walk into

the woods and find giant stumps. We climbed onto one of these

stumps and found it to be about 15 feet across and flat as a

dance floor. We did an imitation of Fred Astaire and Ginger

Rogers which made us hungry. After dinner, sitting by the

fire, I was moved to tears over the demise of these giant

trees, older than Christianity.


Early in the morning of the ninth day we stopped at a nice

municipal beach, on the Pacific, Pacific Oceanaround

Eureka, California

and took some nice photos. We followed highway 101 north

through the Redwood National Park. Here, a very small

percentage of the original redwoods remains untouched, thanks

to Teddy Roosevelt. The highway winds through the woods like

a snake, as no trees could be cut down in it's path. Ike

reminded Stephanie that the squirrels must be as big as dogs

judging by the size of the trees. I think that of all the

places we saw on the entire trip, this was the most

impressive. It has never been convenient for me to return to

the Redwoods, but I remember it as a very sacred spot. Vivian

and I later visited the Sequoia National Park which is

similar. The sequoia trees are high up in the Sierras while

the Redwoods is a rain forest. The undergrowth is just as

spectacular as the trees. It is mostly covered with high

ferns 5 to 8 feet tall. The Redwoods took many centuries to

get that big and foresters theorize that conditions may no

longer exist for them to grow that big again. There are tests

under way to find out but we won't know during our life time.

After climbing around on redwood logs, with steps cut into

them so we could hike into the woods, we drove on into Oregon

and spent the night near Grants Pass. We made camp in a site

called Natural Bridge. The ponderosa pine woods was growing

out of old lava beds, which is how the natural bridge was

formed. The ground was covered with gray volcanic ash making

it difficult to keep clean. In the morning I washed in the

river even though it was the coldest water I ever felt; a

glacial stream. I washed Stephanie's hair in the river and

she complained a little about the polar bear dunking I gave

her. I was ashamed of how dirty we had gotten, but we did a

fair job, even though the ash almost covered us again before

we broke camp and moved on. That morning of day 10 we found a

rustic log cabin type restaurant and had pancakes with real

maple syrup, making the freezing morning ablutions all worth



After breakfast of day 10, we came upon Crater Lake,
Crater Lake Oregon  Oregon, a very calm lake

in an extinct  volcano. The banks of  the lake were too steep

and dangerous for us to get down to the  lake, so we followed

some of the hiking trails along

the rim.   Crater Lake The water was the

bluest blue I've ever seen.


The next stop was at a laundry where we washed and dried all

of our very dirty clothes and bedding. We continued northward

to Bend and then headed due east and stopped at a campsite on

the Boise River either in Oregon or Idaho near the border.

That night the campsite had showers which was nice. We saw

raccoons getting into the garbage cans.


On the morning of day 11, before stopping for breakfast, we

stopped at a scenic site, on the way up the side of a

mountain range. This was a breath taking scene, overlooking a

desert as colorful as any we had seen thus far. The area is

part of what is called "The Great Basin", a high desert area.

A lone man in a van pulled into the parking area while we

were there. We talked with him about the scenery and found

that he was a retired widower enjoying a vacation. He was

traveling in the opposite direction from us. We took some

back roads through Idaho, taking us to the Craters of the

Moon National Monument. This spot is used sometimes for

making movies about the moon. The landscape in similar.

Around noontime we stopped at a general store, to pick up

lunch, in a town called Corral, Idaho, Corral Idaho
with a population of

7 people. It was warm and a dog was sleeping outside and when

we went inside we found the store keeper sound asleep in a

chair. After we pick up our groceries the man was still

sleeping. We had put gas in the car and could not, in good

conscience, leave without paying for it. We tried several

different ways of making noise with no success. Finally the

dog woke up enough to bark a couple of times and the man woke

up and all was well.


That afternoon we followed the Snake River for a ways and by

evening we found ourselves in Jackson, Wyoming. We checked

out a campsite in Jackson where the owners made derogatory

remarks about the length of our hair, so Ike and I decided

not to spend the night. Steph did not understand, but we

explained that we could camp in the Grand Teton National Park

for free and all was well. We found a good spot and set up

camp in the middle of an elk reserve.


We awoke on the morning of day twelve to find our water had

frozen over night. We were very high in the mountains. We had

breakfast at Jackson Hole in a large teepee with a roaring

fire in the middle and picnic tables like spokes of a wheel

surrounding it. We had all we could eat of ham, eggs and

pancakes. They had buffalo steaks on the lunch menu, but we

were in Yelowstone by lunch time. Our favorite spot in the

Grand Tetons was at Jenny Lake. The Tetons are some

Jenny Lake

of the most Rugged in the US and they remind me of the Saw Tooth

Range in Idaho.


At Yellowstone Park we visited Old Faithful and rested for a

while waiting for the geyser to do what it does. We drove

northward from the Tetons through Yellowstone and drove

around the circle in Yellowstone Yellowstone

and left the park by the eastern gate. We stopped at one point

to watch a moose grazing in a bog. That afternoon we drove

through Cody, and Greybull, Wyoming toward the Devil's Tower Devel's TowerNational Monument.

I am not sure if we took in the Tower on this afternoon or

the next morning, but it was a very interesting place. On the

way into the Monument Grounds you go through a large colony

of prairie dogs. The park ranger told Stephanie that it was

useless to try to get them to eat out of your hand. "They are

just too timid" he said. None the less, we got a photo of a

prairie dog taking a piece of bread from Stephanie's hand.

Prairie Dog

On this, the 12th night, we made camp on the banks of a very

clear river in which we could see brook trout, doing what

trout do. During the night we could hear mules or donkeys

baying, they kept us awake for a while.

The 13th day was very eventful as we stopped at the Mount

Rushmore Monument. It is interesting that, during the

depression, someone convinced the Congress to appropriate

money for this mammoth carving. To me, it seems like a

terrible thing to do to a perfectly attractive mountain in

the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota.


We stopped again in Rapid City, SD, at a road side zoo which

featured a raccoon playing basketball, a skill that is

practically useless for as raccoons go. We spent a good

portion of the afternoon on Interstate 90 through The

Badlands and camped near Mitchell, SD.


On the morning of the 14th day we drove south on I29 to

Council Bluffs, Iowa and picked up I80 east, driving into

Illinois by nightfall. The next day, number 15 of the trip,

we drove the rest of the way home by nightfall. We had the

pictures developed and Stephanie still has copies. Ike had

slides made from the pictures that he took. They were very


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