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Back to America!!

Chapter 7

Gene was lucky again and received his old job at ESW back, but had to start over again. He didn't mind as he knew the work and was back with his friends. Life went on!! After working for a little over a year, it was Valerieís idea for us to move to California to live. Another dumb idea! Gene asked for a leave of absents, as he had learned from what had happened when he was at Warwick. We bought a 1974 Ford Super-cab 1.5 ton truck, for the trip to CA.. Valerie wanted to drive all the way to California and Gene didnít mind as he had driven to California before. We took the southern route as we were headed to Los Angeles and Gene could see the few states that he had missed on his wanderlust thing before. After getting to Calif. and seeing that we would not have any luck in the San Diego area, we started up to the Oakland area. We stayed for a little while with Alice in Oakland, while looking for work. We had good luck in finding work, but soon realized that the rents on apartments were so high, we could not afford to stay as we were running out of money. While in Oakland we experienced a earthquake of 4.3, when we were eating at Mickey Dís. We soon headed back to Kenosha, as we knew that there was a job waiting for Gene there. After starting back to work at ESW in March, 1980, Gene was asked if he wanted a job as a Design Tech., the best job that he ever had, up to this time. This job was developing production aid.

Gene knew what this job of production aids, was all about, and knew he could do a good job at it. He soon expanded the job into a much better job and took on more and more responsibilities. Now he was making the mechanical drafting drawings for laying out chassis and panels. He made some of the electrical schematic drawings, all the wiring tables, all pictorial drawings for the production people to use to wire the different chassis, panels and cabinets. Gene would help build prototype models and interface between the production people and the engineers.

Gene didnít think that he could find a job that he ever enjoyed better then the one that he was doing, right then, but he was wrong, as he was soon to find out!!! Gene liked his work so well, he asked ESW if he could come in on Saturdays and work for free, but ESW said no, because of insurance. So he worked on his breaks and lunch hours, and ESW just didnít know about it!!!

Gene and Valerie had bought an old broken down house, he replaced all the windows, designing them himself. Gene and Valerie also dug down around the house foundation to replace all the mortar between the bricks. But it was just too much and with other problems that developed, Gene and Valerie decided to divorce and we did so on Aug. 4, 1983. Even though he and Valerie remained friends, Gene was adrift again!!!

The building of the computerized tester!! Gene was minding his own business, again!!! When his boss George, asked him if he would like to learn how to layout double sided printed circuit boards, Gene said to himself, (Thatís better then a kick in the ass!) Gene says to George, (Of course, I would be very happy to learn about circuit boards), (I would be nuts to turn down a offer like that, he said to himself.), so thank you very much, George!!!

Gene at the time knew nothing, about laying out boards, George knew this and said that ESW would bring in a man from outside to teach him how to do this job. Geneís salary was low, so it made sense to train him for this job. Gene being smarter then the average bear, maybe!!!

Helping to design the printed circuit boardís, was to mean a lot of overtime for Gene. He really, really liked this job, as it made a nice change from his regular job, which he was doing at the same time. Also it was another skill for Gene to put into his hat.

Gene thinks that he did a good job at laying out the boards, there was power supply boards, A to D boards, D to A boards, memory boards, etc. There was only one board that was too hard for Gene to do, so he didnít feel bad at all. Remember there was not any automatic computer programs to design double-sided printed circuits boards, at that time everything came out of Gene's head. In fact he was able to use his new skills to update some of the boards that ESW had designed, before Gene was hired. He got rid of about 35 jumpers on the one board and made other boards a lot better.

Getting back to the computerized tester, there were about 14 to 18 of these printed circuit boards in each tester. Also the insides of the computerized tester was so full that it didnít seem to be any more room for even one more thing. Gene and the engineer that was developing the tester, would make cardboard boxes, the size of the different systems that were to go inside the cabinet, just to make sure there would be enough room. Far different, from a regular tester that only utilized about 20% of the insides of a cabinet, depending on what model it was. It took about ten times as much documentation for this new computerized tester, which Gene also helped to generate.

It took about one and a half years to research and develop this computerized tester, and even after the first tester was built for a customer, it still took some time before all the bugs, were worked out. Even if the money is not very good at ESW, as a job, it sure beats working on a assembly line, for Ford Motor Co., that kind of work would be pure hell. One fourth of Geneís wages, were written off for tax purposes, any time he was working on the computerized tester, as it was being developed, Gene really, really enjoyed his work!!!

Gene had the wanderlust thing again and because ESW had a lot of shut down time, he was able to travel to England, Denmark and Holland in 1985. Flying SAS to Copenhagen, Denmark from London. Also in January 1986 Gene went back to England to nose around and do some research on family tree things.

Chapter 8

Behind the Iron Curtain trip--March, April 1986. This is a story of a trip, that is all about stupidity. Gene started out this trip, just thinking he would go to England to see a woman named Pat Simpson, to see if their was a chance that they might like to get married. Gene was tired of living in Kenosha. Its not that Gene didnít like Kenosha, he does!!! Its just that Gene wanted to live in England, or Germany, etc., so that he would be near enough to Europe to do some serious traveling. So what better way to stay in Europe, then to marry some woman somewhere in Europe and have a place to stay, without having to cross the Big Pond, every time Gene wanted to do his wanderlust thing again.

Again with the wanderlust thing!! Anyway, there he was on the airplane again, on the way to England. What a jerk Gene was!! He got to England and he hopped a train and went to Keighley, near Leeds in the north of England.

When Gene met Pat Simpson, he could see that she was a very nice lady, but Pat looked like someoneís grandmother. But by this time Gene was old enough to be a grandfather, so why to complain. Anyway, Gene and Pat went to London to see about a work permit. What Gene should of done, was to get married first and then go apply for the work permit. You can see that Gene was only half-serious about getting married. After about one month he decided that it would be better to go back to Kenosha. But, since he was in Europe anyway, he might as well go to East Germany. Gene packed up and said good-by to Pat, and headed to London. Gene was feeling guilty and when he got to London, he called Pat up on the telephone and asked her if she would like to go to West Berlin and East Germany with him. Gene was just a little bit afraid to go to East Germany by himself, Remember this was, 1986 and so who knows what could happen behind the Iron Curtain. Gene being a little bit paranoid.

Pat met Gene in London the same day and he bought tickets to the ferry, to go across the English Channel. After going to Holland, Gene and Pat took the train to Bonn, in Germany. After staying overnight in Bonn, they took the train to Luxembourg to visit the train station. After going back to Bonn for the night, Pat and Gene started for East Germany on the train. When you come to the Iron Curtain, a person must present their passport to the KGB border guards. After waiting and waiting, finally the train moved into East Germany. Then we could see what the delay was about. Some man had tried to escape from the east and was caught and his body was laying, along side of the railroad tracks, with a blanket over his head. Gene didnít know about Pat, but he had goose bumps all over his body. We stayed in West Berlin for the night and visited Check-Point Charley and where Hitler was cremated, etc. The next day Gene and Pat went back to London, Pat went home and Gene did the same. End of a stupid trip!!!

When Gene got back from England, ESW was not any better off, and he was laid off for good. Gene had spent all his money on traveling and would soon be out of money altogether. Gene was wondering what he was going to do, as now he was rather old, to start looking for any kind of work that would pay enough to make any difference at this point. Herb called and asked Gene if he could come back to Zion and help take care of mom and dad, as they were too old to live by themselves anymore. So this was the end of Geneís work life, for any kind of pay. Was Gene lucky or what???

This was June of 1986. Mom was 89 years old and dad was 94 years old at the time, Herb would come over each morning to help Gene get mom and dad out of bed and ready for the day. Geneís main job was to make sure that mom and dad were dry, (For toilet.) and ate on time and the right food, as they didnít eat right, if you didnít watch them. On dadís birthday, Aug. 25, 1986.) at age 95 years old, dad fell down as he was trying to get the mail, (On the front porch.) and broke his right leg. Dad never walked again.

Herb would come over and stay with mom and dad when Gene had to go to the VA hospital, as he had a lot of medical problems at the time. At the VA hospital, they told Gene that he should apply for social security. He did and much to his surprise, he received a pension of $691 dollars a month for disability, this was Oct. 1986. Now Gene was independent of having to take money from mom and dad, for food and other things. Dad was very difficult to live with. As an example, dad would tell Gene that he was staying with (Mom and dad.) them, just to get free meals, Dad would also say to him, that the money that Gene received from Social Security, was really dadís money. To say the lease, dadís mental capacity was not very good at age 95 years old. Gene told Herb about this problem, and Herb said, to just not worry about it. Still he felt bad, as he didnít want any of his brothers or sisters to think it was true. Dad would say these things when other members of the family were around. Life was not easy for Gene, as dad was now, having to spend most of his day in bed. Some days, when dad had diarrhea, Gene was up to his elbows in crap, as dad had a problem with his head and hands shaking, and dad would get into his diaper and the crap would get all over him and even into dadís hair. Lots of fun!! Life went on, and on, and on!!!

About Oct. 1987, dad started to get much worst and would refuse to eat. It was the start of the end for dad. This problem, was taking a big toll on Geneís emotions, and by April of 1988, Herb and Gene took mom and dad to Crown Manor (An old folks home.), mom and dad both had to go to Crown Manor at the same time, as they had been married for almost 70 years, and could not be separated. Dad did not get any better at the old folks home, and he died on August, 4, 1988. Mom lived on till April 18, 1989. Gene had been going up to the old folks home, every day to try to get mom and dad to eat, but now Gene was free and a free Gene, was a Gene that did dumb things. Things that were not, very good, for him. As he has said before, Gene is a complete romantic. Or maybe a better word would be fool.

Chapter 9

Gene started to repair the old house that he inherited at 3119 Elim Ave., as the house sure did need it. When mom and dad were still alive and living at the house, Gene had painted the house for mom and dad, this was the fall of 1986. He had to paint the colors that dad wanted, light green with gray trim. The house did look better, but these were not the colors that Gene would of chosen. After mom and dad went, to the old folks home, he wanted to replace most of window frames as the ones in the house were the original ones and they were in pretty bad shape. Geneís brother, Elmer is a carpenter and he helped him change the first window frame. Gene wanted to be sure that he did the job right. After that, Gene replaced ten more window frames by himself. Also he repainted the house again, the colors that he liked, light blue with white trim. The roof needed some work, but at age 56 years old, he was not going up on a two, story house roof, to do the work. So Gene hired a contractor to do the roof. Gene started to write to a woman called Reta Stewart, from Springfield, Missouri. He went by Greyhound bus to visit her. She is a very talented lady, being a author and sculptress. Gene has three different things that Reta had sculptured. One is a wall hanging, made in the shape of a Indian Chief, that is so good, a copy of it is hanging in the Chicago Museum. Reta and Gene are good friends.

Gene met a woman called Marge Bledsaw from Elk City, about Aug., 1989. Gene was living in Kenosha, Wis. at this time. He had rented his house in Zion to his niece, Rhonda and her two children, as it was cheaper for Gene to live in Kenosha, then to stay in his old, three bedroom house, as he was on social security disability. Gene liked Kenosha much better then Zion, anyway. Marge Bledsaw had a house in Elk City, so Gene thought it would be a good idea to sell his house in Zion to Rhonda, and keep the house in the family. Gene moved to Elk City and marry Marge. As you will see, Gene was wrong again!!

Gene and Marge were married in Wichita Falls, Texas on Dec. 12, 1989. After one and a half months of marriage, Gene told Marge that he was moving back to Kenosha, as Marge wanted him to pretend that he was not married, so that Marge could keep her payments low, for the house that she had with the federal (FHA) program. Now he knew why Marge wanted to marry in Texas, as Marge did not want the FHA to find out about the marriage. Never, never mess with the federal government!! Gene rented a rental truck and moved back to Kenosha, taking all his things with him. He did the divorce himself and saved $800 dollars. The divorce was final six months later Gene said, enough already, no more marriages, but with him, no is maybe-baby!!!!!!

So Gene was not thinking about getting married again. He was sure that, that part of his life was over. But with him, one never knows!! After about one year, (1991-92) and many, many model airplanes, army tanks, war ships, HO and N gage model trains, etc., he got the wanderlust again. So what else is new!!! 

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