An Uncomfortable Discharge


I was discharged from the Air Force in 1971. I was stationed in San Angelo, TX and decided to stay in Texas for the then foreseeable future. We had friends living in San Antonio and I was trying to see if I could get employment there. I finally landed a job working with Tobin Research creating maps from aerial photographs. We had a very odd work schedule, we worked nights for one week then switch to days the following week which gave us a long weekend every other week, from 3 o’clock on Friday until 3 o’clock on Monday. So I would stay in San Antonio, working until Friday afternoon. As I left the car with my wife in San Angelo, it required me hitchhiking or taking the bus the approximately 250 miles from San Antonio San Angelo. I would get to San Angelo sometime Friday night and turnaround Saturday morning and drive myself, my wife, and our one-year-old infant son back to San Antonio to look for an apartment. On Sunday we would drive back to San Angelo and, either Sunday night or Monday, I would hitchhike back to San Antonio, logging about 1000 miles per weekend.


It was an interesting period and I got to see much of Texas especially the Permian basin. We finally relocated to San Antonio in the following fall and I started a course in Architecture at San Antonio College where I spent the next two years. Having just spent nine months studying Serbo-Croatian at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey CA where we had six hours a day of classes and four hours of homework. I knew how to study!


We spent a lot of time visiting Austin, San Marcos and much of the hill country. I then got a job with Dow Chemical writing a newsletter for their Styrene Division in Lake Jackson TX. We spent an interesting seven years down there including having a second child and having the opportunity to fire Dr. Ron Paul (yes the Ron Paul) for his callous attitude towards his patients. He seemed more interested in making money than performing a service but that’s another story.


I worked as a model builder designing chemical plants and one week we decided to take a vacation in Mexico city. We didn’t realize that it was Holy Week and the city was quite shut down which probably made for a nicer stay. I tried looking for work down there for the next year and, after having given up and devoting my time to the house, a friend placed an ad from the newspaper on my desk:


Model Builders wanted for Mexico City contract. And the phone number.


Two weeks after that day, I stepped foot in Mexico City to start my new job. We had rented out the house, sold one of the cars and put all of our furniture in storage. When we told Adrian’s teachers we were going the Mexico City one of them told us he would get more education living in a foreign country then he would out of third grade in Texas.


After a year in Mexico City which we tried to extend, we returned to Texas in the Houston area where I worked for several years for CE Lummus, a major engineering firm, again building models of chemical plants, the job I truly enjoyed.