Dad and Us Three Kids.
Mom and Dad Looked so young then.
The whole family +1 cat.
My CSU Photojournalism gang. That's me with the arrow through my head.
Key West Fl 1988 The car's ac quit somewhere in Lousisana on the way down and never worked again.
Corpus Christi rare gathering of myself and brothers 1990s
Philip and Mom and I at a Mesa Az restaurant 2000s.
Mom died in 2014 and Henry passed in 2021.
Yes, I'm back living in a trailer again.
Ok.... So let me tell you a little about myself. Well, maybe a bit more than that.
I've lived most of my life in Oklahoma, (one of those fly over states in the middle of the country). I was born in Tulsa, and lived the first 15 years or so in the eastern part of the state in a succession of small towns. Money was always tight on my father's Oklahoma teacher's salary and we lived in some pretty crappy places. But overall my childhood was good, I don't have any real regrets. I graduated from Ardmore High School in 1977 and thought I wanted to go into medicine, be a doctor or something like that. So I convinced my father to let me go to Baylor University starting the summer after high school graduation. Baylor University had a medical school associated with it, so it seemed a perfect fit. I lasted all of 3 semesters, summer, fall and spring. I hated math and chemistry and they hated me back. It's kind of hard to get accepted to med school with Ds and Fs in math and chemistry. I don't think getting involved with the on campus chapter of the Monty Python Gang helped much either. I guess I wasn't cut out to be a doctor or something.
While I obviously wasn't cut out to be a doctor, I didn't want to sling hamburgers for the rest of my life either. The closest( and cheapest) college/university that offered substantial coursework in my other interests was Central State University in Edmond, a bedroom community just north of Oklahoma City. I loved it, graduating with a BA in Journalism with a minor in History in 1981. But now I had to get a real job. I initially landed a job with a wedding portrait studio on the south side of OKC, but lost that job as Oklahoma's oil economy went through a bust cycle. Oklahoma's economy stayed volatile over the next few years, wrecking havoc with my attempts to get a career started. The military began to look a lot more stable in my eyes. My father had served in the Korean War, was then serving in the Oklahoma Army National Guard. My oldest brother went on to retire from the Oklahoma Army National Guard. When I decided to go military too I had to be a bit different, joining the US Navy in 1987. Since graduating from CSU, I had developed a taste for electronics. I'd had a couple of courses in cad and electronics at the local community college in OKC. In 1985 I had actually bought my first computer system, an Atari 800XL, 1050 disk drive and 1027 LQ printer. That experience guided me into going into the avionics electronics repair area of the Navy.
With this action, my life changed radically. I was stationed initially with VAQ-33 in Key West Fl for three years and had a lovely time there. From there I went to advanced schooling(C7) and then metrology training. I recieved orders to NAS Jacksonville and spent another three years there. After advanced metrology schooling I was sent to NAS Sigonella in Sciliy and spent two wonderful years there living off-base with a Scilian family in the town of Misterbianco. I still had to do two years of sea duty, so took a posting on the USS Nimitz just going into dry dock in Newport News Va. But worsing arthritis in both knees and resulting weight issues ended my career. In all I served honorable for almost 13 years. I also went from an Atari 8bit computer, to an Amiga 16bit computer, to various blends of Intel x86 clones. I conquered my math phobia, passing two semesters of Calculus at Florida Keys Community College in Key West, if only to prove I could. I also earned a Microsoft MCSE just before leaving the navy.
For the first time in 13 years I was a civilian again. Anyone who has spent three years or more in the military (the Air Force doesn't count) knows the humbling process of tansistioning. After mustering out in Va, I traveled to Phoenix Az where my mother and her second husband lived. And tried to put down roots. Again I was bouncing between jobs, it didn't help that I was looking for IT jobs in the middle of the .com bust of 2000. (I really believe I have perfect timing.... NOT!) I finally found stable work with Cox Communications as telephone technical support for their video, high speed internet and telephone services. In my spare time I used the GI Bill to continue my education, earning two AAS degrees in Cisco Networking and Computer Sciences and passing the CCNA test. I also got to live vicariously my dream of being a famous country music singer through my cousin Carrie when she won American Idol in 2005 and went on to take the country and Nashville by storm. There's a reason I only sing in the shower. When my dad's health began to fail in 2006/2007, I was able to transfer to Oklahoma City and the Cox Communications division there.
Okay.... Now I was back in Oklahoma again. Dad passed away just a few months after I moved back and now Mom was also ailing. I stayed with Cox for another five or six years, but when they decided to consolidate their tech support department and close down the one in OKC I had had enough of corporate America. By then I had taken up some bad habits, such as Atari 8bit and Amiga 16bit computing. I also started to make simple replicas of Atari boards I had once owned nearly twenty years before. Once my skill improved, I began to take on more complicated replications and even began to design new Atari 8bit boards. After Mom died, I moved back to eastern Oklahoma and bought a small double wide 3 bedroom trailer. I dedicated one bedroom as my lab and spent the next few years populating it with necessary equipment. With a lot of time and not much money, I started a small internet business that offered fully assembled and sometimes DIY versions of my boards for sale. I never made any money to speak of, but at least I was happy and busy. I fell in with another gang through AtariAge and got involved in some truely ground breaking new re-imaging of the Atari 8bit computers despite my best efforts to remain independant. Heady times.
But then Covid19 hit, my step-father began to have serious health problems that ultimately ended in his death in Nov 2021. I was right in the middle of trying to get his will through probate two states away when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2022. Fortunately it was caught early, but I tested positive for hormone receptor positive breast cancer. I chose to forgo radiation, opting for a mastectomy of the right breast. It was the best chance of a permanent cure, as much as it was possible anyway. But I'm stuck taking hormone therapy for the next five years or so, to try and prevent a recurrence of it in my other breast or elsewhere in my body. Age and the last three years took it's toll and I decided to shut down the webshop and instead focus on a simple information/developmental website which is where you've landed.
Grandpa and Grandma Underwood on their 50th wedding aniversery.
See, I used to have long hair and be slim.
I just keep falling into these weird gangs.
Finally leaving bootcamp in Orlando Fl 1987.
Yes, there really is a town in Sciliy called Misterbianco.
We were a fishing family. This was taken by Dad east of Port Aransass Tx 2000s.
One of the last photos of Dad and us kids.
Dad passed away in 2007.
I updated my solderbench last year, sorely needed.
Somewhat functional Amiga and Atari testing bench.