Careers

The Summer Job

I needed to get to my summer job working at a Standard Gas Station on the freeway at the Coffee Tree side of Interstate 80 near Vacaville. On a three-day week-end like the Fourth of July, Friday afternoon promised to be crazy. This was my second summer working at the gas station, and I was prepared for anything. I had to get there on time, and I was running late.

The Counseling Demonstration that Led to my Career Change

The audience listened with rapt attention as a couple came out onto the stage. Their three-year-old daughter, I will call her Katie, had learned how to be the boss in the family and was ruling their lives. The counseling the couple received was spectacular, successful, and contrary to any parenting advice I had ever encountered. I was mesmerized.

Performing Surgery on the BOSS

My boss was Chairman of the Department of Surgery, a national figure in our field and the draw for most of my colleagues and me to join the faculty at UC Davis. He could be a daunting figure, benevolent but stern, an intense and demanding leader. He had raised us, so to speak, as we developed in our careers. Performing well for any patient is top priority, but this was family. He was head of the clan.

Gan Bei! An American Expert Flying High over Communist China

Gan Bei is the Chinese equivalent of “Cheers,” “Skol.” or “Down the Hatch.” We are being feted at a banquet in our honor at the end of our mission in Zoughzou County in Heilongiang Province in northern China. The banquet is being held in the Communist Party Headquarters, a tomb-like concrete structure somewhere not far from Wei Shin State Farm, where we have been staying. What am I doing here?

Go For It

I began my education in a one-teacher country school. Home was a dairy farm 5 miles away. My mother was an experienced primary school teacher so, at home I received extra doses of reading, writing, and arithmetic that were designed to ensure that, after finishing at the local school, I would be ready to attend high school as a boarder at the Brisbane Grammar in Queensland, Australia. Those plans were to change drastically by the time I started my first year at Grammar. I arrived, not as a boarder, but as a scholarship-supported dayboy living with my mother and sister. My father’s health had deteriorated and he had passed away eighteen months previously, forcing the sale of the farm and a move to Brisbane.

A Kind of Romance

I bought a large suitcase, filled it from bookstores in Sydney and Melbourne, and came home to Davis, energized by the idea. It took a while to understand how mail order worked, to learn to design catalogues, to find potential customers, and to make contacts with Aussie publishers who would honor my orders.