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Richard Jennings

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December 2014 marks the 50th year since my family (Dad, Mom, Sisters) moved from California to Ohio.

It has been a wonderful 50 years but it didn't start out that way. As you can imagine, having to move from beautiful, warm California to some place I had never heard of (Dayton), was traumatic for a boy who just turned 17. And worse yet, I had to give up everything that was dear to me ... my 55 Chevy Bel Air hardtop that I had worked so hard to purchase ... my friends at school ... and a "first love" girlfriend.

But being a minor, I had no say-so in the matter. My Dad's new job with NCR in the newly developing area of computers was important to him. It eventually turned out to be a good thing, but there was no way you could have convinced me of that at the time.

So here I am, in the middle of my Junior year, and changing schools ... again ... (my Dad moved us quite often it seemed). I started the new year, 1965, at Centerville High School. I was not accepted there very well. The rich kid's cliques were all over the school, and I wasn't used to dealing with those kinds of people. So at the end of that school year my dad moved us to a neighboring community, Kettering, where the people were much friendlier and the school (Fairmont East) was much easier to live with. I made many friends who are still friends today.

Life goes on, and college, and Army service during the Viet Nam war ... .all pretty much typical for guys everywhere at that time. After a bad decision to get married at age 23 (when I was too immature in the first place), and an eventual divorce, I found my wife of almost 40 years. A ready- made family (Russ and Bill), and an additional girl of our own (Rachel) made for a good life and a family that I am proud of. (And now, of course, grandkids are icing on the cake).

But now, that Helen has gone to her heavenly rewards, I think back on those years in California and wonder what became of those friends and what life is like back there now. I understand that things change over 50 years, so it more than likely it is nothing like the way it was. I have tried a number of times to see if my old '55 was still in existence , but every search has turned up nothing. So more than likely that is long gone, and has been 'recycled' numerous times by now. I still would like to see if my 'first love' is still alive and well, and learn about her life over the years. Maybe one day I will find a way to learn about all that.

'Fate' or whatever you want to call it, can take your life in directions you never would imagine, so just learn as you go, and 'roll with the punches' as they come, but more importantly, enjoy the good times no matter where you are.

We are only given a certain number of years here on earth. Cherish each and every one of them.

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This page updated: December 31, 2014