Pretty much I'm a wanderer I guess. I was raised in South Georgia. Hazlehurst to be exact. My Dad was a body and fender repair man, but I never knew him well. He died when I was 10 (1967). From what I remember he also had a wanderlust.
My Mother was a nurse. A wonderful Mother she was. She passed last year.
I guess in a way my Mother also wanted to venture out. My Dad had actually decided to go his merry way two years before he died, 1965.
At that point my Mother left us with my Grandparents and took off to Atlanta. She had graduated nursing school and felt she could find better work in Atlanta.
My sisters and I were collectively 4, 7, and 10. Charlene eldest, Rhonda youngest, and me in the middle. Three kids our age essentially dumped in the laps of our grandparents, who were in their 50's and early 60's.
Hazlehurst was and is still a small rural town surrounded by 'houses, farms, and fields". It was a great place to grow up, but not always perfect. No hometown is.
Any, in 1975 I graduated from Jeff Davis High School. I wasn't college material, but I got accepted to Lee University and went anyway. I wasn't the best student but I dang sure learned more about the world.
I pretty much failed in school, but fell in love with the mountains of southern Appalachia. Then I fell in love.
A girl from Indiana captured this young mans heart. The first time I saw her I was committed to know her, and maybe get her to love me. I also was not the marrying kind.
I left Indianapolis and went to Charlotte, NC. Had never been there in my life. I had a friend from Hazlehurst that had gone to Georgia Tech. He worked for a textile company call Celanese.
I called him from the airport, he picked me up. I ended up living in Charlotte for 5 years. I learned more about behaviors, groups, and partying as an adult in the early 80's. I inhaled and snorted, for a season. I was in my 20's and my heart had been stomped.
I left Charlotte in 1bout 1985 and came back to south Georgia, Only this time I lived in Toombs County, or Vidalia, Georgia, Onion Capitol of the World.
For the next 8 years I was there. I bounced in bars, chased women, drank, etc.. Then in 1993 I started to work for National Service (AmeriCorps).
In the beginning the new National Service effort was the purely bi-partisan brainchild of President George H.W. Bush and Senator Sam Nunn.
Each had the want to involve some sort of volunteer enhancing, citizen building and teaching program into the K-12 thru college age system. What came from this was a wonderful bi-partisan program that would do very well in contributing to the goodness, and growth of our country. Their heart was in the right place.
In Vidalia Georgia there was a "demonstration program" funded. The Georgia Peach Corps was one of 7 demo programs around the country. I was hired as the Human Service Crew Chief.
There were three other issues areas that each program was to address. Human Services, Environment, Education, and Public Safety.
Each of our groups with the Peach Corps had 20 members, all 18-25 with a few senior citizens in the mix, for even more learning opportunity.
I learned so much from my members. I saw the effort, and the program as so worth our time. Plus, it was the most money I had made in a steady job for a long while.
A year after being selected to work with the local program I was offered the position of State Program Coordinator for the State of Georgia Commission for National and Community Service. A huge boost for a simple man.
After two years with the commission, and working to maintain the integrity of the purpose. I saw changes start to happen. politics and party agenda started entering the picture.
It was probably there all along, but in my little proverbial "booth in the back in the corner in the dark", or rural southern Georgia if you must. We were not a wordly exposed culture.
Not as much as the city back then. Keep in mind, it was the mid 90's. The internet was in its pure infancy. The fanciest thing going, if you had a computer was "America Online". Some don't believe that was the internet at all.
My first experience with a computer at all came when I had just moved into my new job in Atlanta. One day I came back from lunch and there sat a Macintosh Classic Computer sitting on my desk. I didn't know how to even turn it one. Bob Smith, my cubicle neighbor showed me how.
Over the next two years I would graduate up and when I left i was using a 660 AV machine with a 100mg hardrive and 8 megs of ram. Wow.
Anyway, After close to two years of being with the commission I started to see, as I said, political party agenda start to enter our program pictures.
Where prior AmeriCorps programs aimed at remaining non-partisan, now they were almost openly becoming partisan. either toward one agenda or the other.
One day, because of this, and an incident with an office mate that helped make up my mind, I walked in my Directors office, (Lynn Thornton, who I completely adored), and laid my resignation on the table, and left.
I started doing some consulting gigs around the country for other commissions in order to make ends meet. It wasn't enough to make my living steady, even though I enjoyed doing it.
Somewhere along the line between 1994 and mid 1996 I lost joy. I became not pleased with where my life was going. I needed something to change my place, and being. Wasn't sure what except for the dream I had had since being a boy of about 12.
I reckon that’s my story. Enjoy the read. I sure enjoyed writing it.
PS: I named it the "Turning 40 Nostalgic VW Service Tour, and Search for the beginning of Wind" as a joke. Its ended up sticking.
The rear window of the bus as I was coming close to the end of the first year of travel.