I was born Martin D. Johnson, a lower middle class white child. Thankfully my parents had their act together and it didn’t stay that way. I have an older brother and two older sisters that probably feel the same way.
I was born in Nashville, Tn. when my father was stationed at Sewart AFB flying C-119‘s and then C-130‘s in the Air Force. As all military brats, we moved a good bit. We soon left Opry Land and moved to Pearl City, Hi. From there it was off to Dayton, Oh and then settling permanently (somewhat anyway) in Tampa, Fl. when my father retired from Macdill AFB in 1969 as a Lt. Colonel.
If you ever watched “Leave it to Beaver“, well that was my childhood. I was the Beaver, but unlike the show I had a good bit of “Eddie” Haskell thrown in. I would have gone absolutely nuts had God delivered a son to me like I was to my parents. Sorry Mom and Dad.
My father was my hero often walking in from a days work wearing his flight suit and dear mother had dinner waiting with the TV set to Walter Cronkite or the Huntley Brinkley report. She was (and still is) a wonderful mother and I have to assume a pretty darn good wife. After 60 some odd years of marriage they are still together in the hills of Western N. Carolina.
Somehow, in 1974 I graduated High School in Seminole, Fl. and in 1977 I joined the Air Force as a Crew Chief on F-15‘s. They were A models and they were brand new to the A.F’s inventory. In 1979 I was 19 or 20 I guess and was the only person on mid shift in charge of getting at least a half dozen birds ready for the days flying schedule. What I did to deserve it all I don’t know but to this day I still feel extremely fortunate to have lived it all.
While I was still active I tried some college and found that it just wasn’t for me. I really excelled in a few classes but the ones that were really required of me to do well at I bombed. It was horrible.
After getting an Honorable Discharge I tried some more College with the same results. I went to work at the local Honda (motorcycle) dealership in the parts dept. when I realized that I was not going to be the next Einstein.
Soon after I started that job I was told by a doctor during a not so routine checkup that I had Hodgkin’s disease. I was scared stiff and for the next few months I figured I had a few years left before someone was going to plant me in the dirt. My father who was self employed at the time, made me an employee and got me on his health insurance. After that it was off to M.D. Anderson in Houston, Tx. for plan “B”. Long story short I was mis-diagnosed. I had Sarcoidosis and Cat Scratch fever combined. Neither was life threatening except for extreme cases. For a rather lengthy period of time I thought I was not going to make it to 25 and it permanently changed my outlook on life and everything. To this day it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I would not have changed a thing other than putting my parents through what I did. I have many people to thank for that brief period of my life.
I got married once in 1985 or 86, I honestly cant remember.
The next 15 or so years I was in the Carnival business either managing my father in laws cotton candy wagons or managing several rides for the Strates Shows in Orlando, Fl. That’s enough of that. It wasn’t living, it was survival. It wasn’t much fun.
During the carnival years we had our first son named Eric Douglas Johnson. He never made it into this world though and no one knows why but it sure wasn’t his mothers fault. She did everything right not even taking so much as an aspirin during the pregnancy. She was a model mother. Why Eric didn’t make it was just fate I guess but he sure brought us together and darn near tore us apart all at the same time. Over two decades later there is still a big hole in my heart.
Fast forward through two years of carnival life and Rene’ got pregnant again. In January of 1991 we had another son that we pinned the name of Ryan Douglas on. He was named after aircraft just as I had always been told I was. (It was later told to me that that was just a bunch of crap that my grandfather had dreamed up. Remember Martin). I was not going to let that happen twice!
Twenty Two years later Ryan graduated Embry Riddle having studied Aerospace Engineering and Rene’ is still around being a terrific housewife, long distance mother and the Principle of Rock Crusher Elementary School.
Me? Well after a few career changes I’m still self employed working out of my home for the most part wondering why I just wrote all of this. And wondering why you, if you made it this far was curious enough to read it all. Meh, who cares right! =)
Update. (March 2013ish)
Well Jan 12 of last year was a while back. Like maybe 14 months ago. Here’s what has changed since.
Mom and Dad. hmmm. =) They’ve been married 63 years now if I’m not mistaken (Boy was I off on that last guess). Clearly, two of the best people I’ve ever known or know of. I don’t quite understand some of the things that have been happening in the family lately and I don’t think I want to. I wan’t for nothing but happiness and understanding. I hope that isn’t too much?
Ryan has decided to do this semester a little further away than Daytona Beach. Last Saturday we put him on a plane to Munich. He hasn’t lived here for nearly 4 years but since he’s landed on the other side of the planet it’s become a lot quieter.
Enough said, I’m still dealing with it all. The confusion, the planning, the all of it. Bless you Ryan, may you continue your path to success without ever losing the zest for it all. No regrets buddy, no regrets at all. You have yours going far away. Me, I do mine on vinyl seats with a helmet. =)
Do it right. That’s all that counts.
Rene’ is still doing her thing and loving every minute of it. I’m still doing my thing and… ditto.
Do it right, if you succeed you’ll do it again… a lot.
Update. (July 2013ish)
Ryan. Well he’s about 2 weeks from coming home. His European school/vacation/??? is just about over thank God!
Rene’. Well she’s now the Principal of Rock Crusher Elementary and in a few weeks the kids will be back screaming in the halls. She’s as nervous as a wet hen. We all know that she’ll do just fine though.
Me. Happy to be associated with the two just mentioned. They’re wonderful, just wonderful.