Biography and Decisions
I was born in Rochester, New York, in 1943. I came from a musician’s family. I now live in St. Simons Island, Georgia and am a husband, father, grandfather and a scientist. I met my wife, Jane, while we were in school. Jane was an excellent French teacher for many years. She helped me get through the scientific French requirement for my PhD! We have a son, John, who is a professor at the University of Wisconsin, and two grandsons, Conrad and Isaiah. At the age of nine, I contracted the polio virus, which destroyed many of the nerves in my legs and, in turn, the muscles innervated by them. Today, though the disease itself is long gone, I still have physical problems as a direct result of paralytic polio and now from post-polio syndrome. I graduated from Fordham University (chemistry and philosophy) in 1966 and received a PhD in chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1971. After a career spanning over thirty years in various industries (engineer in a paper mill, marketing/technical service director and research vice president), in 2001, I retired from a position as research director of a chemicals and minerals firm.
There is no doubt that polio shaped me in many ways and is the principle topic of my memoir. There is also no doubt that my ability to face up to and resolve difficult questions and subsequently make things happen was greatly improved.
It took me about two years to write this memoir. Besides the family chronology, I reacquainted myself with many friends who I have not had contact with for some years…this was a real joy. I also got to know myself better, and preparing this memoir, has, despite my post-polio syndrome challenges, brought me inner peace. Many neighbors and local friends did not know about my early years. This has led to some fun conversations. Finally, writing a book is far different from writing a research report. It was a very steep learning curve for me and was a real treasure, most of the time, to experience.