In the beginning...
I was born an only child in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania at a time near the leading edge of that population bulge known as the baby boom. My ancestry, so far as I can tell is typical for my area: a Heinz 57 varieties matter including Swedish, German, Irish, and ???? at the level of my grandparents and there is really no telling what might be mixed in further back. I did consider myself lucky in that I had some vowels in my name. Some of the other children seemed to have an ancestry which managed to do without such amenities. My childhood was typical also: middle-class suburbia of an industrial town.
My highschool yearbook picture. Yes, I had a pocket protector and a slide rule (and I knew how to use it too!).
During my school years I was caught in a difficult position partly of my own making. I was, and I presume still am, fairly far out on the right tail of the intelligence curve. Unfortunately, if there were such a thing as a motivation curve I would likely fall equally far out on the left tail. In other words smart plus lazy which does not bode well for educational achievement. This is not to say that I couldn't or wouldn't apply myself but it did mean that to really do well in a subject I had to be desperately attached to it. This description could only really be said to have applied to science subjects and, to a lesser extent, to mathematics. I did passably well in all subjects but only because of an ability to skim a textbook, remembering "just enough", and a knack for test taking. Fortunately I was able to attend a pioneering technical training program started in my area which required students to take a full college preparatory course load during half of the day in exchange for being allowed to attend the technical school for the other half. I attended the electronics program which was roughly the same as some two-year college courses I've seen recently. As it turned out, this pretty much ensured my livelihood up until today.
When I graduated from school there was little or no chance of going to college. My family was breaking up so they would not be sending me to school and my mediocre showing during high school ensured that there would be no merit scholarships. In any case, I was desperately eager to escape the entire situation so I decided that enlisting in the military was my best out at the time. Ready or not, United States Air Force, here I come!