We will never forget!
Hi. My name is Robert Ellis Smith. I was born in 1943 in the McLennan County Hospital in Waco, TX to Sgt Ellis Ulysses Smith and Mrs. Edna Leah Reeves Smith. Mom and Dad met at the Waco Civic Center as Dad was traveling through town, I believe to meet a date in Houston. They played a little ping pong, went out for a coke, and the rest is history. Two weeks later they got married and two weeks later, Dad shipped out for the west coast for training and on to the big war in the Pacific. When he came home I was two and a half years old. I think Dad worked at the Waco bus line, repairing diesel engines for a couple of years. He became great friends with Bill Adams and they remained so to the end. I still correspond with some of the Adams family whom I've known since childhood, so 65 years or so. Then he went to Fort Worth and worked at Chance-Vought for a short while but he couldn't stand being inside all the time so he went on for the Santa Fe railroad. Some of my fondest memories of life around the age of 9 or 10 involve going to the Dallas round house looking for Dad. He always whistled the same tune as he walked along, so I could find him by his whistling if he were outside somewhere. He retired at 63 and moved back to the Colorado mountains, his original home where he bacame ill and passed away about 13 years later.
I dropped out of school after finishing the 9th grade and just starting the 10th. I went into construction work. In 1966, when the Navy announced an advanced rate for construction workers to go to Vietnam and build stuff, I joined the Navy Seabees as and E4 and sure enough, I was soon in Vietnam. I made E5 on that deployment. I went again in 1968, but I didn't make E6 until I was in Morocco. After 3 years, I was sent statrside to work in the plumbing shop of the Portsmouth Naval Prison. I ended up with PTSD by then, but no one was using that term for it, so I got kind more squirrelly than normal and went AWOL for a while when they wouldn't grant me leave. Wound up with reduced to E5, loss of $400 pay, and my choice of stay in or be discharged. I took a General Discharge under Honorable Conditions and called it a day for the Navy.
I was associated with Texoma Council of Governments, Texoma Housing Authority and Tri-County Senior Nutrition Programs in Grayson County, Texas as dba TexaStar MicroComputer Solutions for about 21 years. I did everything that looked like a computer for them, built and managed their network, and did a lot of their telephone work and building maintenance. I coordinated repairs and remodels from one cubicle to whole floors., In the early years there were some months when my beloved boss would ask me to go ahead and work through the month with no promise of a paycheck. But she always came through by the end of the month and I never went hungry or failed to have a roof over my head for those happy 21 years. However, my beloved boss left for greener pastures in 2008 and our also beloved executive director resigned and was replaced in 2009.
When I was unreasonably terminated by the new Executive Director in 2009, I was in a very good financial position to retire. I was having too much fun for over 20 years to even consider quitting, but I guess if they didn't want me any longer, I didn't really care. But they hired a "Computer Consulting" firm to come in and evaluate the network and computers and see where things might be improved. After their report, I was terminated, the "Computer Consultants" were hired without due process of bidding the job or governing board approval as was required by law in the state of Texas for contracts of the dollar amount involved.
I guess somewhere there is a God. I wouldn't wish death or disease on any man, but within six months the head "Consultant" had passed on to his eternal rest, his company was defunct, and they were looking for someone else to do my job. Two years later I am still trying to get rid of the some of my customers so I can really and truly retire. Some of them have become very good friends and it's hard to tell a good friend no when he needs something done to his computers or network or web page. If you have customers calling and requesting your services you are not retired and can't get into the mood. I moved to Round Rock, Texas, just north of Austin. Living in a pretty nice apartment complex for the first year, looking around with an eye to a house near one of my stepsons. My wife's parents moved here to a retirement community much like the Renaissance in Sherman. In fact it's operated by Holiday Retirement which operates the Renaissance in Sherman as well.