De' fliengde Vuogtlänn'r

Observations, rants, etc. from a guy who really gets around.


Furthering My Education

After high school, I enrolled in the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland to pursue a career in broadcasting. (I've often wondered how things might have turned out had Other Events not intervened. But that's a whole different story.) Nevertheless, I got a great education, and it's done me a world of good over the years.

By way of background, I often say that I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for a little old lady from Ohio, driving on an expired license. The year was 1965 and my stepfather drove a cab for Sun Cab Company of Baltimore. He had pulled into a gas station just up the street when said L.O.L. rear-ended him. He pitched forward and his head hit the steering wheel, resulting in a mild concussion. While he was laid up, he checked out the Help Wanted ads and found some good prospects. Before long, he had applied for -- and got hired into -- a job as resident manager of Mount Olivet Cemetery on Baltimore's southwest side, between Irvington and Yale Heights.

The curious thing about the move across town was that I was at Broad Creek Scout Camp when it happened. When I got back, I had to go to the old house and hope someone picked me up (they did). The also meant going to a better school in a better neighborhood. It also meant that I could actually plan on finishing all four years of high school, instead of dropping out and going to work to help support the family.

How I got accepted into Cardinal Gibbons High School is beyond me. I never figured myself as being smart enough for that. (Eight years of dealing with nuns can do that to you.) It was at Gibbons that I met John Jeppi, who became a mentor for me. Just before my senior year, he left to set up BIM.

Once I finally graduated from Gibbons, John helped me get a job at Stewart's Department store out in Westview Mall, working in the Men's Department. It was there that I met Tim Miller and John Burton, with whom I became fast friends. Very early on, we discovered that time was a (gasp!) Mormon(!). It took him a few months, but he got John going out to church with him and John eventually joined. They both went to work on me, and after looking very intensely into the Church, I joined as well. That's a very private part of my life, but it bears brief mention here, if for no other reason than to explain subsequent events. It is not my intention to do any preaching on this blog, suffice it to say that I am still a member in reasonably good standing of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (q.v.).

After graduating from BIM, I got hired at a little radio station in Martinsburg, WV (gateway to absolutely nothing). Since I worked the evening shift, it was hardly an ideal situation for me. There I was -- 19 years old, single, and stuck in a town where there was literally nothing to do. It was The Ultimate Hick Town. (The definition of "hick town" being a town where there's no place to go where you shouldn't.)

Mercifully, the job only lasted about four months, and I wound up moving back to Baltimore. A guy at church stopped me and said "If you need a job, let me know." I said "Al, I need a job." He got me hired on at Hecht's department store near Edmondson High School, working in the Sporting Good's Department. This turned out to be worse than Stewart's. At least at Stewart's, we all pretty much got along. A year later, I received a call to serve the Church as a missionary in the southern part of Germany. That's when the real "fun" begins.



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