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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2022 8:35 am 
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Location: Cypress, TX
I turned 70 last month. Here are just a few of my thoughts.
Zulu

70 Trips Around The Sun
Random Thoughts
10/19/2022

Today I turned 70. I always thought it would take longer to get here than it has. To put that in perspective, Harry Truman was President when I was born in 1952. Folks older than me will laugh and call me a youngster. Some younger than me won’t even know who Harry Truman was. I didn’t mind turning 40, 50, or even 60. 70 seems to be a little hard to swallow. It must be a mental thing. I’ll have to ponder that.

I still feel good. I get around well. The worst thing is probably stiff muscles but some exercise helps. But I have to start over the next day.
How do all those years disappear? I remember in second grade my teacher telling us to figure out how old we would be at the turn of the century. Year 2000. It was hard to comprehend in the year 1960.
40 years away was five times my current age at that time. Now, the year 2000 is 22 years ago.

I’ve learned a lot and forgotten more. I’m not sure it’s supposed to happen like that but it’s okay to forget some things.
On the other hand, it is pretty nice to reminisce on the quality of life I was lucky enough to experience. It was pretty good growing up in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Life was certainly less complicated. At that time, we all grew up outside. What a pleasure that was. It is sad to see the kids of today that don’t know the thrill or freedom that being outside on your own can bring. My bicycle opened up new worlds for me. If my Mom knew half the places I went on that thing she would have grounded me for life.
You have probably heard it before but I just had to be home when the street light came on. That was real freedom when you were 12 years old.

Never got in too much trouble. I did get arrested once for fishing without a license. I didn’t have to do hard time but my fine was $12.50. That kind of sucked because it was all I had.

I survived a shipwreck at 17 years old off the coast of the Bahamas but that’s another story. Right before my senior year in high school.

I’m glad I didn’t have a phone in my pocket all the time. Of course, I have one in my pocket now and quite often feel the need to throw it away. It’s just not natural.

Vietnam was happening. I registered for the draft at 18 and sweated out my draft number. I did not want to go “kill the yellow man”. My draft number was 132 and they stopped that year at 105. I got lucky.

I bought my first car. A 1964 Plymouth Belvedere station wagon with a push button transmission. It cost me a whopping $100. I drove it for a year and sold it to my Brother for $40.
I got to experience the muscle car era. The late 60’s and early 70’s. Who could forget Cragars and Glasspacks? How cool was that? I didn’t have one but always dreamed of one. They were just too expensive. Like $4000. Plus my Dad wouldn’t let me have a 440 cubic inch engine. I did buy a new 1972 Plymouth Duster. It had the muscle car look but only a six cylinder engine. It was all I could afford. $2,800 right off the show room floor. I had the astounding car payment of $71 a month for three years after my down payment. Luckily, I was making about $3 an hour at the grocery store stocking shelves at night. Gas cost $.35 a gallon. It took $5 to fill the tank. I was still pretty cool! I was 19 years old.

I did a year at Brookdale Junior College in New Jersey, a year at San Jacinto Junior College in Pasadena, Texas and one year at University of Houston in Texas. Got promoted at UPS and quit school because I was making really good money.

I married my high school sweetheart at 22 years old and got divorced at 24. That was short lived! That’s all I’ll say on that.

I went through my English car phase around 1977 with a good salary that allowed me to splurge on classic cars. I had a 1961 Austin Healey 3000, A 1965 Austin Healey 3000 and a 1964 Jaguar XKE all at the same time. I was high rolling!
I sold them in 1979 to pay for a new Chevy van that I customized, quit my job at UPS and took a nine month sabbatical driving around the country with a German Shepard puppy. What a great experience!
Ran out of money and had to go back to work. Started building communication towers in late 1979. Did it for 24 years. The job involved extensive travel and I got to see a lot of places. As of today, I have been in 49 states. I’m missing Alaska but the day is still young. I built a string of towers across the Sinai Desert in Egypt, an 800’ broadcast tower in Ecuador, was quite involved with 26 towers in Morocco, a number of trips to Hawaii, some small stuff in Mexico, several trips to the Bahamas and a lot of other places.

I bought my first house in 1982. I was single and still working on the road most of the time. The first year I owned my house, I slept in it 21 nights. It cost $49,900. Can you imagine? My last truck cost almost that much.

1985 found me married again. It lasted almost 10 years this time. I won’t say anymore on that one either.

I remember when I thought 40 was old. Now, that was 30 years ago. It just doesn’t seem possible.
Our minds are full of a lifetime of memories. The hard part is remembering them. I play a game with myself. I try to remember things from way back that I haven’t thought about in decades. I’ll pick some random memory and try to think about what else happened that day. It works sometimes but a lot of it stays pretty cloudy. Stumbling on something you haven’t thought about in 50 years is kind of fun. I’ll keep working on it. There is a vast library there.

I got married again 24 years ago. It has been an extremely rewarding experience this time. We have a good life. I have since given up on my poor habit of continuously getting a new Wife. Proof that all addictions can be conquered. I hope this one keeps me.

Having never had any children, I have missed all the joy and heartache of that experience. I think I miss it. It might be fun to have some Grandchildren now. Although they wouldn’t be children anymore at this point.
I am very happy with my life. Yes, there have been a couple of tough times here and there but nothing insurmountable. I’m not sure I would change anything. I don’t think a whole lot of people can say that. I wake up with a smile on my face every day.

I lost both of my Parents in the last two years. That was pretty hard to take. But, to the end, they both had their minds. Their bodies just gave out on them. The last few months were pretty hard on both of them. Mom was just 9 hours from her 90th Birthday and Pop was three weeks from his 92nd Birthday. Pop always used to say “that when an old man dies, it’s like a library has been burned down”. Pretty true words.

I will receive my first Social Security check next month. I waited until I reached 70 to ensure that Cheryl could receive the most money possible should something happen to me. The extra income will be nice.

I have been building cannon carriages for historical artillery for about 25 years. It has been a very rewarding and lucrative hobby. I retired from the real world about 12 years ago and have concentrated on my artwork. My cannon related stuff is really nice and commands a high price. My Lovely Assistant is my Web Mistress and has continually kept my website up for two decades. I have well over a half a million hits on it now.
I always thought that you weren’t an artist until someone else thinks you’re an artist. It is quite gratifying. Collectors seek out my work.
I have my stuff in a whole lot of museums including The Alamo. That speaks for itself.
When I’m not building cannons, we camp and fish. We have a truck camper that will pull our boat. It is really fun! A couple of years ago we did a 42 day trip, driving 6,600 miles from here to North Dakota, across to Idaho, and South back to Texas. A lifetime experience!

“Fate is inexorable”.

I leave no progeny behind. And while the day is young, it’s not likely to happen at this point.
My only legacy will be my artwork, which very probably will be around for a long time. There are quite a few centuries old cannon barrels mounted on my carriages. Some in museums and some in personal collections. These cannons, which have been around for hundreds of years, will quite likely be around for hundreds more. My name is on all of my work.
Because I don’t have a choice, I now look forward to the next chapter in my life. I will certainly be doing the same stuff I’ve been doing, just a little slower.
I look forward to it.

Michael Elledge

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Zulu's website
http://www.jmelledge.com


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2022 8:34 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:55 pm
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Location: ridley park, PA
Wow Zulu, you have had an interesting life...................and you are still on a roll!

Building towers explains some of your amazing metal work, talent and drive explains the rest.

Thanks for sharing your story and good luck on your future sun trips.

I am 64 and hopefully at 70 I can post my story!

Good Luck Zulu!

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"To all those who work come moments of beauty unseen by the rest of the world." Norman Maclean


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 9:15 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2002 1:01 am
Posts: 2034
Location: Big Prairie Ohio USA
I have you beat by 5 years, My life is really boring compared to yours, I grew up on a farm, went to college at Kent State(yea, I was there for the shooting), worked for North American Rockwell the largest military industrial complex at the time,worked in factories until I retired and started to substitute teach, married a girl I met at college and have been married to her for 51 Plus years, Four kids, three grandkids . When I finished college I discovered the hard way no company would hire any one who had epilepsy. and at that time you had to sign a release from the draft board of your medical records to get any job in engineering, so since I was an experienced tool and die maker from the jobs I worked at to pay for my college, I worked in factory jobs where they only cared if you were alive!After the vietnam era companies started doing drug tests so getting into engineering was still out of the question.Teaching is the one profession where you don't have to pass a drug test!I made a mistake in sending the kids to college so they could get good paying jobs. The good paying jobs for people who have college degrees are not in the rural area where I chose to live so I have kids in Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, and grand kids I seldom see.My Amish neighbors have large families and get to spend time with the grandkids .


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 10:40 am 
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Location: Albuquerque, NM USA
Well I don't know who Michael Elledge is or if Zulu is matching his events but all you "youngsters" have a lot to be thankful for. No memories of the Koran or WWII to dampen your outlook. :-) It would take a lot more space and typing than I can do to come close to a write-up like that. :-)
...Lew... 29 Aug 1932 - ?? (probably not much longer) :-)


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 2:08 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 2:48 pm
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Location: Cypress, TX
Lew Hartswick wrote:
Well I don't know who Michael Elledge is or if Zulu is matching his events but all you "youngsters" have a lot to be thankful for. No memories of the Koran or WWII to dampen your outlook. :-) It would take a lot more space and typing than I can do to come close to a write-up like that. :-)
...Lew... 29 Aug 1932 - ?? (probably not much longer) :-)



Lew,
Michael Elledge and the famous "Zulu" are one and the same!

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Zulu's website
http://www.jmelledge.com


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2022 5:50 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 15374
Location: Maui,Hawaii
Happy 70! thank you for sharing your life with us.

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The land some where in the middle
20 47 00N -156 26 00W
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