The 2018 autobiography of Wendell Duane Belden (1939 -) FOREFATHERS My first known ancestor was a Viking chieftain living on the coast of Normandy France in the early 11th century by the name of Ulf. He is known because he led his clan in the Norman invasion of England with the Duke of Normandy. in preparation for the invasion Ulf's clan painted on their round leather shields three fleur-de-lis(which symbolizes loyalty) separated by a fess(which symbolizes honor) . Although this shield is usually shown in the more common English kite shape it undoubtedly was round as can be seen in the Tapisserie de Bayeux, an 11th century tapestry depicting the Norman invasion where Viking long ships can be easily seen with round shields. The Baildon shield is famous as a battle shield not a ceremonial shield, and as one of the very first to use markings to identify clans or families. After the invasion (the last successful invasion of England) the Duke of Normandy then William King of England gave Ulf a moor northwest of Leeds known as Baildon which meant in Celtic a high place of worship. in 1086 King William ordered a survey of his new Kingdom which is known as the Doomsday book that forced everyone to use a three word name. As Vikings were only known by their first name and their fathers first name they had no last name so when they had to be entered into the Doomsday book they chose the name of their Moor for their last name, Baildon. The Moor (which is a glacier produced protrusion in the earth's surface) turned out to have coal and many minerals near enough to its surface that the Baildon clan could and did mine it for over 600 years. Making the Baildons famous for their tenacity and very well-to-do as can be seen by the Baildon manor house in Baildon England which is on the side of the Baildon moor. I was thrilled to see the Baildon shield engraved in the light fixture over the front door of this manor house when I was there in 1991. Richard Baildon, the third son of Sir Francis Baildon (some say he was the son of Lawrence Beldon however this does not fit with the fact that Richard brought with him a carbine, musket, and a rapier sword, the accouterments of a gentleman soldier which is what Sir Franciss third son was, furthermore Sir Francis's family probably said that Richard had died rather than telling everyone he had gone to America in shame. He had become a highwayman and left rather than go to prison, and no English death certificate has ever been discovered for a Richard of Sir Francis's family. Richard first settled in Hartford Connecticut in 1638. Making our family one of the first families of America. An honor founded in dubious circumstances which he masked by changing the family name, as an educated man this was no accident of pronunciation! in 1641 he built a home in Wethersfield Connecticut and his family lived there for the next 100 years. I am part of the 12th generation from Richard and the 36th generation from Ulf. Both of my father's parents moved to Northern Kansas as little children with their families in Conestoga wagons and lived their first year or so there in sod rooms built into the side of hills. in 1939 I was born in a farmhouse in that same area. CHiLDHOOD Shortly thereafter my father and mother moved to California for work in the war effort. For health reasons my father could not join any military service. For reasons I never knew they separated while the war was still going. The next thing my brothers (Don two years older than I and Jimmy four years younger) knew we were living in a small wartime bungalow with my mother and a photographer that worked at home. He seemed perpetually irritated by we boys and took to hitting us to get us out of the house, of course that meant we didn't get to eat very well. This must have been in the mid 1940s. Sometime (months probably) later California welfare people came to investigate our situation for reasons we never knew, probably a neighbor called them. That very day they took us to a shelter where a lot of other children where, the boys had one dormitory so my brothers and I got to stay together and girls had another dormitory. We shared living and dining rooms. in a matter of days our father came and rescued us, I cannot describe how my brothers and I felt upon seeing him. He must have been given complete custody of us. While still in the shelter I remember seeing my mother for the last time in some kind of court room. I have never seen her since! When I was in about the fourth grade we moved to the Tulsa Oklahoma area where our stepmom was from. We never called her stepmother and our friends never knew she wasn't our real mother. She was always very proud of that. She never had children of her own. Her and dad raised us on a small farm in a loving and wholesome home. Before moving to the farm we lived for a short time in a regular neighborhood in a nice house with a small garage in the back yard where I found a box with 19 volumes of a 20 volume set of encyclopedias. At that time they were about 100 years old, I read every page with awe and fascination. At the time reading them was just an adventure however, over time I realized how much they had changed my understanding of time and society. They were written from an absolute modern point of view as though that view was permanent, just like we do today. But, it was not then permanent as it hasn't been my entire life and so I see everything that way. From fashion, politics, economics, business, education, medicine and everything else! To me everything is evolving and nothing is static. I don't criticize much about our society as I know it is evolving and getting better in every way, it may not be very noticeable on a year-to-year basis but decade by decade it happens as we learn to live in this ongoing modern era. Now, I am sure, that this perspective and attitude has contributed significantly to my creativity and brashness. For reasons I no longer remember shortly after this period, I started studying religions. Neither of my folks were ever very religious, we did go to several different churches during my childhood but never stayed at one for very long. I never understood that either. The more I studied various religions the more disturbed I became. I was never able to rationalize or reconcile the existence of a devil. The more I read the more convinced I became that the devil was a contrivance of religion and a great hindrance to the development of individuals. if the devil made someone do something, especially against their will, then where was self responsibility. When raising my daughters I struggled continually through their childhood to teach them that they were responsible for not only what they did but for what they got themselves involved in. One of my favorite sayings was if you are around trouble then you are in trouble and you should do something about it. Perhaps, the most disturbing thing about Christianity, to me, was the concept of a wrathful or vengeful God. Even the famous quote of Jesus on the cross that His Father should not punish anyone for him being on the cross for they knew not what they had done. A vengeful God and no responsibility! ! The lesson was supposed to be that God was merciful but forgiveness (according to Christianity) is not given without true contrition (which I firmly believe in) . So now the question becomes how can one have contrition without taking responsibility? Anyway, after some time my basic question became one of whether or not God was simply good or not. This question was very, very disturbing and then I experienced (in my early teens) the one and only truly spiritual event of my life. I was alone when it happened and every since I have been totally at peace with God, the hereafter and everything spiritual. This event coupled with my understanding of the evolving nature of life has led me to appreciate the historical significance of religion and Christianity in particular and to not be overly critical knowing that it too is evolving. it wasn't until I was about 40 that I began to realize how graced I was by these internal revelations and the peace they gave me. My first hint came from a priest at my wife's and daughters church. My wife (my second) was raised a Catholic and her and her parents naturally wanted our daughters raised as Catholics and I did not object. Of course, I could not take Catholic vows and so never became a member or ever took communion. I took my family regularly and as I became better off we gave more and more to the church. My wife became very involved in a worldwide effort to improve certain aspects of the church and gained much recognition and influence. Father McCauley (our priest at the main Catholic church in Tulsa) became, thereby, very close to my wife Sandra and peripherally to me. I knew he questioned why I never joined the church and yet participated, volunteered and gave significantly to it but he never questioned me about it directly. We had numerous conversations and slowly became very close and good friends. I overheard him one time defend my position with the church to some other gentlemen and told them that he had never known anyone else with my faith and peace with God. it was then that I began to realize how Graced I was. I read voraciously throughout middle and high school and was often kidded that the only name seen more often than mine in the library books was that of Charles Page, ......the name of our high school. I was small only about five foot four inches when I graduated... so sports was not my thing, girls thought I was cute but short which didn't matter much as my dad would not let me go out with girls anyway(he married young and didn't finish high school and my older brother married young as well and da... I was going to college) thank the stars I grew five more inches in college. However I was a bit famous for my speed and horse bite prowess gained from running about the farm and milking our cow. But what I really excelled at in high school was speech especially debate and extemporaneous speaking. I also started writing poems and finished a short science fiction story. My family moved from Sand Springs Oklahoma to Plainfield indiana between my junior and senior years. Unknown to me at the time and apparently because I was only one credit from graduating at the end of my junior year at Charles Page they show me as a graduate. But I did attend my full senior year at Plainfield high school and graduated there with honors as well. While there I joined the indiana air National Guard, my older brother Don had joined the Oklahoma air National Guard earlier and really enjoyed it and it gave both of us good draft status. I went all of my senior year and was intending to spend the summer in boot camp but meanwhile they changed the boot Camp requirement from three months to four months which meant it would no longer fit it in my summer break and it would mess up my entire freshman year at college so I filed for discharge. While still on the Sand Springs farm I started my first business, a rabbitry. One of my high school teachers told me about a gynecologist in Tulsa that needed a very clean source of young rabbits for pregnancy testing. I talked with the Doctor and shortly built my first business. I kept detailed accounting and hereditary data, did all of the work every day learning responsibility, perseverance and the joy of ownership and accomplishment. When we had to move to indiana I sold out with a tidy little profit. Much to my father's chagrin as he sold out the farm at a loss, my mother kidded him about that for years. I started college at indiana University's downtown indianapolis extension and continued living at home. I intended on becoming an attorney so besides the mandatory classes I took business law. The only thing that happened my first year of consequence was I got caught late one night by the building custodian with my car in the elevator, I had bet some friends I could get it up to the student union floor (it was a small Morris Minor, the British version of the Beatle) I had it in the elevator and was about to close the door when the custodian showed up, the only reason I didn't get in a lot of trouble was that he was laughing his head off. He told me to get it out of the building right then or he would call security...I was gone! ! That summer I worked as a collection agent for a loan company there in indianapolis, really I spent most of the summer being trained. The only thing more enlightening there than the training was the actual collection work. I had never seen that side of our society that up close and personal. But the main thing I learned was: that if you treated people with respect, especially those that were not used to it, you could gain great stature with them. Of course, sometimes more crass tactics had to be used, I'll never forget the slob who sat on his front porch and ignored me. So after going out to see him several times and people back at the office kidding me that I would never get him to pay I decided to go to his house when children in the neighborhood were getting off their school bus near his house. Grown-ups were out gathering up their kids so I decided that would be a good time to get him angry at me. That is exactly what I did and the next thing I knew this big lumbering slob was chasing me around my car. Being small and fast he didn't stand a chance of catching me. Soon his wife came out to see what was all the commotion and ordered him back into the house. I then told her that I would be back to do the same thing again if they didn't send a payment in, in the next few days. They did, and my reputation was made! Next year started off with my composition professor asking why I was taking her again. I asked her what she meant and she said I've never had a freshman C. student come back as a sophomore, so why have you? I told her, I took her class in the first place because I was told it was the best, and last year it seemed to be, so here I am again. I knew what she was thinking, she was so strict with spelling and grammar that I always got Ds and Fs for that part of my grade but she also appreciated my composition and I always got As and Bs for that part of my grade and so the C average. Later that year I won the student council member of the year award but my real reward for being on the student council was meeting a beautiful blue eyed, strawberry blonde from Canada. She was as bright and witty as she was beautiful, but she was half irish and half Scottish and bloody proud of it, and had the temper and lack of control to prove it! The following summer my family and I moved back to the Tulsa area, but I continued to date Catherine and we got married the following Christmas in indianapolis. We started our first apartment in a lovely second story apartment up in a large grove of trees near downtown Tulsa, we called it our tree house. Our first pet was a skunk we named Le Phew Phew. AS A YOUNG ADULT My first real job was with Dunn & Bradstreet as a city reporter investigating and writing reports on small businesses. My real business education started there with my taking every business course they had and, of course what I learned doing my work. While I was still in high school the Corps of Engineers started building a huge dam across the Arkansas River upstream from Tulsa and while working at D&B the Corps was about to close a dam downstream on the Arkansas at Dardanelle Arkansas. By that time two of my friends and I had already become skilled canoeist. The closing of these two dams would mean that no one could ever again canoe down that stretch of the Arkansas as a flowing river, anyway my friends and I decided we wanted to be the last ones to do that. I rounded up some sponsors who built us a special canoe and we made the trip getting through the Dardanelle dam the day before they closed it having started our trip above the Keystone dam which hadn't closed yet. We were on television and had several newspaper articles written from stories I called into the newspaper along our route from pay phones (no cell phones in those days) . it was a real adventure with more work and less excitement than we expected, but very much worth the time and effort! While at D&B I noticed that one of the largest assets most of these businesses had, their receivables, where in terrible shape with way too much money in them and too little and untrained people supposedly taking care of them resulting in high charge off rates. And the idea of my first real business was born. My best friend since middle school, Steve Mabrey and I started what we called Controlled Receivables. The basic idea was to take care of a clients receivables transparently, meaning that from the clients point of view we looked like our clients Accounts Receivable department posting all transactions to records we kept for them, they could call us on a phone reserved just for them that we answered as their receivables department and could answer any question about any client of theirs instantly. if one of their customers called that same number they would think we were our clients receivables department as well. When we did collection work we did it as an employee of our clients and their customers never knew the difference. We were modestly successful. Shortly after starting Controlled Receivables we stumbled onto the Carney brothers (the founders of Pizza Hut just north of Tulsa in Wichita Kansas weren't much older than Steve and I) and found that their business was floundering for the lack of money to build new restaurants. A problem they thought as being one of each individual franchisee. I immediately immersed myself in their situation and realized an answer to their problems could lie in a joint effort of the entire Pizza Hut organization. After explaining my concept to the Carney brothers they agreed to let me bring my concept before their next convention. Knowing that I would need considerable seed money to get this thing started I found a local businessman, Paul Gooden, who agreed to put up $250,000 if my project won approval and so I prepared for the convention, and made my presentation. Under the name of Versatile Investments which Steve and I incorporated with a young attorney friend of mine Ted Gibson. Unbeknownst to me the Carney brothers arranged for several other companies to make similar presentations, but I won anyway. On cloud nine I went back to Tulsa to share the good news with Catherine, Steve and the rest of my family as well as Paul Gooden. However at Gooden's home while sharing the good news, his wife told me that she thought that pizza was just a passing fad and would not approve Paul going through with his promise. And that was that, I missed my first chance at becoming a billionaire! After four years of marriage to Catherine she wanted to start a family but our relationship had just gotten more volatile over time. I guess because of my childhood experience bringing children into an unstable marriage was a dreadful thought to me and so we divorced. Meanwhile Steve was drafted into the Vietnam war so continuing our business was impossible. To protect his status as a noncommissioned officer he could not afford to have creditors of ours pursuing him so we had to take bankruptcy. it turns out that I was not draft able as the Indiana air National Guard that I had to leave arranged for me to become part of a national Air Force reserve of officer candidates. All I had to do was keep them apprised of my address as I was callable with 72 hours notice. And attend the study part of non-commissioned officer training on certain Saturdays, which I did. When the Cuban missile crisis developed, myself and 4,300 other varied reservists attached to air transport units (which unbeknownst to me, I was) were called into active duty by Presidential Order. The records show I served 31 days at the Muskogee Oklahoma Air Force Base, but I think it was less than that but luckily I didn't bother to correct them. After I retired I learned that such service entitled me, unequivocally to VA health benefits. I have been under their care since 2006. including a colon cancer surgery and chemotherapy, all I pay for is a modest co-pay on my medicine that I take at home. I have never even received a bill of any kind for all of the colon and chemo work they did and the follow-up over the last five years. My paying attention to my reservist duties has been one of my best investments! And get this, because I never took basic training my status was and is that of Airman Basic even though I completed officer training. Steve was gone for the Vietnam war and I was single again, I still had a few Controlled Receivables clients but not enough to live on so I found a small apartment building to manage part-time for rent. This allowed me the time to really write however I soon found out that I did not like the people my age who were doing similar things, mainly writers, artists and musicians. Their bohemian lifestyle, particularly their drunkenness from alcohol and marijuana really turned me off. And other people put me in that same category which I really did not like. Except for a tall brunette with sparkling brown eyes. That lived in the apartment building I was managing. Sandra called me her poet, and thought I was wonderfully romantic. We always had great times together and although we started out spending time as friends and usually with other friends it wasn't long before true romance had its way with us. Even though I was seven years older than her. Everything seemed ideal for us until we met with her parents (from Claremore Oklahoma) at a nice hotel restaurant in Tulsa to talk about our wedding plans. I had seen Sandra's parents act contentious and foul mouthed with each other before but they had never acted that way towards Sandra or myself. But shortly after we started talking about our plans Beulah (Sandra's mother) got mean faced and started talking to us that way. As soon as I could I told her that I didn't condone or participate in that kind of behavior and would not stay in her presence if that was going to be the way she acted. Of course, she was affronted but calmed down for a little while, but soon started behaving that terrible way again and I just got up from the table. She immediately asked me, in a mean way, what was I doing? I told her I was leaving, just like I said I would. Her husband, Joe, put his hand on her shoulder and told her I was serious. She apologized and promised not to act that way again. For over 30 years she did not, and we became very close. With Sandra's help we grew Controlled Receivables first in a larger apartment and then in a large house with a huge room over the garage that had an outside entrance making it ideal for a few employees. I took Sandra canoeing several times until we had a serious accident and nearly lost my canoe. So we bought a small sailboat and a book on how to sail, eventually we joined a yacht club and became very good sailors and racers'. I was an officer of the yacht club for years and as Commodore I got the chance to teach the club bully and the entire membership a lesson about protesting. Until then I had never seen a protest brought by one member against another, for the most part when infractions were made the guilty party immediately redeemed themselves by doing a 360° maneuver. But the bully mentioned above never would, then during a high wind race with Sandra steering we yelled at him to give us right away, which according to the courses we were on he should have done, but he didn't so I had to grab the tiller (Sandra was so mad she would have rammed him) and duck our boat behind his. Back at the club after the race I called a protest committee together but told them this was going to be an informal, open, educational proceeding for the benefit of all our interested members. My intent was to teach everybody how a protest was done so that anyone who was mistreated on the course could do something about it. During the protest hearing the bully said that had Sandra stayed her course she would have missed him by about 3 feet which he demonstrated by holding out his hands about that distance. The protest committee was appalled that he thought that was a safe distance for several thousand pound 30 foot racing yachts to pass safely in high winds. Needless to say the bully was ridiculed and put in his place and our racing was a lot more civil after that. in the meantime Sandra and a friend volunteered to assist a famous local chef with her weekly television shows. They did a lot of work and got to learn how to become very good gourmet chefs. Sometime later we joined a suburban gourmet dinner club with her friend and husband. As Controlled Receivables grew our staff had to spend more and more time looking up Zip codes or calling the post office for assistance, which took even longer. So I contacted the local business supply companies trying to find a better way to look up the Zip codes (no internet back then) . To my surprise there wasn't anything, IBM and a micro fiche company had developed products but they were much slower than postal employees who it turned out only took an average of less than 40 seconds to retrieve any zip code in the country! Two years later I had developed a system I called the Zip Dex, had filed for a patent (which I later received) and had built a national sized unit that was as big as two desks made to adjust to a sitting down or standing up position. I also had a small unit built slightly larger than a shoebox that held Oklahoma's zip codes, the system was able to be built at any desired size. it turns out that zip codes actually change rather quickly and therefore the data has to be updated as frequently as every quarter, which was as often as the post office provided such information. This meant that the Zip Dex equipment wasn't where the real money could be made but rather in the cards with the data, much like film for old cameras. Goldman Sachs voluntarily did market research and determined that the income potential for the Zip Dex was over $2 billion a year. I didn't know it at the time but this market research that Goldman Sachs did for free was the first time in nearly 100 years that they had done so. While in Washington DC having the Zip Dex tested by the post office another project while there was to obtain a directory of names and addresses and number of directories provided to whomever. While in Tulsa I could not get anybody to even acknowledge that there was such information, however the Government Printing Office did admit that they did print and distribute the directories on a regular basis and I got their address. I went there and was told in person again that there was no such information when I tried to convince the gentleman that there had to be such a thing he just arrogantly turned and walked away from me. I had previously decided in Tulsa that should I be stonewalled there in Washington DC I would go seek help from an Oklahoma Congressman so I had with me the name and address of the one that would most likely be of help. After explaining our situation to a congressional staff person she excused herself and said she would find out if the Congressman could be of any help and that she would be right back. instead, the Congressman came out and asked us if we would like to go to lunch, of course we said we would. He took us by limo to the Congressional lunch room and once seated and orders placed he asked the waiter for a telephone and was promptly brought one. He took a small note out of his jacket pocket and dialed a number then asked for a specific person who he quickly told that he was having lunch with some constituents that needed the catalog or directory of who the Government Printing Office provided ZiP code directories for and that he expected to be called within 40 minutes with where it could be gotten. in less than 30 minutes he got a call with the information which he wrote down and gave to me. Now for the really good part... the address he gave us was the same one we had gone to earlier that morning and where we were so rudely dismissed. When we got there that very same gentleman that had been so rude earlier handed me the directory, his face was so red I thought he was going to have a heart attack! The tests went great even with a modest amount of training postal employees were able to retrieve zip codes over 40% faster with the Zip Dex than with the directories. A 20% faster ability was considered worthwhile so we passed that with flying colors. Another objective while in Washington DC was to find an independent sales representative to help us market to government agencies. On several occasions we were referred to a retired two star Air Force general by the name of Hal Watson so one of our missions was to meet with him. After numerous phone calls I finally reached him at a party early one evening, at first he seemed incredulous that there was much demand for a system like the Zip Dex, so I told him if he had the connections that I was told he had he could find out very quickly about how many people worked full-time in Washington DC looking up zip codes. I told him if that number was impressive to call me back otherwise I wished him a good evening. A few hours later he called me at my hotel and invited me to breakfast the next morning. He became a partner. In the meantime Ted Gibson (the lawyer I mentioned earlier) was preparing us a nondisclosure agreement so that we could talk to possible manufacturers for the Zip Dex, what he ended up with was a seventeen page document that I was sure no one would sign. I reduced it to four paragraphs on one page, which it turned out didn't matter! Over and over again companies came up with lame excuses why they couldn't sign it although they did wish to see and explore a possible relationship with us. But we had been warned that such behavior was very normal and almost always resulted in the project being stolen. The worst and last experience of this kind that we had over a nearly two-year period was with National Cash Register or NCR, the General knew the chairman of NCR a Mr. Holiman and arranged an introduction with their staff. We worked with a young attorney who finally got company approval to execute our disclosure agreement if we satisfactorily answered all of their questions without actually disclosing the nature of our system. We went to Dayton Ohio with the last of our money and meet with over a dozen executives from many different departments and answered their questions for about two hours, when there were no more questions that would not reveal our system we were excused from their large conference room for over an hour. After being asked back in a Mr. Hawk (a tall, dark, distinguished looking gentleman) introduced himself as NCR's chief counsel and that he had flown in from New York early that morning to attend this meeting. He immediately asked me about our patents and I told him we had no doubt that we would get them to which he then replied, 'then why do you need a disclosure agreement? ' I then addressed the young attorney we had worked with earlier and asked him about our agreement to sign the disclosure statement should we successfully pass the introductory conference that we had just finished. He said that was right. Then Mr. Hawk declared that he was overriding that decision, at which point I stood up and gathered my things into my briefcase at which point Mr. Hawk asked me to explain my position. I reminded him that the key idea to the birth of the cash register was the combining of a register or adding machine to a simple cash drawer. Which of course could not be patented, only the exact equipment used so when the first cash register came out I am sure it wasn't long before many others with different mechanisms quickly came out. I then asked Mr. Hawk wasn't our disclosure agreement a reasonable way for us to protect that time for our product? He didn't answer, and we left without saying goodbye. The young attorney mentioned earlier chased after us and caught us in the elevator, with tears in his eyes he apologized for what just happened and told us he was not told about what just happened. I told him that I believed him and advised him to find other employment as NCR did not seem to be an honorable company. On the way back to Tulsa the next day we were pulled over by a highway patrolman and I was told to call General Watson as soon as possible. He was upset about my walking out on the NCR staff the previous day, I asked him if they changed their mind about signing the disclosure statement and he said that Holiman would not go against the advice of his counsel. So I asked him what he expected me to do, and he said to give them what they wanted. With a few choice words I told him I would rather never get anything done with the Zip Dex than to have it stolen by a firm like NCR who blatantly broke their promise. I then asked him what that told him about NCR? He ignored that and just told me to go back to Dayton. I hung up and never talked to him again, nor did I ever try to do anything with the Zip Dex again even though there is still nothing out there to help like it does! it has so much profit potential that people just can't stay honest when dealing with me about it.... a reality I found hard to accept but learned was a common fate of inventors in our society. Getting back to Tulsa, Sandra and I were so broke we had to sell Controlled Receivables. I had developed several other small products that could be manufactured relatively cheaply and learned of a manufacturing incentive program in Canada so we developed everything necessary to qualify for their very generous grant. We even conducted a product survey of our number one product, a device to block electrical outlets or lock extension cords into the outlet or even one of each. With small children of our own we knew the dangers of electrical outlets especially ones with partially pulled out cords. Our other main product was called 'Ricky Sticky' and where little decorative rubber stick on's for toddlers leather shoes to keep them from slipping, especially on carpet. Our oldest, Tracie slipped and split her lip with shoes like we were trying to make safer. I went to Canada and made a detailed presentation that went very well. Things looked very promising until our country put the very first tariff on imported products from Canada, what terrible timing. Our grant was put on indefinite hold. I had to get a job. If I was going to work with other people I knew I wanted to be a CFO (Chief Financial Officer) for a manufacturing company however I did not have quite the credentials so I looked for an assistant Controllers position behind an almost ready to retire Controller. In a city no larger than Tulsa this job hunt could take a while so I got a job with Bell and Howell that paid well but required a substantial amount of traveling in northeastern Oklahoma, but by traveling late at night I was always able to be home. it took almost a year for my employment agency to find me the job that I wanted but our patience and perseverance paid off. In 1972 I became an assistant to Tom Latta a 64-year-old tall crotchety fellow that no one liked but respected. He was Controller and Secretary for Maloney Crawford and its subsidiary Parmac in Coffeyville Kansans, just north and across the border from Tulsa. Maloney Crawford manufactured oil and gas processing equipment that was mostly used on offshore rigs thus it was highly engineered and expensive with plants in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana they also made bolted steel storage tanks (their original and oldest product) mostly used for temporary storage in oilfields there in Tulsa. Parmac made hydromantic brakes used to control drill stems on oil drilling equipment all over the world, they made a fantastic product and supported it in every way possible as when a brake was not working the whole rig was down (an extremely expensive situation) . Our young (he was less than five years older than me, while most executives were ten years or more) . As Chairman and member of the owning family exercised extreme and personal care. He forced Parmac to charge much more than they ever had before, especially for a new brake size but he also insisted on world-class service. People there would work twenty-four- seven if necessary to get a brake out on a jet to fly to a downed rig. Their customers soon realized the benefit of the company being ran that way and accepted the cost, which of course meant Parmac made in incredible amount of money. Latta, left like he promised on his 65th birthday but had done nothing to prepare me for his work. With the help of his staff, however I used that year wisely and documented every aspect and every financial report he was responsible for so after his departure I took over and our department ran without a hitch. About six months later Latta called the President and asked how I was doing, Latta seemed surprised when Charlie told him that I was doing fine. I learned of this when Charlie asked me if I had been talking to Latta, when I told him the last time I talked to him was the day he left, he was definitely surprised and a bit amused. He knew of my relationship with Latta, it was the same with everyone, he was brusque, crotchety and discussed nothing, only gave abrupt pronouncements and therefore not liked! Maloney Crawford's management style was contentious so Latta actually fit in better than I did but because of my debate training I was able to stay cool and argue with the best of them. Working there therefore started out interesting, then when the oil boom of the 70s got going it really was fast and fun besides everyone making very good money and as one of three local executives comprising the executive Council I was one of the better paid recipients. In February of 1977 the most startling extrasensory event of my life (so far at least) occurred: I was at work sitting at my desk when all of a sudden I involuntarily stood up and was overwhelmed with the need to go home, I rushed home and immediately saw my mother-in-law, Beulah literally wringing her hands and jumping up and down in the hall. I rushed to her and she pointed to the hallway bathroom, Sandra was sitting there on the toilet bleeding, I yelled at Beulah to call an ambulance, she said something about a doctor and I yelled back 'just call 911 now! ' She did it meanwhile I grabbed two big towels put one on the floor of the hall laid Sandra down on it and folded the other one up and put it firmly between her legs. I held it there and tried to calm her until the ambulance arrived, when I started to get in with her one of the attendants said I couldn't ride with them I just glared at him and got in... nothing more was said about that. We got to the hospital and our daughter Kelly was born six weeks early, shortly thereafter. Early, but beautiful and healthy, for weeks every day after work I would go by the hospital and rock her for an hour, I loved doing that. Whenever our children would wake up during the night Sandra would never hear them so I always got up and took them to my big wooden rocker and rocked them back to sleep. I really loved raising our four little girls. Besides sailing my principal hobby was videoing my daughters doing their drill team events. Videos I shared with their coach and anyone else as long as they returned them. All four of them participated throughout grade school all the way through high school with a drill team group called 'Dancing Darlings' ran by a wonderful lady, Mrs. Turner. Tracie and Kelly became particularly good dancers and joined the high school group called 'High Kickers'. They both won rights to participate in all kind of events including several Macy day parades in New York they also performed several times in Hawaii and Florida. Kelly even won a national event in 1991 so she could go to participate in the London Christmas day parade, that nation's largest parade. Sandra and I went and watched her and of course videoed her there. We also took a side trip to Baildon England and visited my ancestors Moor and Manor house which can be seen online by Googling 'Baildon Hall'. Just before this trip Kelly (then a junior in high school) came to me with a most serious question. it seems she was pregnant and wanted advice about a possible abortion. I told her I always believed that was a choice and sole decision of the mother, but she said 'but daddy, what would you do? ' I looked at her and held her for a moment and said I had never thought of that question that way and asked her for a day to consider it. The next day I told her, that for me personally I could never take another life let alone a baby. She sobbed and asked me if I would tell her Mom. On the transcontinental flight back from London I got up the nerve to tell Sandra. At first she was furious, but considering where we were she had no choice but to stay quiet. After a while her face lit up and she began the most courageous part of her life. Drawing on her church connections she arranged an open adoption when in Tulsa no such thing was even known of. After the legal adoption of our first grandson (Spencer Wendell Foster) she arranged an unofficial adoption of the entire immediate Foster family with ours at a unique ceremony contrived by Sandra and her favorite Father. it was beautiful. Meanwhile the oil boom started heating up and I remembered my economics courses serious discussions about booms or what we now call bubbles. As the price of anything goes up it attracts what is known as productive capacity and when prices go up too fast that causes excessive productive capacity, generally speaking the faster the prices go up the greater the excess capacity. By the end of the 70s I was convinced the oil industry was headed for its first real depression and that the huge excess capacity being built up would take at least 10 years to get back into alignment with prices. I tried repeatedly to get other executives to appreciate our future economic climate but only one director with the parent company in New York knew what I was talking about. A dummy effort was made to offer our companies for sale, I say dummy because my fellow executives and I were put in charge of the effort instead of a bank or brokerage house and no golden parachutes where provided for us. it looked like nothing was seriously going to be done and indeed four years after I left in 1981 Parmac had been sold off and Maloney Crawford was bankrupt! Of course, the owners made out very well, for years I had personally wired them more money each quarter than their total investment! While still with Maloney Crawford I had numerous occasions when I would be asked about investing, after explaining that accounting and finance was not being an investment advisor anymore than being an oral surgeon was like being a heart surgeon I felt particularly sorry for a young widow with two small children whose husband was killed in one of our plants so I made a concerted effort to find a real investment advisor there in Tulsa for her. I finally found Steve ingle who owned an investment advisory company by the name of ingle and Company inc. registered in Oklahoma. it seems that Steve had inherited a good deal of money from his grandparents some time before I met him and he used it to buy the largest telephone answering company there in Tulsa. He had had the advisory company previously while still a broker for a large brokerage company in Oklahoma City but it did not have many clients and he wasn't working on it as the larger answering company took up most of his time. While still at Maloney Crawford he had accepted the clients I brought him and we got to know each other quite well. So when Maloney Crawford's future became clearer I spoke with Steve about what I suspected and he confirmed my economic observations and we then discussed my buying into his advisory company and growing the business. Things went well and he wanted me to meet his wife and discuss our plans, then she revealed that Steve not only owned the two companies I was aware of but two others as well. Not only that but they were in their mid-30s and still had no children so instead of blessing our idea she suggested that Steve sell the advisory company to me entirely after a period of training. With Steve promising to continue advising me for a while afterwards I agreed and so did he. So while still at Maloney Crawford I trained with Steve and studied for my investment advisory certification getting everything done by 1981 when I left Moloney Crawford and opened ingle & Co. (I promised to change its name in two years, which I did to Affiliated Financial Services) in Sandra's and my home. By that time we had four girls with the older three already in school. We sold our lake home and large racing sailboat, bought an iBM third level language computer and proceeded to program it to do all the math and chart work Steve did. When he taught me how to do it I noticed that many of the more tedious calculations were done weekly and even some biweekly instead of daily. My college work with the statistics informed me that should all of these calculations be done daily then they would most likely be more reliable and accurate. With the help of a brilliant and generous lady at the iBM facility just a few blocks from where we lived I was able to do all of that of which parts like the charts and graphs we were told could not be done. After much work and testing I ran the system on all of the historical data Steve had, which as I recall was about seven years and reran the results on a quarterly basis. My computer system performed on an average of 4% better a year than Steve's, and it was easier and much, much faster. All I had to do each day was enter the new daily data and then run the system. After notifying my clients of the improvement I offered to share that improvement with them 50/50, meaning my annual fee would go from 4% to 6%..... they all gladly accepted and praised me for the work and investment. SOUTHMARK When I bought ingle, Steve had an East Coast broker and warned me to never use a broker from the state that I did business in, and so I never did. Then in 1988 the owner of the brokerage firm died and it began to disintegrate, the Vice President that I worked with there was leaving to join a firm out of Dallas by the name of Southmark and asked me, and others, to join him and that he could make us very good arrangements with Southmark. I studied Southmark and found out that their specialty was real estate investment trusts which I had no interest in but they also owned the largest savings and loan in Texas, San Jacinto. There were several spectacular things about San Jacinto, they matched the highest interest rate paid for CDs in the country, and if rates went up a CD owner could get that higher rate simply by agreeing to use the proceeds of his current CD to buy a new one with the term that matched the rate he wanted. For a jumbo (hundred thousand dollar) 10 year CD they paid the maximum and paid the broker that arranged it $4000. Knowing that Tulsa was about to experience its worst financial decline ever one of the things that most impressed me about ingle's business was that it was entirely comprised of senior citizens. Tulsa had been doing well for decades and its climate was mild enough that people didn't generally leave the area when they retired, in short Tulsa was replete with moderately well-off retirees that would not be affected by the coming bad times (and they were not) . And while I ran ingle I learned that although I put (as Ingle had done) my clients into mutual funds that were trust companies most of the local retirees investment of choice were CDs. This knowledge plus the new information about San Jacinto enticed me into going over to Southmark and shortly I opened a retail office in South Tulsa. At first not much happened I was advertising the best rates in the area and people were driving up in front of my new offices but most were not coming in. After pondering the situation for a while I decided that because I had no indication on the front of the office that the CDs offered inside where FDiC insured, although my ad clearly said they were I felt this lack of a reassuring sign was enough to cause my problem. So I investigated the situation and found out that as long as I was really making FDiC insured CDs available it was just as legal for me to say so as anyone else. The crux of the situation is because the FDiC insures the individual CD not a bank or Savings and Loan or anyone else that provides it, just the CD so anyone who did could legally say so. And so I did, and it made all the difference in the world, soon I was making several times more money than I ever had before. We moved to bigger and more prominent retail office space several times over the years with each move better than the last and each one increasing our income. We bought a new larger home big enough for each girl to have her own bedroom and bath. We really hoped this would reduce the constant friction between our now teenage daughters..... it helped a little bit! We bought a new place at the Lake with a spectacular sunset view over miles of lake. A new racing sailboat for us, small sailboats and jet skis and such for the girls. We also bought a nice house boat with a bath and air-conditioning so our parents would go out with us and play on the lake, which they did many times with great fun. Shortly after we started selling CDs we heard that many banks were complaining about this but the only contact with us about it was a lady introducing herself as legal counsel for the Oklahoma Banking Association. She said that we had been under investigation for a while with audio and picture evidence about our operation but that the only thing anyone could actually complain about was that we gave out non-CD information about San Jacinto. I told her that was true but we never helped anyone ever open any of those accounts or answer any questions about them, she said they knew that was true which was why she was calling to ask us to just remove that literature and we would have no more trouble with the Oklahoma Banking Association. I told her it all would be in the trash dumpster before this phone was cold, and that was that. However, some time later the SEC insisted that we add something about our mutual funds in the CD advertising because we sold both and they thought that was fair advertising. We did, and shortly heard from the FSLIC who insisted that we remove the mutual fund reference, I sent them copies of my correspondence with the SEC and shortly heard from them that leaving the mutual fund reference out was okay with them. We never heard any more about this until the SEC accused us of fraud in late 2002 at which time they cited this as fraudulent advertising, of course considering that I still had the above correspondence that was easily disproved but it was demonstrative of their overall false and carelessly thrown together allegations. Early in the 1990s we heard from the Oklahoma Department of securities for the first time about our selling CDs, they did not want us advertising them and that no other firms under their jurisdiction did but were unable to cite any laws, rules, or regulations prohibiting it so I told them that as we had been doing it for years (after selling Affiliated Financial Services we had no need to be registered and so were not under their jurisdiction) it had become an integral part of our business and expected of us by our clientele and so without a specific reason to stop we would not. Shortly after that the Oklahoma City bombing damaged a large part of the Oklahoma securities department although no one there was seriously injured. A few years later that department changed from providing forms for annual licensing by mail to providing them and their annual notice by e-mail. My guy missed our due date in the confusion, however within a few weeks he realized he had not taken care of it like he usually did and inquired and quickly filed voluntarily without further notice. The form and fee were refused for having been filed too late and we were ordered to cease business, re-file as if a new business (this takes several months) and were fined $250,000.00 which we never paid! Using the freedom of information act our attorneys quickly learned that many other firms had also missed the e-mail notice, some even having to be contacted by the department. We could not find any other firm that had to re-file or was fined anything! We also learned that due to a Supreme Court ruling years before a business license was considered a valuable property could not be taken from someone without due process. Which meant our old license was still in effect as the preliminary hearing required to start due process had not been, nor ever was held. Meanwhile an old gourmet friend of Sandra's asked us to meet her for lunch, at which we learned she was the teller supervisor for a large savings and loan branch office. She was very nervous and asked us if we knew why the banks hated us so much. I said we really don't sell enough CDs to make that much difference, do we? She said it wasn't the CDs that we sold that caused the problem but our advertisements. She explained that even a teller can bump up the amount paid on a CD by a quarter of a percent (CDs were still paying around 8% in those days) and a supervisor like herself could bump it up by a half percent, and a vice president by a whole percent and people were learning this and that they could use our advertisements as leverage to get the higher rates. She said this was happening more and more frequently and was significantly reducing their net profits and they were becoming alarmed and saying things about us that she knew were not true. She said all of this as though revealing top secrets in a spy movie... it got to be a bit scary! Then without ordering anything she hurried off as we thanked her. When we tried to sue the Oklahoma Department of securities in Oklahoma County where state offices were we couldn't even get a judge to accept it. After considerable research we found that unlike most suits brought against state agencies that had to be held in Oklahoma County(where the state Capital is) our kind of suit could be held in the county in which the principal resided or did business. This meant we could bring suit in Tulsa County, which we did and the Oklahoma Department of securities resisted on the grounds of jurisdiction which our Lady Judge did not accept and a trial date was set. The day before the trial was to begin we were notified that it had been postponed as lead counsel for the Oklahoma Securities Department (who was a full-time employee of the department) mother was rushed to the hospital in serious condition. We checked and found out that her mother's trip to the hospital was for a routine checkup, however the postponement was in place. A few days later our offices and all of my assets were frozen, checking accounts, credit cards, debit cards and lines of credit both individual and company were frozen. it turns out the SEC lied to the judge at an ex-parte (meaning we weren't there) hearing that we had client assets like most brokers do, but Southmark inc. was a 'Limited' broker, which of course the SEC knew and therefore we did not have client assets. And Southmark Advisory was the investment adviser and of course did not have any client assets as well. By freezing our assets, as though we were criminals the affair took on a whole different public image and of course limited our ability to fight back. The Tulsa County Sheriff's office even called our attorneys about criminal charges, when our attorneys told them they were not any criminal charges they said they had never heard of a brokerage house being closed like we were without criminal charges and arrest warrants being issued! A local accounting firm was put in charge of our office and tasked with doing an inventory of our clients and our accounting records, they charged us $80,000 a month. However within a few days they notified our attorney and then the judge that almost two/thirds of our client assets were in CDs. That rang alarm bells because it was on the news that we were running a bait and switch scheme using the CDs as bait and then selling mutual funds, obviously their numbers proved that wrong. With this information (which the accountants provided an affidavit to support) our attorneys asked for an audience with the Judge and asked for our business to be returned and if the SEC still wanted to conduct a hearing they could in a less hostile environment. The SEC did not agree but the Judge forced them to accept an emergency hearing in a week instead of starting a hearing in two and a half more months. The third witness at that hearing was the president of the mutual fund that we used, when the SEC (who called him in from New York) was finished with him my lead attorney, Thomas Seymour, asked him how Southmark's clients assets were held in his mutual fund. He explained that his mutual fund was a Trust Company and therefore was only a custodian for the client assets unlike a bank that actually took possession of the assets and then owed an equivalent amount to their depositors, which is why during the Great Depression that people lost their money when the banks went broke. Tom then asked him what that meant as far as 'institutional credit risk' was concerned for our clients and he said it meant there wasn't any 'institutional credit risk' in that situation. Tom then asked him how that was similar to how banks held CDs for their customers and he replied that the Supreme Court had ruled that CDs backed by the full faith and credit of the United States of America were at no 'institutional credit risk', he then made him clarify that meant that the FDiC insured CDs held by banks or provided by Southmark and the mutual funds that Southmark provided for its clients were all the same as far as institutional credit risk was concerned. Once Tom was sure the judge understood this he asked to see the Judge in chambers, and of course the SEC lawyers went along. Forty-five minutes later the hearing was over and the Judge ordered the parties to resolve our differences or be prepared to explain to him why not! The whole hearing lasted less than two hours and a room full of witnesses and spectators were stunned. The importance of the 'institutional credit risk' questioning was to establish that I had not been defrauding (lying to) my clients about the security of their investing through Southmark as repeatedly stated by the SEC and which is still seen on the internet today prominently shown when my name or Southmark is searched as though it was fact! ! If all of this sounds a little hard to believe just ask yourself why where no criminal charges brought? I have NEVER had any criminal charges brought against me regarding this or any other issue. With the 'bait and switch' and the fraud charges disproved (and I learned later that the judge was made aware of the literally hundreds of my clients who had contacted the accounting firm at our offices offering support, the judge then asked the SEC attorney if there were any negative comments or client lawsuits brought against Southmark or myself when they had to tell him that there were not any.... the judge was flabbergasted the SEC only had minor issues left and agreed to not pursue them if I would retire and divest myself of Southmark ownership. By that time I was almost sixty-five and after over 20 years of really good marriage, it was not very good between Sandra and I anymore and when this happened I had left her and was living in our lake home for the second time and shortly after this mess surfaced she hired the most notorious divorce lawyer in Tulsa and came after me. She was so aggressive that my attorney, Tom Seymour had to call her attorney and tell him to have her leave us alone so we could get through this or there wouldn't be anything to divide in a divorce, this stopped her. Over several earlier years I had brought my three son-in-law's into the business who, each in their own way, had very difficult personalities but I thought I could harness their best characteristics and that they would grow out of their worst ones. Even prior to that I had helped them start their own business, which went well until a big blowup between the oldest and youngest during which the oldest precipitated nasty retributions against the younger one and then lied about it! Knowing the truth of this matter was so important to the continuity of not only the business but also the family that the rest of us insisted that Matt (the oldest) prove he wasn't lying by taking a lie detector test.... which he failed miserably. Later it became obvious that he was a sociopathic liar. He and my eldest daughter Tracy continued to insist that he had not lied for several years during which time the family had very little to do with them. Sandra and I told them we would forgive them and start over whenever they were ready to confess and ask for forgiveness, after a few years they did that. I brought Matt into Southmark to help us start branching out and he had successfully found us our first partner in Arkansas, but as things went it was only open a few months before all of this SEC mess happened, but remarkably our first branch was already showing a profit. My next oldest son-in-law, Dale married to Dana had an MBA and was the financial and administrative inclined one, however he had the personnel characteristics of a Gestapo officer. He once told me he was going to order someone in their company to do something. I asked him if he was going to carry a gun and he looked at me like I was an orange duck, and I said 'Dale you can't order people around these days and don't you know with your MBA that persuasion is the most powerful tool an executive has'. it didn't sink in. My youngest son-in-law, Cannen married to my third daughter Kelly (he was not the father of Kelly's firstborn son, Spencer) was a natural salesman. He was tall and powerful looking but gentle which gave him a psychological edge that even he didn't appreciate. He was the only one of the three that didn't have a college education when I started bringing them into Southmark however I persuaded him to go to college and promised him that I would make a first class salesman out of him after he did. Southmark paid all of his college expenses and a salary of $3000 a month and a back office to study in, as by then he and Kelly already had three of their final four children. He studied like a pro and got his masters degree (with good grades) in less than three years. After college I gave Cannen our company study material and coached him through his securities licenses to be a registered representatives sales representative. He did all that and started sitting in with me when I worked with clients and just as I had told everybody years before, he took to it immediately and was soon working, and producing on his own. With ordinary commissions he was soon making more than his older, well-paid salaried, brothers-in-law. As we all know a stressful situation brings out the best and worst in people and this SEC situation was no different. Matt and Cannen were initially supportive however Dale immediately sided with the SEC and ingratiated himself to them, at one particularly rancorous meeting I called Dale out into the hall and asked him 'what are you doing? ' He just glared at me. He obviously was more interested in carving out something for himself than in supporting the family, however at that time I didn't realize how deep his selfishness went and how that stymied his intellect (he was smart) . As the final negotiations were underway I had to make one of the most difficult decisions of my life: who would I make Chairman of the companies? Sandra had proven many times that she did not have the emotional stability to be objective or fair, because of the possibility of divorce I didn't feel comfortable making a son-in-law Chairman. My youngest daughter, Leslie was still in college and very immature although her heart was in the right place. This left my three oldest daughters, Tracy and Dana were both overshadowed and submissive to their husbands, on several occasions they both proved they could not judge anything serious on their own. it was even impossible to have private serious discussions with them so making them Chairman would cause their husbands to actually be in control. This left Kelly who was bright and seemed good hearted although overly emotional, but she was the best I had so my final act as Chairman and one hundred percent owner of the Southmark companies I made her Chairman and structured the succession rights in such a way that she would have to vote herself out, no other combination of stockholders or officers could vote her out. I hoped to create enough security for her to be strong enough to do her job, it didn't work. However, Dale was the only one with the credentials necessary for both Southmark's to be viable so I had to make him President of both companies. I gave fifty percent to Sandra, just as I had always said because she was there even before there were Southmark companies, divorce not withstanding she did not need to fight me for what was always her right. I hadn't given her the stock or voting rights before to avoid the inevitable highly emotional confrontations that would have meant, but as far as actual ownership goes I always said she owned half. It was my original intention to give each daughter an equal share of the remaining fifty percent and had papers drawn up accordingly, which included non-compete and cooperative agreements between all seven of them (Leslie was still in college and not married) however Matt and Tracy refused to sign them. There in the law offices I got down on one knee in front of Tracy sitting on a chair as she would not look up at me and begged her to help with and participate in this, but she lowered her eyes further and never spoke to me! So I had the papers redrawn to divide the remaining fifty percent into three parts, Dana, Kelly, and Leslie. They signed the papers and I went back to the lake. I asked myself... why did the SEC do this? We had just qualified, by the amount of client assets under management to be under the SEC instead of the OSD. So I went back over everything and discovered that the Oklahoma Securities Department and Irving Faught was the SEC's source of information, they(OSD) of course knew there was no 'bait and switching' going on at Southmark as they had done an extensive audit of our accounts several times over the years. In retrospect undoubtedly looking for something to do with us in with. Now the question was why would Irving Faught risk everything, including going to jail just to get rid of us. The only plausible explanation is that he took something (probably cheap loans) from the banks our business was hurting and promised them we would quit advertising our CD's. This is the only reasonable explanation that anyone has come up with. Since then I have never had the resources to pursue this idea, but have hoped that someone in the Oklahoma securities Department or one of the Banks would come forward someday and let the true story into the daylight. Kelly immediately started studying for the administrative credentials she would need to run the companies, however she wasn't quicker than Dale, who surreptitiously formed other similar companies and opened new smaller offices nearby. He went behind everyone and worked out arrangements with our banks to take over our obligations in return for our physical assets (the client files and our computer system being the most important) but he did not have the legal right to do so, he didn't own any shares in the company and his wife, Dana only owned seventeen percent. That didn't matter to him he contacted our clients and presented his companies as the successors of the Southmark companies, they didn't know any better and he was off. Kelly wasn't ready and Sandra wouldn't sue Dale and Dana, however they have not been a part of the family since. Dana called in 2009 and begged me to do something, if not for her then for her son Daxton and daughter Dakota. Shortly after that Leslie and I were preparing to go back to Oklahoma (we were living in the Atlanta Georgia area) for a relative's wedding so we asked Dana if she and the kids would like to come? She said okay so I arranged it with our relatives. That went well but the next meeting in Georgia did not, Leslie could not (as she had promised) leave our past in the past. Dale's personality (as I mentioned earlier) precipitated a slow but persistent loss of clients and he finally realized that he wasn't cut out for that kind of close personal work and sold the businesses for enough to start a custom home building business, like his family was in, in St. Louis. Dana contributed her artistic talents to individualizing each home and I understand they did well. So Kelly and Cannen were all that was left, I told them I had friends in Omaha that would help them start up a new business but not in Oklahoma with Irving Faught. Cannen's father lived in the Dallas area so between them and my friends in Omaha they decided to jointly open a Southmark like business there, if I would provide the know-how. I agreed on the condition that Leslie and her fiancé (who volunteered to sell his home and invest the proceeds into that business, over one hundred thousand dollars) would be allowed into the business and at some time in the future they would help with my retirement income. As I had cashed almost everything in for our legal defense. They agreed to this but I never asked for it in writing, I had learned long ago that contracts only helped people of goodwill keep things straight but had little effect on people not of goodwill, so why bother? Some months later when things were going well in Dallas, Leslie nor I could get Kelly to talk about Leslie and Brian going there. Brian wanted to know when to put his house up for sale. Finally I got Cannen on the phone and pushed him for some kind of answer, he got mad and said they weren't going to let them in. I said 'what about our agreement'? He said, 'they didn't feel like they owed us anything as all I had done was make a few phone calls to my friends in Omaha'.... I was speechless and hung up. Kelly had always been the closest to Leslie and I, we often kidded about being the three amigos, this betrayal was devastating and I'm sure contributed to the state of mind that Leslie was in when she took her own life in 2011. RETiREMENT I stayed in the Grand Lake area for several years and settled my affairs to the best of my limited ability. The only significant asset that Sandra and I had left was our dream home that took us four years to build but was completed several years before the Southmark blowup. in the late 1990s Sandra had gotten a real estate license so she listed it herself. She got a four million dollar appraisal, a beautiful brochure and as we only owed a million and a quarter we had high hopes that we each could recover enough to buy ourselves nice homes. I was able to keep the house from being foreclosed on for over three years but Sandra was not able to sell it, and she refused to let more experienced and better socially connected realtors try. Meanwhile Leslie had graduated in Atlanta and was trying to get her career started in telecommunications networking in which she had a bachelors degree with honors from DeVry. But at almost the same time that she graduated the dot com bubble burst and try as she and the university could she never got one solid interview. Eventually I reminded her that her and her sister Kelly were natural sales men just like her grandfather and myself. All through her and her sisters drill team years they would often sell candy to raise money for their trips and Leslie and Kelly were the best, often selling more than all the others put together. They would even help when they couldn't go on the coming trip, they enjoyed the selling and the attention they got by helping the others. She remembered and was also impressed when I told her the world always needed salespeople and at that time young professional looking women had a real edge. She got a job as an assistant to a sales vice president at an international carpet wholesaler. Her and her new boss got along famously and Leslie learned a lot from her and my recommendation to read as many books on sales as she could find. She was a good student and after a year or so was able to make presentations on her own. The biggest national client she was able to get was Bed Bath and Beyond. But her vice president and other ladies at the company were having problems with how the middle eastern owners were treating them. After a bit it became obvious that things were going to get worse and I told Leslie she should find another job as quickly as possible as she didn't want to be looking for a job without one. She agreed and soon got a job as a manufacturer's representative for Charmant (one of the world's largest manufacturers of eyeglass frames) for most of Georgia, including all of Atlanta. In the spring of 2006 she asked me to come and help her with her new job, which I did. I moved into a rental house that Leslie had bought and set up a large office for us to work out of. She lived just a few blocks away with her fiancé. All of Charmant's other representatives used an index card system to keep track of their clients but with Leslie's computer savvy she constructed a much more dynamic system on her computer however this posed a data sharing problem for me as my main contribution was to cold call for appointments with new prospects. I solved this by using a data sharing cloud system out of Florida, it was very tricky to get Leslie's initial data on their server and they were of no help but I finally figured out how to do it. Then she was able (by WiFi) to retrieve and contribute data while out in the field and I was able to do the same at the office online. It worked like a charm, Leslie was rookie of the year her first year and National Rep of the year her third year and got a very nice bonus and a trip to Japan. We called ourselves 'The Team' and besides making good money we had a lot of fun. Leslie was the best student I ever had and it was one of my life's great joys to share her success. We went to Maui for a couple of weeks one year and took several Caribbean cruises during this time. Early in 2009 I was diagnosed with colon cancer and had surgery and chemo in the Atlanta VA hospital where I was treated wonderfully and it didn't cost anything. Since then my VA health care has proven to me that the government can do health care well, if it is administered well. I am living proof of that. In 2008 Leslie left Brian her boyfriend and fiancé of over 10 years and moved in with me, except for a few days a month when I really didn't feel well everything went on as usual however as I got better and my cancer was in definite remission Leslie thought it was time for me to really retire. I had a lady friend in Greenville South Carolina and found Lake Hartwell about halfway in between Atlanta and Greenville which seemed like a great place to retire, and so I did. in a nice villa right on the lake with its own boat dock. Leslie had a cute little speedboat and I started looking for a sailboat. However numerous things including being out in the sticks and away from good VA care eventually caused me to consider other possibilities. I had been to Charleston a few times and decided to look at it more closely, the beautiful area to bike, the great variety of birds including seabirds and of course great VA facilities (who in late 2013 after every known test for cancer declared me cancer free) as well as the abundance of my kind of friendly people made it easy for me to decide to move here. it has proven a wise and happy choice, I expect to be here for another 30 years or so! Of course life goes on and I lost Leslie on November 21,2011 after having lost my Mother in 1999, my Father in 2005, my older Brother Don in 2007 and my younger Brother Jimmie in 2008 leaving me with no close family. I do still have some Aunts, Uncles, Nephews and Nieces and a few scattered friends but the really close ones are gone. Sorry to say because of the terrible way my other daughters are I don't see them and sadder still I don't see my even dozen Grandchildren, however when they grow up, leave their parents and develop their own personalities I hope to correct that, in the meantime I do not want to poison their relationship with their parents with our history, which of course they will want to know. Recently I have been involved in a life insurance interpleader lawsuit with American United Life insurance as one of several claimants, it is no big deal and it is doubtful that I will get much from it. As it turned out " get much" was an over statement, as Dana told her attorney about my tax situation, long story short my attorney and the IRS got $10,000.00 each in my name and I got nothing out of a $150,000 left solely to me. Shortly after I moved to Atlanta Leslie apparently made me her sole beneficiary with the proper form, signed and dated properly. She also later filled out another form which she did not sign or date as required by her policy which Dana and three of Leslie's friends used to contest my claim. But once they took it to court and Dana told her attorney about my tax situation I was toast! ! As I expect to be here for quite a spell I will have to rebuild......so, I have started I spent much of 2014 studying what is called " Healthy Ageing" and in 2015 I wrote a lengthy paper on this subject which is also available on the PoemHunter.com web site. I have been taking my advice for some time now and many benefits are showing up. Perhaps the most important one deals with our telomeres which can only be checked by ones blood, I hope to have such a test done soon. As if the Purslane I am taking is not working I will need to try something else. Sometime in 2016 I started taking HETA-OX then in August of 2017I had my blood tested for my telomere length. I had the length of a 55 year old, I was 78! ! In the Fall of 2015 I decided to look for a church that I might be able (considering my beliefs) to join and found a website on the net that after taking an extensive questionnaire told me that I was 100% compatible with the Reformed Jewish Church but could find none here and that I was 98% compatible with the Unitarian Universalist Church. It turns out that there is one here and it is the oldest Church of its kind here in the South. It is one of the most beautiful Churches in the Country but more importantly it's Reverend (Danny Reed) has the greatest combination of intellect, charm and humor of anyone I have ever known. I went several times then took their introductory courses and became a member early this year. I have since become a member of the Men's Group, the Security Committee and a Docent (volunteer guide) so I was settling in. Then Trump happened, till then I had no idea of the politics of my fellow members I knew they where socially active but I had no inkling how radically liberal they are. Democrats almost exclusively but as open hearted as they where about most things they are downright hateful to Republicans. My best friend there Charlie Miller, is almost 90 has been a member of this Church for nearly 70 years and a life long Republican and started getting some really hateful jibes. We where (I have always been an Independent) flabbergasted at the hateful venomous way they talked about everything Trump. They are just as disgusting as the far right. But what really did it for us was an article in their national magazine that told members not to be impolite to Republicans just stare at them hatefully until they went away. Charlie is a very big man, he asked himself what would he do if a fellow member did that to him. He resigned and in support (I am sure that was one of the hardest things he ever had to do) in support of him I resigned as well. To these people love your neighbor did NOT include being civil to someone with different politics! October 30th 2015 a young man failed to stop for a stop sign and hit the front wheel of my bike slamming me to the pavement on my right side. I took Physical Therapy at the VA for what they diagnosed as a displaced Sacrum which is the bone that connects our hip bones but as the therapy caused me more and more pain. They scheduled me for an MRI to get a better idea of what's going on. The MRI showed three discs with moderate to severe degenerative disc disease in my lower back. They also found generalized disc bulges from my L-1 to S-1 vertebrates and moderate to severe bilateral neural foraminal narrowing. And some moderate central canal stenosis. In short the Orthopedic Surgeon said it would take major surgery to repair all that. So he suggested trying pain therapy first, so I wasted three more months learning that I can't tolerate their best pain meds and am overly sensitive to the rest of them. February 2nd 2017 I had major back surgery that went well, however my hip pain kept getting worse. After several examinations and tests it was determined that that my ilium (the large bone that connects to the sacrum) that these bones had been dislocated by the accident. To repair this required a very major surgery to stabilize and fuse them back together. I was in the hospital for seven days and over three years later this still bothers me a great deal (the surgeon that did this says I will have a 10 percent reduction of function with this for the rest of my life) but my back is great! . I am hopeful that I can start riding my bike again next year.. Meanwhile on 12-30-2016 a Cate Belden contacted me via Facebook which I very rarely use and asked if we could communicate. I wrote back and asked if she was the Catherine Belden I was married to about fifty years ago. She wrote back that she was. We wrote back and forth on Facebook and then email, we talked almost every evening on the phone for months. But neither of us can drive very far and she lives and teaches in Decherd Tennessee so we haven't seen each other yet. But I hope to next year! …. However, shortly after the 2021 election she told me, in no uncertain terms, not call her anymore. She didn't explain, just hung up. My hip is still bothering me and I can't walk far or or even ride in a car very far let alone ride my bike. I sure hope this doesn't last the rest of my life. I have a famous attorney in the area representing me in a case against the driver that hit me on my bike. Now that the Covid has begun to wind down and the courthouse is reopening, the attorneys say my case may get to court by September 2021. In late April 2021, I heard from Spencer Foster, my first grandson, for the first time in nearly 20 years. We had several good telephone conversations it seems he had a terrible (much worse than mine) automobile accident also in October of 2015, what a coincidence. He has a wonderful demeanor and outlook so I have great faith that he will be okay. He is a plumber and is kidded about being a Viking as he looks more like one than anyone in our family. He was delighted to find out that he actually does have Viking ancestry. He said Sterling (another grandson) also wanted to talk to me so he gave me his number so I could put it in my contacts list so that he could. Spencer, promised to read this autobiography and get back to me as he said he still had many questions. I most certainly hope that he does. Mid June 2021, Austin called and was a bit angry about my not being in his life. After I told him I responed to every contact by a Grandchild immediately (just like I did with him) but that I had not made first contact as I did not want to cause conflict between my grandchildren and their parents. I asked him if his mother knew that he wanted to contact me and he said she did. When I told him that she had had my e-mail address for nearly 20 years he was a bit shocked and our conversation became much nicer. I told him how to get my autobiography here and that I hoped it would answer a lot of his questions, he promised he would. 7-13-2021 Mike Ellis (one of my attorneys) told me that they got a good deposition from Dr. Wieldstien but not Dr. Glasser yet, however, he has agreed to give one. He said they have not heard from the Engineer but that he would prompt him. He also said the Court House is clearing up but is concerned by the Delta varient.
Bright memories, like exquisite porcelains,
we carefully place in our hearts and minds.
That we might visit with them, like old cherished friends.