Florida and The First Boy in Space.
If you know me, you know I have loved to travel. In my life so far I have traveled across the United States some seven-plus times, driven the coast of the Pacific from LA to Guatemala, and explored my share of Canada as well. What you might not know about me is that as a kid, I dreamt of being a truck driver, so much so that on my 5th birthday I got an assembled and glued puzzle of a beautiful Kenworth truck. It had a massive chrome grille bumper and pulled a Thermo King cooler trailer. That birthday was celebrated in Florida, and that framed puzzle is still with me today. For that reason, you can probably imagine that deep in my core I was happy as a pig in shit driving what was close to a semi-sized Penski rental truck some 1192 miles and 16 hours from my home in Michigan to our new location in Melbourne, Florida.
Side note: Don't miss the great interview I did this month (link at the bottom)!
(Left: Photo of the Kenworth semi-truck assembled puzzle by Russell Beck, 1979. Center/Right: Photos from our trip from Michigan down to Florida in the Penske Truck)
In the midst of all this change, I have felt a strong connection with the character Grug, the overprotective father and caveman from the 2013 film The Croods. While my family unabashedly charged ahead, I held back and resisted at times overwhelmed with a fear of the unknown. Will we make it safe? How will we survive? What will people be like? All of these fears rushed to the surface on a regular basis and I was forced to ignore them, refocus, and sometimes just talk it out with those closest to me. Lucky for me, my wife and son are far more courageous and stayed positive, reminding me that it would all work out. They were right and we have definitely found a sweet spot to start exploring and growing.
(Photos of David at Satellite Beach 10-minutes from our house.)
Now I am unfolding the road map of where to go and how to get there. The process has not been without a few hurdles, like paying $950 to transfer titles and register vehicles! Yet overall, things have gone smoothly. David is in school, Stefania found a new job, and I have already started getting connected around town. One big highlight has been reconnecting with my elementary school buddy Richie Strawcutter. Richie and I used to skip class in the 6th grade and hide out in the library's reading rooms playing makeshift basketball, throwing rolled up paper into a trash basket. He was the guy who first pointed out the sports section to me, where we would riffle through stories of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas, and the up and coming Michael Jordan. Richie is a lawyer in the Orlando area and I am just a lucky guy to know him.
Where do we go from here? My best guess...UP!
(Photos: pages from The First Boy in Space by Barry Walton,1986)
While unpacking my stuff, I uncovered one of my earliest and most original pieces of writing, and possibly one of the proudest moments of all my years in school. It was a book I wrote in the 5th grade called, The First Boy in Space (download and read). On the upper right-hand side of the cover is a golden sticker for the award I won as the best book in my class that year. This was possibly the one and only award of its kind that I ever won in writing, but the one award that has reminded me over and over again throughout my life...you can do it if you believe you can. You see I was a complete flunky in school, especially in English. My writing sucked and my reading was horrible. For me to achieve something like that took extra focus, hard work, and the attention of a caring teacher. Mrs. Winters was just that teacher.
(Photos: From my recent filming of both the Falcon 9 and Atlas 5 launches off Cape Canaveral)