Growing up during the height of the Cold War made a dent in my childhood, but there were a series of personal disasters that made a larger dent. I nearly bought the farm from scarlet fever, a black window nearly killed me with it bite, then occurred a boat accident where I barely survived drowning, and our family house burned to the ground, all of this before I became fourteen.
At sixteen I was in a serious car accident which my father blamed on me, and I paced up and left home. I became footloose and fancy-free, transferring from one school to another and working various and sundry jobs around California though the Sixties. My childhood mentor, a neighbor who worked for United Press International told me once that since I was so fond of my paperboy job, I should consider a newspaper career when I grew up. He said that the industry is overrun with those who would sell their own mother downriver for a good story. Someone of such upstanding character and integrity as myself, would be a credit to the Fourth Estate he flattered me.
I took to heart his encouragement. I did love my paperboy job. Becoming a newspaper reporter some day, had the natural feeling of graduating from the school of paperboy. On the other hand I thought, who would want to work daily in the slightest union with a bunch of bottom dwellers, those who would as much stoop to sell their own mother downriver for a story? It turns out, as one major life event after another befalls me over the years, a newspaper career seems fitting.
Meanwhile, between my many paycheck endeavors, I hawked newspapers on the street from LA to 'Frisco.