My full name is Donald Edward Crowder. I have three wonderful daughters, ten incredible grandchildren and one amazing great granddaughter. I was born in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, on October 16, 1948. My parents were Malcolm Francis Crowder (deceased) and Blanche Lorene (Shilling) Crowder (deceased).
My father was a career soldier in the United States Army and like all military families we were forced to move rather frequently. During the years I was growing up, we lived in Norman, Oklahoma, - Pine Bluff, Arkansas - Marshall, Texas - Fort Kobbe, Panama Canal Zone - Malvern, Arkansas - Fort Ord, California - and, finally, back to Arkadelphia, Arkansas for what would have been my senior year of High School, had I graduated. Unfortunately I was a short of graduation by a semester of English and had no stomach for summer school so after "bumming around" for a few months, late in 1968 I enlisted in the U.S. Army (took the GED test and passed it while in Basic Training), trained as a Military Policeman and spent the balance of my hitch in Germany doing one boring job or another until I was discharged in 1971.
After I got out of the Army I lived in San Angelo, Texas for a year or so and learned to be a carpet mechanic (carpet layer), moved back to Arkansas and drifted around for a year or so before winding up in Little Rock where I worked as a carpet mechanic, carpet cleaner for Steamatic of Arkansas and a counter salesman in a small, independent paint and carpet shop before enrolling in the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for a semester and a half, became disgusted with college, and enrolled in United Electronics Institute. UEI, as it was known to me, is still in Little Rock but these days they call it the Arkansas Tech University. I graduated in 1975 and went to work as a bench technician repairing pagers in Saint Louis, Missouri. I really didn't like the "big city" so after a couple of years in Saint Louis I moved to Brackettville, Texas and went to work for an independent Motorola authorized Land Mobile Radio shop. I lived in Brackettville for twelve years and worked in the communications shop for ten of those years with a two year stint, right in the middle, working for the local television cable company. In July of 1990 I moved to Tow, Texas, and opened my own independent communications shop in Kingsland, Texas. The building I was in was destroyed by a fire a couple of years later so I relocated my shop to Burnet, Texas. After roughly a decade, during which I added a retail music shop and a used paperback book swap to my business, I finally gave up on being self employed but was unwilling to leave Tow where I'd lived for over a decade. Unfortunately there aren't a lot of jobs for an experienced Land Mobile Communications technician in the region and the advent of Surface Mount electronics technology, coupled with increasing competition from mail order sales companies, has just about made the existence of a small, local communications shop an impossibility so I worked as a counter clerk at the Car Quest auto parts store, in Llano, Texas (the nearest town) for six months before getting a job, in January of 2002, as the editor of a website and ezine for Phil and Clara (Moke) McKinney of Sparks, Nevada (maxpatch.com which is now defunct). I loved the job but in June of 2004, like all good things, it came to an end. I set up a new ezine at freelists.org and began publishing on July 1, 2004. Over two hundred of my two thousand maxpatch subscribers followed me and signed up for the freelists ezine which I call "Don's Patch
". Since then I've worked as a stocker in a supermarket, night cook in a 24 hour convenience store/restaurant and convenience store counter clerk. These days I'm officially retired (and drawing my Social Security) but continue to be sporadically employed as a home handyman and computer tech, occasionally assisted by my lovely wife, Lisa Miller, whom I married on the 24th of April in 2005.
That's pretty much it.
Isn't it funny how, when you're not writing a resume, you can squeeze your entire life into a few short paragraphs? I left out some minor details like a long list of part-time "moonlight" jobs I've had over the years, the fact that I've played one instrument or another, in one weekend-warrior band or another on and off since 1968 and my computer Operating System of choice is Linux (currently Kubuntu 12.04) but that only adds one more sentence to a short story.
Maybe that's worth remembering. No matter what you do with your life, in the end it can be reduced to a short story. That being the case, I feel it's worth doing everything you can to make it an interesting short story and one that you'll be proud to have your friends and family remember.