John Dickenson - 2008 Message

After Weedsport I lived in Albany for several years.  Got married.  Got divorced.  Dropped out of college and lived with 16 other folk in a city commune for a while.  Moved back to Jordan, worked in a factory in Syracuse and  started taking flying lessons again.  ( I started flying out at Whitford's when I was 15 and could legally fly a plane before I could drive a car ).  I got all of my flying ratings and became an instructor in Camillus.   About this time I decided I wanted to travel and a good way to do that was to become an air-traffic controller.   I could use my flying background, move around the country, and still have a good job.  So in 1979 i became a controller at Stockton California - in the center of California and home of "The Big Valley" TV show if your memory goes back that far.

When PATCO air traffic controllers went on strike in 1981, I walked out with them and got fired by President Reagan ( my 1 claim to fame .... how many people can claim they were fired by the president of the US !!)  I had already started taking computer courses at a local college and decided I needed to get serious about them.

I worked at a couple of computer jobs and in 1985 took a job near here in Martinez. At the same time, I started taking theology classes and was looking at ordination as a deacon in the Episcopal church.  I spent 3 years in school and working at a local parish in the end, I decided that while I loved God, I wasn't that good about loving my neighbor and decided not to go that route  In 1990 I got hired by Levi Strauss & Co in their International IT department based in San Francisco. 

I worked 17+ years for Levi's.  This was very cool because at various times I worked for them in Belgium, Sweden, Hungary, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Argentina, Indonesia, South Africa, Hong Kong  and Singapore.  Plus all of my air miles were my own, so I was able to have some really nice vacations as well. They paid me well and also give me a nice pension, so I was able to early retire just 2 months ago. 

I met Susan about 20 years ago ( neither of us knows the exact date.  We know the day but not the year )  We lived together for 20 years registered as domestic partners, and finally decided to get married in February of this year, so that we would be "legal" although California's domestic partner law is about as good as being married except that it doesn't count for federal taxes.  She has a daughter by a previous marriage and a son-in-law who is a Navy Recruiter - ( though he could end up in Iraq next year and none of us are too happy about that ) and so I am "granpa" to two cute little boys.

Currently we live in Martinez, Cal. about 30 miles North East of San Francisco.  As noted, I am retired.  My last day was March 15 - just a little over 2 months ago.  I have been busy ever since !!!

I ride my bike and swim for exercise. If you look closely at any pictures of me you will see why ... this is one of the reasons I retired.  My job was a 3 hour commute every day and i was getting home late every night and wasn't getting any exercise. Once I knew I had the money and my job stopped being "fun" I was out-the-door. 

My current interests include getting involved with the Ubuntu linux community - I have weaned myself from Microsoft Windows and mostly only use free software now.  And as mentioned earlier, one of our goals is to open up a small family winery in the foothills about 2 hours east of here, so I am taking Viticulture and Enology classes nearby at Napa Valley college.

So .... with any kind of luck,  after several pilot's licenses,  being certified by FAA as an air-traffic controller,  after training in Computer Science and Theology, I will end up as a farmer raising grapes and making wine in Amador County California.


p.s.   See my web site at   -   since I am usually the picture taker, you have to search to find a picture of me in there - but they do exist. i will try to post a couple out there in the next few days.  My server is up in the den, so it is really easy to do, I just have too much else going on at the moment to keep things up-to-date.