By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 12/11/2017
Occurred: 12/1/1993
Topics/Keywords: #Autobiography #YearinReview Page Views: 904
All the things that happened to me in 1993.

I started sending out Christmas/end-of-year letters in the 1970s. This was one of them, originally sent by what we now call "snail mail".

I'm sitting in a motel room in Atlanta, the evening of December 1st, suddenly aware that it's time I put the year in perspective for my annual Christmas letter. It's been a busy year, and a busier last two months, but I'll do what I can.

Mary and all four kids came to visit last Christmas. That was the last time I've seen them all together, because Karen and Jennifer moved to Florida in the Spring. Jenny spent a couple of months in California, but then returned. Currently, Karen and her boyfriend, D. J., and Jenny and her boyfriend Jimmy, all live in a very nice apartment in Delray Beach—more about that, later.

Borland Pascal 7.0 Insider

A high point of the year came in May, just about the time Mom arrived for her annual summer visit. My first book, Borland Pascal 7.0 Insider, appeared in bookstores. It was favorably reviewed in Windows Tech Journal, which was nice, and is being translated into Greek(!).

A bigger surprise for me, though, was an unexpected career change. I was busily working in Boston on what was supposed to be a part-time contract, but was taking forty to fifty hours a week, and trying to finish work on my second book, when I received what I thought was a call from a recruiter. I was about to be rude when she mentioned the name of a friend and former associate in the DC area. It seems she had sold a course on programming in Visual Basic to some people in Wisconsin, but the original instructor "didn't work out" (whatever that means) and she needed a replacement. Oh, yes, and I would have to write the course materials, in time to give the course in six days. Was I interested?

Well, no, I wasn't. I simply didn't have time. But I didn't want to just say no, so I told her my rate was this exorbitant amount of money, plus expenses. I figured she'd mumble something about not being able to go that high, but instead she said, "Oh, thank God—I'll overnight the tickets to you; you'll have them by morning."

Somehow I got the course done, and gave it, and then the floodgates opened. I had to quit the "part-time" contract in Boston and have been in a different city almost every week since then, including Manhattan, Livingston, NJ, Santa Clara and Walnut Creek, CA, Atlanta, and, next week, Dallas. In between, I've also completed my second book, Windows Programming Power.

Yosemite by moonlight

I have found a little time for fun, though. Dottie, her fiancee, Kevin (Slow Mo), and Johnny dropped by in August for whitewater rafting on the Kennebec River in Maine, reprising the trip Johnny and I had taken the year before. And, while I was in California, I got in an overnight backpacking trip in Yosemite that took me to Dewey Point, overlooking the Valley five thousand feet below. I slept lightly, not wanting to miss a thing as the full moon rolled slowly overhead, constantly changing the shadows and contours of the ancient lava walls.

With Mom staying with me half the year, I really needed more room at home—I was getting mighty tired of using what should have been the dining area as an office. So I moved again, but not out of town—hard as you may find that to believe. I now have a very nice townhouse on top of Wellington Hill, just outside of Manchester, with a beautiful view of the White Mountains to the north. It's a three-bedroom place; the smallest bedroom is now my office. And what a luxury that is (when I'm actually home to enjoy it)!

Mom and John Griffith

Two-and-a-half weeks ago, Mom and I left Manchester to return her to her winter home with my sister, Louise. We traveled by car, dropping in on Dottie, John, and Mary on the way, then continuing to Delray Beach where Karen and Jenny treated us to a delightful Thanksgiving dinner. Karen cooked the turkey and did it perfectly. Their apartment is very nice, clean and new and just a couple of miles from the beach. Early in the morning, Jenny and Jimmy and I went swimming and body surfing until it was time to leave. We then dropped in on my friends John and Deb Griffith in Ft. Myers, helping them celebrate their 20th anniversary. Finally, back in St. Augustine, I treated Louise and my other sister, Mary Joan, and their families to dinner at a Japanese steak house where the chef threw knives into the air and referred to soy sauce as "Japanese ketchup."

Now I'm in Atlanta. Saturday I fly from here to Dallas, and back a week later. I'll then take a week or so to return to Manchester, trying to see the few things I missed on the way down. When I get back, a few days before Christmas, I'll attend the final hearing on Mary's and my divorce. I may also get in a little skiing, and I have to get started on my third book, which was supposed to be finished months ago.

So, I have been busy, but not too busy to enjoy myself now and then. Besides, teaching's cool. It gives me a chance to be with and work with people that I wouldn't have if I only performed the solitary duties of technical writer. I didn't get to return to the Grand Canyon as I wanted, but that's definitely planned for next year, spring or early summer (I don't have a date yet, but I'm definitely going!).

I'd say it's been a good year. It's been fun and exciting and I've learned new things and been to new places. I hope things have gone as well for you.

And who knows? When you least expect it, I may call (if I haven't already), announce that I'm in town teaching a course, and invite you out to dinner.

I'll pay.