By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 10/21/2017
Occurred: 12/4/1994
Topics/Keywords: #Autobiography #YearinReview Page Views: 775
A brief look at how I spent 1994.

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".

Merry Christmas, 1994!

What a year this has been! And how fast itís gone by! It seems like January was just last week, and now itís December. Maryís and my divorce was made final on February 12, 1994—our anniversary. Arenít we lucky to have judges with a sense of humor? But that made it easy to calculate exactly how long we were married: 22 years.

Windows Programming Power with Custom Controls

In April my second book, Windows Programming Power with Custom Controls, reached the stands. Of course, by then, I was busily trying to complete my third. But Controls has done very well; in fact, it is the publisherís best seller! So I was encouraged.

I am still teaching computer programming to corporate programmers and, since January have taught in: Livingston, NJ; Raleigh, NC; Jersey City, NJ; Atlanta, GA; Weehauken, NJ; Bentonville, AR; Provo, UT; Dallas, TX; Scottsdale, AZ; and Manhattan, NY. In addition, I was asked to speak at the 1994 Windows Developerís Conference outside of Boston, in June.

June was also busy because I arranged a monster rafting trip for all the kids at the end of it. What a logistics nightmare! Trying to find a few consecutive days when all of them were off work (or could get off work), buying plane tickets for all of them from their various locations (Jenny was still living in Florida at the time). —This included arrangements for Johnís girlfriend, Rachel; Dottieís boyfriend, Slow Mo; and Karenís boyfriend, DJ. After everything was arranged—wouldnít you know it!—Dottie and Slow broke up, and Karen and DJ broke up! Dottie immediately got a new boyfriend, "Critter" (I do not make these names up!) but DJís ticket is still lying around waiting for the next trip I need someone to take.

Anyway, everyone in the newly-revised roster made it to Manchester, we got into a van I had rented for the occasion, and made the six-hour trip to Mt. Katahdin, ME in only eight hours. No, we were not abducted by aliens; we stopped at every store along the way for snacks and camping gear the kids had been unable (or forgot) to bring.

Finally, we reached our destination and rafted the Pennobscot River the next day. It was the first rafting experience for Jenny, Karen, Critter and Rachel. John got a bumped knee— nothing serious—and otherwise the trip was pure enjoyment in the Maine wilderness. We even got to see a mama moose leading her baby across the river!

Rafting the Penobscot River

Immediately after rafting, everyone got to the airport—even me. The others were going home, and so was I, in a way: to St. Augustine, FL, for my 25th high school reunion. It was, well, interesting, to see all these guys who were the high school jocks of 1969 looking at pictures of grandkids and talking about KEOGH plans. I stood it as long as I could, then went body surfing with the one other guy in the class who still does things like that.

25th class reunion

A couple days later I visited Alexander Springs in central Florida. This is a crystal-water spring with a 33-foot boil. Ever since junior college Iíve been going to Alexander Springs, trying to see how close to the bottom I could get. I was never able to free dive further than the 20-foot ledge, before— but this time I surprised myself and made it all the way to the bottom! Those work-outs are really paying off!

At the bottom of Grand Canyon.

Then came October and the biggest thrill of all: I spent 17 days rafting the Colorado river in the Grand Canyon. I had wanted to go earlier in the year, but I didnít try to make a reservation until February and by then October 3rd was the first available date. But it was excellent! Sleeping under the stars, swimming in side streams, hiking up canyon walls to see ancient Anasazi ruins…and they let me row, too; one day the guide whose boat I was in "took a nap" in the back of the raft and let me row about eight miles, including minor rapids that occurred along the way. And I only hit one rock.

Borland C++ 4.0 Insider

The fact that I finished my third book, Borland C++ 4.0 Insider, the day before getting on the plane for this trip made it all the more enjoyable.

To be honest, when I got back to "civilization," I was glad to get to the motel and take a shower. And when I had dried myself and dressed, I undressed and took another shower. But then I was ready to go back to the Canyon. Iím gonna try to go again next year…and every year.

For Thanksgiving I flew to Florida and rented a car, then took my Mom to Key West—sheíd never been. While in the Keys, she had her first escargots, and first Margarita (you have to; itís their National Drink). Thatís another place I intend to return to; Iíve never been there for more than a day at a time but it clearly deserves more. However, this trip we had to scoot back to the mainland because my friends the Griffiths were having their annual Thanksgiving bash in Fort Myers and were expecting us. (I had been told that Mom was invited, and if I wanted to come Iíd have to bring her!)

So we made it there after a quick run along Alligator Alley (now called the Everglades Parkway). What a great party, too—including boat rides, dancing, and people getting whip creamed to within an inch of their lives.

Now itís December, and Iím hastily throwing this report together. Next week Iím returning to teach a class in the DC area, meaning Iíll be able to see the kids again—even Jenny, who arrives from California this week. The week after Iíll be working in Nashville for three days, but will then drive back to spend Christmas with the kids—we intend to celebrate on skis.

Hopefully, your year has gone as well. Let me know, okay?

Peace and love—