How my Life turned out Different Than I Thought
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by Frank Shortt
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I suppose some folks believed that my destiny was to be a coal miner. My grandpa, my dad, my older brothers were all coal miners. I worked some in and out of the mines in order to have clothes and other things required for my schooling. Most of the inside work was bringing in coal for our own household's warmth. Outside the mines, I cut timbers for the miners, and cleaned up beside the trail leading from the mine where lumps of coal had dropped off during hauling to the tipple.
When I was seventeen years of age, I decided to try to join the army as things were not going so well at home. The only reason I did not go in at seventeen was because my mom would not sign the papers needed for my induction.
The day that I turned eighteen, I was on my way to Lackland AFB in San Antonio Texas for basic training in the USAF. I consider this one of my best decisions in life. Not while I was in basic training did I think this because of the rigorous training I was going through, but later in life as my income increased I was thankful that I had decided not to become a coal miner.
After serving Uncle Sam, I had an assortment of jobs that kept my family fed and put a roof over their heads with warm beds inside. They also always had plenty of good clothing!
The first job I acquired after the USAF was as a service man at a combination garage and service station. I then went on to try my hand at being a shipping clerk for a grinding wheel manufacturer. This only led to an aching back.
Meanwhile, I continued working at the garage even while I worked at the manufacturing company. I later became a professional house cleaner and moved on to being a custodian at a large school district in San Jose, Ca. I continued working as a house cleaner while working an eight hour shift at the school district. We then moved to Flagstaff, Arizona where I became a trainee to become a manager of a combination hardware/lumbertaria. The owner did not keep his promises, so we moved back to San Jose where I went to work as a maintenance man/custodian for the Alum Rock School District. After doing this for a while, and meanwhile doing all the testing for the Operations Department for new hires, I applied for and was accepted as a night supervisor for all the schools. While doing the job of custodian I also worked at a well-known hardware store in the evening and did antique shows and flea markets on weekends to supplement my income. I also did odd jobs for employees of the school district requiring me to paint houses inside and out, as well as, many repair jobs that needed doing. After awhile, I became Chief of Operations for the school district where I remained until my retirement in the year 2000. After retirement, I went to college to enhance my writing abilities (at 70) and began writing for several newspapers as a freelancer, as well as, some college journals, magazines, etc. I continue to write for several venues and enjoy each and every day working around my second home up in the Eldorado County Hills!
Yes, I have by God's grace had a full life and have been blessed in more ways than you could count. I am glad I decided not to become a coal miner!