I will be on my seventh day with the Herald-Banner publications once you have read this. It is truly an honor and privilege for me to be the editor of the Rockwall County and Royse City Herald-Banners.
Although I am new to the Herald-Banner family, I am not new to the city of Rockwall or Royse City, for that matter.
I have lived in Texas since March 2012 after leaving the frozen — yet very beautiful, during the spring, summer and fall — tundra of northeastern Vermont.
I left Vermont after spending nine years with The Caledonian-Record in Vermont and New Hampshire.
Then, from June 12, 2012, until July 8, 2015, I worked as a staff writer/photographer at The Terrell Tribune in Terrell. I also was the editor of the 16-page The Chamber Spotlight, a publication we produced for the Terrell Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitors Bureau.
I will truly miss writing stories about the people and happenings of Terrell, especially the No. 1 British Flying Training School Museum.
For those of you who may not know, the No. 1 BFTS is not only a jewel for Terrell and its residents, but it is also a part of the history of Texas and the United States.
It was the first school in the U.S. to train Royal Air Force cadets during World War II. More than 2,000 cadets — including some Canadians and Americans — trained for air battles in the skies above Europe aboard AT-6s and PT-17 Stearmans.
The museum hosts the annual No. 1 BFTS Museum Flights of Our Fathers Fly-In every year. And this year’s fly-in on Sept. 19 is going to kick it up a notch with the aerobatics of Texas’ very own Randy Ball and Adam Baker.
If you go to this year’s fly-in, do not forget to check out the museum. And while you are at it, do not forget to check out the productions of the Vagabond Players troupe in the black box theater in the back of Books and Crannies in the former Iris Theater building.
Now that the advertisements are done, back to a little bit about me.
I grew up in Bainbridge, a tiny Upstate New York village along the meandering Susquehanna River. It is about 41 miles from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., which is situated along the shores of Otsego Lake and at the head of the Susquehanna River.
Every summer, my parents, brother and grandparents — along with our dog, Pixzy — would spend a week in a cabin along Otsego Lake. Fishing, swimming and reading — and barbecue chicken — would fill our days and nights. Great memories.
But we also attended the annual Hall of Fame game.
Like all of us, time passes and we grow up. After high school, I graduated from Herkimer County Community College and SUNY Geneseo, majoring in communications.
With the economy in the late ’70s iffy at best, and after sending out numerous resumes, I decided to join the U.S. Army as a public affairs specialist/journalist.
I spent six and one-half years in the Army, including three awesome years in what was then West Germany.
Besides being able to cover some great stories, as well as REFORGER exercises, and shooting pictures of troops training, USO shows with “The Happy Days” cast and rodeos, I was also able to see a lot of the country as well as its bordering neighbors.
While I was covering a 3rd Infantry Division unit on duty near the then Czechoslovakian border, I was startled when all of a sudden, a soldier on duty along the border stepped out of concealment.
It was winter and he was garbed in winter-colored material. Great concealment. Those were tense days back in the early ’80s.
But my most memorable times while in West Germany were when I would help the owners of vineyards harvest their grapes for the production of wine.
Every fall we would gather at one of the local vineyards and start harvesting. It was great to be in the vineyards with the local people. Of course, I barely knew enough German to have conversations. But if I got stuck, they would speak in English — because I had at least tried to talk with them in German.
At lunch, they would bring out a flat-bed wagon loaded with meats, breads, cheeses, and of course, refreshing beverages.
After leaving West Germany, I spent my last two years at Fort Carson, Colo. I lived in Colorado Springs facing Pikes Peak. Absolutely beautiful.
I left the service and returned to New York state and started my newspaper career in Oneonta, N.Y. I worked throughout the state until finally settling in New Hampshire and Vermont in 2003.
I met my wife, Karla, in 2008 and we were married aboard the Newport Belle on Lake Memphremagog between the U.S. and Canada in 2012.
When she was scheduled to retire in May 2012, I quit my job as an editor at The Caledonian-Record, packed up my Corolla and moved to Texas, first staying with my step-son, Tony, in Royse City.
Karla and I had hoped I would get a job in Dallas so we could live in the city, Alas, that did not happen, but I have no regrets.
She moved to Texas in May 2012 and we settled in Rockwall in July 2012. We love what the city and community have to offer — plus, it is just up the road from Dallas.
And I am very happy to be covering the community in which we live. I hope to become just as engaged in Rockwall, and Royse City, as I was in Terrell.
If you have anything you would like to see in the papers, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.