After one has been around for a while, actually for quite a while in my case, Gail Sheey's 1984 bestseller book "Passages," has been pretty much spot on. Her well researched and critically acclaimed work describes the inevitable changes we all go through in our 20's, 30s, 40's and beyond and the continuing opportunities for self discovery we experience. In my case, life has been an all-you-can-eat buffet spiced up with lots of good luck and seeming endless serendipity in an ever-changing landscape.
I was born in South Texas, and the day after high school graduation I enlisted in the US Navy. After an intense year of electronic and flight simulator schools I was sent to Naples, Italy, where I remained for three years, ultimately falling madly in love with bella Napoli. Upon my discharge, I returned to Austin, Texas and The University of Texas, majoring in Radio, TV and Film. These were the last days of network radio and the all new early black and white TV. After university, I went on air with a CBS affiliate in South Texas, delighting in the fun of the first days of live color TV.
Working as an on air reporter and features producer in the early 1960's allowed me to develop as a Texas broadcast reporter. In 1966 I was selected by the American National Red Cross as their first in-country accredited correspondent and director of information for Southeast Asia. During my year in South Vietnam, I produced documentaries and feature stories from Red Cross personnel stationed with the troops. Headquartered in Saigon, most of my time was spent out in the jungle refugee camps and up and down through the war zones.
At the end of my year in South Vietnam, I moved on to Tokyo as director of Far East Area Information for the ARC. This involved traveling regularly to Guam, Korea, Okinawa, the Phllipines, Taiwan, and Hong Kong to report and file stories for stateside placement. Returning to South Texas I eventually went to WWL-TV In New Orleans as an on air newscaster in the mid 1970's.
In my high school days I played saxophone in our award winning 16 piece swing orchestra and continued to play music all through my Navy and college years. In New Orleans I became a member of the AFM local there, playing pick up gigs in clubs on Bourbon street, with some fine local musicians.
In 1981 I finally left on-air broadcasting, moving from New Orleans to the Mississippi Gulf coast where I built TELEventure, an independent video and audio production facility. Clients included Merck, Ingalls Shipbuilding, and Chevron's Warren Petroleum Company, for whom I developed all their federally mandated HAZMAT video training.
After selling TELEventure to a local area college, I later built an all digital video and audio editing suite into my home from which I operated until finally semi-retiring. Retirement years offered more time for relaxing and doing things I love to do like flying my wonderful old 1947 Navion and finally learning to fly a helicopter.
For many years I returned regularly to Italy and also produced a half hour documentary in Amsterdam on the 1941 Nazi invasion there and the subsequent Dutch Holocaust. It remains a personal project which I hope will help keep our society from ever forgetting the horrors man can visit upon his fellow man. Links to the film are in the right column on the home page.
Discovering the delights of having Border Collies as the best friends anyone could ever hope to have continues to give meaning to each day, which starts with a nice morning outing with the Collies without fail.
My love of writing as well as translating for an Italian speleological web site, which I have done for more than ten years, keeps me busy. Having never been an old guy before, I see this as something new, and definitely challenging! I look at the astounding changes in communication and interpersonal relationships and the political mutation in today's American society and try to maintain a long view for a better understanding of who we all are and what is happening to the world around us.
Larry Ray 2012