Since I was a kid I always wondered how stuff works, what makes things tick. Like the perfectly good telephone I took apart because I thought it was broken … but it wasn’t. Or the working six cylinder engine of my 1966 pick-up truck that I took the cylinder head off so I could see the pistons inside the engine and clean out the carbon build-up. My dad was always supportive, he never yelled at me for ruining the phone or taking apart the engine. Maybe because it still ran after I put it back together. Thank you Dad for encourageing my curiosity, I love you.

So since I was mechanically inclined, and I had a fixed-up 1967 Pontiac GTO with headers, hot cam, and a huge Holley carb, it made perfect sense that that I should become an auto mechanic. Being a mechanic is a fine vocation and I am not knocking it. Someday when I’m semi-retired I want to own my own auto shop. My uncle Terry often told me that I should go to college and design cars, not fix them but I had to find my own way.

So after a year of technical school learning how to fix cars (and get grease under my fingernails), my shop teacher Ed Brown said, “Steve, you see these guys in the shop, they are mechanics. You are too smart to be a mechanic. You should go to college.” So I did. Thank you Mr. Brown wherever you are, you really impacted my life. And thank you Uncle Terry for telling me that I should have higher goals and work hard to achieve them. If God gifts you with a talent, you should not bury it in a field and just wait.

So I apply to a Jr. College because I have no money and my grades in high school were so-so. I did not apply myself in high school because I spent too much time cruising in my GTO. Makes me think of a Ramones song, can you guess which one?

I think Jr. College is a great way to go especially if you are not sure where you are heading. After applying and enrolling in classes, I got a letter in the mail saying that my registration was fouled up and that I needed to get things resolved or I would not be able to continue to take the classes. God bless my mother, she very lovingly encouraged me to just see what the problem was. She was certain it was just a minor thing. it was. I was ready to throw in the towel after just one bump in the road. I was ready to drop out of school. Thank you Mom for teaching me to persevere, I love you.

I graduate from St. Petersburg Jr, College with Honors and enroll at the University of Florida. Go Gators! I major in Mechanical Engineering, what else for a gear head to do.

So this journey takes me six years to get a BSME degree plus the time after high school to “find myself”. I graduate from high school in June 1983. I graduate college in May 1991. Do the math, 8 years to get a bachelors degree. What a long strange trip it’s been.

To be continued (again) …

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