14 Unusual things about Charles L Harmon
Many people follow the normal path of going to high school, college, and then out looking for a job. Well I sort of did the same, but with many years “off” between those few steps. Also I sometimes took six months off from work, a year off, two years off, and shorter periods off from working. It was easy to get jobs in those days, totally the opposite of the situation in the U.S. today.
Aside from that, maybe I’ve done a few things that some of you may not have done or even thought about. I just had to rant below about my “bad experience” in the South (Tennessee and Kentucky) so don’t miss that below. It’s the tip of the iceberg of some of the experiences I encountered in the south. It was a big difference from California and even a considerable difference from Chicago Illinois.
Xiiii Unusual things about Me
- I was a “Ham” (Amateur Radio) radio operator at 16 and still have my license some 50+ years later.
- I went to two different types of High schools; one a regular high school, the other a vocational high school where I took electronics for two years. I already knew the electronics the school was teaching so I and another ham operated the school’s Radio &TV repair shop. We also built many pieces of test equipment for the class from Heathkits. I also operated the school’s Ham Radio station and talked to people all around the world, including Russia during the cold war.
- Our family moved from Chicago to Los Angeles where I opted out of the electronics class at Pasadena City College because it was the very same class I had in high School in Chicago. I decided to get my First Class Radiotelephone License instead, which I did. It allowed me to operate any commercial radio or TV station in the U.S. I still have it – it is a rare lifetime license.
- I was president of Pasadena City College Amateur Radio Club for a while. We went up into the San Bernardino Mountains every year for Radio contests where we talked to other California colleges and around the world on code and phone.
- My unforgettable southern experience – my first major bout with discrimination. Continued on my Yolky Blog.
- I was a Master Blaster in the paratroopers, 101st Airborne, and made about 40 parachute jumps, including night jumps, from various military airplanes.
- I got in very near the beginning of commercial computers as an assembler at Burroughs in Pasadena creating the modules in their B3500 mainframe computer. I took computer science even before most colleges even offered it and got a 2 yr. degree in it and a minor in it before California State University offered a degree in Computer Science.
- I was an electronic technician and senior electronics technician in several jobs I held. I also was a quality control technician for testing accelerometers (like a speedometer) at Bendix Electrodynamics for some of the first rockets to leave the earth. Ever heard of a strain gauge? That was what was used to determine the rockets speed.
- As the computer operator for Optical Research Associates, an optical engineering company, where I ran and even learned how to optimize lenses using their proprietary Code V program. I ran analysis programs for analyzing the rocks brought back from the moon and programs for other sophisticated engineering projects. I met lots of engineers and scientists and ran their computer programs. However, I decided I wanted to be a programmer so I quit that great job after 3+ years to take the single class I needed to get my BA degree.
- I built and experimented with lasers in the early 60s when they were newly discovered.
- I had a long career as a programmer/analyst for online business and manufacturing systems.
- I was a partner in an import/export business. We had offices in San Dimas, CA and Hongkong.
- I went to Mainland China in the early 80s shortly after it was open to Westerners. They treated me like royalty, being driven around in a Mercedes (an old one) and shown a few tours in different towns. I had a great conversation with a Red Guard as I was singled out at the immigration checkpoint (I was the only non-Chinese there). Our conversation was in English! I was shocked because besides me, he and my partner were the only ones around that spoke English. But the guard’s English was perfect, even better than a lot of people here in the United States, plus he had no accent and he had never been outside China.
- I went to at least 7 colleges or universities and had about 250 semester units when I graduated. I took a lot of the things I liked instead of required subjects until I finally decided I’d better graduate and get my degree. I took 2 yrs. Real estate, 2 yrs. Computer science, commercial art, photography, engineering, magazine writing, accounting, business law, astronomy, and lots of other fun stuff.
7 More Facts Unusual or Not – You Decide
- When I was 16 and 17 I helped a fellow amateur radio operator with his transmitter and other electronics. He was an older gentleman, totally blind and so was his wife. Amazingly, their apartment was spotlessly clean every time I went by there. I had never seen a home so clean in my life. Even today it is very rare to see any home that is spotless with nothing out of place, no dust, etc. I really don’t know how they did it. They didn’t hire anyone to clean their place either.
- I was a real estate investor and bought several (7?) houses with “no money down”. I gave up my real estate salesman license to make it easier to make offers on potential ” no money down” properties. Read about my second such deal.
- I have traded stocks, options, and commodities (Futures). Options are my favorite. I love trading. I was told the futures market was rigged by an attorney that specialized in trading cases. In fact, he told me that even if you lost money due to broker shenanigans (that’s what happened to me) it wasn’t even worth suing unless one lost at least $100,000 or more. This was no fly by night lawyer, but an attorney with a fabulous office in Beverly Hills CA.
- I have created over 70 of my own websites. Initially html, but all the others in WordPress.
- I had over 700 domain names, most I let expire, but still have over 100 today, most are for sale and are aged and good for branding a business or websites.
- I have hired people from Turkey, India, Philippines, Lithuania, Canada, a few other countries, and the United States to write content or create websites for me. Even now as you read this I have people in other countries (outside the United States) writing and doing other tasks for me.
- I got married in Hongkong when it was under British control. Horse racing profits paid my way there and back plus expenses. I also made a few thousand dollars while I was there due to being in a Pick Six club I was in since I had left money there to bet with while I was away.
There are a lot more things I could add, but the above are fourteen of them.
OK Maybe none of this is unusual, I don’t know because these things seemed normal to me. After all doesn’t everyone leave a bunch of $20 dollar bills with the host of Professor Gordon Jones’ Pick Six club at Santa Anita Race Track to bet for them while they jaunt off to Hongkong on business. Then get married over there and come back to a nice profit from bets a stranger (I had been with the club for quite a while so the host was not exactly a stranger) made for them?
What do you think of these 14 unusual things? Are these typical happenings to most people? Add your comments below.