About Great Uncle Bill
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THE EARLY YEARS
I was born William Peter Erickson on August 4, 1949 in Duluth, Minnesota at St Mary's Hospital. I initially lived in the country on the outskirts of Duluth and we moved to the 11th Ave west hillside where I started school at Emerson Elementary School. After a few days of kindergarten, we moved to West Duluth where I attended Irving Elementary. Irving Elementary School has also been converted to apartments. See a picture of the apartment building HERE. During the middle of third grade we moved to the West End, now called Lincoln Park where I attended Lincoln Elementary & Junior High School and started Denfeld High School. At the time I attended church and Boy Scouts at the Salvation Army. At age 16, at the beginning of 11th grade, I went to live with my Dad in Barnum, Minnesota and graduated from Barnum High School in 1967. I also graduated as a Salvation Army Corps Cadet in 1967. During the summers I worked as a busboy at The Hotel Duluth coffeeshop.
After graduation I worked for the Minnesota Highway Department in a survey crew when I-35 was being built between US210 and Cloquet,MN, at Chef's Cafe as a dishwasher in Moose Lake, MN and at Wood Conversion Co in Cloquet, Mn handling asbestos insulation. In the fall of 1967 I went to work for the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co as a deckhand aboard the SS Pontiac on the great lakes. Yes, I remember passing by the SS Edmund-Fitz-Gerald as it was the largest ship on the great lakes at the time. Upon my return to Duluth, I worked for U.S. Steel at the steel plant as a millwright helper and at Jeno's Foods harvesting bean sprouts from huge indoor vats. On October 4, 1968 I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was sent to Lackland Air Force Base, TX for boot camp. After boot camp I was sent to Sheppard AFB, TX for Medical Supply training. I was then stationed at the USAF Hospital at Chanute AFB, IL. until my discharge on 18 March 1971. I then went back home to live with my Mom & brother & sisters in St Paul, MN and worked at Hoerner Waldorf making boxes, St Paul Housing Authority cleaning a high rise apartment building, G & R Rebuilding repairing alternators and starters and at Laurie Gas, pumping gas. Then I worked at the Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport in the underground parking garage as a car parker and we totalled out a customer's new 1972 Pantera while horsing around racing. NEVER leave your keys in a parking garage. TRUST ME on this. As a result I was job hunting again.
CAREER DECISION TIME
On 9 March 1973 I decided that The USAF wasn't so bad after all and re-enlisted with the intent of making it a 20 year career. I was sent back to Chanute AFB, IL and a year later I went to Misawa Air Base, Japan. I spent 18 months there and then went to Osan Air Base, Korea where I spent another 18 months. Then I returned to Chanute AFB for the last time and in March 1981 I was sent to Andersen AFB, Guam where I spent 5 years. In March 1986 I returned from overseas for the last time and was stationed at Reese AFB near Lubbock Tx. I retired from the USAF on 30 Sep 1990 and proceeded to St. Petersburg, FL. During my Air Force days, I was married twice.
BACK TO THE JOB MARKET
While in St Petersburg, I worked at Better Business Forms in various capacities including pressman. I also worked in central supply at St Petersburg General Hospital & Northside Hospital & Heart Institute. Between jobs I worked for Olsten Staffing at Franklin-Templeton as a clerk. I also worked at Precise Technology and at Jabil Circuit and for Adecco at R.R. Donnelley Company as a production worker.
A NEW BEGINNING
Then one day in August 1999 my life changed forever. I met Jackie on ICQ. Her late husband was a disabled veteran of the VietNam war. She was formerly in the Civil Air Patrol. We met in person, talked and travelled back and forth for a while. I then decided to relocate to Inglis, FL to be with her. She has two married children, Billy, married to Beth, and Chrissy, married to Wesley. In the fall of 2000 we moved to Mobile, AL. She works for LabCorp and I'm collecting social security and military retirement checks. We have been together 12 years and have not been apart longer than 12 hours at a time except for a family emergency in 2010.
The Big Day Arrives
Jackie and I were finally married, 08-06-2003, after being together for four years. The justice of the peace spoke with a deep southern alabama accent that you only hear in the movies. Just amazing. I've never heard anything like it before in person. The highlight of the day was my shoes. I still have my soft sole "shiny" uniform shoes from when I retired in 1990 from the USAF. I put them on and they were fine. As we walked toward the courthouse in downtown Mobile, the heels and soles started disintegrating underneath me. I left a trail of black dust almost like asphalt all the way from the parking lot, across the street to the courthouse. Click the below thumbnails to see the bigger pictures.
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