Professor Abe Low sent an email comment about me to a new friend when he introduced us online. I saved a copy because it was so cute. "Btw, I met Bill for the first time when he was teaching at Sacramento State University in the School of Engineering, Computer Science Department. He helped me greatly in preparing me to teach in that same capacity. If I recall correctly, he also taught at the University of California at Davis. At the time I didn't know he shared my love for woodworking. That part of our friendship came much later. Bill seems like a major BSer because he knows so much, has done so much, traveled so extensively, and been involved in so many innovative things. Strangely so much is true that he often chooses to share very little. Although it doesn't show through in his writing and web site, he really is a very unpretentious fellow, that in addition to be generous, knowledgeable, and dedicated. Too bad he ain't rich and good looking."
What Abe failed to share is when my health went into the toilet after getting very ill from a wood dust exposure, in spite of teaching since 1968 and building the personal computer labs and programs for both universities, their loyalty to me was zero. CSUS and UCD dumped me the instant I could no longer teach and replaced me. Moreover, at CSU Sacramento they ordered me to train my replacements including Abe Low and do so for free. As with the others who took over my digital electronics courses, computer hardware design courses, and software engineering courses, I gave Abe every lesson plan, exam, exam key, quiz and handout he needed along with all of the detailed procedures to use our campus computers. Abe said he had taught for years and could not believe I was being so generous. He asked me why I was being so generous and I said it still was all about the students for me. He thrived there. My health continued to worsen landing me in bed for most of the next four years on full time supplemental oxygen with no expectation of surviving. I used that down time to research, invent, build and document a much better way to do small shop dust collection. My dust collection web site went crazy generating over 100,000 unique visitors a day and made for some lively and often ugly Internet forum wars. As my health slowly improved, I finally was able to attend a local Sacramento Area Woodworkers (SAWS) meeting. I was an early SAWs member and loved making Christmas toys for the Salvation Army. Surprisingly Abe was their then acting president. I walked up to Abe and said hello. He had no clue who I was. In the years since he has last seen me my hair went white, I added a beard, gained considerable weight, my voice changed due to still being on full time supplemental oxygen. When he realized who I was he immediately welcomed me into his world. He said after all I did to help him get started in teaching he owed me dearly, plus made him very curious to find out more about me. He discovered that I was one of the main people who helped build and transform computing to personal computers and build the computer programs for UC, CSU and National University. Abe from then on made sure I went to faculty gatherings with him plus we had breakfast with friends at least once a month. I spoiled Abe with one of my cyclones. After many years of friendship, Abe is no longer with us and I miss him dearly.
My mother would have a fit if she read these pages as the rule was we did not share anything personal. Regardless, I got lucky all the way around. I grew up traveling all over the world with my very bright go getter parents who were into everything and incredibly enabling. My mother was raised by a widely traveled Cherokee medicine woman yoga master and she shared much of her training. My mother went on to become a professor, world class clothing designer, illustrator and artist. My father's father was from Austria and built a fortune in the U.S. allowing my father to be raised and trained by the best tutors that money could buy. Although my father lost everything including his father in the great depression, my father still was blessed being exceptionally bright with a full photographic memory, plus unbelievable energy and drive. He also was one of the physically strongest people I have ever met. At age fourteen his mother apprenticed him out to an old German fine woodworker. My father became expert at making furniture and fine cabinets then went into construction working his way up to union master in framing, finish and cabinetry. He and his best friend built a successful construction firm, both joined WW II, then they returned to turn their construction firm into a project development firm. My father was recalled into the Air Force three times and finally stayed retiring as a Lt. Colonel. During his service he won many awards serving as a trouble shooter for the Strategic Air Command, plus he earned his engineering and architectural degrees. During his service he had considerable time off that my parents used to travel and to refurbish project homes that they either sold or kept as rentals. Upon retirement he became president of an aerospace firm, an airline captain, earned his business and MBA degrees, and became part of a large development company. Most of their money was stolen, so my parents legacy became mostly how much they did along with raising five incredible children. The military forced me to take Martial arts which grabbed me very young and most of my training was in the orient with serious oriental masters who insisted on teaching the self control and healing aspects. That discipline helped temper the considerable gifts from my parents that left me as very bright, strong, curious and very energetic. That combination made for an amazing childhood with considerable successes.