The first photo was taken in the front yard of our farm near Polo Illinois in 1940. I was on the cover of Life magazine in 1946 and on most of the pages detailing my one room school in Pecatonica. I was drafted in 1963 and ended up running the computer center at the Presidio of San Francico. I worked as a business analyst for Blue Cross during the 1980s. I joined a dance group in the 1990s and danced at many venues around the City. In 2013 I was featured in the Asian Art Museum quartely magzine as an outstanding member. I now try to go on vacations every year for my birthday on February 4th. In 2015 I took a cruise to Jamaica and in 2016 I went to Portugal to celebrate my birthday! As of 2016 I have been in the computer business since 1959 and now create web sites as a past time!


Here I am in 2006 celebrating my 66th birthday in Beverly Hills, Woodland Hills, Santa Monica and San Francisco. As you can see, retirement is certainly a good life as far as I am concerned! Chuck & Champagne - 2006

I have been busy traveling the last 30 years but the first trip I took away from Illinois was in December of 1962! For some reason I decided to go to the Bahamas where I learned how to suba dive. It was a fantastic trip on a sailing ship, even caught in a hurricane in the Bermuda Triangle! After that all I could think about was traveling all over the world. It took a while but I am slowly traveling all over the world!

In 1982 I went to Fiji and and in 1984 I visited Mexico, Greece and a cruise on the Nile in Egypt. In 1986 I went to England and France. In 1989 I went to Thailand and in 1992 I went to Hong Kong and Italy.

In 1994 I spent two weeks in Peru, mostly at Machu Picchu and then went to the Amazon River in western Brazil on a weeks cruise. In 1996 I went to China and took a boat ride on the Yangtze River. In 1998 I went to Finland and in Russia. I took a boat cruise from St. Petersberg to Moscow. In 1999 I sailed on the Magellan Straits from Chile to Argentina and then flew back to Santiago and then after a few days visiting there, took a flight to Easter Island for a week.

In 1999/2000 I went to Austria and Hungary for the Millennium New Year with my friend Viviane.  In 2000/2001 we then went to Morocco to celebrate the actual Millennium New Year. Then I went to Hawaii for my 62nd birthday in February of 2002. My next trip in 2003 was to Guaelmala and in February of 2004 I celebrated my 64th birthday in Washington D.C. I also took a cruise in 2004 with my friend Gail to the Netherlands.

Then I went to Turkey in November of 2004 where I met a new traveling companion from Seattle, Barbara.  In 2005 I went to New Orleans for my 65th Birthday in February and then to Costa Rica with Barbara in October.

In March of 2006 I went to Zambia and South Africa with my friend Gail. In 2007 Barbara and I decided to go to Vietnam and Ankor Wat in Canbodia where I celebrated my 67th birthday! In February of 2008 Barbara and I back packed all over Nicaragua , visiting the major cities and volcanoes!

In 2009 Barbara and I went to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and then to Iguacu Falls and Buenos Aries Argentina and at the end of the trip, we took an extension of a few days to relax after two weeks of rushing around. We stayed in the little town of Colonial del Sacremento in Uruguay. It is a delightful small town and very friendly!

In June of 2010 my friend Gail and I flew to Yellowstone National Park and rented a car to tour the area. We also drove to Grand Teton Park in Wyoming. My sister Yvonne and I decided in September of 2010, to take a trip to see all of the western canyons. We saw the Grand Canyon in Arizona and continued on to view the Zion National Park - Coral Pink National Park and Bryce Canyon in Utah and the Walnut National Park in Arizona.

In 2011 I celebrated my 71st birthday in Panama along with a cruise through the canal. In 2012 I celebrated my 72nd birthday in Puerto Rico. My sister always wanted to see Alaska so we booked a cruise from Alaska to Vancouver in the fall of 2012 and had a wonderful time. Barbara contacted me in 2013 and said she found a great trip to New Zealand so off we went on another great vacation. The trip also included three days in Hawaii where we could unwind after driving over 1,500 miles in New Zealand! My trip in October of 2014 was to Ireland with a new traveling companion, Virginia!

Virginia and I took a cruise from Miami in 2015.02.04 for my 75th Birthday in the Western Caribbean, visiting Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

In 2016.02.04 I celebrated my 76th birthday in Portugal. I visited Lisbon and toured the area and took the train to Porto for more tours plus tast testing the famous Port Wine! And my next trip was with my friend Barbara in Seattle and we are went to Cuba on 2016.06.01, for ten days and two full days in Cancun and went to see ruins of Coba!

In 2017.02.04 I celebrated my 77th birthday on a cruise around the islands of Indonesia and then visited Singapore in 2017.02.15 for a days tour before flying back to Tokyo and San Francisco. I even got to see Mt. Fuji from the airport in Tokyo!




Here are a few photos of me celebrating my birthdays in different areas of the world.



This is an overview of my life from 1940 to the present!



1940 ~ Born at Home on the Farm Between Polo and Brookville Illinois!

I was born in 1940 on a farm a mile from Brookville and my sister was born in a house near Pearl City in 1932.  The picture on the right was taken around 1938 and is the only known picture of the house where I was born.  My grandparents, Martin & Anna Peterson, parents of my mother, are standing in front of the house! 

A month after I was born we moved to a farm half a mile from the house I was born in and my parents then bought this farm.  We moved within a year to Pecatonica on a 500 acre farm we rented along with owning the farm near Brookville.  I went to a one room school house near the rented farm and my sister graduated from the Pecatonica High School and moved to Rockford.  


1940 ~ General Overview of My Early Life!

My parents and I moved back to the farm near Brookville around 1950 where I finished grade school in another one room school house and I graduated from High School at Polo in 1958.  I then worked at Freeport (my first computer job), Rockford, and was drafted and worked as a computer center supervisor at the Presidio Army Base in San Francisco in 1963 where I have lived every since!

When I was born on a farm near Brookville Illinois my sister said she was in the next room and heard my first cry. They had plowed the snow off the gravel road just in case the doctor was needed.  Our father went to the neighbors to call the doctor to come out. I weighed 'ten and one half' pounds and as my sister said, "I wasn't red like most babies, I was white and had rosy cheeks and curly hair!"  She said I tried to walk when I was only six months old and they were worried as I was so big and heavy, I might become bow-legged.  Well at least that didn't happen!  As you can see, I was an angel as a baby!

Our dog Scrappy would check the basket I was in to make sure I was all right! My sister told me my first ride was on a hay wagon around the first of March, just a few weeks after I was born. It was the middle of winter and very cold!  Within three weeks we moved to the next farm which my parents had bought!  

The only thing I remember about the farm before we moved to Pecatonica where we rented another farm, was our Christmas tree decorated with candles just like the old German Christmas trees.  The candles were lit for only a few minutes, then blown out for safety!  It is strange how I can remember that so clearly and nothing else during those early years!


1942 ~ Trouble at Only Two Years of Age!

My sister told me when I was two years old I was already misbehaving.  When they did the threshing and piled the straw into a huge pile, a straw stack you know, one always went to the top and slid down it as it was so much fun!  I guess one wasn't suppose to do that when the straw was fresh and hadn't settled as one could sink in and suffocate!  So I decided at two years of age to get onto the straw stack and dance around on the top of it.  Well it was bad enough I managed to crawl on the top of the straw stack, the next thing I did was to take off all my clothes and dance around.  My sister said the hired man saw me dancing around and yelled for someone to take care of that boy and get him off of the straw stack!   

She said she did the same thing when she was two years old, took all her cloths off and stood on the concrete base of the windmill in the front yard as the neighbors drove by.  Our father came by and scooped her up.  So now I know where I got my exhibitionist qualities from, my sister.  One has to blame someone!

Since she was eight years older, she said she always thought of me as a real live doll and took care of me while our parents worked outside.  She used to dress me up and put me outside to take a photo with our Brownie box camera.   I would stand there and the neighbors would drive by, I told her that was why I was so screwed up in later years, she 'made' me dress up in those funny clothes.  She laughed about that! 


1943 ~ Big Trouble by a Little Boy!

I told my sister about the first faux pas I remembered doing as a child.  I thought I was around six or seven by she said I was three years old!  She said I certainly have a good memory for something that happened 63 years ago!  Here we are when I was three riding on our pony!  I am the one hanging on for dear life!

As most children on farms or I guess, anywhere, matches and fires are something that is magical.  We had the big ‘farmers’ matches and I loved to play with them.  One day in the early fall the grass was about a foot tall and everything was dry as there hadn’t been any rain for a considerable amount of time.  I decided to take some matches and go into the backfield behind the buildings where there was an old orchard with dried tree trunks and grass.  I lit a match and watched the fire take hold.  Well it certainly did, suddenly the entire area was on fire.  It was bad and I was scared.  Suddenly I heard my father yelling and I was even more scared.  He came running back to the fire and screamed at me to help put it out.  I didn’t know what to do so I ran across the road and into the pasture and down to the neighbors house, Annie and Gusty, who were sitting on their porch rocking away.  I came screaming up to them and they just sat there thinking, “That boy must be in Big trouble!  So I decided the safest place was under the porch where is was dark and I just sat there shaking. My father came down the road in the car at 80 miles an hour and flew up to the porch.  “Where is that boy?”  Annie and Gusty just sat there.  I think he looked under the porch and saw my beady little eyes reflecting back fear!  I knew he was going to catch me so out I flew and across the field to our house.  He got in the car and we met at the same spot at the same time in front of our house!  Everything after that is a blur for some reason!  Of course I was punished but they were more worried about the farm burning down. 

Well I did learn my lesson but as I told my sister, a few days later I took some matches to a plowed field and dug a hole and put in some dried leaves and lit them and said to myself, “To bad, I will have a fire if I want to!  Bad boy!  But from then on I made sure if I made a fire, it was in a safe and protected place.  So I did learn something from the experience and my sister had to laugh as she said she also went into the fields an lit fires and danced around them.  Must run in the family!

So can you believe it, I remembered all this and I was only three years old.  I still have a good memory in 2006 so that is something to be thankful for!


1944 ~ Burst Appendix - Penicillin Saved My Life!

The inserted newspaper clipping from 1944 brought back many memories since we had moved to Pecatonica, Illinois, a 500 acre farm we rented after buying the 160 acre farm by Brookville!  When I was four years old I was running around the yard and suddenly I was dreadfully ill.  My stomach ached and I lay on the couch and felt like I was dying.  We called our doctor in Pecatonica and his diagnosis was, stomach flu! Well after several days they thought I was going to die so off to the doctor.  Now he said I had a burst appendix!  Great!  

So off to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy operation.  My insides were full of peritonitis and I was unconscious and expected to die.  I was told they took a lot of my insides out and washed my insides but to no avail.  So they were going to write me off as I had been unconscious for a week.  I found out later, penicillin had just been sent to Chicago in 1944 after being used in the Pacific war zone with miraculous results!  The penicillin was rushed to the St. Francis hospital and given to me just in time.  I was so weak I was in a wheel chair for weeks, too weak to walk.  I remember coming home and having to stay in bed.  Yvonne of course, was in school and my parents told my I had to stay in bed as they had to go out and work the farm. I, of course, knew better so I tried to get out of bed to get something.  I fell on the floor and that was that.  I couldn't get up so laid there for a few hours.  My mother came back to check up and of course, there I was.  Well no sympathy for me!  She just got me up and back in bed.   She figured I probably had learned my lesson!  So here is the news item, seems awfully small for such a major operation and almost the death of me! 


1945 ~ Saturday Nights on the Farm ~ Our One Evening to Go to Town and the Movies!

I remember when I was around five or so, we used to get cleaned up on Saturday evening after the choirs and go to one of the small towns to shop and see a movie.  Yes, we all used the metal wash tub to take a bath and I was usually the last one to use it.  I remember one evening we were almost ready to go and I was still in the wash tub.  I decided there wasn't enough soup suds so I got out and took a box of I believe, Lux soap flakes and poured them into the tub and then proceeded to wave my arms about.  

Well the next thing my mother came in and the entire kitchen floor was covered with soap suds with me in the middle of it. I think words were spoken.  She was not amused but the floor was certainly clean after that episode!  Aren't kids fun!  

It is hard to believe we would go to Ridott or German Valley and watch a movie from a projector running in the outdoors.  In Ridott they would shut down the main drag and put a screen up.  Next to it was the General Store where the farmers bought their supplies while we kids ran around and then watched the movie while sitting in the street!  

In German Valley the General Store was in a big white building and the one wall was about two stories high and perfectly flat.  It was a perfect movie screen and the area by that wall was a large grassy area so we could picnic and relax while the movies were playing.  Needless to say, I can't remember any of the movies but it sure was exciting at the time.  

Now I have a 60 inch TV, a surround sound system and a satellite connection and 200 channels.  Times certainly have changed!


1946 ~ A Big Year as a Celebrity ~ Life Magazine Cover !

Life Magazine decided in 1945 to run a sequence of photos of a one room school house in the mid-west so the people over seas would remember what they had been fighting for!  Our one room school was picked in Pecatonica and the teacher was Miss Meyers.  It was the old story younger people have heard too many times.  I and my sister would walk to school in all kinds of weather.  And our teacher made us mind, or else.   

Life Magazine sent out a reporter for several weeks in 1946 and of course we were all excited as he had the latest cameras and flash bulbs! But after a few days, we forgot about him and went on with our lives.  So he was able to get fabulous shots of us doing our daily schedules.  There are about four pages of pictures in the magazine and I am in almost all of them!  

We used to go to town on Saturday night, our big night out after taking our bath in the big tin basin in the kitchen, to shop and if lucky, go to the movies.  I remember that since I was on the cover of Life Magazine people like the check out ladies in the grocery store, would pat me on the head and say what a cute boy I was.  I, of course, disliked the head patting and tried to ignore it. So much for fame and fortune!  

Note: I found this photo taken in 1946 of the The Wagner One Room School near Pecatonica and it is so clear. By the way, my sister graduated the year before I was on the cover and told me if she was still in our one room school, she would have been on the cover, not me!  I always wondered what the meant, would she have pushed me aside?  No, she said, she was cuter so.....

One has to laugh as one looks through old pictures and newspaper clippings.  We lived on a farm and I always thought we were in the middle of  no-where!  Then I see the local newspaper clipping and had a good laugh!  We had birthday parties and of course, our uncles and aunts were invited and they came to Pecatonica from Polo, Freeport and Brookville.  And they attended dinner and brought presents for my sister and myself!  Well that sure makes me wonder about how things got into the newspaper.  Someone had written Feb. 3, 1946 on this clipping!


1947 ~ Famous on the Farm - The County Paper had Write Ups of Us!

A second clipping I found is interesting also as it details a Sunday entertainment as a six PM dinner.  We were on the farm so a six PM dinner seems strange to me!  Our aunts and uncles were there, all Buntjers. Mr. & Mrs. Marvyn (Babe) Buntjer, Benny Buntjer and family, Faye, our father's sister and husband George Copoulus and another sister of our father's, Elizabeth and her husband Tony Agiou of Freeport!  

My sister and I were 'honorees' and received many gifts and wishes for many happy returns of the day!  Here is a picture of me at seven years old!

So I guess we weren't quite in the back waters of the farm land as I thought, especially since I was on the cover of Life Magazine in 1946, my 15 minutes of fame!

The photo on the left is when I was in second grade in 1947.  I an on the left second row.  Lots of curly blond hair then.  I attended the one room school until 1951 when we moved back near a small village called Brookville where I finished my eight grades in another one room school!


1947 ~ Cowboy Chuck and Cowgirl Yvonne ~ Outfits and Horse Back Riding!

And here I am in 1947, with my cowboy outfit with the hat and of course, the six shooter!  We used to ride our horses to Pecatonica and we rode in the opening rodeo's grand parade!  I only did that once but it was fun as maybe a thousand sat in the grand stand as we circled and weaved our way around the fair grounds!

My sister Yvonne, in her cowgirl outfit, was always riding and used to jump her horse and do the runs around the barrels and so on.  Now isn't she cute!

We had a trail ride on our farm once and a few days before I remember we did a ride around to select the best places to ride.  I believe my sister lead the trail ride.  

Many times people would come from miles with horses in trailers and there would be food and so on for sale.

Our farm was about 500 acres with a river running by it and an Indian mound on a high hill and 200 acres of forest.  We had a great time riding and hiking all over the land looking for Indian relics and swimming in the river and so on.  Huckleberry Finn I think!


1947 ~ Spring Floods - Fishing - Trains!

Spring Floods and Fishing and Trains!

Almost every spring, the river in the low lands of our farm, flooded.  It covered all most of the farming area and then the land had fresh black soil, great for growing corn, oats, alfalfa and other things such as soybeans.   Our house and barn were on the top of a hill so we could look down on the waters.  I remember some nights with a full moon, the entire bottom of the farm was covered with a bright silvery glow from the moon.

I remember our neighbors and uncles and cousins would come to our farm after the river level had fallen back into it's banks.  There would be huge lakes all over the low lands and as they dried out, the fish would be so numerous one could just walk into the water and catch the fish by hand.  

In this photo I am holding a carp.  There were bullheads and other fish but as far as I was concerned, they were bottom feeders and not very tasty.  Ever since then I have liked shell fish such as crab, lobster and especially the huge prawns or a light fish poached with butter and white wine.

I remember standing in about two to three feet of water and fighting the fish as they were slippery and very wiggly!  We caught gunny sacks of the fish and now I wonder what people did with all these dead fish.  

I also remember in the spring when the rivers over flowed, sometimes the super express trains from Chicago to San Francisco and Los Angeles would come by.  The tracks were very old and not too stable for such big passenger trains and they would hardly move as they watched to make sure the tracks were still in one piece.  One night we saw lights and then the Pullman cars and some had the glass dome on the tops for viewing. I was impressed and wondered if I would ever be lucky enough to ever ride such a train, let alone every see some place like Los Angeles and Hollywood!  My sister said one train was called the City of San Francisco and the other the City of Los Angeles.  My sister said wasn't it funny that now I live in San Francisco and go to LA many times a year!  All this from 60 years ago!

Well look at me now, living in San Francisco for over 43 years as of February 2006, just back from Beverly Hills besides traveling all over the world, such as this trip in 2006, to  South Africa.  Farm boy makes good!


1948 ~ Family Reunions on Both Sides of the Families - We had such Great Times!

I remember all the great family reunions we always had each summer.  Everyone would come and sometimes the reunions would be at our grandparents houses or later in Freeport at the big park.   

Everyone brought food and all we did was eat and relax, except of course, the children.  We had too much energy just to sit around and I do know some aunts were grumpy and thought we should be seen and not heard!  Well of course that didn't last long.  

Also, we children had to sit at our own table so as to not disturb the grown ups!  Excuse us!  Well, we would have been bored sitting there listening to them talk!  So here I am with the Peterson boys at our own special table!  This was at our grandparents Petersons near Pearl City Illinois!  My uncle and aunt Johnny & Vera and their eventual seven children lived down the road from my Grandparents Petersons. 

 


1949 ~ Thoughts About the Times Around the Farm

My sister found the picture of me on the right that she never knew she had!  I of course, an out in the fields helping with what ever type of grain was being grown.  I certainly had a big nose then.  Thank goodness it has gotten smaller or my head has gotten bigger!

This picture reminded me how much had changed on the farm in a few years.  In 1944 I remember helping out in the field walking behind a combine pulled by horses and picking up and stacking the sheaths of oats into small pyramids.  This was done in case it rained, three or four sheaths were stacked together and a last one put on top, if it rained, this would protect most of the grain (we hoped!).  Within two years after the war was over, 1947, we had a new tractor and a combine that cut the oats, separated the grain from the shaft and put the grain in a container to be picked up later, and the straw went out the back.  Our big farm horses were suddenly out to pasture and  everything was mechanized.  (But our toilet was still out back of the house!) Chuck in Forreston at the Sauerkraut Festival!

My sister told me she had kept this photo of me in her billfold for over 50 years and I didn't know about it!  She said she really loves it!  Such a nice sister!  It was taken in 1949 at the Sauerkraut Festival in Forreston Illinois.  Every year the little town had a festival and all the German and other nationalities would come to the town for a weekend of Sauerkraut and sausages.  A carnival would also come to town with rides and side shows so we all had a great time.  

My sister thinks this photo was taken in one of those photo booths and I wonder where my mother every bought the outfit I was wearing!  Snazzy for a farm boy in Illinois. My mother was very smart and artistic even though she only went to school for a few years and then had to work at home.  If I remember correctly, sometime in the 1960s or so, the festival suddenly was smaller and finally disappeared from view.  That is too bad as almost all of these types of happenings have disappeared from the local landscape!


1949 ~ The Original House near Polo Before Being Remodeled!

This picture taken around 1949 is the Buntjer family in front of our house on the farm that we owned near Brookville and before we did a major remodeling job on the house and build a new barn and machine shed.  

We had all the latest in house wares, beautiful kitchen and bathroom with all the latest fixtures.  

This was a lot different than when I was small and had to use the 'out' house!  Especially bad in the middle of the winter at night!    


1950 ~ Summer Picnic at the Wagner One Room School!

This picture taken at our summer picnic at the Wagner one room school.  I was in fourth grade but we moved that year back to Polo where we owned a 160 acre farm by a little village called Brookville.

We also had been renting a 500 acre farm near Pecatonica Illinois to help rebuild the house near Polo plus a new barn and machine shed and oats bin. 

In 2010 I got a message on Facebook from Sandi Lender who appears in this photo on the first row, right.  She also sent me a photo that I also had, when she was in first grade and I was in second grade.   I am in the left back row with Carol Neuberger!  Sandi and I can only figure out five people in the photo!

We have been trading many stories about attending a one room school and she said she and several others from the school still had my Life cover and the photos inside!


1951 ~ Our New House Near Polo Illionois!

This is how the house looked after we remodeled it in the early 1950s.  This picture was taken in 2004 on my sister and my mid-west tour of Illinois, Iowa and Missouri.  

We drove to Polo and then to Brookville to see the farm.  

We were pleasantly surprised to see the entire farm almost the same as it was 50 years ago!  Even many of the large trees are still there!  

The house has been taken care of remarkable well considering how many farms around were left to fall apart or were torn down to build newer ranch house style homes.  

Check out this link for bigger photos that shows the house in 1949, 1951, and also a photo taken of my cousins and my sister and myself in May of 2004!


1952 ~ My Sister Yvonne and Her Fabulous Wedding!

This was a big occasion as my sister was getting married to Kenneth Burt in November.  A beautiful wedding was held at the Brookville Church  with candle stands all along the windows of the church and by the alter.  

My cousin Randall Peterson and I were the candle lighters and were dressed in tuxedoes. (I was told in a Protestant Church, the person lighting the candles is commonly called the acolyte - how is that for trivia!)  My cousin Nancy Copoulos was the flower girl and my sister had the most beautiful wedding gown. 

It was a fantastic time and we all seemed to enjoy the occasion.  After wards there was a grand set down dinner for guests! 

So here on the left is Randall, Nancy, and myself looking dashing for the wedding!

And of course, on the right, Ken, Yvonne, and our parents, Walter and Edna Buntjer!


1954 ~ Another One Room School in Brookville!

I went to another one room school after my stint in a one room school house in Pecatonica and the cover of Life Magazine.  This was in a small village named Brookville.  I have been talking with Sharon, a student there with me and she is doing research on the one room school but there isn't much information for the village.  My sister was married in the beautiful small white church on the edge of town.  She and I took a car trip in 2004 from Chicago to St. Louis and drove through Polo and then into Brookville.  Well the school-house was gone and so was most of the little village.  A few run down houses and broken down cars were in the yards.  A school mate of mine, Sharon Smith, is doing research to see if anyone has photos of the school or the students. 

My sister found a letter I wrote to her and her husband dated 1954, a year after our mother's death.  I was going to a one room school house in Brookville Illinois, a short distance from our farm near Polo.   I stayed at a woman's house for part of the school year until things were straightened out after my mother's death.  My sister had married and moved to Rockford before our mother died so I was basically alone for a time.  Check out the letter and verbiage about my time in Brookville!  (Note: This is the only photo I was given of the Brookville One Room School House! Sharon K. Miller informed me it was demolished in 1958 in a letter I received from her on August of 2008 along with the photo!)


1954 ~ Thought About the Goings On This Year

This is the only photo I have been able to find of my father, Walter, and myself. 

It was taken a year after my mother passed away with breast cancer, a horrible time for me as I felt alone and adrift.  

You can read about my staying at a woman's house in Brookville while I finished grade school there before going to Polo High School. 

It is interesting I still sign my signature as Charles W. Buntjer!

It seems very strange we didn't have many photos taken but then, I don't have any with my mother either - just the one when I was a baby.  

We are spoiled with our digital cameras today.  Instant gratification!   As you can see, we both were very trim from working on the farm.  

I tired to drink milkshakes and so on for years to bulk up.  Even in the army I was trim due to marching miles at a time.  Of course, when I turned 55, suddenly everything went to my waist.  So goes life!

Can you believe in 10.29.2009 I was looking in my jewelry box containing my cuff links, tie tacks, rings and so on.  I noticed behind the backing was a paper and I wondered what it was.  What a surprise!  Can you believe after 55 years I saw a certificate stating I was enrolled in the Polo Community High School.  Now I wonder how it got there! 

 


1958 ~ Junior Class Photo

Here I am with the Polo Junior class.  My sister found this photo in a box and we aren't sure where it came from.  Sharon Miller sent me the names of the students in the photo from 1958.  She has been in touch with me since our 50th High-School reunion. She and I also went to a one room school-house in Brookville Illinois.  I had to laugh, I left Pecatonica and the one room school-house and moved back to Polo where I was born on a farm and ended up at another one room school-house in the village of Brookville.  

Polo High School Junior Class - 1957

Front Row:  Nancy Cox Parke, Chuck Buntjer, Karl Dauphin, Larry Bott, Sandra Abels Hummel, Nina Andrews Wagner, Theda Butler Levy

Back Row:   Evelyn Davison Hewes, Bill Clayton, Bob Dempsey, Ken Deyo, Jack Dohse, Don Ditzler, Larry Bowen (Passed away in 2008)


1958 ~ Polo High School Graduation
Here I am graduating from Polo High School looking rather pale and young at 18.   

Check out the picture taken of me five years later in the army uniform in 1963 looking much older and very professional if I do say so myself.  

My high school days were busy as I had a car and was able to go and do what ever I wanted to with a little help from my father's gas tank on the farm! 

I wonder how many tanks of gas I went through dating and going roller skating at the White Pines National Park, the drive in movies, dancing, and just plain goofing around!  


1959 ~ A New 1959 Two Door Hardtop Buick!
Here is my first brand new automobile - A two door hard top Buick!

I still haven't figured it out after 50 years, as to why my father decided I needed a new car and he suggested a Buick. I was shocked as I loved the new 1959 Buick hardtop with the huge windows and the speedometer that had a red line to display the speed rather then a needle as even today in 2010, most have.  And this is the color of my car, a spiffy green with a white roof.  

I wonder if my father thought the Buick would make me perhaps, want to stay on the farm! 

When I was drafted in 1963, after being stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco, I drove the car out here from Illinois and drove it for about five years before I let it go and ended up with a British Motors Spitfire two door convertible from a friend of mine. 

He was moving to Manhattan in 1968 and asked me if I would like to have the sports car for free!  Of course I said.  I loved that car and drove all over the Bay Area with the top down most of the time.   Certainly a different life style, riding a horse or tractor in Illinois and a few years later driving a European sports car around San Francisco!


1960 ~ First Jobs in the World of Computers in Illinois!
My first job was at Burgess Battery in Freeport where I was sent to Chicago to learn how to wire boards to program 402 and 403 IBM machines at the age of 20.  I then worked for Anderson Brothers, Ingersoll, and Amrock in Rockford before the Cuban Missile crisis changed my life.  At this time I also decided I needed to work on my inter-personal skills so I went to Arthur Murray's Dance Studio of all places to learn how to dance.  They offered me a job to work in the evening and I decided, why not.  I would get paid to learn how to dance and also I could make some extra money on the side.  Plus we had great parties after work and sometime we gave dance exhibitions around the area.  Not too bad for a farm boy, working in computers during the day and dancing my feet off at night and only 22 years old!


1961 ~ Dating in the Midwest Before the Army Called Me Up!
I was dating a very nice woman while living in Rockford Illinois. I originally was dating her and then dropped her for another girl, Pat.   There were four of us and we all had a great time together double dating.  The other woman, Pat, was very beautiful and she wanted to become a model in Chicago or New York.  We used to go out dancing two or more nights a week at the local cocktail bars, very sophisticated for Rockford.  We went for years and we were underage. 

Interestingly, on my 21st birthday, the manager of the cocktail lounge had a good laugh, said he had never checked our I.D. and if the police ever came in he probably should have checked us out.  Well he had a good laugh, my birthday, number 21, was the next day so we had to leave until the next day! 

When I was dating Susan she was in college for a while in Wisconsin and I went a few times to her annual college dances and we had great times.  In this photo, we went to a Halloween party in Rockford. We were suppose to be Roman and my sister made up the outfits plus I had glitter on my eye lids, not too Roman, I think more Egyptian!

Years later I learned that Susan had gotten married and had a baby but then had cancer and passed away in her 30s.  So sad.  And my hot date, Pat, got mad at me for not wanting to get married and told  me off.   She got married to the hot motorcycle number in town and I was drafted in the Army during the Cuban Missile crisis!  I found out later she had a baby and her 'hot' husband used to beat her.  Well imagine my surprise when I got a letter delivered to me at the Army post in San Francisco at the computer center where I was the manager.  The guys of course, were interested.  I opened it up and read the following....  I miss you Chuck and my daughter and I would love to come and visit you in San Francisco.  I guess the other 'men' knew something was up and asked to read the letter.  They had a good laugh and I ripped up the letter and dumped it into the waste basket.  Sorry.... No Chuck here or a second-hand Daddy!


1961 ~ My first plane rides

When I decided to take my first trip to see the Atlantic Ocean and take a cruise on a Windjammer ship through the Bahamas I had to go to the O'First Plane Ride - 707 Jet LinerHare Airport in Chicago and board a plane to Miami.  Can you believe the first plane I ever flew on was a Pan American Boeing 707. Here are some facts about the plane:

Pan Am was the first airline to operate the 707; the aircraft's first commercial flight was from New YorSecond Plane Ride - Sea Planek to Paris on 26 October 1958. American Airlines operated the first domestic 707 flight on 25 January 1959. Airlines which had only ordered the DC-8, such as United, Delta and Eastern, were left jetless for months and lost market share on transcontinental flights.  The 707 quickly became the most popular jetliner of its time. Its popularity led to rapid developments in airport terminals, runways, airline cateringThird Plane Ride - A Prop, baggage handling, reservations systems and other air transport infrastructure. The advent of the 707 also led to the upgrading of air traffic control systems to prevent interference with military jet operations.

After I got to Miami and spent a few days enjoying the hotel on the beach I flew for my second plane ride, a one engine pusher propeller sea plane.  Exciting to fly in as there had been a hurricane and the waves were very dangerous.  We didn't think we were going to make it from the ocean to the shore on the island oEastern Electraf Bimini.  We did make it but it was hair raising!  Then off on the Bahamas cruise!

So for my thirdDC-3 Prop airplane ride, when we got back from the cruise and landed in Miami, our Pan Am 707 flight was canceled and we were asked to fly one of the new turbo jets, an Electra (plane on the right), that had many crashes.  This flight was going to New York and almost the entire passengers said no way will we fly on that plane.  So they put us on a four engine propeller plane to Cleveland and on to Chicago and was I surprised.  After the first ride on a jet passenger plane, the prop engines chugged along and the plane vibrated and was not very enjoyable as the jet but, with in three weeks I had flown on three very different types of planes. 

I did eventually ride an Electra when I got out of the Army boot camp in Fort Knox Kentucky and flew back to Chicago before flying United to San Francisco in 1963.  After that I regularly flew United 707s back and forth from San Francisco to Chicago to visit my father near Polo and my sister in Rockford Illinois.Single Engine in Fiji

IGlider Ride over Lake Tahoen 1967 I flew back to Rockford Illinois where my sister was living.  Rockford is the second largest city in Illinois (at least at that time), and when I landed in Chicago decided to take a plane into the Rockford airport instead of a bus or having someone drive all the way to the airport to pick me up.  Little did I realize I would be riding in a pre-World War ll DC-3.  Talk about a bumpy ride, so low to the ground.

Then in 1982 I finally flew in a one engine propeller plane flying from a secluded island to the main town of Suva in Fiji!  I had the jump seat next to the pilot so got to see the islands and reefs as we flew into the Suva airport.

And finally in 2008 I flew a glider over Lake Tahoe in Nevada.   That was a great thrill and now I only haven't flown in a helicopter for some reason.  I almost did in Hawaii and in Zambia Africa over the Victory Falls but both times I was too cheap to spend the money to fly in the helicopter. 


1961 ~ My first big trip - Carribean Cruise on the Wind Jammer!

It is hard to believe that in 2006 my sister found this photo 45 years after I took this trip to the Bahamas ! She called me up and said she had beenChuck in 1961 on a Windjammer Cruise in the Bahamas! unloading boxes of things she has been keeping for over 50 years or so and scanning photos and throwing out things no one would want or even know about any more.  

I told her I remembered very clearly I was excited about my first trip in 1961and went to a camera stop in Rockford Illinois where she lived and I was working.  So I found a camera I liked and bought it and took it on my trip to the Caribbean!  Check out the Bahamas link on my Home Page for a full blown description of my first big trip of my life!

I remember about half way through the trip, suddenly the camera wouldn't load the film and the shutter wasn't working correctly.  Well of course I was mad and I think I managed to rewind the film or I took it back to the camera shop.   So I figured there weren't any photos in existence from my first big trip in my life.  

Low and behold, my sister found in the bottom of a box, a negative of me on the Windjammer Cruise!  Not a photo but a negative all by it's self!  Strange!  She said she just put the negative on her scanner and low and behold, presto, a not too bad copy of me at 21, hanging onto the rope of the ship as we sailed from Bimini to the rest of the islands in the Bahamas and almost to Cuba!  Actually that is pretty funny, in 1961 I almost landed in Cuba and in 1963 I was drafted because of Castro and Cuba and ended up as the top sharp shooter (rifleman) of the battalion and a chance to go to Officer's Training to be a Second Lieutenant!  I didn't think so, not with computer training under my belt!

I was very lucky and ended up in San Francisco in a plum job at the Presidio managing the swing shift in the computer center under the Golden Gate Bridge for only two years and then off to the corporate world and eventually consulting at all the major companies in the Bay Area!  


1963 ~ A Very Big Surprise - Drafted!

I had several jobs in Rockford before being drafted in 1963 during the Cuban Missile crisis and ended up as the swing shift supervisor at thePresidio Army Base in San Francisco.  I was sitting in a bar after working an eight hour day at a company in Rockford Illinois called Amrock.  This was an up and coming business with the latest computer equipment.  I remember even then, they had the latest disk storage memory in the country.  It was the size of a large refrigerator and had about 12 huge magnetic disks.  There were 12 read/write arms, one for each disk.  So when a record was read, the entire system of arms slid back and forth to find the data to read or write!  

So with my training in computer systems, I was lucky enough to be the swing shift supervisor at the Presidio, over looking the Golden Gate Bridge and my barracks over looked down town San Francisco!  

Most of the other men in basic training. (Fort Knox Kentucky), ended up in places such as Fort Benning Georgia, not a very nice place for training.  I was the top shot in basic training and received a medal for being a sharp shooter!  

Due to my high IQ and computer ability, I was asked to go into officer's training but decided I was better off as a civilian and working in the open market rather than living a regimented life that I would find hard to follow.  

I also found my Army Discharge Papers and was surprised to see in 1969, they still had my address as RR 2 Polo Illinois! They indicated I had completed all my service requirements and was officially discharged. I don't know what they ment by fulfilling my requirments but someone told me perhaps I should have done some summer military exercises. Huh I said. Well what ever happened, I was happy living in San Francisco and working in the biggest computer center west of Chicago at Fireman's Fund Insurance!


1965 ~ Visiting my Sister in Rockford after the Army - Ready to live in San Francisco!

I was just about to get out of the Army at the Presidio of San Francisco and decided to visit my sister, brother-in-law and my nephew, Bill. 

As you can see, he was still very small and when he was older I told him I used to change his diaper. 

This went over big and my sister had a good laugh about that! 

I decided when I got out of the Army, I would never live any place else but California and San Francisco unless it was Paris or Venice.  Well so far after 45 years as of 2008, I am still living the good live in San Francisco and California. 

I have never missed the mid-west or wanted to move to another state.  It is a state of mind!

This photo was taken in 1965 in the yard of my sister's house in Rockford Illinois.


1966 ~ After the Army I started to work at Fireman's Fund - 18 Years!

After the military, I worked for Fireman's Fund Insurance as a supervisor for 15 years  Chuck at Fireman's Fund Computer Center

(See the photo of me at Fireman's Fund Insurance - 1969).

I then became a consultant working for major companies around the bay area through the 90s during the dot-com era starting with some of the following companies:

Boole & Babbage Software

Schwab, Banc of America - Y2K Fix  

and finally Franklin Templeton in 2002.


1967 ~ DC 3 - Flying from Chicago to Rockford Illinois!

My father became ill this year and I flew back to Rockford Illinois where my sister lived.  Rockford is about 85 miles northwest of Chicago.  I flew many times on United to and from San Francisco and Chicago while in the Army and afterwards.   After many years my sister lived in a suburb of Chicago but when she was in Rockford, I flew to Chicago and then flew to Rockford on a DC-3 airliner.  Talk about some ride!   During the 1960s I flew on Boeing 707s so were used to the big jets. 

Imagine my surprise when I went from the United 707 to board the local airliner to Rockford!  It was a DC-3 and had a small aisle and one seat on each side of the aisle.  The seats were very small and hard.   There were large windows by each seat but there wasn't a door to shut between the pilot and co-pilot and the cabin.

After we took off the stewardess asked me if I wanted a cup of coffee and if I wanted cream or black.  I said black and watched her go to get it.  She went to the front of the plane and dug around under the first seat.  There were two thermos bottles and she poured me a coffee and brought it back. 

I looked out the window and we were flying so low I thought I could see the leaves on the Oak trees!  Then I looked across the aisle and saw a man in a suit looking very pale and secretive.  The next thing he reached inside his coat and took out a bottle of whisky and took a big slug!  He continued this the entire time we flew to Rockford.  I can't remember but the trip probably only lasted a little over an hour in the air. 

So this was the only time I flew on a DC-3 but it was quite an experience.  Another one for the books!  Of course since then I have flown on aircraft around the world on my travels but this one remains one of the more interesting!

Production

A total of 10,655 DC-3s were built at Santa Monica, California, Long Beach, California and Oklahoma City in both civil (607) and military (10,048) versions. 4937 were built in Russia.  A total of 487 were built in Japan. The overall total produced was 16,079.   More than 400 remained in commercial service in 1998.


1968 ~ Party Time in the City - Flower Children on Haight Street!

During the 60s those of us lucky enough to be living in San Francisco, were in the middle of the Flower Children and Love and Peace movement.  I was working at Fireman's Fund Insurance so I wore a suit to work.  Then came Friday evening and we would be off to Haight Street.  We would go to the clubs and meet people, dance and what ever all night, be invited to someone's apartment and the only furniture would be one bean bag chair, that was it!  We would drink, smoke grass, dance, kiss and hug all night, from Friday until Sunday night!  Then home and off to work for five days and then start the weekend all over again.  We wore 'love' beads and bell bottoms along with long hair, well, not too long for the office, and thought we were the in crowd.  So it was funny, during the week I was in a suit and swing shift supervisor, then on the weekend, Mr. Love Child!  This was just the beginning of an era that is now long gone!

Check out this link on a history of the club scenes and life in San Francisco during the 1960s through the 1980s as lived by me!  It makes great reading if I do say so myself!  (Of course these stories are only the tip of the iceberg so to speak!)


1969 ~ Chuck - The Novice Skiier!

Patti Memoli and I met at Fireman's Fund Insurance Company in 1967.  It was the largest computer center west of Chicago, state of the art at that time.Chuck Supervisor Swing Shift Computer Center - 1969  She and I began a long friendship.  Over the years we took tap dancing lessons, cooking classes and I took my famous skiing lesson at a ski resort near Patti's winter/summer house in Truckee.  Chuck Skiing in Mt. Lasen

Patti started working at the Fund in June, 1967 (19 yrs old) making $74 per week as a Tape Certifier.  I was a computer operator and I was making $95 a week!  Here we are in 1969 at the swing shift at Fireman's Fund!  Patti on the left of the photo and in the front row center with the spiffy jacket, me!

I was a novice at skiing and she suggested I take a lesson, me take a lesson as I am so good at doing everything I put on my skis, went to the 'bunny' slope and there were about 15 people to take the class.  I, of course,  went to the top of the bunny slopChuck and Pattie ahead of everyone.  The instructor just looked at me and I gave him the look, like do I need a lesson? 

Well suddenly my skis started to slide and I turned sideways to stop and ended up sliding over everyone's ski tips and then proceeded to fall down.  No one said anything but the looks, like you twit, running over the tips of our skis and then falling down. 

This from Patti: Mt. Lassen is where you had your famous 1st lesson.  There was only a rope tow, no chair lift and you had to stop before the Chuck sunbathing at Mt. Lassenbottom of the bunny slope. Why?  Because over the bump at the bottom were the hot springs. If you missed stopping, you would get wet.  We saw several beginning skiers do this and always thought it was hysterical.  From then on I was quiet and followed instructions, especially how to stop or fall down if needed correctly.  Fireman's Fund Gang - 1969

At the Mt. Lassen Motel, our rooms had 2 doubles,  You would always take one and loudly announce "I am not sharing this bed", leaving me to crash with whomever had come with us.  Never a fun thing for me. The rooms were 1950's tacky with knotty pine walls and orange shag carpets.

In the winter of '69-'70, we had our famous Swing Shift Ski Trip.  That is picture of you and I in front of Dave's car (married, brought wife and kids - I have a couple more pictures of the gang).  Well I just got in 2011 several photos from Dave and here I am sunbathing at Mt. Lassen. He also had a photo of many of us from the computer installation at Fireman's Fund on a fun weekend - ah, the good old days!


1973 ~ Patti and Chuck - Skiing Adventures!

Patti and I had lots of fun during our skiing adventures.  Here I am in 1973 looking like I know what I am doing at Squaw Valley.  One Friday afternoon we packed up the car and off to Truckee and her house to have cocktails, sit by the fire, tell stories and just have a good time away from the computer center and all the trials and tribulations we encountered there.  We were on the freeway after a few hours and suddenly there was a mass of cars and we were told the freeway to Tahoe was closed due to snow but we could go as soon as the snow ploughs opened up the roads.  So in the middle of the freeway, we opened a bottle of wine and relaxed. 

Chuck Skiing at Squaw ValleyWe got almost to her house and the snow was two feet deep and we had to put chains on the car to make it the rest of the way.  The freeway was a mess.  We got to the house and Patti had a fit.  A man down the road was suppose to clear off the flat roof of the house when too much snow got onto it.  There must have been three feet on it.  We had taken another 'friend' with us and she put the two of us onto the top of the roof at three a.m. and told us to 'shovel' or else.  We got so hot we took our shirts off.  Then we finished and came down and proceeded to have cocktails. 

If I remember correctly, Patti went to change for bed and I ripped off my clothes and into the big bed - perhaps passed out from the snow shoveling and then a cocktail.  That is my story and I am sticking with it!  Patti said, I don't remember or I was asleep, (a good excuse), and she said she was not sleeping with that other twit so!

Each morning we would have a good breakfast and off to the slopes to ski all day and at times, stop at noon for a wine or cocktail.  Ah, the good old days.

One time we even went to the local Ski Shop and tried various skis and boots and were deciding how much to pay.  Eventually we decided just to rent instead of spending a lot of money and then having to store the skis over the summer.  Patti said:  We rented equipment at Don's Sporting Goods on Geary St., but bought boots after the 1st season.  Later I bought all the equipment.  We continued to ski Lassen until winter '72-'73 when Barry and I bought the 3bd/2ba mobile home in Truckee.  Our adventures continued. You and Barry shoveled the roof after our 9 hour trip to get there. The picture of you in the white T-shirt is at Sugar Bowl. From Truckee we skied on Saturdays at Alpine Meadows or Squaw Valley and Boreal on Sat. nights. On Sunday we skied Sugar Bowl (remember taking the tram ride? into the village) because it was right on Highway 80.


1975 ~ Party Time in the City!

During these years, every weekend was a party.  We drank, danced and did what ever we could from Friday night until Sunday night and everything was wide open.  Everyone partied.  We would open the bars at six AM and drink and play dice and gossip and then dance by the jute box.  We would do this all day and night but would stop to have a nice dinner in the evenings with before dinner drinks, martinis, wine with dinner, desert drinks such as Black or White Russians after, then back to dance and drink some more.  Then at two AM the after hours places would open and off we would go to watch entertainers do drag shows and listen to musicians and songsters.  We would meet actors from the Broadway Plays who would come after the performing in the shows to be entertained and to drink and relax and gossip.  

One day a bar on Polk Street had a Hawaiian party and the Hawaiian bartender at the Tender Trap in the Tenderloin, called his relatives in Hawaii and had them go out and pick special leaves to make me a lei and also one for a friend of mine with flowers.  He said only the chieftains could wear these special leaves so it was very special!  They had the leis flown over to the coast and we wore them all day, dancing around the streets and to the bar on Polk Street.  Ah, the good old days!


1981 ~ A Condo on Twin Peaks - My Friend Patti Wood found this place for me to buy!

After my father passed away, I took the monies willed to me to buy a condominium on Twin Peaks with a view of the entire bay area.  I moved there in 1976 and lived there until 1992 when I moved to the 28th floor of the Fox Plaza downtown San Francisco with another spectacular view of the City.  

On Twin Peaks I needed a car to get around.  The view was tremendous but owning a car in the City is exorbitant and one gets parking tickets every time you go shopping.  The weather is another factor in moving as it is very foggy and windy on top of Twin Peaks.

At this time I was busy driving to Sunnyvale and Silicon Valley working on large projects for Boole & Babage and Sterling Software development.  I sometimes worked 12 or more hours, (getting paid for over time so made out like a bandit), and driving over two hours round trip a day.  This is why I look so thin in this picture!  I also was dancing five nights a week so I was not only trim but very healthy, if not tired!  Ah, to be young again!

I was going through some old photos in 2014 and couldn't believe it, I found some photos of my condo taken around 1980. I loved the sofas and the layout of the rooms. I put mirrors on the entire wall of the dining room making the room even seem larger!


1982 ~ Blue Cross was a Great Place to work at until the new CEO, a friend of Reagon, closed down the Operation in Oakland!

After I had become friends with my coworkers at Blue Cross, we had many occasions to party and to celebrate holidays such as Halloween.  As you can see by the photo on the left, I liked to dress up and even had cufflinks on my shirt sleeves. 

I loved that red sports jacket and at times felt bad over the years when the casual dress code came into being.  Many dressed like they were at the beach and even one time at Sterling Software near Stanford, one consultant came into the weekly management meeting wearing shorts and flip flops.  Excuse me I thought, give me a break.  

One woman I worked with, Ruth Stellwagon, had parties and invited us over to eat, drink and dance at her new apartment.  It was a sock hop and she wore her high school prom dress!  

There was a group of us that worked as business analysts for Blue Cross and the processing of claims.  We designed the forms to be sent to clients, worked with the data entry people on inputting data, worked with personnel from the computer division on setting up programs for use in health care subscriptions to clients. 

We had many experiences during Halloween.  One woman I worked with came in one time dressed as a bumble bee!  She had on a yellow and black outfit and on her head were two large antenna!  I wasn't going to be so silly and dress up.  Well I went down the street a few days before Halloween and saw a store that sold very cheap looking fake fur.  Hmmm I said, maybe I could go as Conan the Barbarian!

So I bought the fur and made an outfit with a top and covered my cowboy boots with the fur.  Not to bad looking for such a short time to make an outfit.  Now I wasn't sure what to wear underneath but decided a gold skimpy underwear was perfect.  Well Ms. Bumble Bee decided we needed to walk down the street and get lunch. Huh I said. Well why not. So off we went and of course it was noon and everyone was out for lunch.  The new building next door was full of lawyers and they happened to be behind us.  Ms. Bumble Bee suddenly said, I lost one of my antenna so I bent over and picked it up.  Of course my very short barbarian fur coat pulled up and everyone could see my golden undies.  One of the lawyers asked the other one, What is going on?  He replied, It is just those Blue Cross workers as usual!   Blue Cross after that decided maybe it was best if we dressed up to stay inside or just forget about Halloween costumes!

We also had a coworker, Jim, (see the photo of us at Fisherman's Wharf), who had an old 1934 or so automobile that looked like something out of a crime movie in the 30s!  So we got together and decided we would dress up like mobsters and Jim would drive his car to Oakland and we would drive around trick or treating and in the evening go to Jack London Square by the bay and hit the bars.  The women dressed up like gun molls and we certainly were a hit at work and when we drove around town.   Talk about good times!


1982 ~ Fireman Fund Friends and a Trip to Fiji and Scuba Diving!

My friend Betty and I worked at Fireman's Fund Insurance for years and we and other employees became close friends during the 1970s and 80s and are still friends after all these years.  We not only worked in the computer division but after hours did various fun things along the way.   This picture was taken during the Christmas Party of Fireman's Fund at the St. Francis Hotel on Union Square in downtown San Francisco.  Betty picked me up in her Cadillac so I felt especially Special as we danced the night away!

Here I am in 1982 by the entrance to my condominium on Twin Peaks, thin as can be!

A group of us used to meet for lunch at work and we all started playing dominoes. It was cut throat and we used to have a great time but I think the rest of the employees thought we had lost it!

We took up tap dancing lessons and after a year, our teacher who then was around 80 years old but could tap the feet off of us who were then, only in our 40s!  This stopped at Christmas as we heard through the grapevine we were going to put on a 'tap' fund raiser!  We didn't think so and the next week we did not showed up for the tap class! 

 Chuck in Fiji - 1982 Then we proceeded to take cooking lessons and did Italian, Asian, and Greek.  We would take a lesson, then prepare the food and have a taste test afterwards.  This is a great way to learn how to cook and bake exotic dishes!  We also went dancing and out to dinner at different restaurants around the City.

This year I was going to Egypt but due to the volatility of the region, my travel agent in Oakland said I shouldn't go!   I was very unhappy but she said she had set me up with a new location, in the sand, in the sun and so on.  So imagine my surprise when the next week I was in the sand and sun but in Fiji!

I had a wonderful time staying on the man island for a week and then on a very small island with only one resort.  It was heaven and the snorkeling was unbelievable.  I saw huge fruit bats flying over the full moon at midnight and got to fly back to the main airport on a single engine prop plane as you can see by the photo!


1983 ~ Suba Diving Lessons and Trials and Tribulations of Learning!

I decided, belatedly it would seem, to take a course in scuba diving.  The reason I decided this was the fact that I had first been diving in 1960 in the Bahamas, in Mexico, and Hawaii without any training.  Little did I know how little I knew and how much I needed the class.  It was held at the YMCA in San Francisco in the Olympic pool in the basement. 

Now I have to tell you a funny story about the class.  The first night we all got together, the instructor suggested we all chose a partner for the duration of the class.  There was a 'hunk' in the class.  Very handsome and all the women wanted him for a partner.  Suddenly he said, "I want this guy to be my partner!"  My, my, I thought to myself as the women were miffed to be sure.  Well I had to laugh as he was so tall and had such big muscles.  I thought, at least I have someone who will be able to handle himself in the pool.  One of our tests was to go under the water and have the one person lose his oxygen mask and the other one had to do a buddy air share and at the same time pull the person from one end of the pool to the other end - all under water!  Well we went first, down we went, my 'hunk' partner took off his mask and as I tried to share my ventilator and pull him through the water, he panicked and tried to drown me!  Excuse me,

I had to fight him and drag him from one end of the pool to the other!  When we got to the other end the instructor said I had done a great job.  I told the women, they could have this man as a partner anytime they wanted to trade! 

They all laughed and said, "Too bad, but he is yours now!"  So I had to drag this hunk through our drills and everyone thought it was funny except me!  We dove off the coast near Russian River, north of the City and by the piers in Carmel where we spent a weekend diving and eating!  I did get my certificate as you can see and used it in Fiji and other locations around the world! 

---------------------- Life Magazine Cover Story - 1983 ----------------------

While I was working at Blue Cross someone found out I was on the cover of Life Magazine when I was six years old.  They asked me if the company could put my photo on the monthly Blue Cross letter.  I, of course, said Yes!   They set up a contest to see if anyone could recognize me almost 40 years later as I was 43 at the time.   As you can see in the Employee News letter they had my photo from Life Magazine and the eternal question, Who is this?

Everyone kept guessing and one day suddenly, a woman came flying over to the 18th floor where I worked as a business analyst.

She grabbed me and said she couldn't believe it was me!  I asked if I knew her and everyone wondered what was up.

She said she was in second grade in of all place - 1946 - Hawaii!  She said they had a big discussion about me living on a farm in the states and what the school was like.  She then said something that was very funny! 

She said she and her classmates looked at the photos and for some reason since they were in black and white, the states didn't have green grass or trees, just dark colors.  Later her parents brought her to the states and she said she was so surprised, there actually were greens and other colors.  Everyone in the business unit had a good laugh about that and of course, she won the prize for knowing the boy on the cover of Life Magazine.   Another interesting story in the life of Chuck!


1984 ~ Traveling to Mexico for the fifth time and Finally Cancun and Chichen Itza in 1987!

I actually have been to Mexico about four five times or more and visited Tijuana, Nogales, Mazatl'an, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico City, Cancun, M'erida and  Chuck in Chichen Itza!  San Felipe - Baja.  This has been from 1970 through 1987. Chuck in Mexico City!

I spent a week in Mexico City in 1984 visiting the museums, palaces and the famous Pyramid of the Sun and Moon outside the city.  I met a woman from England who was traveling around the world.  She said she had just been to Egypt and saw Kufu's pyramid and the Pyramid of the Sun probably would be small.  We decided to hire a cab and took a drive to the pyramids.  As we crested the hill and saw the large pyramid she said, "Crap, this is much bigger than I thought it would be!"  We had a good laugh.  At that stage I hadn't been to Egypt so I couldn't make a comparison.  We did climb to the top, I made it but she decided two thirds of the way up, to sit and enjoy the view!

My very favorite spot was Chichen Itza in the Yucatan Peninsula in 1987.  The ruins are fantastic but are weathering very badly due to the acid rain.  I also spent time in M'erida, and actually celebrated Christmas services in the local cathedral!  On this trip I also drove to Tulum on the Atlantic coast just south of Cancun.  Beautiful water and views and beaches.


1984 ~ I became a Press Correspondant for a Radio Station Covering Current Events in my Spare Time!

When I was working at Blue Cross as a business analyst in Oakland, I became friends with Tim. One day he asked me if I would like to work part time for him during my off hours as a business analyst at Blue Cross as a radio announcer and reporter!  I was surprised, as I didn't know he had anything to do with the radio or reporting.  He said I would get a press pass and attend private movie showings before anyone else and I would review them and give a two or three minute expose about them on the air!  I would also do previews of the latest books in the market along with interviewing notable people in the area. Tim & Chuck in 1984 - Fisherman's Wharf He said his operation was just a one-man operation but had affiliates in London and surrounding areas, New York area and Australia!  He would tape the reviews or interviews on a weekly basis and send to the affiliates around the world.  I was amazed and asked, "Why me?"  He said I was good at talking to people and also had a good speaking voice and would sound good on the radio.  Well who am I to discourage someone who said that about me!  I, of course, said, "Yes!"  

So suddenly I was a reporter with press credentials and started to go to private movie showings in the evenings.  It was interesting as most people never knew some of the office buildings in San Francisco had private screening rooms with huge individual cushioned seats to watch the movies along with a glass of wine!  I also reviewed the latest books and our biggest splash was the first time the "Gay Parade" had been presented on the radio.  We started at five AM and worked until after eight PM.  We ran all over interviewing people and our biggest catch was on the podium in front of city hall.  There was our Senator giving a speech and Tim and I grabbed him after his speech and he was kind enough to give us an interview.  His wife thought the entire parade and interview were good for a laugh and said they had a wonderful time watching the parade and meeting so many nice people.  This show was very popular in London and Australia!

Tim said he did get some comments from the affiliates as to who was that 'man' with the deep commanding voice!  We had a good laugh about that!   Tim decided after several years that the time and money needed to maintain a private radio commentary was too high to continue!   So my career as a radio personality was over!

When the Blue Cross offices were closed in Oakland and moved to Woodland Hills, I began to do consulting.  My first contract was at Boole and Babbage, a software company in Sunnyvale.   In the mean time, Tim had inherited some money after his mother had passed away and he bought a 65 foot yacht!  Oh, baby, was it nice!  The photo shows us having lunch at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.  Tim had sailed his yacht into the harbor and after lunch, we and several other friends that we had worked with at Blue Cross, cruised around the bay acting like we were millionaires.  We had a great time.  About a year later Tim contacted me as he was doing some work at a nearby company in Sunnyvale and said we should get together for lunch sometime to talk over old times.  We were around 45 years old then.  I was excited to see him again but thought it was strange as I never heard from him after that phone call.  Then one day I saw someone in San Francisco who had worked with us at Blue Cross and he said Tim had suddenly passed away! I was shocked needless to say as he was only in his late 40s!  

So I was glad he did get to buy his yacht as that was something he always wanted to have before he died but little did I realize he would be gone so soon. At least I have a nice photo of him and some great memories to put down for posterity and my several years as a radio reporter and interviewer!


1985 ~ Blue Cross was Famous for it's Halloween Parties!

This year we had a lot of fun as each year Blue Cross let people dress up in costumes and come to work.  One year I dressed up like a cave man and one woman dressed up like a honey bee!  

We left at noon to go to lunch and two business men were behind us and one said to the other, there go those Blue Cross workers!   Excuse me!

The next year a bunch of us were talking about dressing up and one of the guys, Tim, said he had a 1930's car that looked just like a mafia car or one from the 1930's movies about evil gangsters and their molls! 

So the men dressed up in suits with cigarettes and cigars hanging off their lips and the gals dressed up like molls.  Tim drove the car to work and we met him down the street and arrived at work in the car and got out causing a stir.  I am in the center and Tim is on the right. 

After work we drove around and ended up at the wharf in Oakland and proceeded to have cocktails and we created quite a scene.  Ah, the good old days!


1986 ~ One week in London and two weeks in France!

Aquarian Birthdays:         Wings 2/9 - Chuck 2/4 -  Linda 2/20 - Donna 1/13 - Diana 2/8 - Bob 12/28

This happy group worked at Blue Cross in the 1980s until one of Reagan's henchmen came to take over as the president of our non-profit company.  Aquarian Birhtdays at Blue Cross

Chuck in France and London

He lied and said jobs were safe and within six months, moved the computer operations to Southern California and dumped all most all of the staff, over a 1,000 people.  

Anyway, here we are at the local bar/restaurant having a great time since there were so many Aquarians in our department with the exception of one, Bob! 

 

It was humorous as the bar was 'gay' but had good food so everyone went there for lunch.  Only in California!  Here is a list of the people with Aquarian birthdays!

I decided to go to France but my travel agent said as long as I was going that far, just fly to England and visit London for five days, the take the hover craft over to Cala and then on to France to tour Paris and the Loire Valley countryside.


1987 ~ Between Consulting Contracts - A class to obtain a Realtor's License!

When I was between contracts I would take classes in case another job was not in the wings!  One time I took a course on scuba diving at the YMCA which covered diving and safety procedures.  But this class was a realtor's class taken in Daly City in 1987 with Century 21.  I went three times a week for three weeks.  Then I took a weekend course that guaranteed you would pass the California state test or you would get your $100 back!  Not a bad deal.  After the weekend course, they stipulated one should answer the questions and not stop until finished.  Do not go back and reread as most people would do, then start to change answers and fail the test.  This was a valuable lesson for me as I found when taking other state tests such as the Certificate to become a Senior Residence Manager!  There must have been over 150 people taking the three hour test.  I finished in 45 minutes and took my papers to the tester and she said to leave my papers and when finished doing what ever, to come back to finish the test.  Everyone looked at me as I said, "I am finished!"  Gasps from everyone.  But I just left as I had looked at the first question and thought it was wrong, then the next one!  No, I said, just forget it and leave.  Six weeks later I got my notification I had my realtors license.  I then was representing owners of a house on Twin Peaks, asking price, $800,000.00.  And this was in 1987!  Well as I was presenting the house and had a perspective buyer, a contract came up for me, a year long and probably worth at least $80,000 a year so I had to make up my mind.  Stay in the realty business or continue with the contracting.  I decided to stay with the computer industry which was a good deal as I made out during the 1990s and the dot-com era!


1989 ~ Consulting at Boole & Babbage, the Earthquake and on to Thailand!

I was consulting at Boole & Baggage Software Corporation near San Jose and had just setup my trip to Thailand . Imagine my surprise when I was working late finishing a major project before leaving, when the big earthquake hit.   There wasn't anyone there and I thought, great, we haven't had a good quake in a long time.  Ha....Chuck in Thailand The building shook and swayed and I thought this is not fun!  I stood against the wall while the building shook and then the lights went out for about ten minutes.  They came back on and I figured I might as well keep working on the project.  I decided to leave around 11 P.M. and was stopped by the police.   Imagine my surprise when told the roads were down from collapsed bridges!  So I went back to work, finished the project and drove home the next day. 

My condo on Twin Peaks was fine but I was worried as the airport had been closed down.   I went to a local store for some traveling clothes and there was a T-Shirt salesman with a shirt that had printed on it, "I Survived the 6.8 Earthquake of San Francisco!"  I had to laugh, the second day and a shirt out all ready.  I bought it and fly to Thailand the next day.  I came down for breakfast in Bangkok and wore the shirt.  People were reading the London Times and so on, the papers said San Francisco was in ruins and here I am with this shirt and the message.  People couldn't believe it and I said the City had not burned down and most of it was just fine.

I didn't have anything planned but was picked up by a woman travel guide and she happened not to have a tour group so I hired her and her driver for a week for about $200.00.  Such a deal.  We drove all over the area around Bangkok and then took a boat ride to the Summer Palace.  I then flew to Pucket, located off of the Andaman Sea.  I had a great time boating all over the islands.  A great vacation as usual!


1990s ~ Consulting at Major Corporations!

Here is a picture of me looking very professional consulting at William-Sonoma at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco in 1997.  This company also owns Pottery Barn and other businesses involved in selling household goods in stores and by catalogue.  Here is a partial listing of corporations I consulted with during the 1990s:

  • Boole & Babbage Software
  • Sterling Software
  • IBM
  • William-Sonoma
  • Deltanet
  • Wells Fargo
  • Visa
  • Schwab 
  • Banc of America - Y2K Fix 
  • Franklin Templeton
  • and many other corporations in the Bay Area 

Here is my personal name plate to place on my desk where ever I was hired to consult on IT projects.  This agency was my favorite one that I worked for.


1991 ~ Dancing with the Stars - West Coast Swing Exhibitions!

When I was in college at Rockford College in 1959, I went to Arthur Murray's Dance Studio and asked if they would teach me to dance and become a teacher at night for pay.  I figured being on the farm and not really knowing how to dance, getting a good background in dance would be good for my social life and in the business world.  Of course I am sure my family thought, there he goes again!  Little did I know 30 years later I would be dancing and teaching classes in San Francisco in my spare time while doing consulting on software development.  Well the owner of the studio in Rockford Illinois said I could take lessons to become a teacher and not get paid! Huh!  I said excuse me, I expect to be paid one way or another.  Get this, the owner thought if I was so up front and pushy, I would be good as a teacher and sales rep for selling dance courses.  I was the only one who was paid for three months while learning to dance.  You can't beat that! 

After a few months of teaching the guys were all after this tall dark haired gorgeous dance teacher who had been working there for a while.  One evening while we were all sitting in the coffee room she ran in and hugged me and gave me a big kiss.  Well everyone wondered what was up with Nancy.  She told me she had been in school with me at the one room school in Pecatonica, she was in the seventh grade and I was in first grade!  I vaguely remembered her and she told me she had a boy friend (she sounded like she was a gun molChuck at the Black & White Ball in San Francisco! l as far as I was concerned), and was moving to Los Angeles and she wanted to talk to me before she gave notice and left for the West Coast.  Well I was unhappy, she was getting out of town and going to Los Angeles and here I was - stuck in Illinois.  Well little did I know within five years I would be on the West Coast in San Francisco!  I eventually would be flying to Los Angeles and Beverly Hills on a regular schedule for several years while working part time for my friend Viviane in her Senior Residence in Woodland Hills plus visiting just for fun.  I always wondered what happened to Nancy - could she still be there? 

Here in the City I started to take West Coast Swing lessons.  It is very difficult and combines swing and almost has a Cha Cha feel to it.  I believe it was developed during the 1940's in Los Angeles during the War Years.  The dance floors would be so crowded that the leader stayed in one spot and the partner would be spun around him on a more or less straight line - or back and forth.  I met a partner who was about five foot five and 100 pounds so I could do almost anything with him!   I used to drive from Sunnyvale after work to the local bar and dance until almost eight P.M.  The bar had free dance lessons during the week nights and many times they would let us dance on the huge dance floor alone for up to two hours as people really liked to see us dance.  We did western and ballroom but mainly West Coast Swing and that irritated many purists as they said this wasn't really western dancing.  We decided having the word West in it was enough reason to dance it.

I also taught at a local dance bar on upper Market Street called the Corral!   It was mostly western and I also taught line dances and west coast swing!   I also danced nightly at the Rawhide during the week, a dance bar south of market for over ten years.  I was working in Silicon Valley, consulting at major corporations and would drive back to the City and meet my dance partner and dance from about 6:00 P.M. until the free dance classes started at 7:30 P.M.  We were so good that many times we dance alone on the floor, doing west coast swing and the two step but with lots of turns which infuriated the so called purists.  If in Texas, one just flew around the floor on the two step, no fancy turns for those butch numbers.  But guess what, many times 60 or more people would just stand and watch us and some nights we danced into the actual class time! 

The Black & White Ball is one of the biggest events in San Francisco and I attended it in the 1990s with a dance partner from a dance bar called the Rawhide.  The Black & White Ball  is held every two years and is very expensive but worth the price.  Everyone wears black and white and diamonds or what ever one can afford.   The entire Civic Center is closed off and bands play in the Symphony Hall, the Opera House, the State Office Buildings, the Marines Memorial Building (Where the United Nations Charter was signed), the City Hall and also in many tents set up around the streets.   Thousands of people attend and drink champagne and eat great food and dance the night away until early in the morning.  Then it is time to go home and rest up for the next Black & White Ball!  Here am I looking spiffy in my tuxedo and some rhinestone jewelry.

I joined a dance group, Partners For Peace, in the late 1980s while I was dancing at the local bars in the City.  The group, Partner's For Peace was a lot of fun and we had about ten people in the group.  We danced different places around the City and one of our nicest was an Aids benefit in the Marine's Ballroom on the top floor of a building in the downtown area.  Two women made copies of our dancing at a benefit in Olives in 1991, a bar restaurant near the San Francisco Bay.  Unfortunately they forgot to bring the lights so the movie is rather dark but still one can see we didn't look too bad for amateurs.  I had a friend cut out the portion of my west coast dance and it lasts about three minutes!  When I look at it I can't believe I knew so many steps in the dance.  I uploaded the video to Google and my dance number may be viewed by clicking on the following link. 

Chuck's West Coast Swing - 1992


1992 ~ Hong Kong - Athens in Greece and a trip all over Egypt!

I decided in 1992 to start traveling the world as much as possible before I was too old to get around with out any help!  Time flies!  By this time I was consulting for A quick trip to the Parthenon many of the major corporations in the bay area.  This year I was working at Sterling Software near Sunnyvale helping to design a backup and recovery service for mainframe computer systems. 

Well this year I saw an advertisement about a special to Hong Kong! Airfare and hotel room and a day tour of Victoria Island for $999.00.  Such a deal.  Of course I went for a week and it was during the time the British were negotiating with China over the turnover of Hong Kong to China.

Every morning I had breakfast on the top floor overlooking Hong Kong, a fantastic buffet that was included in the trip.  We were given the London Times to read and keep up with the local news and the negotiations.

Hong Kong was easy to get around in, walking on the main boulevard or taking the ferry over to Victoria Island was easy and inexpensive.  I met some people who were in the know and they took me to the in place in Hong Kong, a fabulous dance hall with lots of action.

Chuck at Kufu's Pyramid in Egypt!

The weather was superb, only about 80 degrees.  I also did a tour of Macau before it was returned to China.  Macau is famous for gambling casinos that see a lot of action from the women during the day who live in Hong Kong.  The day we visited and were having lunch, a huge rain storm hit the island and a man from India said it was just like a monsoon!  Clouds were very strange and yellowish and greenish!  The ride back on a hover craft was very rough and the waves shot over the bow but we arrived safe and sound.  A great trip for a great price!

This year I finally did get to Egypt on a great tour.  There were only about 24 of us and the country was still dangerous so there weren't many people visiting Egypt. We had trouble getting to Egypt via Athens and Olympic Airlines. You can read all about that horrible experience on my flight to Greece on the web pages of Egypt or the Greek home web pages. Because of all the trouble Olympic Airlines gave us flying to Greece and on to Egypt, we were given a day in Greece with a hotel and a cab driver who took us all over the city. So we had an extra country to count on this trip!


1993 ~ Moved Into Fox Plaza Apartments ~ 1993.09.27

I moved from Twin Peaks in the fall of 1993 to the Civic Center. I rented a studio on the 28th floor. I never expected to live there that long but as of 2015, I have been here over 22 years. A good thing as the building is on rent control. Chucks Fox Plaza Apartment!

I was checking my files and found the original Fox Plaza Lease I signed in 1993!

Now studios around the area are costing up to $3,000.00 a month because of all the high tech workers moving into the City. Across the street from Fox Plaza is Twitter, Dolby Labs, Yammer and Square!

My one bed room would probably rent right now for over $4,500.00 a month but with rent control, I am paying less than $1,500.00 a month!

Plus parking is around $300.00 a month if you need to park a car in the building.

Another plus is all the busses stop in front of the building, the subway system, BART, is a block away plus City Hall, the Symphony, the Opera/Ballet, Herbst Theatre and the Asian Art Musuem all within two blocks from here!


1994 ~ One of the Wonders of the World - Machu Pijchu in Peru!

This year I was consulting at IBM on an outpatient booking system for Kaiser Permanente.  Of course I always wanted to go to see Machu Pijchu in Peru and finally realized my dream.  First I flew to Los Angeles and then to Lima.  There I spent five days touring and walking around the city and the coast.  Then I flew to Cusco and toured the city and then took the train to the ruins. 

At this time the hotel that overlooked the ruins only had about 18 rooms in it and only four rooms had people in them for an overnight stay.  There were six of us and three of the people had altitude sickness and never came out.  A couple from back east were there and we had a great time together. 

Hard to believe but the next day the train had a problem and didn't make it back so we had an entire day to tour the ruins, just three of us.  I actually climbed the other peak next to Machu Pijchu (this is the spelling on the brochures at the ruins!).  This is very dangerous but worth while if you have the nerve.

After this excursion, I flew back to Lima and on to Iquitos Peru for a few days and then into Brazil for an Amazon Cruise!


1994 ~ Fantastic Amazon Cruise from Brazil into Peru - Flood Stage of the Amazon!

After visiting the ruins of Machu Pijchu, I flew back to Lima and then into Iquitos on the Amazon River near the Brazil border.  We flew on a small jet into Tabatinga Brazil and there we were taken by taxi to Leticia Colombia and then by dugout canoes to the boat that looked like something out of an old movie! 

There were about 80 people an the ship and all were very friendly.  The guides were nice and helpful.  The captain said this was the first time in 30 years there weren't any bugs or mosquitoes bothering people when the ship docked in the evening.  We were able to have cocktails on the outdoor deck and also our evening dinner.  All very nice.

Late at night we would take the launches and go into the foliage and look for the local crocodiles.  We also so the huge lily pads that are about 12 feet across and were told we were lucky to see them as they get big during the flood stage. 

The river was 2,500 miles from the Atlantic but it looked like a huge lake as sometimes we couldn't see the shore.  We stopped at local villages and saw them making canoes out of huge logs by chipping out the centers.  We also saw bark cloth and other means of living off the jungle. 

All in all, a great trip and great weather!


1995 ~ My Brother-in-law Told Me to Sign up for VA Health Care!

I have photos of the VA Hospital in San Francisco where I have my health care and pictures of the fantastic views from the hospital including the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean!

I had lost my health insurance during some of my consulting as health care insurance isn't provided to self employed workers. Ken Burt, my favorite brother-in-law said I needed to apply to the VA Hospital to get health insurance. Well it was one of the best things anyone could have told me. I now have had health care for many years and most everything is paid for. I also go to a Dental School and most of the dental care is free also. I had consulted at Blue Cross at one time and asked them around 2000 what it would cost me as a single man living in the City. They said around $600.00 a month! I don't think so!


1996 ~ I was Consulting at Deltanet and a cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow - Russia

This year I was consulting at Deltanet in the San Francisco Financial Center. 

I decided to go to Russia and take a river tour from St. Petersburg to Moscow through around 18 locks.  The river is only open for the summer months and the rest of the time it is frozen over and the towns are basically cut off from the rest of the country.   Good thing there is television and hopefully internet by now.

We toured St. Petersburg and were lucky as the weather was about 80 degrees, the best weather they said they had had in years!  We went to Petrodvorets - Peter the Greats Summer Palace on the Gulf of Finland. Next the palace of Catherine the Great, here I am in front of the palace.

We toured the Hermitage and even went to a dress up ballet exhibition at the private theatre that seated perhaps 250 or so. 

The river tour was great and we saw lots of interesting old wooden buildings and summer dachas that the town people vacationed in during the warm season.  We also saw the Kizhi Island - a completely wooden Transfiguration Church built in 1714.

We finally made Moscow and the Moscow Circus, the Ballet, the Armory Museum, Red Square and so on.  Four of us left the ship and went to the subway system and toured the city and ended up taking an afternoon tour on the river.  Everyone else was jealous that we took things into our own hands and toured the city on our own!


1997 ~ William-Sonoma Consulting and a trip to China

This year I was consulting at William-Sonoma and I worked with programmers to document AS400 programs for updating applications to fit the user's needs.

I always wanted to go to China and see the Three Gorges, the Terracotta Warriors and the Great Wall and I finally made it!  I flew into Shanghai and we toured the city and then flew to Wuhan and our boat the "Beidou" at the junction of the Yangtze and the Han River

We saw the beginning of the super dam being built on the Yangtze Ricer and then took small boats into the side gorges for great views of things that will disappear under the rising waters behind the dam.

We ended up after hundreds of miles of visiting beautiful temples and villages and then to Chongqing, the next big city to rival perhaps Shanghai as the terminus of the huge lake behind the dam.  We toured this city and then flew to Xian and the Terracotta Warriors.  This was a great experience but it was very hot and smoggy.

Then to Beijing and a tour of the Forbidden City, a trip north to the Summer Palace and finally a tour of the Great Wall of China.

The last few days in Beijing were exciting but the air pollution was terrible and probably will get worse with them burning soft coal for energy.  Still, the people were friendly and helpful and there was plenty of food and great tasting.

All in all, a very nice trip to an interesting country.


1998 ~ Best Friends - Fireman's Fund Insurance

I met Betty in the 1970s at Fireman's Fund Insurance and we became good friends then.  We did a lot of things together with other employees at the company.  Patti, Betty and I took cooking classes one year.  Every week we would go to a person's house and the woman would teach us a specific type of cooking such as Italian, Japanese, and so on.  After we listened to a lecture and then helped prep and prepare the meals, we all sat down and had an enjoyable meal!

We also took tap dancing classes with two sisters who were around 80 years old.  The one couldn't do much tapping but the other one was thin and wiry and could tap anyone under the table.  Well we did an entire summer of tap lessons and one evening we came in the the tap teacher told us Christmas was coming up and they always had a tap dancing extravaganza at a local school or for a benefit.  We informed the teacher that we had never been asked about this and..... we never showed up for another tap lesson.  Our big chance for a tap dancing career went out the window!

For a long time we played dominoes at our lunch hour at Fireman's Fund Insurance and there we met another person who would become a friend, Jim Fera.  He and his partner Ben now live in Southern California and I visited them in 2004 with my sister.

The photo on the left was taken at Betty's 70th birthday and I was a surprise visitor. The photo on the right has Ben, Betty, Jim and myself looking very spiffy!


1999 ~ Cruise through Tierra del Fuego - Chile and Argentina - Patagonia!

T his was a big contract at Banc of America Securities in San Francisco.  I set up testing standards for the Year 2000 program changes and documented the test scripts for nine systems in the Montgomery Securities BackOffice Division. Assumed testing lead over three teams to coordinate and ensure the base line testing was follow ed correctly. Documented results from the base line testing and used the results to set up the testing criteria for Y2K production testing for each test script. Tested systems against the current production environment and against the production environment with the Y2K program changes in place to determine if the results were the same.  Finally tested the systems against the Y2K program changes with aged data to ensure all of the Y2K program changes match the test criteria. Results are reviewed and reliability determined by the auditors and the SEC for final approval of the Y2K testing for the first phase of reconfiguration of the Y2K interactive program changes.   So I decided I needed a really big trip!

This trip was composed of Chile and Argentina and the Patagonian Park plus an island of penguins.  I flew to Los Angeles, then to Lima Peru, then to Santiago, then to Punta Mont and then on to Punta Arenas.  

The adventure started on the M/V Terra Autralis  cruise ship that only carries 114 passengers and we started our seven day journey with a welcome dinner and introduction to the crew, then castoff to cruise through the Tierra del Fuego islands which included the Strait of Magellan and the Beagle Channel around the island of Tierra del Fuego.

We visited the Agostini Fjord where we could take pictures of the Serrano glacier that dislodges from the Darwin Mountain Range.

We docked in Argentina at the remote city of Ushuaia where there again were several alternatives in visiting the area. We decided to take the train and visit the Tierra del Fuego Park in Argentina.  

The entire trip was a great experience but then I flew back to Santiago for a few days and then flew to Easter Island for a week!


1999 ~ Argentina then to Chile and on to Easter Island

I figured as long as I was in Santiago and so close, 2,000 miles, I might as well go to Easter Island ! I didn't realize that Patricia and Bill who are from Glasgow, were on the same flight from Santiago, they had been on the Tierra del Fuego cruise also.  They had heard I was going to Easter Island and also that I was staying at the Hotel Okai and wanted to surprise me there. As fate would have it, their Lan Chile airline seats were right behind me, we all were surprised! 

Our hotel is situated in Hanga Roa which is the only town on Easter Island. Most of the 2,000 Rapanui people that live on the island reside here. The only port on  the island is situated here, as is Cook's Bay, where Captain Cook anchored his boat just offshore in 1722.

Easter Island is over 2,000 miles from the nearest population center, (Tahiti and Chile), making it one of the most isolated places on Earth.

Easter Island today, remains one of the most unique places you will ever encounter; an open air museum showcasing a fascinating, but unfortunately lost, culture. The Rapanui are among the friendliest people you will ever meet, and the landscape is truly amazing - with its volcanic craters, lava formations, beaches, brilliant blue water, and archaeological sites. We visited two of the craters on the island that contain fresh water and native plants, about the only place there are any left!

I had a great time and one week is enough time to see everything and just relax at the local restaurants and cocktail lounges!


1999/2000 ~ Millennium New Year in Vienna and Budapest!

Viviane, whom I met on the trip in the spring of 1999 to Chile and Argentina and she had planned a millennium trip to Vienna Austria with a side trip perhaps, to Budapest Hungary !  She hadn't found anyone to go with so she called me by chance.  "Would you like to go to Vienna for the Millennium New Year?" she asked.  "Yes!" was my instant answer as I was Chuck in Vienna Chuck - Viviane - Orient Express consulting on the Y2K fix for Banc of America Securities and wanted to get away for a few weeks.  I think she was surprised at my quick response! So we currently have our airline tickets on Air France to fly to Paris where we will change planes and fly on to Vienna where we also have made hotel reservations in the heart of the city, five minutes away from all the sights at the Pension Shermin!  

We saw the famous Freyung Passage (covered gallery kind of like in Milan) and then lunch at cafe in Herrengasse (more goulash soup).  We walked through the Ring Street gallery, Vienna’s version of the shopping mall and dinner at the Schwarzenberg Cafe with a no smoking area, hurray!  Checked out arts and crafts fair at Karlskirche (Charles Church) and time to get dressed for New Year’s Eve, all dressed up and a lot of places to go and be seen!  Started at City Hall (Rathaus) where the stage is set with orchestra and waltz performers and saw many dancing and pushing towards Burgtheater and streets leading to cathedral and then a stop for champagne at the American Bar and another stop for champagne at another bar With 15 minutes to spare, dashed to Karlskirche, grabbed a champagne and toasted the new millennium where we met people around one of the many fire barrels. 

After the New Year we took a train to Budapest to sight see the town and go to the famous Gellert Hotel and a long needed soak in thermal baths.  We accidentally got on the wrong train coming back to Vienna, it was the Orient Express!  But the military guard saw us sitting in one of the private rooms and he smiled and said not to worry, just stay put like we belonged!  So we had dinner and champagne on the Orient Express and arrived back in Vienna feeling just fine!

So we had a fabulous time in Vienna and Budapest, what a Millennium New Year!


2000 ~ Y2K Fix for Banc of America & my 60th Birthday Celebration and a tour of Morocco!

This picture was taken at the Banc of America Securities when I was working on the Y2K fix with other consultants and employees.  Chuck in Morocco

The group I worked with were very nice and when they heard I was having my big 60th birthday on February 4th, they decided to throw me a big party at a local bar and restaurant not far from the office. 

We had drinks before, champagne and wine with dinner, and then more drinks later. 

The next day quite a few people were late to work for some reason!  I of course, being a consultant, was there bright and early!

Shortly after my birthday the Y2K fix was in and I left the next month to go to Schwab and work for a director there on several major projects.

I also went to Morocco this year for the real Millennium New Year.  I went with my friend from Beverly Hills, Viviane. We had such a good time in Vienna and Budapest for the 1999 Millennium New Year we decided to do it again in 2000!

We flew from Paris to Casablanca and took the train to the capital, Rabat, and spent a few days there.  The took the train to Fez and the famous rug merchants. 

Then we hired a Mercedes and driver and went over the Atlas Mountains and on to Marrakech for the real Millennium New Year and finally to Casablanca and the world famous mosque, one of the largest in the world.  All in all, another great vacation!


2002 ~ 62nd Birthday on the BIG Island - Hawaii!

I decided to go to Honolulu for my 62nd birthday but on the actual day, February 4th, I got up at four AM and flew to the big island, Hawaii, and took an all day tour of the island. 

We visited the coasts, the volcano, had lunch overlooking the craters, then a walk in the rain forest, a hike through a lava tube and finally a tour through the orchid farms. 

Back on the plane and arrived in Honolulu and the hotel by ten PM.  A long but fulfilling day for my birthday! 

Check out my Hawaiian trip on the home page menu!

And this was the year of my last contract working in the computer industry after over 40 years!  Time flies.

The last company was Franklin-Templeton Insurance and I worked on security procedures!


2003 ~ Woodland Hills (Astoria Senior Residence and a trip to Guatemala!)

I decided to retire from the computer industry and travel around the world as can be seen on the Home Page of my web site! 

I also am  a business partner in a  senior residence in Woodland Hills, California with my friend Viviane. 

We met on a trip in 1999 on a cruise through the Magellan Straits in Tierra del Fuego, South America.  In this picture I am wearing a shirt and I am holding a cup with the Astoria Senior Residence name printed in gold on a blue background.  Our advertising budget for the year!

 

I had to take a California State test to have a license as a care giver manager for a facility and I work part time in running the business which means frequent flights to LAX or the Burbank Airport.

I am also active at the local YMCA and serve on various committees and I am associated with several of the local museums.  This year I traveled to Guatemala as you can see in this photo taken in Antiqua!

I took up oil painting of landscapes and still life in 2003 and these are for sale and may be seen on the link on my Home Page.


2004 ~ Cruising the Netherlands and a Two Week tour of Turkey!

Well I have been living in San Francisco for over 42 years and decided to take two trips this year!   Chuck in Turkey!    

Chuck & Gail in the Netherlands My first trip was to the Netherlands ! in the spring with my friend Gail from Van Nuys Los Angeles.  

We took a Uniworld Cruise and had dinner at the Captains table on the last night of the trip.  Everyone was very jealous! 

As you can see, we enjoyed a lot of champagne at our favorite table on the Cruise!  Our waiter made sure we always got the best spot!

Gail and I also traveled to Zambia and South Africa!

And on the right, a photo of me in Turkey in November of 2004.  This was a great trip as I made two new friends.  Jeff works only two blocks from me and we go to many Broadway Plays in the City.  I also met Barbara and since this trip, we have taken several others including Vietnam and Cambodia.

As you can see, semi-retirement is certainly a good life as far as I am concerned!


2005 ~ Driving 600 miles around Costa Rico!

And here I am in front of a fantastic falls near Arenal in Costa Rico . Chuck & Costa Rica Water Fall!

My friend Barbara, whom I met in 2004 on my Turkey trip, and she suggested we fly there and drive over 600 miles around the country.  

We were caught in Hurricane Stan and had to land in El Salvador and then couldn't take off due to a volcanic eruption! 

Finally we arrived in Costa Rica and drove to Arenal where that volcano erupted making a fantastic spectacle at night.  

We drove to the cloud forest in Monteverde and then onto Manuel Antonio to hike through the jungle, swim in the Pacific and finally, do the zip-line through the jungle canopy.  

All in all, a great trip and another great year in and out of San Francisco!

 

2006 ~ Fantastic Trip to Zambia (Victoria Falls) and South Africa!

And this year of March 2006, I went to Zambia and South Africa with my friend Gail.   Chuck & Gail Having Champagne in the African Savannah!    

We left February 27th from LAX and on to Paris and then Johannesburg and all around South Africa and Victoria Falls in Zambia.

Here we are enjoying cocktails and canapés before continuing on our evening safari at Leopard Hills, a five star resort in the jungle of South Africa!

On the right is a photo of one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls in Zambia.

I also have gone to Beverly Hills and will continue to travel to Los Angeles to visit friends and hopefully, get to travel to another exciting country in the near future! 

 


2007 ~ Visiting Beverly Hills, Vietnam, Cambodia and Crater Lake!

This year started out on a very busy note!  A quick trip to Beverly Hills for four days to run the Astoria Senior Residence in Woodland Hills. Administrative License

In January my friend, Barbara and I flew to Vietnam Chuck in Vietnam & Cambodia - Angkor Wat!where we spent two weeks touring the country from Ha Long Bay in Hanoi to Hoian and Hui in the center of the country and finally on to Saigon and a boat trip on the Mekong Delta! 

We then flew to Cambodia for four days to tour the ruins of Angkor Wat.

I celebrated my 67th Birthday in Siem Reap - Cambodia!

Lots more to do in the year, theatre, such as teaching yoga and so on.  I just saw Jersey Boys at the Curran Theatre and have at least four or five more plays to go to this year!  

I also saw Whose Afraid of Virginia Wolf and finished my 40 hours of classes that are needed to fulfill the requirements to renew my Administrative License every two years to run the Astoria Senior Residence in Woodland Hills when necessary.  I also have seen Mama Mia, Sweeney Todd and Annie Get Your Gun among the many Broadway Plays running in the Bay Area.

I also just took an eight day trip in August along the West Coast of California, Oregon, and into Washington State to see Mt. St. Helens.  My friend Barbara and I also saw Crater Lake and drove the Columbian Gorge and climbed Mt. Hood!

I also traveled to Tucson Arizona to visit my favorite sister Yvonne and also traveled to Beverly Hills and the L.A. area about six time this year.   Time to plan my trips next year in 2008!.


2008 ~ Visiting Nicaragua, Reno, Cananda and Yosemity!

Talk about a busy year!  First to Costa Rica for two days and Nicaragua for ten days plus the flight from San Francisco to

LAX and on to Liberia Costa Rica. Then to Reno and a glider ride over Lake Tahoe, then a tour of Yosemite and finally perhaps, a trip to Toronto and Niagara Falls!  2008_05_20 Chuck in a Glider - Chuck & Viviane in Reno Masaya Volcano - Chuck at Ometepe

We returned from Managua Nicaragua to San Salvador, then to Atlanta and on to San Francisco.  This trip was to celebrate my 68th birthday!

Here I am on the left getting ready to go on the San Juan River to Nicaragua from Los Chiles Costa Rica.

And on the right is a photo of the very active Masaya Volcano about 30 minutes out of Granada, Nicaragua.  Also, here I am on the ferry to the island of Ometepe in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. 

Barbara and I had a great time and spent a lot of time going on boats and busses all over the country.  Check out my web pages and photos of our trip.  

2008_05_20 Chuck in a Glider - Chuck & Viviane in Reno

In May of 2008 my friend Viviane gave me a glider ride over Lake Tahoe for a belated 68th Birthday present!   We were going to take a balloon ride over Reno and Lake Tahoe but it was too windy and the company gave us the option to take a glider over the lake for the same price.  Such a deal!

2008_06_04_Chuck_in_yosemite The weather was perfect and we had a great time.  Then we had champagne dinner at the Roxy in the Eldorado Casino and Resort in Reno, Nevada!  

My sister Yvonne, visited me from Tucson and we did a two day tour of Yosemite and the ranger said the falls were about the best they have had in years.  We also toured San Francisco and visited with friends in the City and the South Bay.

Also on the agenda for this year besides the museums and Broadway plays, the fall opening of the new 450 million dollar Academy of Science across from the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park and  the grand opening of the San Francisco Jewish Museum.

 I have another free ticket to fly any place Southwest Airlines flies so need to think of someplace to visit in the U.S.  My friends Annette and Juliette have a free condo at a ski resort north of Toronto Canada and I will fly into Buffalo and take a bus to Toronto.  Annette is picking up a luxury car and we will tour around Toronto and finally visit Niagara Falls!

Well we did the trip for a week and had a great time driving all over the area about 100 miles north of Toronto, plus a day tour of the city and a water front tour.  Then a day at Niagara Falls and finally home!

Christmas at my friend Patti's and hoping for another great year in 2009!


2009 ~ Visiting the Wine Country - Cruise to Cabo San Lucas - Trip to Brazil, Argentian and Uruguay, busy year of travels!
So far this year, not too much to tell.  For the last four months I have been treated for Ocular Myasthenia, double vision in the eyes so I missed going on a special trip for my 69th birthday.

I woke up one morning and suddenly noticed double vision on the left and right side of my vision!  I have had a spinal tap, three MRIs, an EKG, a treadmill exercise for blood pressure, at least 12 neurologists, a professor of optometry and so onChuck and Gail in Napa with our daily champagne!.  So far the only thing they found was a chemical covering on the ends of the muscles controlling the placement of the eyes - so double vision.  Otherwise, they said, everything else looks fine.  So far after four months of medication, nothing has improved but will be meeting with more neurologists and general practitioners and optometry specialists until, hopefully, the problem can be solved either with drugs or new glasses!  I am lucky to have the V. A. Hospital for care as they are the best!  In the mean time I have been going to Museum openings and Broadway plays, the YMCA and entertaining friends over dinner.  Several trips are in the planning stage and time will tell when I feel up to going on a long trip.  The last time I saw the neurologist he said, "Just go on a vacation and live with the problem!".  My optometrist had a good laugh and said he guessed my neurologist was also my psychologist! Cruising to Cabo San Lucas - Tip of Baja

So as far as vacations go, as of April, I have looking at vacations such as Alaska for about $500.00 but with the single supplement, $1,000.00!  I don't think so!   Since my doctor's and dentist appointments should be coming to an end by April, hopefully I can schedule a trip to some place exotic!

And can you believe it, another two years and I just completed another 40 hours to receive my Administrator Certificate to manage our Astoria Senior Residence in the L.A. Valley!

Well suddenly my trips to exotic places and local places has picked up finally!

So far since my many appointments at the Veterans Hospital, I haven't taken a vacation.  So my friend Gail from Van Nuys drove up and we went for a week to Napa and Sonoma and also did the wine train.  A great experience as you can read about it on my Home Page!   She and I also went on a cruise to the Netherlands and then to Zambia and to South Africa!

We tasted champagnes at all the major wineries and found our favorite was Gloria Ferrer champagne!  We also went to dinner in the City the first night Gail visited me and the weather was perfect. 

I meet my sister in San Diego on September 27th for three days touring the city and the world famous zoo.  We also toured the Midway Aircraft Carrier and another day we did a South and North Harbor cruise.

Then I treated my sister to a four day cruise to Cabo San Lucas at the tip of Baja on the Elation ship owned by the Celebrity Cruise Line.  We had a great time eating, drinking, gambling and watching the numerous floor shows on the ship. 

In another three weeks on October 29th my friend Barbara and I will fly to Rio de Janiero, next to Iguacu Falls , then to Buenos Aires and on to Colonial del Sacramento, a World Heritage City in Uruguay.

Chuck in Rio - 2009.10.30

We had a great time with a great group on our tour and ended up seeing the 'gay' parade on the last day in Rio!

Then we flew to Iguazu Falls and on the second day hiked over five miles in 110 degree temperatures and also did the river rafting into the falls, such a treat!

Then to Buenos Aries and lots of walking and shopping.

Finally to Colonia del Sacramento, a World Heritage city that was clean and relaxing after such a busy schedule.  There were lots of great sidewalk cafes and we certainly did relax!  So for a year that started out very slowly due to doctor's and dentist appointments, it suddenly was very busy with travels from the wine country in Napa to going all over the eastern side of South America!


2010 ~ Celebrating my 70 Birthday at the Belagio in Las Vegas - Trip to Yellowstone National Park and the Western Canyons
I started out this year by deciding how  to celebrate my 70th Birthday ! I talked to my friend Gail in Van Nuys and we decided to go to Las Vegas for Gail & Chuck - Las Vegas my birthday.  She made reservations at the Bellagio for dinner and champagne and also reservations to see the Cirque du Soliel 'O'.

Here we are having our champagne before a great dinner overlooking the fountains of the Bellagio! Chuck & Viviane in San Francisco

We also got tickets to see Ballys great Ziegfeld Follies show Jubilee and toured the new Eight and a half billion dollar City Center and the Crystals Retail & Entertainment Center. 

We also walked the Vegas strip and had cocktails at the Paris Casino/Hotel and went to the top of the Eiffel Tower late at night to view the city and the Bellagio fountains from the 55 floor.  Weather was great and we had a fantastic time.  

Can you believe it, my friend Viviane in Beverly Hills and I decided that she should sell the Astoria Senior Residence in Woodland Hills since she is moving to Austin Texas. So I now do not have to finish the classes to retain my Administrative License to run a senior residence.  I had 20 hours of classes needed for the 40 hours but that is no longer needed.

I learned a lot taking classes on aging and also flying down to Los Angeles three or four times a year to run the facility while Viviane was either doing Parkinson coordination in LA or visiting her family in Belgium.   We had a great run in Woodland Hills and the senior residence, now it is time for me to take a trip to visit her in Austin sometime as that is one place I haven't visited.   the senior residence when Viviane was called away on business or visiting her Here we are having a special King Tut martini due to the great Tut Exhibit at the de Young Museum of San Francisco!  And here is the last business card I had as an administrator at the Astoria Senior Residence in Woodland Hills California!

I was asked to join the SAC (Senior Advisory Council) YMCA in April to attend meetings on our membership updates, projects, classes, field trips, parties and free tickets to theatrical, sports and other venues of entertainment.   This is a monthly meeting to ensure the seniors at the YMCA get full benefits from their subscription rates.

Next, Gail and I are going to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons parks on June 14th, 2010 for a week!  I flew to Salt Lake City and Gail flew from LAX to Salt Lake City and then we flew together on Skywest, a two engine propeller plane, to West Yellowstone, a small town in Montana, just a mile from the park in Wyoming.  

We also drove to the Grand Teton Park south of Yellowstone and viewed the fantastic mountain range from both sides.   We also saw lots of Buffalo and Elk but no Moose!  We also drank most of the champagne in West Yellowstone as we watched the Lakers win the championship basketball finals.  The waitress said we drank all the cheaper champagne and only the big bottles that were $100 or more were available. Most people drank beer or hard liquor, not champagne as we did!

I am not sure where my next trip will be.  I do have to visit my sister in Tucson and after that, who knows!  I did visit my favorite sister, Yvonne, in Tucson on September 21st and rented a car.  We drove over 1,500 miles in only six days and visited Flagstaff, on to the Grand Canyon, then to Page and on to Kanab Utah and Zion National Park.

Then on to Bryce Canyon and the Pink Coral Sand Dunes Park.  We spent the last two days of my vacation cleaning up the porch that had been overgrown with vines and of course, played a lot of Skippo, our favorite card game!  We went to the Indian Casino for lunch and also had lunch with friends.  We also talked about maybe celebrating my sister's 80th birthday on a cruise to Alaska. We shall see!




2011 ~ A trip to Panama for my 71st Birthday and a visit to Austin Texas.


I started out this year by volunteering as I usually do for the YMCA's New Years luncheon.  We rent a huge room at the Salvation Army to seat as many seniors as possible.  Last year we had about 200, this year 250!  We have great food, gift packages and after a hot meal of turkey, we give out goodie bags with fruit and other produce.  We also are lucky to have the Gay Lesbian band and the Dixie Dykes play for us.  The seniors love the bands and many get out and strut their stuff. I usually do some set up but mainly focus on taking photos for posterity!  All in all a good way to start off the first day of  the New Year!

I also was voted in as the president of SAC (Senior Activities Committee) for the senior center of the YMCA plus I also assumed the duties as secretary as most of the other members just sat there and looked dazed or did not want to do either job.

I decided to take a quick trip for my 71st birthday and called up one of my travel agents at American Travels and said I hadn't been to Panama. before and would like to go for my birthday on February 4th.  So they set up a quick seven day trip with a tour of the old town, a cruise through half of the canal from the Pacific side and then three days in a five star hotel in the jungle!

I had a private guide, a scientist from the University of Panama as my guide.  He was very knowledgeable and explained a great deal about the bird life and how their feet changed through evolution to meet differing demands when living in the jungle.  All in all a great trip even if the temperature hit 95 degrees in the middle of the day!

So now I am going to visit my friend Viviane, originally living in Beverley Hills, but now the proud owner of a five bedroom French style château in Austin Texas on May 10th  I have never been there so should be a good experience, time will tell!   I spent four days there, actually three full days and most of my friends said I did more in three days than they did in a week or more.  Temperature was around 90 degrees but no humidity and no bugs!   

We visited most of the museums in Austin plus the Capital and the Johnson Presidential Library.  Plus we did the monthly "I Love Art" Congress Avenue downtown walk on the second Thursday of the month, meeting the art gallery owners and artists, plus having champagne, wines and Margaritas.  All in all a great trip.

The YMCA decided after 30 years or so to march in the Gay Parade!   So we made plans at the last minute and rounded up about 60 people and we went down to the parade grounds around ten a.m. and waited until about noon and finally it was our turn to start to march from the Ferry Building on the bay to the Civic Center, about a mile and a half walk. 

They had speakers in the lead car and play of course, YMCA for an hour and a half and we sang and danced and did the movements of the letters and I must admit, I was worn out after the parade.  I had a great time with my Wellness Coach, Karma as you can see!

I will be going to visit my sister in Tucson in September and later perhaps take another trip besides my Panama birthday trip this year.  Also planning to go to Alaska next June or so to celebrate my sister's 80th birthday and my 72nd birthday, who would have thought!  Well it was 108 degrees in Arizona and we basically stayed inside, played cards, had cocktails, went out for a quick lunch and then a nap.  But always nice to visit my sister any time of the year!




2012 ~ Celebrating my 72nd Birthday in Old Town San Juan Puerto Rico in February and a trip to Alaska in September with my sister Yvonne.


I started out this year by volunteering as I usually do for the YMCA's New Years luncheon.  We rent a huge room at the Salvation Army to seat as many seniors  as possible.  We have great food, gift packages and after a hot meal of turkey, we give out goodie bags with fruit and other produce.  We also are lucky to have the Gay Lesbian band and the Dixie Land Dykes Jazz band play for us.  The seniors love the bands and many get out and strut their stuff.  I usually do some set up but mainly focus on taking photos for posterity! 

We also had for the first time, the Asian Chorus, 30 plus singing and dancing with costume changes between each song!   All in all a good way to start off the first day of  the New Year!

Besides being the president of SAC (Senior Action Counsel) and the secretary for the senior center of the YMCA, I was asked to be put up as the newest member of the YMCA Board of Directors as of January 4th.   So on January 2012 I was voted on the YMCA's Board of Directors.   Now I am a member of the board and also President of the Senior Activities Committee.   And they say being retired is so relaxing!   Chuck - Minna Gallery Exhibition

I always wanted to see the Arecibo Radio Telescope and Museum in Puerto Rico and finally did do that plus visit the caves, rain forest, the HMS Bounty, Old San Juan and the Bacardi Rum factory.  All in all a great eight day trip celebrating my 72nd birthday.

The YMCA had a fund raiser on May 25th at 111 Minna Gallery in the Financial District for seniors in the Tenderloin District.  Robert Melton set up the fund raiser and asked me to represent seniors and to bring two of my paintings to have front row placement on the stage with the DJ.   Greg, the Director of the senior center of the Y was asked to get up on the stage and give a talk about the seniors around our YMCA. 

Suddenly Robert announced Chuck Buntjer and an over view of my life and then proceeded to ask me to come onstage and gave a presentation.  I was surprised but put my best foot forward and gave a short speech.   I also had my paintings listed along with a photo in their catalogue.   So a great nice and a chance to meet a lot of fellow artists.

Well I decided to go to the Exploratorium as it was the last time one could see Venus transit the Sun until 2117!   105 years from now.   There were only about 60 people there, I was surprised.  One man had a big telescope and fastened it to a large metal shade with frosted glass at the bottom.  It showed a great picture plus a woman had a small tripod with a lens that distinctly showed the planet.  finally did see it after multiple tries with shaded glasses.   

The next big event is my 72nd birthday and my sisters 80th birthday, we are going to Alaska even though we are Aquarians in January and February but I had decided to go to Puerto Rico for my 72nd birthday in the mean time!    Here I am on the Sapphire Princess checking out the Hubbard Glacier on the second day of the cruise from Anchorage to Whittier, then Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, and on to Vancouver!




2013 ~ Another busy year with a trip to New Zealand and Hawaii.


I ended 2012 and started 2013 on a different note than usual! Last summer I woke up with a pain on the top of my left shoulder.  I thought it was the pillow and then maybe the mattress and then maybe I had sprained it working out at the YMCA.  The doctor thought the same thing but finally I said something is radically wrong late in the fall and the doctor set me up with an MRI on December 14th, 2012.   That evening they called and I ended up in the emergency ward on heavy antibiotics.  I was in the hospital for six days and at home with a PICC Line to infuse my blood with antibiotics twice a day, two hours each time for six weeks!

So after the six weeks they will take white cells and radiate them, infuse back into the blood stream and do a CT Scan to determine if the infection in the bone is cleared up.  So for the last years I have gone on a special vacation to celebrate my 73rd birthday on February 4th, this year I will be celebrating it in San Francisco.  Mu nurse was Paula and she was the the best nurse anyone could ask for.  Here we are having wine and dinner at my apartment, celebrating a new friendship!

I also had to take my driver's license test again.   The clerk had a good laugh, I could read the bottom line of letters and she said surprisingly, you have 20/20 vision, some things do get better with age!  I had my photo taken and then the written test of 17 questions.  That clerk gave me a strange look and I wondered if I had done poorly on the test as I usually have no problems.  He laughed and said, you missed one question, you should have answered them all correctly.  So that is done for another five years!

I have been a member of the Modern of Modern Art for many years and have gotten to know many of the employees and also the people working at the restaurant on the first floor plus the wonderful people working the Blue Bottle Coffee Shop on the fifth floor by the sculpture garden.  I love to go to the cafe and read the paper and have a coffee and croissant.  Later I go to the sculpture garden and relax and have a latte and read or talk to the staff or visitors.  They are closing for three years to build a new 300 million dollar addition to the museum to house the Gap modern art collection valued at over 50 million dollars.  So I am out of a wonderful place to have coffee and relax, at least for three years.   I did go on Saturday to wish all of the people at the museum the best of luck in finding new jobs and to tell them how much I will miss them!   In the mean time I will be going to the new Exploratorium on the waterfront for my weekend coffee routine. 

Well it is April and so far no vacation or exotic location to visit as I fell down and almost broke my left knee running after the bus and falling on the pavement.   Honestly, I just saw the Girl with the Pearl Earring by Vermeer and Rembrandt's Century at the de Young Museum and chased the bus for no known reason.  I ended up getting infected in the knee but no broken bones or infection in the joint.

On a better note, I became a charter member of the new ExplOratorium that will open on April 17th.  I get to go to the charter members only preview on April 6th!  Such a deal.

I am still on the Board of Director's of the Central  YMCA and also the Chairperson of the Senior Advisory Council of the YMCA and a volunteer.

I was notified the Pecatonica High School reunion was to take place in May but I again was not able to attend the reunion in northern Illinois.  I added my photo to the reunion photo shot of my fellow senior graduation class. 

I also am lucky belonging to the YMCA as we have ushers from the opera, ballet and Broadway Theatres and one day Loren, an usher said he had two tickets to see The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, a new opera with the premier opening in San Francisco.  I instantly said I want them and my neighbor Trish and I went early to hear the Pre-Opera-Talk at 7:05 p.m. and then an intermission and we will then look up Loren to thank him for the tickets and to have him seat us in the extra special seating, Orchestra Premium.    

I also attended one of my favorite musicals in a long time, Priscilla Queen of the Desert!  In the lobby of the Orpheum Theatre was a big computer screen.  You stood in front of it and you could see yourself in the screen with some of the actors or actresses or what ever and the costumes they were wearing.  The crowd went wild and at the end the entire audience stood up and clapped and yelled for minutes!  

I also found out the end of June that my traveling companion on some of my trips had found a trip to New Zealand and I certainly was happy with the expenses, 10 days in New Zealand and three in Honolulu, all for around $2,000.00 plus gas and food.  Airfare, four star hotels and a rental car included in the price. 

Well we did go and had a great time.  We did a lot of driving though, over a thousand miles and of course, on the left side of the road.  I did have a couple of nervous situations as I careened down the streets of Auckland trying to make a turn and not into on coming traffic.

Lots of water and green hills, not too many sheep now, mostly milk cows on the north island.  In many towns the people were in bed by 9:30 p.m. and most stores were shuttered. Some people said the stores closed at five p.m. and some at two p.m. on Saturday. 

A great place to retire if you only want to sit and look at sheep or cows or the ocean.

We also did spend two and a half days in Oahu, and drove all over the north end of the island stopping at the Dole Pineapple Plantation and the beaches along the way.  A nice way to spend a few days relaxing after the nine hour flight from New Zealand!

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2013.10.30 ~ I was photographed for the Asian Art Museum Quarterly Magazine!

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I was asked by the Asian Art Museum staff if I would be interested in being in the very slick quarterly magazine with a great photo of me and a story about the Asian Museum when I visited it in the 1980s. It originally was part of the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.  Now they are in the renovated Civic Center Main Library.  

Stacey, an employee of the Asian, in membership, wondered who would be a good candidate to have a photo taken of them and a story about something that happened to them that was note worthy in the museum.  I kept thinking and did a phone conversation with the magazines editor about a happening.  After a while I thought this was not a good story so I thought about what to say.

An inspiration hit me after a while, the Mandala I had see over 30 years ago the Tibetan Monks were creating was an interesting tale:

Mandala (Sanskrit: मण्डल Maṇḍala, 'circle') is a spiritual and ritual symbol in    Mandalas often exhibit radial balance.

The term is of Hindu origin. It appears in the Rig Veda as the name of the sections of the work, but is also used in other Indian religions, particularly Buddhism.

The Mandala was huge and they worked on it for months.  Then one day I saw in the newspaper, a man had run in and took his hand and messed up the pattern screaming strange things.  I and others were irritated and rushed over to console the monks and see the damage.  Well the monks just smiled, told us nothing is permanent in the universe.  Thing come and go, that is the nature of the world.  Just keep calm and brush off the sands and start over again because in the end, the sand and patterns will be brushed into a pile and put into a bag for safe keeping. 

Well the employee thought that was a great story so hopefully it will appear in the magazine.  I also was taken down into the basement by Kaz, the official photographer for the Asian Art Museum and he had me pose for half an hour to get the perfect photo of me.

It is a good photo and I do look good for 73 years of age!  And no Photoshop was used in making this photo.  So I had my 15 minutes of fame when I was six years old and on the cover of Life Magazine in 1946 in the one room school I went to in Illinois.  Now I am in the Asian Art Museum's quarterly magazine in 2013 at the age of 73, 67 years later!

I also got to watch the American Cup up close and ended up the year by traveling to New Zealand for 11 days and four in Oahu.  Here I am with the American Cup that was displayed at City Hall and the Asian Art Museum!




2014 ~ A very busy year and a trip to the Farallon Islands and Ireland.


I started 2013 with a hospital visit for three days after running after a bus following an exhibition at the de Young Museum. 

I was not a pretty sight, infected knee, cuts all over and bruised ribs and right hip.  No more running after buses, I am retired so why should I run after a bus? 

But things did straighten out I attended the Central YMCA Board of Members meetings and chaired our monthly Senior Advisory Council plus going to all the museums and theatrical events. 

So far I have been to the Ballet, theatre multiple times, and many museums exhibitions for previews by members only.  I have been lucky to have a friend, Laurent, who can get me free tickets to the opera, ballet and some plays.  

Here is a photo of Laurent, my next door neighbor Trish and myself at the beautiful Opera House where we saw some of the ground breaking ballets being performed for the first time.

The last few years I have been clearing out my apartment and by now have everything given away that I do not need or want. I put all my clothes and paper work and so on in large clear plastic containers so I know what is in them.

Everyone who visits at first are astonished and then irritated that I bit the bullet and actually cleaned the apartment so there was hardly any extranious articles around! Good for me! Check out my living room and the fabulous view from the 28th floor!

It finally happened, after over 100 years the The Central YMCA is closing and the entire membership is terribly sad as the management, after promising for six years to build a new Central Y, has left us out in the cold. Very nasty to dedicated members such as myself who for six years volunteered and also worked with a grass roots movement to build the new Y. The Y management made sure that anything we did was canceled out by their actions.

So on August 11, 2014, we held our last Senior Advisory Coucil meeting that I was Chairperson and Secretary. For years we worked to advance the senior center programs but our funding was cut to almost nothing so we finally gave up after it was announced that they would move the senior and youth programs to the worst park in the City, dangerous, drug dealers, homeless and so on.

So it is the end of an era. We did have a good laugh as the YMCA will celebrate the 150th year in the City and wants comments about the Y. Well probably not from the Central YMCA.

Time to find a new place to exercise and perhaps meet new friends and activities. Life does go on even when you will miss the many friends from the YMCA Senior Center.

So after 50 years of thinking about going to see the Farallon Islands, 27 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge, I finally took a six hour cruise to them. The weather was probably the best weather ever had to take a cruise to the islands. It was around 80 degrees, no wind and the Pacific Ocean was flat as a rock. Not a single wave was to be seen or felt!

We saw a Humpback Whale, Harbor Seals, Pelican and Cormorants and many other birds that nest on the islands. It is a huge oceanic national santuary for mammals, fish and bird life. What a trip, as you can see by the photo of myself and the Farallons!

I am moving on with my life after many years at the YMCA. Virgina, a friend from the YMCA and I will be going to Ireland for ten days on October 15th, 2014. We hope it isn't too cold or rainy. I did meet five young people from Ireland on the tram the other day and I told them the price dropped about $250.00 a person if we left on the 15th and not the 1st of October. They laughed, said two weeks will not make a difference so saving that kind of money is great, enough for a few drinks and maybe a souvenier!

So we left San Francisco to New York and on to Dublin on October 14th, 2014! We had a fantastic time and to top it off, in North Western Ireland we got caught at the end of the hurricane that hit Burmuda. 90 mile an hour winds and hail for an hour. But otherwise, we saw the entire country and most of the famous points of interest and of course, had to kiss the Blarney Stone!

Eventually I told Virginia that I would like to do something special for my 75th birthday and she said she had gotten an email for a Norwegian Cruise Lines special eight day cruise through Western Caribbean. We made arrangement with the cruise line and Viginia got us a good deal on the American Airlines tickets round trip to Miami. So I am waiting for 2015 and my special birthday trip!




2015 ~ A Special Trip for my 75th Birthday to Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel on the Norwegian Epic I decided I needed to go to another special place for my 75th birthday. My traveling companion on the Ireland trip suggested we go on a short cruise from Miami. It was only eight days but enough time to enjoy the cruise and site see on three islands. Virginia likes her cocktails as I do so we get along just fine! Need to start looking for something next spring!

And here I am, celebrating my 75th Birthday in Jamaica of all places. I did add a collection of photos of places I have been when on vacations for my birthdays starting in 2002! One of the most memorable birthdays was in 2007 where I had my 67th birthday in Angkor Wat Cambodia!

We had a great time going on tours in Jamaica and Grand Cayman islands plus Cozumel off the coast from Cancun Mexico!

I also have season tickets to many Broadway Plays such as Motown the Musical, Kinky Boots, Newsies, Matilda the Musical and Phanton of the Opera (Again!), at the Orpheum Theatre just two blocks from me. Also plays at the 42nd Street Moon Theatre, mostly musicals from the 1930s and 40s. Some of the venues have been Dirty Dancing, Scrooge in Love, The Boys from Syracuse, Cabaret and other productions! This year I will attend at least 30 or more plays! I also go to the New Conservatory Theatre, and that is only two blocks away!

I have membership at the de Young Museum, Legion of Honor, Asian Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum (MOMA) and the Exploratorium of San Francisco, San Francico Opera and have attended over 25 members only previews of exhibits such as 28 Chinese, J.M.W. Turner, Botticelli to Braque, High Style: Brooklyn Museum and many other exhibits.

I should also start to think about the next trip, either this year or next year. It is good to plan ahead!




Interviewed and Photographed by The New York Times



I was shopping at a new high end store called the Market on Market in the Twitter Building across the street from where I live. As I was shopping, a woman came over and said she was a reporter, Kim Severson. She said I looked knowlegable about the area and could she interview me for the New York Times food section? Of course, knowing me I said "Yes" immediately! Well I didn't think much about it until on 2015.09.11 when I got the following email:

Hello Charles...

I am the photo editor for the Food section of The New York Times. We'd like to photograph you for Kim Severson's story. Would you have some time during the day on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week? We could photograph you in the Twitter food market or out on Market St. somewhere.

Many Thanks, Tiina Loite

Needless to say, I was very surprised so am looking forward to see if my photo actually appears in the New York Times food section! I got a response almost immediately from Tiina and will meet the photographer on Thursday 2015.09.17th around 1:00 p.m. to have my close up taken! (I,m ready for my close up Mr. de Mille!) How many times have I said that!

Hi Charles...how about Thursday? I will have a photog over at the Market in the Twitter building then, so he could photograph you after finishing there, maybe around 12:30-1:00-ish, something like that? Is Thursday ok? cheers, Tiina

I have created a web page for this interview on my web site!


A Chance Meeting & Interview with a Reporter, Kim Sevenrson, from The New York Times ~ 2015.09.07

A photo shoot with Jason Henry, a photographer working for The New York Times ~ 2015.09.17

Twitter is in the old Furniture Mart building as seen on the right and has been fully remodeled for tech companies. It is across the street from where I live and is part of the Mid Market Street renovation project. This photo was taken from the balcony of my apartment. There is a special tax incentive for tech companies to move into the City and the Mid Market Street area. I was shopping in the new high end grocery store, Market on Market, when a reporter from The New York Times, Kim Sevenrson, approached and asked if I knew the area and would be interested in being interviewed? I said I have lived in the City for over 52 years and across the street at Fox Plaza for 22 years. I have seen the Mid Market Street transformation with new tech companies, restaurants, coffee shops and other businesses over the last few years.

Yammer is also located in the same building as Twitter. The Market on Market grocery store is located on the first floor on the right side of the Twitter building. Also new high end restaurants just opened on the main floor, Dirty Water and a French Restaurant, Bon Marche Brasserie, and a high end Mexican Restaurant, Cadillac Bar & Grill. In the next block to the east is Dolby Laboratories and that building took over three years to fully remodel. A block west is the tech company Square.

Within a block is another new restaurant, a new coffee shop and a beer hall with various types of home brews to taste.

Also new high rise apartment buildings are going up all over the City, NEMA (New Market), seen on the left, 34 and 24 stories and many others from 17 to 40 stories, all within four blocks from my apartment on the 28th floor of the Fox Plaza.

I will be meeting with Jason Henry, the photographer for The New York Times on 2015.09.17, in case they want to include my picture in the article in the Food Section of the New York Times! Jason called me and we spent over an hour with the photo shoot! He took photos on the street looking towards the Twitter building and then came up to my apartment to take more photos of me, my living room and the view of the skyline. We shall see the results of the photo shoot and if I actually appear in The New York Times Food Section in the near future.

I have been on the cover of Life Magazine in 1946 and featured in the Asian Art Museum Magazine in 2013 celebrating my membership as a long time member of the museum. Now I can add a photo shoot and interview from The New York Times in 2015!

I was photographed for over an hour, first on Market Street for half an hour across the street from the Twitter Building. Jason Henry was able to get a photo of me with a historic trolley running past me. He then proceeded to spend another half hour taking poses of me on the 28th floor of Fox Plaza where I live.

Here are a few of my comments made to the interviewer about the Mid Market project and the City that appeared in the New York Times Food Section on October 5th, 2015. They even linked my name to my puplic web site!

Charles Buntjer, 75, has lived in a rent-controlled apartment across from the Twitter building for 22 years. San Francisco has always been a boom town, he said, with neighborhoods changing as wealth and immigrants flooded in.

“There wasn’t much to lose in this neighborhood anyway,” Mr. Buntjer said as he shopped for groceries at the Market. “At least now I don’t have to go down to Safeway to get dinner.”



VA Hospital Art Exhibition by Veterans in San Francisco

The VA Hospital decided to have an art show with Veterans who use the Infectious Disease Center. Mai, the head of the Pharmacy Division knew I liked to paint so she asked me if I was willing to have some of my paintings presented at a party on Friday, December 11th?

I said of course and took two of my paintings there a week early. Then took two smaller ones the morning of the exhibition. There was photography and other forms of art displayed at the event.

We were given breakfast, then there were presentations and if any of the artist wanted to, they could give a short talk about their art work. We also had a lunch after the exhibition. It ran from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.




2016 ~ Traveling to Portugal for my 76th Birthday!


This year I had a small New Years Eve Party and invited my good friend of almost 50 years, Patti and her son and daughter. Patti and I worked at the biggest computer center west of Chicago in 1968!

Unfortunately her husband has some type of broncial problems so stayed home while we ate and drank champagne and watched a fantastic display of fireworks over the City. It was cool but so clear we could see lights around the bay that were over 30 miles away! A great way to end 2015 and start the New Year, 2016!

I met a man at the Cafe Asian and we found we were both interested in physics, astronomy and space exploration. He suggested I should join the National Space Society that he belongs to. Wun then signed me up and paid for my first year's membership. He said I could take him to lunch to pay for it. Such a nice was to meet someone new.

I was surprised at some of the people who were members such as Tom Hanks and Star Trek Nichelle Nichols and others like Buzz Aldrin, John GLenn, and Ben Bova!

And to top it off, he told me he has a friend from Finland, Tapio Mäki. I said I had been to Helsinki Finland for a few days before flying to St. Petersburg Russia. Wun then said his friend was building housing for senior residence and I said that I had an administrative license to run senior housing! He said his friend had bought land and was living in Porto and I couldn't believe it, I told Wun I was going to be in Porto Portugal on February 6th. Wun contacted his friend and I received an email from Tapio stating he would meet me at my hotel when I checked in after taking the train to Porto from Lisbon. He said he would take me to lunch and drive me around town. Talk about a small world!

I went to Portugal for ten days for my birthday on 2016.02.04! I flew British Airways to London, then to Lisbon for four days, then a train to Porto for three days. Then I flew British Airways from Porto to Madrid, then London to San Francisco. Here I am on a cruise on the Douro River in Porto Portugal where I had lots of great Port Wine!

I also will continue to go to the theatre and museums. This is one of the newest exhibition that will be running at the de Young Museum and I attended the exhibit on February 16th.

One of the Premier Exhibits will be taking place in the first part of 1016 at the de Young Museum featuring the clothing of Óscar Arístides Renta. Óscar Arístides Renta Fiallo (22 July 1932 – 20 October 2014), known professionally as Oscar de la Renta, was a Dominican American fashion designer. Born in Santo Domingo, he was trained by Cristóbal Balenciaga and Antonio del Castillo. De la Renta became internationally known in the 1960s as one of the couturiers who dressed Jacqueline Kennedy. An award-winning designer, he worked for Lanvin and Balmain. His eponymous fashion house continues to dress leading figures, from film stars to royalty.

And on April 30th I will be one of the first members to preview MOMA's (Modern Art Museum) new 300 Million Dollar addition to the original museum. 50 Million Dollars of art showcasing the Gap founders Fisher collection.

I need to start reviewing vacation trips to some place I haven't been to. Maybe Spain or India or Bali. Well I ususally don't take a vacation so soon after another one but my friend Barbara in Seattle has set up a trip for us, leaving for Cuba on June 1st, 2016. It is a land tour and we will fly to Cancun, then to Havana Cuba. Go on an eight day land tour, two extra days on our own and then have a few days lay over in Cancun on the way back.




2017 ~ Traveling to Indonesia for my 77th Birthday and Singapore!


This year I traveled to Indonesia for my 77th birthday in February with my friend Virginia. We also did a one day stay in Singapore with a highlight tour of the city state.

I continue to be on the Senior Advisory Counsel for the senior center at the YMCA, meeting once a month. And I am still a member of all the museums and able to preview all the new exhibits. And I also have yearly membership to at least three theatrical groups, one being the Best of Broadway. Usually I attend at least 30 plays and 30 museum exhibitions a year. I also continue to do research projects for the VA Hospital. Enough to keep me busy while planning the next trip, one I would really like to take is the Rhine Cruise in Germany from Amsterdam to Switzerland.

Well the end of March did not turn out to be a great month. For several weeks I felt horrible, coughing day and night. Went to the VA Walk in Care Unit at the Infectious Disease Center three times in over a week. It took them until the third time to find out I had pneunomia. I was given medication and sent home and in the afternoon the doctor called and told me she was shocked, not only did I have pneumonia but also influenza! She said to stay in bed or on the couch for the next two weeks or else end up in the hospital. She kidded me, said she needed me to get up and about to go see Hamilton. So I have behaved, lots of naps and movies. I lost 12 pounds and no no appetite but now that I am feeling better, my appetite has come back. So lots of theatrical events and museum openings so need to get out and about! I am having a shot of vodka and a glass of orange juice each night! Just something to make up for the lack of other entertainment!

Since I hadn't been any place since Indonesia for my birthday, my friend Virginia and I decided to take a week and drive to San Simeon and do some tours of Hearst Castle. I did two tours on Thursday, 300 steps up and down twice, so 1,200 steps! On Friday we did two ADA handicapped tours, one at noon and one in the evening. The evening one had volunteers dress up like they did in the 1930s in Hollywood. We also went to the beaches to see hundreds of elephant seals sunbathing on the sands. We also went to several high end wineries and had bruch at Paso Robles at the Niner Winery. I actually drove almost the entire trip of over 600 miles, driving Virginia's Chevrolet Volt! We had a fantastic time.




2018 ~ Tentative travels to Tunisia for my 78th birthday and in the fall, the Rhine cruise in Germany!


We have planned my next birthday trip to cruise from Rome to Tunisia for my 78th birthday. We will stop at Rome, Sicily, Sardinia, Tunisia, Algeria and Spain. All this on February 4th, 2018!

We also are doing the Rhine Cruise in Germany and have initial reservations setup for November of 2018. My friend Viviane is setting up the trips for Virginia and myself.








Miscellaneous ~ Views of My Life.







These links contain some of the items I collected during my travels and some major structures I have see.

  • I also collect Boxes, Busts and Masks as I travel around the world so check them out! 

  • Select this link to view photos of major structures I have visited that appear in Time Magazines list of Greatest Buildings!




Note:  Check out this link on a history of the club scenes and life in San Francisco during the 1960s through the 1980s as lived by me!  It makes great reading if I do say so myself!  (Of course these stories are only the tip of the iceberg so to speak!)

Note:  My sister also wrote her memoirs of our early years on the farm and beyond.  Stories about our adventures and mishaps and family get together.   Click on this link to review Yvonne's Memoirs of our early years!

Chuck's Dancing Exhibitions: You might enjoy reading about my dancing career and how I started out in Rockford Illinois at an Arthur Murray's Dance Studio!  And how through the years I danced away at the Black and White Ball in the City, taught at local bars and did West Coast Swing exhibitions with a dance group around San Francisco!

A New Photo found in 2008 - Life Magazine 1946: My friend Jeff did a Google search and found a photo from 1946 and thought it might be me!  It is, and I had never seen it before!  Check out the original cover photo on Life Magazine and the new photo that was taken some time during the several weeks photo shoot at the one room school I went to!

The 50th Anniversary of Polo High School on June 6th - A listing of the students and a photo of those attending!

The Veterans Hospital asked me if I wanted to volunteer for Research Projects. I agreed and started in 2008 to be tested for things such as dementia, plaque in the blood vessels, blood draws for the study of aging, Spinal Taps, Memory tests, Motor tests and so on.  So click on this link to view the many types of tests I have taken over the last few years!   Research Projects Chuck Buntjer is Participating in Over the Years!

Collecting Movie Memorabilia Though the Years:

  • Select this link to see a large movie poster of - Escape to Burma - 1955 - with Barbara Stanwyck and a short bio!

  • Select this link to see a large movie poster of - The Corn is Green - 1945 - with Bette Davis and a short bio!

  • Select this link to see a large movie poster of - I'll Cry Tomorrow - 1956 - with Susan Hayward and a short bio!

  • Select this link to see a movie poster of - The Sandpiper - 1965 - with Elizabeth Taylor!

  • Select this link to see a movie magazine of - Claudette Colbert - 1938 Issue - Her 10 Rules for Success!

  • Select this link to see an autographed photo of - Claudette Colbert - along with a short bio of her life!

  • Select this link to see an autographed photo of - Gene Tierney - it is so clear it looks like it was just taken!

  • Select this link to see a poster signed by - Kitty Carlisle Hart - 2006 - for me at the Empire Plush Room on her 95th Birthday!

  • Select this link to see a - Phonograph Record - 1913 - and a history of the Edison Recording Company!


The Only Photo of Me as a Baby with my Sister and Mother ~ 1940

I was born in northern Illinois in a small two room house on a farm near a town called Polo. Note: There is only one known picture of me as a baby. We soon moved about 50 miles away to a 500 acre farm near Pecatonica, Illinois. My childhood consisted of growing up on this farm with lots of woods, a river, an Indian mound, horses, dogs, cats, and the rest of the farm animals. My sister and I both went to a one room school house that had eight grades and an average of 10 students. Little did I know that by the age of six I would have my 15 minutes of fame.

I finally got my birth certificate in 1969 from Ogle County Illinois. I don't understand how it states one date, September 1963 and the end date of June 24, 1969.



Chuck on the Cover of Life Magazine and My One Room School ~ 1946!

Life Magazine decided that since World War II was just finished and many soldiers were still stationed around the world, they should do a story on the mid-west and a child's life like many in the service had before going to war. Life magazine sent a reporter and photographer to our school and I ended up being on the cover of Life Magazine and a local celebrity! I received over 5,000 pieces of mail and presents from around the world, England, Holland, Burma, Hawaii, and so on. I received a coconut from Hawaii and I don't believe anyone in Illinois had really seen a real coconut from a palm tree in their life. It had finger prints from everywhere it had been until it finally got to our farm house! How fleeting fame, a star and I didn't even appreciate the situation. 



Wagner One Room School Photo - I was in Second Grade ~ 1947!

This photo was taken when I was in second grade in 1947. This photo was taken when I was in second grade in 1947. I am on the left of the second row and I had lots of curly blond hair then. I had lots of curly blond hair then. I attended the one room school until 1951 when we moved back near a small village called Brookville where I finished my eight grade in another one room school!

In 2010 I got a message on Facebook from Sandi Lender who appears in this photo on the first row, second from the right. She was in first grade and I was in second grade. Sandi and I can only figure out five people in the photo!

Sandi said she used to sit in her desk and swoon over me. She said she thought I was the cutest thing but..... I ignored her, I only had eyes for Carol Nueberger!

We have been trading many stories about attending a one room school and she said she and several others from the school still had my Life cover and the photos inside!



Wagner One Room School Photo - Summer Picnic ~ 1950!

This photo was taken in 1950 at a summer picnic at our One Room School near Pecatonica. This was probably the last photo I had been included in before I moved to Polo Illinois, near where I was born.

I attended the Brookville One Room School and after the eighth grade went on to Polo High School and then to Rockford College, eventually the Army and ending up in San Francisco working with computers!


A Letter Found After 50 Years ~ Frans in the Netherlands - My Pen Pal in 1946!

Interesting:  After more than 50 years my sister found a letter I had written to a friend in Holland, Frans, and his family.  It was never mailed and now I wonder if he and his family still are located in Holland.  Read about the letter and see a copy of the letter, very interesting reading after 50 years!  I did find where Frans was after all those years and visited him in 2004 on a Uniworld Cruise all over the Netherlands.  You may read about the extraordinary way I found Frans and how I eventually met him along with photos of us as youngsters and now, as adults!


My Sister Saves Everything - A Good Thing!

But now I live in San Francisco, over 40 years, and do consulting on documenting software packages, (I am now semi-retired), a far cry from Illinois and the farm! You might want to read my experiences on how I was drafted and ended up in San Francisco, all at the expense of the military!

I also found my Army Discharge Papers and was surprised to see in 1969, they still had my address as RR 2 Polo Illinois! They indicated I had completed all my service requirements and was officially discharged. I don't know what they ment by fulfilling my requirments but someone told me perhaps I should have done some summer military exercises. Huh I said. Well what ever happened, I was happy living in San Francisco and working in the biggest computer center west of Chicago at Fireman's Fund Insurance!

Note: My sister keeps everything and when looking through some old cards and pictures I had sent her over the years, what do I find but a picture taken on March 7, 1964, when I was visiting my best friend in the army (we served together at the Presidio in San Francisco), John and his wife in Tustin.  His mother lived in Huntington Beach and this picture was taken at Sam's Sea Food restaurant on the Pacific Coast Highway in Surfside California.  The picture includes John Leahy, Sue, his mother Millie and myself!  I have been trying to locate John for the last few years as at one point I heard he had divorced his wife and moved to San Francisco.  Perhaps, if he ever reads this, he will contact me!

You might be interested in this link as my sister found on the internet, that our family at the turn of the 19th century had a tent circus in the mid west!  It was photographed and put on post cards for sale!  This post card shows the tent, the horses and the Buntjer's along with the letter written on the back of the post card!  And now, on with an in-depth view of my life and times!

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  Charles Walter Buntjer



San Francisco California
Created on: 1999.06.25



Updated on: 2017.10.16