Well, I have decided to accept the challenge presented by Violet to tell ten things about myself that most people do not know.
First, I was born at an early age. Ok, actually, this one probably doesn’t count, because most people already know this about me.
Seriously, here goes the list.
1. I have a very long-term memory and have the distinct ability to remember events, places, and people from my childhood as if they were present today. The earliest memories I have come from before I was two years old.
2. I used to have hair — lots of hair. When I was born, I was nicknamed Elvis and my long straight jet-black hair was swept back over my head. This probably helped to add to the persona. However, as the oldest of six children, I have the distinct privilege of being the only one to have had several hair color changes. A few months after I was born, my hair turned from black to an orangey-red with lots of curls. By the time I was 18 months old, my hair had turned to white-blond, and then to brown. Around six or seven, it turned to dark brown which it remained until it started to turn gray and loose.
3. I have lived on every continent that I have visited. Born in England, I have lived in Iceland, Scotland, the USA, and Liberia, West Africa. I have visited several other countries, but no more than a visit. One of my favorite locations to live was Iceland and have made a few visits back since becoming an adult. My long-time goal is to visit (or maybe retire) to South Island, New Zealand.
4. One of my fears is the riding of roller-coasters. I was born with sight in my left eye only. The pupil in my right eye is fake and was an implant when I was less than a year old. With only monocular vision, I have no depth perception and riding many carnival type rides is very scary. Having said that, I have only ever ridden one (1) roller-coaster and it would be my future wife, Violet, that managed to convince me to ride on the horrid thing on our very first date! When the week-long journey to hell and back concluded after less than 1 minute, and the gyrating metal and wooden beast had thrown me out of its belly like the whale did with Jonah, Violet promised that she would never ask me to go on one again if I would just marry her. So, I did and here we are 29 years later! That’s my story (for this week) and I’m sticking to it!
5. One of my oldest wishes, after watching my dad take a glider flight in Iceland, was to be able to go gliding myself. It was not until over 40 years later when my two youngest sons purchased a glider flight ticket for me in northern California that I was able to fulfill that wish. It was an incredible ride and I was able to spend time flying the aircraft as well.
6. Languages have always fascinated me. When I was in high school, I began learning Icelandic from a course produced by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). I have taken the following languages at university: Spanish, Russian, Hebrew, and Greek. I can read and speak basic Esperanto (look it up), and am currently being tutored in Mandarin Chinese. I think this new language endeavor is actually my favorite.
7. I have pastored or started churches in England, the USA, and Liberia, West Africa. All of my degrees are in theology with a minor in Biblical languages.
8. Currently, I love being a realtor. However, most people do not know that I have passed and held professional licenses in the field of insurance and the funeral industry. My illustrious career has included time as a Word Processing Specialist (I type over 80 wpm), a data analyst for the London Stock Exchange (yes, in London), a pastor and missionary, a loan officer, an insurance agent, and a funeral director and cemetery manager (for almost 8 years).
9. My favorite hobby was building model planes and at one time had 31 different military planes hanging from my bedroom ceiling, all of which I built. My favorite plane to this day is the Supermarine Spitfire, which was one of the heroes of the Battle of Britain during the early days of World War II. There is nothing so sweet as the deep-throated roar of a Rolls Royce Merlin engine.
10. Finally, I have taken my wife, a sister and a brother, and illegally crossed international borders. This occurred over a period of hours and in just one hour crossed a border four different times, all of which were done illegally. The first two were done unwittingly, the next two times involved a little subterfuge in order to get back to the country we were supposed to be in. Maybe I will have to write about it. To this day, I am not sure whether Interpol is still looking for me or not, but my wife and siblings have never forgotten the hair-raising adventures. By the way, I should probably introduce myself. The name is Bond. Mark Bond from Her Majesty’s Secret Service!
PS — As an extra treat, number 11 is worth more than a postscript and will involve another story here one day soon. Shortly after marrying Violet, I convinced her that I was a true-to-life spy working with the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) in the US Air Force. I pulled it off for just over three weeks!