Life turns towards the better

Eric writes:

Eric

Eric

I am a rich man. I have friends and family. My brother and his wife took me in when I had no place to go. I looked for a job for seven months to no avail. My younger brother pitched in to buy me a car so I could get around. When the transmission went out all my brothers pitched in to get it fixed. A friend of mine in Denver invited me to come out and try for a job there. All my friends and family pitched in to get me the money to go to Denver for the interview and make the move to a new state for a new start. My brother and his wife in Arvada gave me a place to live while I looked for work.

I was able to get a job with the Denver Public Library as an On-Call Intermittent Security Officer. My friend that got me the job said that to go any further, I would have to do it on my own. He pulled himself from the interview process to make sure that I would not receive any perceived preference. I was able to land a part-time position as a Security/Circulation Clerk at a branch library. Then a full-time position opened up and I was able to land the full-time job.

Lori, Eric, Guy, Wendy and Linn at a Starbucks in Denver.

Lori, Eric, Guy, Wendy and Linn at a Starbucks in Denver.

After almost two years, I am finally back on my own two feet. I am a rich man. I have a family that helped me through an extremely tough time. I have friends that did not abandon me in my time of need. I now have a wonderful partner in life, Lori, that loves me for who I am and not for money. I am blessed. Every day I wake up, I thank God for the countless blessings I have received. I now have a job where I have the opportunity to work with homeless people and others in need of help. I have the opportunity to help others get back on their feet. I love my life, I love my family, I love my friends, I love Lori.

Life is wonderful again.


 

Postscript:
Five years have passed since I wrote this letter. Changes keep coming on a daily basis. I accept them all and give thanks for the blessings every day. Ups and downs still happen. But at least we are completely out of debt, have a nice home that is paid for, and smiles on our faces.
Thank the Lord. Amen.

— Eric H

Gentleman Farmer

Eric writes:

Eric

Eric

I was a rich man. I had a 10 acre farm with access to the 10 acres next door. We raised horses ranging from a very intelligent reining horse to a wary give-away that nobody wanted. I was part owner in seven airplanes. We had the money to take a plane and go where ever we wanted when we wanted. I had a great home inspection business that was bringing in plenty of money to afford the lifestyle we had become accustomed to. My wife had a new car and I drove a new truck. Life was good. I was truly blessed. I was enjoying building stalls in the barn and putting up fences for the horse boarding business we were getting ready to start.

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Flight Support

Eric writes:

Eric

Eric

I went to work at Signature Flight Support right after getting back from my Dad’s funeral. Within a few weeks, my son Joel passed away as well. This was the start of a pretty deep depression for me. At the time I didn’t realize how much it affected my work. But now as I look back, I was in pretty bad shape.

I tried hard to make it at Signature. The job was to escort airplanes in and park them on the ramp, then provide whatever services were needed. We serviced everything from the smallest single seat trainer to 747’s. I was trained in proper fuel handling, how to fuel all the different aircraft that came into our facility and how to move airplanes safely. and worked in all kinds of weather. When it was 100 degrees outside or 40 degrees below zero, we worked. Nothing stopped us. The job only paid $10 per hour, but I really enjoyed it because I like being around airplanes.

Eventually, I was promoted to Safety Manager because of my background in Industrial Hygiene and Safety. When I went to St Paul for training, I was told by my instructor that I would be lucky to last six months in the job. He was right. The position was in name only. I was given lots of new duties, but was not given the time to get the work done or a budget to buy what I needed. I was just a line service tech with a different job title. I had no budget for providing training that I thought was needed.

We also didn’t have the equipment or the people we needed to do the job safely. Eventually, we had an accident and damaged an airplane. My friend, JW and I were reprimanded for the accident because we didn’t have the required three people to move the airplane, even though there were only two people on duty and we had no choice. A couple months later, on a very cold, windy and snowing night, there was another airplane movement accident. This time my supervisor and I decided that we needed the Customer Service Agent from the front desk to comply with the rules to have three people to move an airplane. This was Ashley, our boss’ daughter. She was not trained properly to move airplanes, but we did our best to get the job done.

As it turned out, she was clueless and caused us to damage the airplane. I was fired. I was denied unemployment insurance. When I appealed the unemployment decision, my supervisor testified on my behalf but I was still denied the unemployment and my supervisor was terminated also. I don’t know if it was because he stuck up for me or if they just came up with something else. But a year and a half later, Ashley is still there, and we are gone. I went seven months without a paycheck. I had to sell everything I had of any value just to pay my bills and buy gas for the car. Those were bad times.

— Eric H

Starting Over

Eric writes:

Eric

Eric

With Anke gone, I started dating again. Heather was one and Brenda was another girl I was dating.

Eventually, I made the wrong choice and let Brenda go and kept dating Heather. When we decided that we should move in together, she said she couldn’t live in my house because that was the house that Anke and I had. Then we couldn’t live in her place because that was where her and her husband had lived. So we sold both places and bought a farm up in Mazeppa.

The only way we could afford it was if we both pitched in to make the payments. Before long, I was making the payments by myself. Then Heather started buying horses before I could even get the fences done. Then she wanted stalls in the barn, a round pen, more fences, and on and on. I was going broke because of those horses. At one point we had seven horses. I was spending over $100 per week in hay alone.

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Rocky Marriage

Eric writes:

Eric

Eric

Anke and I had a rocky marriage. We married on the hottest day of September and held the reception at our house. It was probably the cheapest wedding ever. After the wedding things in our relationship started to change. I told Anke when we started dating that I didn’t want a relationship with a smoker. She quit for a while. But after we got married she was smoking more than ever. She was drinking a bit, too. But I ignored that. But now that she is gone I realize how much she would drink. Every week when I put out the trash, the recycling container was full of beer cans. Now that she is gone, I don’t even use the recycle bin.

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Favorite Flights

Favorite Flights

Eric writes:

Eric

Eric

One of my favorite trips alone was a September visit to Gillette, WY to visit my dad. I asked Tom to go with me, but he couldn’t get the time off from work. The flight out was uneventful. I flew from Rochester to Mitchell, SD, then made a pit stop in Rapid City, finishing up in Gillette. It was about six hours of travel time as opposed to 11 hours driving in a car.

The next day I flew back home. I left Gillette early and the winds were already howling. Checking my charts, I was planning on making a stop in Pierre for some lunch, but the runway aligned with the wind was closed. With the cross winds at over 30 mph. I decided to stop in Chamberlain instead. It was a grass airstrip, but perfectly aligned with the wind.

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Southeastern Minnesota Flying Club

Southeastern Minnesota Flying Club

Eric writes:

Eric

Eric

Joining the Southeastern Minnesota Flying Club made flying a lot cheaper than renting from Rochester Aviation. Now that I had my license, I had lots of plans. I wanted to take all my friends up for a ride, go for $100 hamburger runs and take some flying vacations. One of the first people to fly with my was my friend Tom Weideman.

On our first trip, we flew from Rochester up to Red Wing, then followed the Mississippi river to Winona, then west back to Rochester. That was one of my favorite tours to take people on. Tom also liked to go with me when I went out to the airport to practice touch and go landings. To him, it was like riding a great amusement park ride. I really liked taking someone along that really appreciated the good times.

Eric's favorite airplane

Eric’s favorite airplane

One winter day, Tom and I went for a hamburger run to Rice Lake, Wisconsin. The wind was really strong out of the north, so the flight up there took about an hour and a half. We got a car from the FBO and went for lunch. When we were ready to come back, the airplane had really chilled down because of the below zero wind chill that day. But after we got the engine started, we were off for home. Now we had a really strong tail wind. It only took about 15 minutes to get to the Mississippi, then another 10 to Rochester. Tom couldn’t believe how fast it went.

— Eric H