Embed or link this publication


6 x 9 full color interior

Popular Pages

p. 1



p. 2


p. 3

Adventures of a Lifelong Learner A Personal History R O B E R T S C H U LT Z


p. 4

Copyright © 2013 by Robert Schultz. All rights reserved. Produced by Personal History Productions Helping clients record their life stories for future generations of their families. 707.539.5559


p. 5

Contents 1 A California Son 1 2 Good Times on the Farm 9 3 Pancakes at Grandma Rose’s 13 4 At Home in Capitola 15 5 Mom’s Special Boy 18 6 Pride in His Work 21 7 Bonding Through Our Love of Sports 25 8 Play Ball! 28 9 Reality Check 31 10 A Catholic Education 37 11 An Unplanned Retirement 40 12 Ranger Bob—My First Paid Job 43 13 Meeting and Marrying Priscilla 46 14 Our Boston Adventure 51 15 A Dismal Job in Dismal Times 55 16 Proving Myself a Pacifist 58 17 Just Me and 12 Corpses 60 18 Starting Medical School as a New Dad 64 19 Raising the Kids 68 20 Residency Years in Fresno 72 21 Next Stop, Oregon 77 22 Santa Rosa Kaiser Beckons 79 23 Skateboards and Horses 84 24 The Older Generation 88 25 Our Travels 90 26 Family Vacations 93 27 Our European Trip Ends Tragically 95 28 New Adventures and Travels 101 29 Buying the Farm 103 30 Moving into Administration 106 31 Learning Leadership on the Job 111 32 The Kids Grow Up 119 33 The Next Big Move 124 34 Redirection 127 Afterword 133 Acknowledgments 135


p. 6

48 ROBERT SCHULTZ Priscilla. And being with Priscilla felt right. We had fun together. She used to tease me a lot and make me laugh. I felt that she was the person I could spend the rest of my life with. When I told my mother and father that Priscilla and I were going to get married, my parents were not happy, to say the least. I was the golden boy who was going to college and doing well. They expected me to graduate and get established in my career before I got married. They were sure that if I got married, I would never finish school. At first, they actually said they wouldn’t even come to the wedding. I didn’t expect them to be happy when I told them we were getting married because I’d known Priscilla for only a month or so, and they’d only met her a couple of times. But their reaction was more extreme than I expected. Priscilla’s parents, Ermyl and Dick Chiles, weren’t much happier about our plans than my parents were. Priscilla was


p. 7

Adventures of a Lifelong Learner 49 the eldest of her parents’ four children, and the first in the family to get married. We’d already set the date for our wedding when I met Priscilla’s mother and father for the first time. When she took me to their house to introduce me to her family, I sat down at their table for dinner, and her dad turned to me and asked, “So what’s the big hurry?” But Priscilla and I were both sure we were doing the right thing. Our parents’ apprehensions didn’t faze us at all. We told them, “We love each other and we want to get married. And a good time for us to have the wedding is over Christmas break from school.” They listened. I don’t think they were terribly enthused, but they realized they weren’t going to change our minds. I heard later that Priscilla’s mom called my mom and said, “Look, we’re not Dick and Ermyl Chiles, Priscilla’s happy about this eiparents. ther, but they’re obviously going to do it. Let’s make the best of it.” In the end, we had a really nice wedding. As we’d planned, we got married on January 1, 1969, and it was a fun day. My parents came, along with Ina and Ray, and their son, Jerry and his wife. My sister Nancy, her husband, Dennis, and her three girls (Mary, Ann, and Kim) came. The ceremony took place at


p. 8

86 ROBERT SCHULTZ encouraging him to do better was certainly a form of pressure. I tried, but I’m not sure whether I succeeded. In general, though, Priscilla and I had a more laid back, liberal attitude toward our children than my parents had Tamsen competing on her horse, Digger. had toward me growing up. My parents had certain expectations for me that were not up for discussion. For example, they expected me to study hard and get good grades and go to college. And my mother insisted that I get a Catholic education and always go to Mass. That’s one big difference in my upbringing and my kids’: I had stopped attending Mass in college, and Priscilla and I did not expose our children to religion while they were growing up.


p. 9

Adventures of a Lifelong Learner 87 Although Priscilla also had been raised Catholic, the two of us became quite disappointed in the church during the Vietnam War. We felt that the church leaders should have spoken out against the war and tried to be a peacemaker or do something to blunt the atrocity that was going on. Instead the church was silent on the question of the war. Catholic leaders were expending all their energy telling people they shouldn’t use birth control instead of addressing the more pressing issue of the day. As a result, Priscilla and I drifted away from the church and had nothing to do with religion for the next 30 years. (We did eventually return to the Catholic Church, in 1994.) Looking back, I really don’t have any regrets about the way we raised Brandon and Tamsen, nor do I wish we had done anything differently. If I were starting over again, however, I would try to be a little more patient as a father. When Brandon and Tamsen were growing up, I used to get frustrated when they’d fight with each other. The sibling bickering drove me crazy. I never had experienced that growing up. My sisters were so much older than I that we never fought with each other. I didn’t understand sibling rivalry. I now see the same bickering between my grandsons that went on between Brandon and Tamsen, and though it still gets to me, I’m a little more tolerant than I was when my own kids were young.


p. 10

104 ROBERT SCHULTZ trip, I was telling Priscilla all about Nepal and Tibet, and she interrupted me and said, “I have something I should tell you. I bought a different house.” The house she bought sits on 30 acres on the western slopes of the Berkshires in the Hudson Valley. Half of the acreage is flat and the other half is on the side of a hill; only one or two other houses are visible from where we are. The house’s original layout was odd—it just didn’t make much sense. But by the time I got back from my trip, Priscilla had figured out what we could do to fix the house. She said, “What we’re going to do is move the kitchen to this room and put a bedroom and bath over here.” I could see that her plan would work really well. So we went ahead and made all those changes to the house. We had already spent a year working with an architect on the redesign of our Santa Rosa house, so we understood a lot about the process of making a home accessible. We hired a builder back in New York. He sent us plans for the existing house, and I put them into a CAD program. Priscilla and I worked together to revise them. We sent the builder our revised plans by fax, and in February of 1995, he went to work. He’d work on the house during the day, and then in the evening, he would send us a fax with his questions. We’d fax him back our answers. This went on for four months before we actually flew to New York and saw the house. It was anxiety-provoking having the builder do all this work that we weren’t able to see, but when we finally got to New York that May, everything was perfect. We haven’t changed a thing. I was only able to spend a few weeks at the farm that first summer because I had to work, but Priscilla spent the entire summer there with both our kids. She enjoyed her time at the farm so much that she started spending every summer there from then on, while I shuttled back and forth from Santa Rosa to New York when I could get time off.


p. 11

Adventures of a Lifelong Learner 105 Even after buying the farm, we continued taking trips to Europe and elsewhere. We took a vacation in the south of France, and we have been to Italy twice—once with just Priscilla and I on our own and another time with Tamsen and Nav and the boys plus Brandon and Maribeth. In fact, we found that it’s a lot easier to fly to destinations in Europe from the East Coast than it is from San Francisco. The farm.


p. 12

134 Afterword In reviewing my life for this book, the importance of family and friends was thoroughly reinforced. Physical things—cars, clothes, computers, gadgets and even houses—come and go. They have no lasting value. It’s the relationships, especially the relationships of those closest to you, that give life meaning. There is a saying that I especially like in this regard, “The best things in life aren’t things.” Life Lesson Four is simply to nurture and value your relationships. I could say a lot more about many topics, but if people remember me for these Four Life Lessons, I will be happy. 1. 2. 3. 4. Be open to opportunities. Always do your best. Be a lifelong learner with a beginner’s mind. Nurture and value your relationships. I wish the reader a good life, a life that brings you as much joy and satisfaction as my life has brought me.



no comments yet