I want to thank Travis Hardin for asking me to contribute to the Humanists of North Alabama web page. We need a strong presence in North Alabama to counter-act the ethos and the values of the Bible Belters, whose numbers, compared to the voices of reason, are overwhelming.
I lost my faith at the age of 17, when my father died unexpectedly of a heart attack in January of 1961. Up to that time, I called myself a Congregationalist because our immediate family and most of our extended family turned out regularly to attend services at the First Congregational Church in Shenandoah, Iowa.
I graduated from high school in May of 1961, and matriculated to Drake University that fall, where I eventually would earn a doctorate in English.
I transferred to the University of Michigan in 1963, and earned an undergraduate degree in English in 1965. Lyndon Johnson, then the sitting President, spoke at the graduation ceremonies, which I missed because I was on the West Coast, touring with the U of M Glee Club.
I started law school at the University of Iowa in the Fall of 1965 but soon decided that being a lawyer held no attractions for me, so I enrolled in an M.A. program in English at the University of Wisconsin, where I picked up my first graduate degree in January of 1967.
Long story short: Fearing being drafted into a war I didn’t believe in (Vietnam), I enlisted in the US Air Force and did two years. I was a communications center specialist and spent a lot of time “pulping” top secret documents behind the comm center. “Pulping” documents involved dumping the them into a huge machine that mixed them with water, reducing them to and indecipherable sludge.
On separting from the Air Force, I enrolled in an M.S. program in advertising at the University of Illinois, completing that degree in 1970.
I worked as a writer and editor with the Tennessee Valley Authority for 3+ years, and met and married my wife Jane in Chattanooga in may of 1972.
In January of 1974, Jane and I left Tennessee for Australia, where I was a lecturer in the Department of Communications and General Studies at the Queensland Institute of Technology (not called the Queensland University of Technology). Our only child, Ryan was born in 1975
On repatriating to the US in 1978, I enrolled in a doctoral program in English at Drake, and finished it in November of 1980.
Fast forward to today: I’ve been retired from college teaching since 2003. Jane retired in 2001. We have three beautiful granddaughters, ages 2, 3, and 5. They live in Decatur, so we get to see them every couple of weeks.
I have no idea as to the subject of future contributions to the HNA website. But as I am a man of many strongly held opinions that are mostly contrary to the beliefs and values of conservatives and bibliolaters, it probably won’t take me too long to get worked up over some outrage or other and retreat to my computer to sound off.
Until the next time, adios, amigos!
Ward Welty (wardpaul)