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Tue, 02 May 2006
This is a name from your past! I was the engineering cadet aboard the S/S Monterey of Pacific Far East Lines, a cruise ship on a south Pacific voyage in 1976. I did my intership in San Francisco with your company, International Marine Surveyors, Inc. and Oceans Magazine and stayed in the apartment above you on Francisco and Mason Streets.....
Remember me yet?
I was surfing the web and reminiscing about my sailing days on the west coast (when I wore a younger mans uniform!) and remembered the boat building institute you started, so while looking for that it wasn't long before I came across your name and amazingly enough your Bio detailing just about anything I could have wondered about what you've been up to since those days 30 years ago!
All I can say is you've had an incredibly diverse and interesting life! WOW! Then picking up and going to a completely different lifestyle in Maine....looking at your renovation photos reminded me of the renovation you and "Smitty" were doing in the first floor apartment you lived in San Fran. I utilized those hands on lessons I received from you in helping out many times over since then! I always meant to duplicate the parquette table you made too.....thought that was unique, but ended up doing a floor with that type instead!
The last I talked to you was around my graduation from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1978. You had tried to convince me to come and teach at the boat institute after graduation and even though you closed up 4 years later, looking back, I wish I had done it! But, the sirens of the seas captured me for the next 20 years....6 continents, 50+ countries and 45 states visited later here I sit!
I went to sea on an oil exploration ship for the first year as 3rd Eng. and then decided it was too dangerous a life and went to the Great Lakes (a good thing too because most of my shipmates went down with the Glomar Java Sea a few years later in a typhoon). On the Great Lakes I worked on tankers and became the second youngest sailing Unlimited Chief Engineer on the lakes (a shipmate of mine beat me by a couple of months!) I sailed the lakes for 7 years and in between got married to my NY honey in "81", lived in Michigan, and had a son a couple of years later.
I later took a position as Senior Port Engineer for the East Coast fleet of T-AGOS vessels (a another good move because my tanker on the lakes, the M/V Jupiter, blew up and sank a couple of years later) and we moved to Va. Beach, Va where my second son was born. I ran the engineering for this program for 6 years, traveling extensively, until our contract was lost and decided I did not want to work for the people who cheated and won the contract through government corruption.
Being invited to sail again in the same tanker fleet I left, we moved back to Michigan in the Detroit metro area where I sailed until 1999 when the fleet was sold to foreign concerns. Not wanting to start over again in another fleet as a 3rd A/E and realizing I was missing my son's growing up, I "ran aground" and began working ashore at a couple of plants until I ended up as an engineer at the Eastern Michigan University power plant where I am now.
So from my e-mail address you have probably concluded I am Dale Mason! My son's, now 21 and 18, are attending college in Mi. and my wife and I split our time between Michigan and our summer home on an island in Lake Erie (see www.put-in-bay.com) where my boys grew up spending their summers with my wife, and me commuting, and they still go back for summer jobs. The "Key West" of the north coast....
So I hope I haven't bored you too much with a bunch of details about someone you may not even remember, but I just wanted to let you know you were probably one of the most impressive and influential people I met during my sea years at the Academy and thought all these years later I'd let you know.
As Maine is 1 of 5 states I have yet to visit, I hope to stop and see you there should my journeys allow me to get up that way in the next couple of years!
Wishing you all the best,
Dale K. Mason
Those were really fun days! Sure I remember!
Fact, I searched for your phone number to call, but found four Dale Masons, none with a middle K, in Michigan and couldn't find a specific town reference in your great e-mail... Oh well, someday we can chatter away like two old farts looking back onto the wake.
Your compliments are gracioiusly accepted, but it sounds like you have had equally as interesting a run at life, with some serious responsibilities to boot. My daughter is finishing her freshman year at college in Boston in two weeks, so I know where you are with your own two boys... I'm supposed to call around and get Lizzy a summer job, if I can find enough business connection chips to cash in in our local tourist economy... :-)
I was sorry to read about your friends on the Glomar Java Sea. Man, that was a huge rig, if I remember... Jeez, where were you when the Jupiter blew up? You've sidestepped a few tragedies. I just talked with a local tugboat capt on Penobscot Bay who said the red tape and hassle has become immense since Homeland Security... and the tanker training requirements now, whew. Likely you got out when the getting was perfect. Good move, going ashore! I also know a bit about not working with people who cheat, but lately, I'm beginning to think that the old standards of ethical behavior have become pretty tarnished thoughout our culture, even here in Maine, where once business was done on a handshake... Ah well, maybe there is a tenure track for engineers at Eastern Michigan University and you'll gain some comfort. Maybe I'll write you to ask if you can do the heat calcs for my new "cottage," once I sell the big farm -- plant engineers always have cool software. I walked into a room in this huge spread of mine and realized I hadn't been in there for a couple of weeks. Need to downsize. Need to get ready for being 60+ and not liking to haul groceries and firewood... Cripes, time flies!
If you get here before the 30' sailing yacht goes to someone else, you are welcome to take her out for a week or two. Nice little coves and lovely islands here in Maine. I'm thinking I need a trailer and motorboat about now. Downsizing.
REALLY nice to hear from you. You made my day! :-)
I hope you keep in touch!