Each person goes through their life and experiences many enjoyable and a few not so enjoyable adventures. I hope to be able to share with you some of the adventures of my family and their triumphs and a few moments here and there along the way that were probably not so enjoyable.
My intentions for sharing some of the not so enjoyable adventures are to keep your mind grounded in reality and not give the illusion that life is all peaches and cream. Life is a series of short stories and adventures, most of them are a lot of fun with many laughs, while the rest are there as a baseline or frame of reference we use to guage the true value of our lives. Please keep in mind that everything you read and see here is from my perspective unless otherwise stated. I will do my absolute best to give credit where credit is due. I hope not to offend anyone, but this is my version, not right or wrong, just the version from my perspective, or as one might say,"The World According To Richard." If I miss the mark on this, please feel free to shoot me email and explain where I missed the mark and I may choose to make changes, but remember this is from my perspective. My father (Wilton Purcell Penland) used to have a way of expressing the not so fun experiences to help keep things in perspective. He would say, "Cheer up, Things can get worse, and you cheer up, and, sure enough they do!" After all, it is not what happens to us in our lives, it is our attitude to what happens that defines us. When I thought life was really bad as a child, I remember both him and my mother (Fairabelle Mae Anderson) reminding me, "The sun will come up in the morning!" As far as I know, they were right and I have always remembered these things. They have helped me bounce back from things in my life that many people would not have recovered from. So to highlight this paragraph, my hope is that you remember these two quotes when life looks a bit grim:
"Cheer up, Things can get worse, and you cheer up, and, sure enough they do!", By: Wilton (Bill) Purcell Penland (c. Unknown)
"The sun will come up in the morning!" , By: Bill Penland or Fairabelle (Belle) Mae Anderson (I am not sure which one) (c. Unknown) If you are interested in additional information about the Penland Family, there are a couple of sites that may help you. One is the Penland Historical Societyand the other is Ancestry.Comor as a last resort, you can always do a web search onGoogle.
The Family History The Penland (Pentland) Family originally came from the Pentland Hills area around Edinburgh, Scotland. They left Scotland during the mid to late 1600s and settled in the Colonies where free men had many opportunities. The name changing from Pentland to Penland probably happened when the first Pentland's came through Immigrations in the New World. Many immigrants did not write so when asked their names, the immigration official probably wrote the names as he heard them. This is only a guess, but this theory is accepted by many people doing geneology as common practice.
Probably the most famous person in the Penland Family is My Great Grandfather, Theodore A. Penland(January 23, 1849 - September 13, 1950). He, like many of the people of his time fought in the Civil War. During the Civil War, he lost his Father John Penland, as a result of wounds sustained during the Stones River Campaign, Murfreesboro, TN and several brothers as a result of being POWs in Andersonville Prison.
Bill Anderson, Elva Anderson, Fairabelle Penland (Anderson) and Ester Anderson in Oroville, CA at Fairabelle's House
Bill Penland and his Grandaughter, Shiela Haywood at Rush Creek, CA
A story my Aunt (June Anderson) sent me:
I grew up with practical parents who had been frightened by the Great Depression in the 1930's. A mother, God love her, who washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it. She was the original recycle queen, before they had a name for it. A father who was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones.
Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat and Ma in a house dress, lawn mower in one hand, and dish-towel in the other. It was the time for fixing things: a curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, and the hem in a dress. Things we keep.
It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that repairing, eating, and renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.
But then my Father died, and on that clear fall night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more.
Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away...never to return. So... While we have it... its best we love it... And care for it... And fix it when it's broken..... And heal it when it's sick.
This is true... For a partner you love... And old cars... And children with bad report cards..... And dogs and cats with bad hips.... And aging parents..... And grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some things we keep. Like a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with.
There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special... And so, we keep them close. (Author & c. Unknown)
Thank You Aunt June. Even though this is not 100% correct as I remember it, there are many similarities.
Fairabelle Anderson, Bill Horn and Eugene (Chris) Christianson at Jack's Old Place, Feather River Canyon, CA
Bill Penland, 79 years old at Rich Bar, CA with a Gold Pan and 32 Ounces of Rich Bar Gold in it.
My Father. Wilton Purcell Penland was born August 11th 1910 in Estacada, Oregon. His Father (Wilton Vinton Penland) was a Butcher and his Mother (Faye Hashburger Penland) was a Seamstress. He was raised in the Portland, Oregon until he was in his teens when his family moved to California. He had a Half Brother (Everett Penland) who was older than he was. I do not know much about Uncle Everett as he died when I was pretty young. My Father worked most of his life in construction and when he could do what he liked best, it was mining for gold. My father was a published author and published his book, "Deep Canyon, Heavy Gold" in 1989, when he was 79 years old. He would not let any of the grand children call him "Grandfather", "Grandpa", "Granddad" or "Grand anything else", so they all called him "Papa" as all of us kids had called him.
My Mother. Fairabelle Mae Anderson was many things. She was one of the best musicians I have ever encountered. She could play any instrument she ever decided to play within a few minutes of picking it up. She was also a published author and published her book, "Bottles Corks and Cures" in 1963, when she was 43 years old. When she died in 2004, she had scrap booked enough work to probably publish ten to fifteen additional books. The grand children all called her "Granny" and us kids all called her "Mom".
Collectors. My Mom and Dad were both collectors and they collected so many things it always reminded me of our home being like a museum. Neither of them had more than an 8th grade education, but they were better educated (self educated) than most people I have met in my life. I am sure from their life experiences and self education that both of them had the equivalent of at least a Masters in Liberal Arts and probably my father close to a BS in Geology in addition to that.
I can remember several professional geologists that were friends of his. As a child, I would sit and listen to their many conversations. My father was far better educated in that field than most of them and they often came to him for advice.
I am sure I could say the same about my mother and antiques. She was consulted by many people about her knowledge of antiques, but as a young boy, I didn't listen to her conversations with the same enthusiasm as I did with my father and his friends, because geology and mining was a love I shared with my father.
Musicians. My Mom was probably one of the most talented musicians I have ever known. When we were kids going to high school and brought home an instrument (Me - Trumpet, then Drums), (Connie - Clarinet) and (Tia - I am not sure), she could always play the instrument within a few minutes. I know for sure she could play guitar, piano, accordion, banjo, Bandello, mandolin, harp, drums, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, French horn, drums, harmonica, and there are probably some I have missed. She played all of these instruments by ear and she could also play sheet music if necessary. My Dad was not really a great musician, but he loved to hear my Mom play and sing and I remember his singing to me on the way home from work many times. He could play the harmonica and the Jews harp also. I have tried to play both and could never play either. I always loved to get together with my Mom and get her to play her guitar and sing for me. She taught me to cord on the Guitar a little and she always said which ever one of us kids learned to play the guitar is the kid that she would give her guitar to. I still have the guitar, but I don't play it very often.
A Song I Couldn't Get Out Of My Head. After my Dad died, I found myself singing one verse of a song he used to sing to me over and over each morning in the shower and I couldn�t get it out of my head for about five years. So finally I posted a note with the words I could remember on an internet newsgroup. I got an answer the following day with a link to the lyrics. As soon as I got all of the lyrics and sang all of the way through the song, I was able to shower in the morning in peace and not have to sing part of the song each morning. Here are the lyrics, so I don't forget again.
WAS IT RAIN By: Frances Langford
Skies were gray that rainy day We parted in the lane; Was it tears that fell or was it rain? There we stood as lovers would; Did parting bring you pain? Was it tears that fell or was it rain? I couldn`t tell if your eyes were misty, Or if you felt regret, I noticed when you kissed me That both your cheeks were wet. Till we meet again, my sweet, That mem`ry will remain. Was it tears that fell or was it rain?
Gardening. When my Dad and Mom decided to have a garden, my Dad and I started to haul river sand into the yard across from the house. I remember many Saturdays spent with him going to the river and shoveling by hand a pickup truck load at a time onto the truck and then going home and shoveling it off. Many Saturdays we would do this ten or fifteen times. We got most of the sand within a mile of our house, so as a bonus, Dad used to let me drive to and from the river where we got the sand. We also used to stop by the river on the way home from work in the summer and get a load and take it home and shovel it off into the garden. Dad kept track of how many truck loads of sand we hauled home and it went to 315 truck loads before we stopped. After the river sand, came the fertilizer and we went to the Plumas County Fairgrounds and they had a huge pile of manure and straw from the livestock shows they had there every year and over one summer, Dad and I hauled home over 100 truck loads of that and spread it over the garden. Then each evening we would turn the manure and sand and the following year, Mom planted a garden on it. I remember the vegetables were fantastic and especially the hills of potatoes. The first harvest, there was one hill of potatoes that yielded over 40 pounds of potatoes and they grew one potato that weighed around 5-6 pounds.
The six pictures below were all taken between 1957 and 1962.
From Left to Right: My Uncle, Andy Anderson, My Mother Belle Penland, My Father Bill Penland, and Me in the Basket at the 4th of July Rodeo in Taylorsville, California
L-R George Wess, Unknown, Mrs. Esther Kap, Unknown, Mr. Clarence Kap at Rich Bar, Feather River Canyon, California
Richard Penland in the house at Rich Bar, Feather River Canyon, California on Christmas Eve, 1958 (age 2 years)
The Penland's, Back Row L-R - Michael, Wilton (Dad), Fairabelle (Mom), Tia, Allen, Roberta, Front Row L-R Connie, Richard
July 24th 1961 - Feather River Shortline Railroad, Quincy, CA, Taken by Bill Penland
L-R - Tia, Connie and Richard Penland at The House on Rush Creek, CA on Christmas Eve
Scott Kelly, The Barber and "A Young Boy's Love of Trains"
Scott Kelly gave me my first haircut and many thereafter. One morning when I was five, my mother left me in his care while she went shopping at Ayoobs Clothing Store, next door. Scott cut my hair and while doing so, he told me that they were looking for Engineers on the Quincy Short Line Railroad and that I should apply. I could hardly wait until he got done with my haircut. I wanted that job.
Needless to say, my mother was a little bit upset when she returned to the Barber Shop and Scott had not noticed me disappearing. Scott felt really bad according to my mother and went with her to look for me, realizing that I had probably gone to seek my fortune as a Railroad Engineer on the Quincy Short Line Railroad. They found me talking to one of the Engineers on duty and I was in the Engine, getting hands-on instruction on the operation of a locomotive.
From the perspective of a five year old boy, life couldn't be any better than getting his dream job as a Railroad Engineer, from a mother's perspective life couldn't get much worse than losing a 5 year old son, but Scott kept it all in perspective and this priceless story was one of his best and most humorous stories in the many he would tell to his customers over the years. My mother's story differed slightly in perspective, but got more humorous as the years passed.
Scott Kelly, you are both remembered and missed!!
A Young Boy's Dream
The California Zephyr
One of my most fond memories was seeing and watching the California Zephyr as it came through the Feather RiverCanyon in Northern California. I do not have any pictures of it but I was able to find some "YouTube" clips and will do my best to find some pictures of this very special passenger train as it ran the Western Pacific (now the Union Pacific) Railroad that runs through the Feather RiverCanyon.
This YouTube Clip is the California Zephyr at two locations on the Western Pacific Railroad in the Feather River Canyon, California. One is at Pulga, California and the other is as the Zephyr comes out of Tunnel Number 9 on the Western Pacific Railroad in the Feather River Canyon, California.
I hope you all enjoy these memories as much as I have.
Another YouTube Video of the California Zephyr.
This is a little more romantic video.
My younger sister Tia and I actually got to ride the California Zephyr from Stockton, California up through the Feather River Canyon to Keddie, California. Our Parents (Bill and Belle Penland met us at Keddie, after we had spent a week with our Grandparents (Ed and Pearl Anderson, our Mothers Parents) in Manteca, California, during summer vacation in 1965. I was 9 years old and Tia was 7 years old.
The picture below, taken in 1957, as described by my Mother, Fairabelle Penland:
This is a little fuzzy but maybe will give you some idea what Rich Bar looks like. The foreground is where they mined.
They were supposed to have taken around 23 million dollars worth of gold off it. They were allowed 10 feet square of ground per man. One pan was said to have had 15 hundred dollars worth of gold in it. It was said to have been the richest pan taken from Rich Bar. You can see why they called it "Rich Bar".
The two buildings in front are ours. The one on the left is the bar and restaurant. The other one is where we live. Then, the railroad tracks in the background. Some of the buildings above the tracks are ours and some are the railroad property.
Fairabelle Penland, 1957.
July 27, 1958 - The Penland's Bar, Restaurant and Home at Rich Bar, California
Snow and Cold. I miss the snow we had when we were kids living at Virgilia Mine. I remember there were times when I hated it too, like when I had to shovel 4-5 feet of snow off of the 450 foot long driveway. Depending on how deep the snow was, I can remember it taking all day if I was lucky or if it was really a heavy snow, sometimes two or three days. I remember my back was always hurting when I was done even if it only took a day to finish shoveling it all off. The snow shoveling memories have faded away mostly, but the fun we had sledding on the side of the hill are still strong memories. When we got a big snow 2-3+ feet, we would go out and pack down the snow with our feet or shovels and then before we went to bed, we would take my Dad's 5 gallon spray can and go spray water on top of the packed snow. When it froze over night, we could sled down the hill on that sheet of ice and it was really fast. We always built a jump (big pile of snow that was smoothed over) near the bottom of the sled run for those of us that were more daring.
I can remember one time when there were three of us on an inner tube (from a big truck tire) when we went down the sled run. Tia was in the middle of the tube and I was on one side and someone else was on the other side of Tia. When we went over the jump we got airborne and Tia's head went through the whole in the tube and when we came down, she got her nose scraped up pretty bad. I am sure if you asked her today, she would still say she always had a good time, or at least most of the time anyway. I am sure there were times when I got hurt as well, but that never stopped us. Sometimes in the winter, Dad would tie a rope on the back of the truck (when it had chains on) and tow us on the sled behind the truck.
There were some times when the water froze in the water pipes and we would catch rain in a rain barrel or haul snow in the house and melt it on the stove to use for flushing the toilets of for drinking water after it had been boiled to kill the germs. This would also mean Dad and I would be our walking the water line and building fires on it (it was mostly steel pipe except where it went over the creek). Sometimes we would have to dig through the snow and ice to get to where we could build a fire on the ground over the pipe. Of course we had to carry dry newspaper and firewood with us along the pipeline to build fires with. The water pipe line went from our house up Rush Creek and across Rush Creek on an overhead cable and up Rich Gulch for nearly three quarters of a mile. That is a lot of pipe to thaw out when it freezes. When it freezes in one spot, the whole thing freezes as well.
Wood and Wood Stoves. I remember going with my Dad up on the logging roads to gather firewood. You know, we used to fill the wood shed every summer with wood and by the end of the spring, it was mostly gone. My Dad would always help get the wood, but from the time I was six years old, chopping and carrying the firewood in for the cook stove, heater stove and fireplace was always my responsibility. I had to do this every evening after school and during the day on weekends so my Mom would have wood all day to keep the house warm, cook on, and heat the water for cleaning and bathing.
One day I measured the wood shed to see how much wood it took to fill it. It was 12 feet wide by 12 feet high by 24 feet long (the length of the house where the recreation room / fire place / sewing room was). According to my calculations, that is 3456 cubic feet of wood when it was full.
A cord of wood is 4 feet by 4 feet by 8 feet or 128 cubic feet, so that means when the wood shed was full there was 27 cord of wood in it (3456 / 128 = 27). That was how much wood I had to split and carry in every winter. There were times when I was not home because I stayed in town or sometimes at a friends house and my Dad would do those chores for me and never once complain. It was just part of life where we lived and he knew I needed to be a child and play while I was young also. I used to complain about doing it when I was younger. Sometime between the time I was 6 years old and 12 years old, I finally figured out it did no good to complain about this to my Mom. I still had to go do it after I complained.
My Dad had installed an extra water heater tank before the electric water heater and the cold water supply line ran into the back of my Mom's wood stove and through the fire box. From the fire box it ran into the first water tank and was hot or at least pre heated before it went into the electric hot water heater. This saved a lot of money heating the cold water for us. The wood stove my mother cooked on was an old O'Keefe and Merritt with the warming ovens over the stove that pre-heated the plates for dinner and kept food warm after it was finished cooking but also kept it from drying out (sort of like we use the microwave for now). There was nothing that compared to coming home from school and opening the door to the smell of Mom cooking bread. I remember she always used to make two or three pans of buns because she knew us kids couldn't keep our hand off of the bread if she didn't.
Christmas and New Years. When we were small, my Mom used to sit us down before Christmas and make all of us kids cut different colored paper and make paper chains and paste them together using white paste. When our paper chains were complete, we would use them to decorate the house and Christmas Tree. She also made popcorn and taught us to take a needle and thread and string the popcorn for decorations. We did the same with fresh cranberries. Many times before Christmas, she also would sew pot holders and then iron on light colored blue stencils and we would take different colored applicator pens and color them to give as Christmas presents because many times there was no extra money to buy presents.
As we got older, we would hike along the PG&E Power Lines and collect any copper wire that the linemen had dropped or discarded and carry it home in our backpacks. Additionally, I would go to work with my Dad in the summer and go around the job site after work and pick up all of the copper wire scraps that the electricians left from wiring the houses. We would take it home and burn the insulation off of it or strip it off if it was easy and put it with the rest of the copper stash we had collected. Once a year, my Dad would get it all together and take it to the salvage yard in Oroville and sell it to them. He would then split the money up between us kids, so we would have money for Christmas Presents. I think sometimes, he and Mom would add a little to it before they split it up. I know that both Mom and Dad often went without so that us kids could have things we needed.
I wish now that I had spent more time around both of them, but I had my calling and had to go off and experience what I read about in the National Geographic Magazine as a child. My parents both believed in us kids doing whatever it was that we set out to do as long as it did not harm us or others, so at seventeen years old and two weeks, I thought I had outgrown my parents and set out to seek my fortune. I was always restless and needed to go see everything for myself more than any of the kids I grew up around. As a kid, I thought nothing of riding my bike to Quincy or Greenville and can remember Tom Schmid and I riding from my house on Rush Creek up to Round Valley Lake and fishing all day and then riding into Greenville and back to my house in one day. This was a distance of over 40 miles.
The Rope Swings Papa Made For Us. All of us loved to play with rope swings when we were young and my father was always there to make these types of experiences the best they could be for us. The first rope swing he put up for us lasted about 4-5 years before we out grew it because it was not fast enough or high enough, so my father climbed up in a real tall oak tree and put a metal shackle through a "Y" in a large branch and hung a big thick rope over it and then built a platform and a shorter rope so that we would start off higher. When you went off of the platform, and went all the way out, you were nearly 30 feet in the air.
Coming of Age
I quit school after the tenth grade and never looked back. After I went in the Marines, I decided to go back to school at night and finish my High School Diploma (not a GED), it took me three months to complete it in night school.
In 1977, I finished my first four year tour in the Marines and moved back home and went to work with my father, doing concrete work for Barlow Construction. After about a month of working with my father, I told him, he should get his contractor's license and I would run the operation for him. He laughed and said he was not interested. He told me, go get your contractors license and that he would run it for me. It didn't happen, because Plumas County could not support the level of achievement I wanted out of life, so my father and I never got to work together on this.
Within a year I got my contractors license and was running my own concrete business in Southern California and working seven days a week, sixteen hours a day. During the next seven years, I remained focused on building the business. I also managed to finish an average of ten million square feet of concrete a year on my hands and knees. I was young, hard and fast and really good at concrete work, but after seven years finishing concrete, I started to have problems with my knees and had to see a doctor because of the pain. The doctor told me if I didn't get off of my knees, I would not walk when I was fifty. I started thinking and realized I really did not like doing concrete work anyway. I think I actually did it to prove something to my father. I have never figured out what it was I was trying to prove.
In February, 1983, I told my wife, June, that I wanted to go back to school and get a job where I was not on my hands and knees all the time. Without an income, I really couldn't just stop work and go back to school and with a concrete business that required me to work seven days a week, sixteen hours a day, I really didn't have the drive to try to go to school at the same time. We talked about it for a few months and finally decided that I would go back in the Marines and go back to school.
In June, 1983, I joined the Marine Reserves and then in February, 1984, I managed to get back on Active Duty in the Marines......To Be Continued....
The House at Virgilia Mine.
My Friends. Tom Schmid, Ron Schmid, Scott Lawson, Larry Forcino, Butch Forcino, Dennis Forcino, Kenny Risley, Mike Risley, Lee Folla, Eddie Heater, Bobby Batchelor
My Parent's Friends. Harry and Hazel Forcino, Ed and Celine Becker, Dixie and Earl Hamilton, Bud and Lee Geddis, Wayne Batchelor, Andy Tidwell, Hilder Hockenson, Ed and Emmy Hammerick, Eva Eyraud, Earl and Clarita Fischer, Scott Kelley, Chick Chichester (Stories, the Apple Ranch, the Claim, Goats, Horses, Apple Picking, Apple Cider, Drivers Training),
The Old Stump.
My First Fish.
My First Deer.
The Back Road.
The Mini-bikes and Motorcycles
Learning to Drive. (Starting the 1952 Chevy Pickup at Rich Bar on the hill at 8 years old, Dad giving me the keys when I asked, getting stuck the first time, Knocking out the corner recreation room support post with the truck, Cats in the engine compartment of the truck on a cold morning)
My First Car. It was a 1972 Chevrolet Biscayne, two door, straight six cylinder, the clutch, the gear shift, the engine) that I bought from Edna Shafer after her husband Frank passed away
Hundreds of Miles of Back Roads.
Ed and Scotty Taylor
Swimming and Diving. (Virgilia Bridge, White Rock, Terry Riffles)
Riding the Rapids in Winter.
Camping and Hiking. Camping in a Cave.
The Virgilia Mine.
Pensacola, Florida and Naval Photography School.
MCAS (H) Santa Ana, California.
The Women in My Life
The Birth of My Children
My Children's Personalities
Raising My Children.
Virtual Web, Inc. In the fall of 1996, I was on active duty in the Marines and had been selected for Gunnery Sergeant and had submitted the last application for Warrant Officer that I could submit because of my age and time in service limitations.
I had been screened for the possibility to be sent out on Recruiting Duty the year before and would have gone, but because June and I were buying a condo in Hawaii and a home in Virginia, the Marine Corps Recruiter Screening Team said I was not eligible, due to our financial status. This determination was made because on recruiting duty a Marine is living on the economy and there is not support like the PX, Commissary, Medical and Dental that a Marine has when they are stationed aboard a Marine Corps Base.
In August, 1993, the results of the Warrant Officer Selection Board were released and I was not selected. I sat down with June to discuss what I needed to do to be able to take care of my family and how my Career would go. It didn't seem to be too big of a problem except that the Marine Corps had taken Warrant Officer off of the table. My normal progression would have to be either a promotion to Master Sergeant where I could stay as technical in the IT field as possible until I could retire which was still five years away or promotion to First Sergeant where I would plan on staying in the Marine Corps until my forced retirement of thirty years of service.
I had worked for the last ten years to become the best Network Engineer in the Marine Corps and I was at the top in my field. We decided it would be better for me to go for the promotion to Master Sergeant and stay technical. That way I could get a good job when I retired and we would be able to send the kids to college at that time.
Then, in September, 1993, without warning, the Marine Corps, issued me orders to report for Recruiting School / Recruiting Duty on March 1, 1994. I was due to re-enlist in July, 1994, so I either had to accept the orders or I would not be allowed to re-enlist (basically forced out of the Marines). I thought the Marine Corps had made a mistake, especially after screening me the year before and listing me as not financially secure enough for Recruiting Duty because of us making payments on two homes at the same time.
I went home and June and I sat down and discussed our options. If I stayed in, I would be sent on Recruiting Duty for a minimum of three years. During this time, I would lose all of my technical skills in IT because these change every six months. I would probably get promoted to Master Sergeant on recruiting duty and when I was finished, I would probably be put in an administrative job in the IT field until I could retire (two years later). At that point, my employment options as a civilian would be very limited and if I did get a job in IT, it would probably be an entry level position.
We decided to wait until after the holidays to make a decision and that I would call the Special Assignments Monitor at Headquarters Marine Corps to see what my options were. We also decided I would start sending my resume out and see what options that would give us.
After a month of submitting resumes, I had gotten several inquiries and even had a company fly me to San Francisco to work for them for two weeks to see if it were a good fit for everyone concerned. I took two weeks leave and went to San Francisco and worked for the company and at the end of the two weeks they were impressed with my skills, happy with the way I treated their customers, and they made me a tentative offer. I told them thanks but, I needed to discuss this with my wife and we still had six months before it was critical for them or for us.
I got promoted to Gunnery Sergeant on January 1, 1994. So, right after the holidays were over, I called the Master Sergeant, Special Assignments Monitor (the person that handles these types of decisions) at Headquarters, Marine Corps to find out what had happened or if there had been a mistake made that cut me orders without screening me again. When I got him on the phone, he said, Gunnery Sergeant Penland, we gave you a year to clean up your financial crisis, now either take the orders or plan on getting out instead of re-enlisting in July, 1994. I was a bit angry at that point and after trying to discuss this with him for a few minutes, I was angrier and told him, Top, I have two words for you. He asked me what those two words were and I told him, I had made my decision and hung up on him.