My friend and former co-worker, Dean, came for a visit yesterday. Our lives have been intertwined for a long time. I first got to know Dean's brother, Dale, while working in the Pipefitter Shop at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (and playing softball) in about 1976. Then while working on one of the ships, I bumped in to Dean and mistook him for Dale. They are definitely brothers. Along with their facial resemblance, they are both big boys.
Later Dean moved in to his Grandmother's old house just up the street from Donna and I on Vandalia Ave in Bremerton. Erica was just a squirt and she enjoyed the big teddy bear (although she doesn't remember him now).
Dean was on the other end of the rope when two canvas bags full of tools fell three decks and hit me on the head. He was down the ladder as fast as the tools to find out if I survived. I was worried about picking up the tools and catching the bus for home.
Later, he thought of me when the folks in Code 260 were looking for a journeyman mechanic to apply for the journeyman-to-technician program. That was the start of my career in the Engineering Department at PSNS. It got me off of the ships, away from all of the asbestos and lead and cadmium and all of the other hazardous crap that shipyard workers are exposed to on a daily basis. It got me out of the weather, it got me a bigger pay check, it got me a better retirement stipend.
Later, Dean tried to give me good advice when Donna and I split up. Initially, I just didn't believe that we wouldn't get back together, then I didn't believe that not filing for divorce immediately would make much difference. Six years later I learned just how wise Dean was on this subject.
Dean was a grunt in Vietnam. For a long time he wouldn't talk about it. He has two Purple Hearts. He has reconnected with most of his old Army unit and found out how to get all of the help that he has coming to him and is helping another friend do the same.
Life in Arizona is good for Dean (so is his wife Sue). He is happy.
Thanks for being my friend Dean-o.