The 1980s

The lap desk Bill built and has kept with him everywhere he has ever lived

In his story, Time Adjusters, Bill writes “the 1980s were a strange time for me.” Elsewhere he describes the ’80s as a “roiling wave of energy and hubris.” He took the entire decade to get a bachelor’s degree at UNF because he only took one or two classes at a time and no classes for months at a time. He played bass guitar in a local rock band called the Road Scholars. He relocated to Neptune Beach for a season, swimming in the ocean every evening stoned before going to Pete’s Bar. He read books and kept a journal, carrying his writing material and paperbacks in a wooden lap desk under one arm to sit on a deck facing the ocean or an outdoor table at a coffee shop.

Bill had some letters published in the Florida Times Union and Jacksonville Journal newspapers and an article about local music in the Southeast Entertainment weekly paper. Bill’s college courses were paid for by the GI Bill, but he also worked at United Parcel Service for three years, loading and unloading tractor trailers; Avondale Baptist Church for two years as custodian and van driver; a warehouse for 18 months, filling orders for airplane parts; a roofer for a few weeks, and finally a refreshing office job at the Independent Life Insurance Company, as an assistant underwriter on the 23rd floor of a building that had become a landmark for downtown Jacksonville, where he met his wife Sonya in 1989.

Bill worked for the Independent Life subsidiary, Independent Fire, for three years. His boss encouraged him to use a company typewriter, copier, and other office supplies to complete college requirements for a Bachelor’s degree in Education. Bill got the degree but had lost interest in teaching. He also decided insurance wasn’t his thing but he needed a steady job to support his wife and their son. The State of Florida was hiring caseworkers for the Department of Children and Families (called HRS at that time) and one of the job requirements was a bachelor’s degree. Bill worked for the State of Florida for 31 years. During those years, and unrelated to his employment, Bill published five books and had stories and articles published in other books. He has received many glowing reviews.

On the internet, Bill’s work appears on Sein und Werden, Literary Kicks, Lit Up Magazine, Empty Mirror Books, Red Fez, Candlelight Stories, Boston Poetry, Spolia, McSweeney’s, and “probably more” he says. Bill retired from the State of Florida in 2021 and continues to write.

Bill and Sonya still live in Jacksonville. They ventures back into Riverside and further downtown to attend the JaxbyJax Literary Arts Festival every year, Chamblin’s Uptown for used books and coffee, events at the Public Library, the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, the CoRk Arts District, the Riverside Arts Market, and too many more to mention. Bill and Sonya are members of Saint John’s Cathedral Episcopal Church because it accepts people of every nationality, race, sexual orientation, and social strata, and faithfully serves the urban core of the city.

Bill believes in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.



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