I grew up in a farmhouse in the town of Windham, Maine with five brothers and sisters. My parents were immigrants from England and the kids at school used to say we talked "funny" because we didn't have a Maine accent like they did. In Maine you don't park your car: you pahk your cah.
When I was 20 years old, I started writing for my college newspaper and decided that I wanted to be a newspaperman. I taught myself shorthand from a book so that I could take notes very quickly. I earned a degree in history from Boston University, then moved back to Maine. I spent four years writing for small community newspapers for free while working at other jobs.
Finally I felt ready to give professional journalism a try. There weren't many opportunities in Maine, so I moved to New York City, where I soon got a job as a secretary for a woman who wrote soap opera scripts for TV. She would stare at the plot outline, then walk around the room and make up the dialogue while I wrote it down. I would take it home and type it up that night, then bring it back the next day. She also wrote interviews and restaurant reviews for a newspaper. But soon she got too busy with her soap opera work, so she recommended me to replace her at the newspaper.
The publisher tested me by giving me the names of two people I could interview, and said I could choose either of them. To make sure I got the job, I interviewed both people and turned in the stories quickly. The publisher liked my work and hired me. I worked for that newspaper for three years. Then I got tired of living in such a big city, so in 1980 I moved to San Francisco. My first job was as editor of Asian Week in Chinatown. That got me interested in Chinese culture, so I started studying Cantonese and I still study it today.
After I left Asian Week, I worked for nine other newspapers in San Francisco. I was a restaurant reviewer for four years. I worked for a bilingual Chinese-English newspaper, a black newspaper, SF Weekly and the San Francisco Examiner. Finally I decided I wanted to do something else, but I wasn't sure what. I worked for a computer company, then the Coalition on Homelessness, and then a detective agency. But none of these seemed right.
Then I thought: "Maybe I can be a teacher." So in 2001 I got a job as an after-school teacher and liked it. Since then, I've worked in schools all over the city, from preschool to 8th grade. This is what I want for my second career.
In 2007 I earned a teaching credential from New College of California, then spent four years as a remedial reading and math teacher at Mission Dolores Catholic School and a preschool teacher at the Letterman Digital Arts Center. Since fall 2011 I've been working as an after-school baking and vegetarian cooking teacher at San Francisco Friends School and as a private reading tutor and English instructor in my home office.
My family and I live in the Russian Hill/Chinatown area of San Francisco. We have a large extended family of Filipino relatives in the neighborhood. My wife Salve is a nurse, and our son Carl graduated from high school in 2013. My favorite hobbies are music, cooking and foreign languages.
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