Before I Moved to the USA
These photos range from when I was very small to the time I left to go to the USA in 1995.
I never liked school and I was not very good at it. When I was 5, my family got my first Whippet. Her name was Nina. I loved that dog so much. She went everywhere with me. My nickname at school was Whippet. I could not wait to leave school. I remember that day so well. I always worked. I got my first job when I was 14, working on a Turkey farm. I also worked at the local chemist, Savory and Moore. I also had a contract in gardening, all before I left school.
When I was 14, I went to New York with Mum and Dad. We visited my sister, Sandra and her husband, Louis. I loved America right from the start. When I left school at 17, I took my second trip to the USA with Mum and Dad. We went to Arizona, Las Vegas and California. On the way back, I went to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania to see my first serious girlfriend, Sandy.
When I returned I was somewhat in a mess. I missed America so much but there was no way I could get a visa to live there. I was working at a concrete factory and Mum was getting mad at me because she said I needed to get a proper job, lol. One day, I saw an ad in the newspaper for “Royal Marines Commando. Green Beret. The best soldiers in the world.” So, I enlisted and 6 months later, I started my basic training. That was in September, 1980. It was tough but there was no way I was going to drop out and go home to my mum, lol. The proudest day of my life, up to that point, was when I received my Green Beret. During that time I was with 40 Commando RM during the Falklands War. After that, I was in South Armagh, Northern Ireland, then on the HMS Hermes on a Mediterranean tour in Gibraltar, Turkey, Egypt and Cyprus. I left the Royal Marines in April, 1984. I got the best out of the Marines during my short time. When I left, I went to carpentry college in Letchworth, Herts. After college, I was self employed in Stevenage. I really enjoyed being a carpenter.
Stevenage is where my girlfriend Ann lived. I met her before I went to the Falklands. We later got engaged and moved into a house we purchased for 44,000 pounds, in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire. We moved a year later, to a detached house in Ripon Court. I sold it before the market collapsed. We then lived in a rented accommodation. But, I had made enough money on the sale of the house to buy a plot of land in Everton, Bedfordshire. It was always my dream to build my own house, one day. By the time I was 30, it was finished. I loved that house so much.
Four years later, Ann and I decided to go our separate ways and the house was sold. We were in a financial rut and I believe that was our downfall. I helped Ann remodel the house she had bought. After that, I had no idea what I was going to do. Ann actually suggested that I should go to the US. She said she had listened to me talk for years about how amazing it was.
At that time, all my ducks were in a row. I left my second Whippet, Sandy, with Ann and I left England for America.