Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Ronald Marlin

Ronald Marlin
My name is Ronald Marlin. I was born to Harry Marlin and Patricia Garrett. I have an identical twin brother named Donald Marlin and a younger sister named Harriett Kim Marlin. Donald and I were born on May 18, 1955 in Philadelphia, PA. I don't remember the time but I was born four minutes before my twin brother. Yes we are identical. My mother was an LPN nurse and my father worked at the Post Office. We lived in North Philadelphia and regularly attended Prince of Peace Baptist Church. My mother was an alcoholic. I remember many of times that she'd send us to the state store to purchase alcohol for her. We looked old enough to buy alcohol for my mother long before we were actually of proper age to buy alcohol.
When we were real little my father use to take us to this special spot to see the trains go by. I remembered at how I marveled at seeing the trains. This was the primary mode of transportation for travelers at the time. Near as I can remember, we always had food, gas & lights and a roof over our heads. Not like my situation today. Oh, we had a telephone and a black & White television too.
Oh, do you remember when color television came out? That was the talk of the decade! I remember when President Kennedy and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King were shot, the race riots, the Philadelphia Chapter of the Black Panther Party. I was super scared to death of these guys! They wore loaded guns around their necks and stuff, they dressed like they were ready for all out war, and they didn't care about no police, "ya know!"
There was a park called Belmont Park that Don and I use to go to regularly to play basketball, football and just get plain lost. It was a suitable refuge from the problems of the neighborhood. Also, when we were young we use to go to a community center quite regularly. It was a very positive experience and they use to have dances there periodically. My father made us get our hair cuts close on a weekly basis. I remember feeling weird because we wore cloths that were out-of-fashion. Although my father and mother provided adequate clothing I remember feeling like a geek. We were treated as such too. Well the hair style called the Afro came out and everybody that had an afro got the girls. I, so wanted an afro. Hence, my first act of rebellion that I can remember was to tell the barber not to cut our hair but only to shape it up. We got away with this about two weeks until my father caught on and marched my brother and I right back to the barber shop and made the barber give us the traditional haircut that he originally requested. Eventually, my father gave in and we were allowed to wear our afros. Boy that did a lot for my ego.
Also, our entire city was plagued with gangs. Most of our gangs were named by street and cross. Our neighborhood gang was called 30th & Norris. These guys were some awesome knuckleheads and they scared the hell out of me. We were harassed quite a bit when we were young. I was afraid of everybody. Once, a gangster named Moose took my wristwatch from me. I was really scared of him. So I let him take my watch. Soon word got around and everyone started making fun of me about the incident. I was really devastated about that too. Also, my brother and I use to get beat up regularly by gang members when I was younger. One day when I was going to grade school, a gang member started beating me up for messing with his girlfriend. I know it wasn't me because I was still scared of death of girls. Anyway, my father was looking out the second story window and hollered "If you don't kick his a--, I am going to kick your a--. Hey it isn't funny!!!!!!!!! Anyway, my father seemed like a towering giant and he was as big as I am. I was determined I wasn't going to get beat down by Dad too. Up went the fists and I stated fighting back like the "Dogs of War." Also, it was the last time I let anyone beat up on me or take anything away from me.
So, this is when I first started fighting back and from then on I fought back no matter what. Soon, I didn't have too much problems with the gangs anymore. There were other incidents when we could have been beat up badly. For instance, the gangs drafted new people just like the government does during war time. I won't get into that. I never became active and they didn't push the issue. I was growing up and girls started getting more interesting. I still felt like an outcast because of my clothing and shoes being behind the fashion of the day. Then came the platforms and bell bottoms fashion. Boy did I look silly!
Anyway, along with the afro I felt like the in crowd. Now, just one more thing! Cigarettes and Weed (Marijuana). I was trying my hand at football when I began smoking cigarettes. Since my high school coach smoked, I thought it was alright for me too. Of course, you know the consequences of that decision. I enjoyed attending high school and went each and every day. I enjoyed it except that it was an all male high school at the time and our sister school had girls that looked so rough that you dared not look at them cross-eyed for fear of getting assaulted. Our high school was named Thomas Alva Edison and our colors were green and gold. Oh, While in Strawberry Mansion Jr. High School my brother and I learned to dance and we began to socialize on the dance floor. Back to high school. Of all the subjects taken in school, I really enjoyed learning the beautiful Spanish language. I studied the language as if I was going to live in a Spanish speaking country. I so loved that language and it really helped me understand my own native language of English. I even studied the language during the summer between grades. I had become so fluent in speaking Spanish that I surprisingly received "The Most Fluent-Speaking Spanish Student Award" during high school graduation ceremonies.
To become popular in high school I played football. That was interesting. I could hurt anybody legally. HUH! I hit hard too. I played a variety of positions on the line to include offensive center, guard, and tackle; defensive guard and tackle. Our specialty was plugging up the middle. Well, we had this game with our rival school Benjamin Franklin. By this time my brother and I had a reputation for stopping any action in the middle and our rival school broadcasted that they were coming up the middle first play. Our coach wanted us to go outside shoulder of the offensive guards. We disobeyed the coach and went inside. Needless-to-say we stopped the play cold but the coach was hot and fuming. Our football team was the worst team of the city. Some of our players were reported playing football while under the influence of alcohol during one game. It was true too.
Anyway, after graduation from high school I went to Cheyney State College and enrolled into the Industrial Arts and Technology program. I quickly found out that the college educational environment was extremely different from high school. Oh, I took my partying and drug habit with me to college; not a good thing to do at the time. I even elected to live on campus. I was not disciplined enough to go to college or even live on my own. I had not prepared for my educational goals as I should have. I tried my hand at football but by that time I had been smoking cigarettes and marijuana for a little while and the party animal had emerged from me. I never missed a party but I missed a whole lot of classes. After two semesters of failure and living on campus I returned home. I remember being called a college drop out. That hurt my feelings more than you can imagine.
I kicked around on the streets for a year and after my father's advice and insistence, I enlisted into the United States Air Force under the Delayed Enlistment Program. I had to lose weight initially but did finally enroll into "Early Warning Sonar and Radar Repair" technical specialty. After completing Basic Training I was informed that my chosen career field was closed. I had a choice of getting out or going into Telecommunications Systems Control Technology. I felt utterly betrayed but I took the alternate career field because I was determined not to be a military drop-out. I was investigated for and qualified for a top secret security clearance after schooling at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi. OH BOY. MISSISSIPPI. Isn't that where-----? OH BOY, I was so nervous. I heard a lot about Mississippi. Well when I got there it wasn't so bad but that thought still lingered in my head and I was determined not to be a statistic. I hung close to base. After graduation I received orders to come to Gentile AFS, OH as my first duty station. There were considerable differences with this city as compared to Philadelphia. A small town I never heard of and a civilian base. Gentile AFS was physically located on Defense Electronic Supply Center, 1507 Wilmington Pike, Kettering, OH 45444. My post was at Bldg 1, Post 19D. It was an outdated AUTODIN/AUTOVON communications station. Since there was no base housing, I was expected to get an apartment in a reasonable amount of time. That didn't happen. This caused friction between the base commander and me. Finally, I moved into an apartment with a fellow serviceman who drank Mad Dog 20/20 religiously for breakfast. He was a real nice person though. I finally got an apartment in the same building as my partner. I was smoking marijuana like Cheech and Chong by this time, so I was never ever able to manage my finances. I finally lost the apartment and moved in with a civilian named Ronald Robinson. He smoked marijuana too so we got along real good. We became really good friends.
Well, the fact that I was at a civilian installation, that I brought my addiction with me to the military and the party animal was in me, it was not long until I started having trouble in the military. I was coming to work high, hanging out with civilians and military alike that got high. My military career ended but with an Honorable Discharge. However, I was discharged for unsuitability. I was also judged financially irresponsible as a result of my addiction. This was in June, 1978.
In September, I enrolled into Central State, West Campus. I took some classes, continued partying and ended up coming out after only two semesters. The same thing had occurred to me at Cheyney State College. At this point in my life I knew that there was something seriously wrong. I never really learned how to live, budget money, pay bills and manage my overall finances. Again, I had thoroughly and utterly failed.
I started at Sinclair Community College sometime after that under the Associates Degree Program in Electronic Engineering Technology and while enrolled there got hired for some summer positions at Wright-Patterson AFB. Job Titles included Engineering Aide, GS-802-3, AFLC/DEMG, Bldg. # 266, Area A; Electronic Engineering Technician, GS-802-4, ASD/ENSZ/ENACE, Bldg. 28A, Area B. While employed one summer as an Engineering Technician, GS-802-4, I applied for, interviewed and was accepted at Defense Electronic Supply Center as an Electronic Technician, GS-856-5/7, Excepted and Upward Mobility position. I accepted this prestigious position and began my career with the government as a civilian employee. I advanced from that position to the GS-2001-7, Technical Data Specialist and then to GS-2001-7, Supply Data Assistant. All positions involved working with engineering drawings for all electronic assemblies, subassemblies and components under control of the Department of Defense. It was truly a prestigious job considering I had messed up in the military at the very same installation. GOD was good and I was trying to change. I still partied but I had calmed down a little. I hung out in bootleg joints at the time and life was good. I had a car and I was meeting the women. I had it made. One day I met my kid's mother and we got together immediately. I fell in love. We had a relationship for thirteen years. In 1987, Crack Cocaine hit Dayton, OH by storm. My girlfriend was introduced to it by a neighbor and family members. We had been having other problems that were wrecking the relationship anyway. I got fed up with food missing, people hanging out smoking dope all afternoon and night in our kitchen everyday. This continued despite my disapproval until I started using. I became insatiably curious about this strange new substance that seemed to get everybody stuck. I started having financial problems and eventually my addiction became so bad I was ashamed to go back to work. For three months DESC sent me letters asking why I wasn't coming to work until one day they sent me a letter of termination due to 2nd offense of AWOL.
I sunk even deeper into my addiction. I lost it and became a raging maniac in my addiction. I became treacherous and my only concern was getting high from crack. I started writing bad checks to get cigarettes to sell to get crack and in 1989 I had warrants from Dayton, Centerville, Miamisburg, and Fairborn. By this time I was living in Parkside Homes with my girl when the police raided the apartment. I went to jail for three weeks. In Fairborn I was sentenced to six months in jail. I got out in three weeks because I received a very big income tax check and my brothers girlfriend cashed the check and paid the fines, restitution and court costs for me. When I got home I found out my girl was having an affair with another. I sunk even deeper into despair; into the pit of my addiction because now my own girl had betrayed me once again. Me! How could she do this to me! ME!
Sometime during this period a gentleman identified as KF8SB introduced me to the world of Amateur Radio. He convinced me to study for and take the new Technician No-Code Amateur License. Upon passing the examination, I was issued the call sign KB8-UQM. Shortly afterwards I purchased a two-meter amateur radio hand-held rig.
I worked for the City of Dayton as a seasonal Laborer for four years. I finally got hired on as an Exhibition Center Security Officer at the Dayton Convention Center. I tested for, interviewed and was accepted to a full-time permanent position as a Security Worker II with the City of Dayton, Ottowa Street Yards. I am not sure of the dates without my resume. I started having trouble with this job. I was late a lot and was being disciplined accordingly. Same old s---, different job. My addiction was on and off. However, while working at Ottowa Street Yard, I took a home study course in PC Repair. Hence, this was my first exposure to computer repair. It was sometime in 1995. I took the home study course when DOS was still the defacto operating system of the day. I really enjoyed learning DOS operating system with its command-line interface. The home-study course included a 486 SX Computer with 40MB RAM and about a 100MB HD. Prior to that I was using dual disk 5 ¼ floppy drives, no hard drive computer systems where you had to boot up with a floppy disk and then insert a program disk to run programs. I eventually resigned that position in an attempt to avoid further disciplinary action.
My active addiction lasted about ten years before I even thought about changing. Along the way I became a father to five children. I knew I needed to change but I was still having trouble with my addiction. I went into treatment about four times, lived in a halfway house environment a few times. I had become homeless. I lived at the Booth House about 4 times. I can never go back there. Along the road I began to pray to GOD to help me with my addiction. Time and time again I tried what was suggested in AA/NA/CA.
I began to change my thinking, replacing my old habits with good habits. I changed my associations with using people to people who could get me involved with something more positive. After being informed of a free computer repair class offered at the Dayton Career Academy , by a good friend named Darryl Wallace, a person who I had worked on his computer at one time, I entered into this free computer repair class in March, 2000. I completed that program and graduated in June, 2002. I was convinced that I was ready for a Computer Technician position and quickly found out that I needed to be certified A+. I sold computers to and repaired computers for family, friends and associates. I managed to establish a small customer base of repeat customers. At the advice of another friend, I reapplied to Sinclair Community College for their Associate degree program in Computer Information Systems, Concentration: User Support. I had previously attempted to attend Sinclair Community College in 1998 and under the Joint Training Partnership Act (now WIA). I still had problems with relapse and failed miserably. I tried to take 18 credit hours against the advice of my JTPA counselor and when I ran into problems I just quit. Instead of contacting my counselor and working through my difficulties, I just quit. When I finally came to my senses it was too late for assistance.
I am still striving to become that productive member of society and since becoming a father of five children, 4 step children; uncle to many more young adults; grandfather of step children and asked to be father of many more children of fatherless families, I now try to set the most positive example possible. My children have expressed an interest in not only being able to visit me and spend the night but they want to come live with me. My children's mother is suffering from active dual addiction at this point in time. The un-employability and unmanageability is evident with her as well.
Now, at this point in my life, I feel that GOD has given me this last chance at completing my career goals in higher education. Every door that I thought had been shut had been opened for me.
My financial difficulty is another matter that must be addressed as well. I am in deep financial difficulty and need expert assistance in that area. Because of child support issues and being underemployed, I am having trouble even maintaining adequate housing for myself. I believe that God has had put me in the hands of the right individuals and organization that can provide me with the vast assistance that I need to become a productive member of society. I can only be eternally grateful.
Oh, I now know that my father was trying to teach me about the importance of individuality by not devoting some of his financial resources to buying us the stylish cloths we wanted to in order fit in and to this day I have strived to maintain this individuality by dressing contrary to today's styles (i.e. doo rags, pants down below the booty, etc., etc.). I also now know that despite what I considered to be the questionable way my father raised me, he really loved and cared about me. My welfare and the welfare of the family was his prime directive. My father died in 1980 but I remember all of his advice every day of my life. Oh do I miss my DAD. My mother has been sober for many years now and has been active in assisting me with my sobriety by helping me understand the principles of AA/NA. After all, who to learn from than another alcoholic/addict who has a proven track record of sobriety.

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