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Ivan Mortensen
PSC 1203 Box 5993; APO AE 09803-5993
ivanho31@yahoo.com

Rolfe High School class of 1958

Dear Class of 1958 and All Before and Since,

I wasn't too pleased when I had to take typing in high school. Who knew back then about the computer revolution. There have not been many days in the last twenty years or so that I haven't thanked my lucky stars that I knew how to type.

How does one cover 42 years in a few short paragraphs? Well, after graduation in May, 1958, 1 went to Iowa State University on a NROTC scholarship and 4 years later found myself in the United States Marine Corps in Quantico, VA. Then, courtesy of the USMC, I went to Okinawa for a year. While there I also got to see the wilds of Korea (no towns, just a recon exercise) and Yokosuka and Sasebo, Japan. Oh yes, our camp was at the base of Mt. Fuji so I did see that. Fortunately I was transferred before the unit climbed that mountain.

Then it was back to the US, southern California, to be exact, where I was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro (just south of Anaheim and the then almost brand new Disneyland), and later at Camp Pendleton, further south yet, but still in southern CA. Even then there were too many people living there.

After 4 years in the Marine Corps I returned to Des Moines for about 1 1/2 years. While living in Des Moines took a vacation to Seattle, WA. Fell in love with that area of the country and promptly moved there in late 1968. Had various jobs and lived in the Seattle area until 1973, at which time I became one of those overpaid and underworked government employees. This necessitated a move to Alexandria, VA. At least it wasn't Quantico, though if there has to be San Andreas fault why can't it be just west of Washington, DC. Stayed in Alexandria until late1974 when I moved to the San Francisco area. My daughter Jennifer was actually born in San Francisco in 1975. She can always call herself a native Californian.

Two weeks after she was born it was back to Seattle where we lived until late 1979. My son Shawn was born in Seattle in 1976. In 1979 1 moved back to San Francisco where I lived and worked until 1989 when we moved to Grand Rapids, Mi. Between 1965 and 1989 California did not improve, just got more crowded and more expensive. But, it was in Jennifer's blood, as she lives in the San Jose, CA area now and plans to stay there. Personally, I was happy to leave the golden state (so called because your finances need to be pretty golden to afford to live there). Grand Rapids turned out to be a good place to live and raise the kids, though Jennifer did eventually return to her home state.

Once the kids were out and sort of on their own I started looking around for someplace else to go and something else to do. It turned out that the government organization for which I work was looking for a few good men to work in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I say men because this is the heart of Islam country and, for the most part, women are not allowed to work or drive, or go out without a long black robe on, etc., etc., etc. I volunteered and came to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in June, 1997. Except for two months awaiting a permanent move here and various vacations I have been here ever since.

The country is fascinating, though it gives a new definition to hot weather. A friend has an oven thermometer that he sets out in the direct sunlight in summer time. It has hit 195 F. Winters, however, are close to perfect and we are able to play golf year round. One does not have to worry very much about getting rained out though heat stroke is a definite possibility in the summer time.

Since being here I have managed to do a little traveling. As you can see from the picture I have obviously been to Riga, Latvia, more than once. For those who have forgotten geography, look on a map just south of Sweden, across the Baltic Sea. I have been in the airports in Zurich, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and London and have spent a couple of days in both Frankfurt and Paris.

The woman in the picture is my wife, Larisa Ibragimova, a Russian ex-patriot. If the timing would have worked a little better we would have been at the reunion this year. Due to the way our regulations work concerning government financed trips, however, it does not look like that is going to be possible. We will be traveling to the US in May for Shawn's graduation and to Europe in the August/September time frame. I don't think it will be possible to work another trip in between. But, one never knows.

There are 42 years in an extremely condensed version. Because of the Internet, however, people do not have to be completely out of touch. You can send me e-mail. That reaches me no matter where I am, as long as there is Internet access. In Riga, they have "Internet Cafes" where you go in, buy a cup of coffee, a beer or whatever, pay a small charge and pull up the Internet on one of the computers sitting there. I have even seen "Internet Cafes" in Riyadh and Jeddah, KSA. Most libraries have Internet access, too. When I visit the US I go to the libraries in Cedar Falls or Grand Rapids and keep in touch. The world really is getting smaller. Besides, regular mail in the international arena is very slow. After my experiences with international mail in other countries, though, I doubt that I will ever complain about mail service in the US. So, if you have a burning desire to contact me please do so. Will be glad to hear.

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