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From Black Mountain, to Stallings', down to the flatlands, and on to Boise...

We were always economically teetering on the brink in Palo Alto and I tried to convince Cecily we should move some place we could afford to buy. She resisted, on the grounds that she's a fourth-generation Californian and she's damned if she'll let all these newcomers drive her from her home town.

Around 1985 she had an epiphany. "My home town is gone. They destroyed it. What Palo Alto has turned into is not my home town, so please take me away from here."

When I began working for HP in 1987 (I learned a bit of computer programming while at Stallings' then gradually worked my way into the field and on up), I showed her a list of places HP has product divisions, thus where I could probably fenagle a transfer. Spokane looked promising and on a business trip to Seattle I took a side trip, interviewed there, no dice because the division was slumping. However, my interviewer sent, unbeknowst to me, my resume to a programming manager in Boise named Jennifer and she called me in February 1989. I said (more gracefully than this) "Jeez, Boise? Nah, no thanks."

On October 17, 1989 around 5 pm the earth shook. Loma Prieta Quake. Cecily was always spooked by quakes, even the little ones that _I_ kinda liked, y'know, where it's like you're on a boat even though it's dry land. I was at work, in the basement of HP's Mayfield Site (formerly Mayfield Mall) and soon found myself rockin' and rollin' under 78 million tons of masonry which, oh thank you thank you, the City of Mountain View had, prior to occupancy, demanded HP retrofit with quarter inch thickness square tubular steel triangulation braces for seismic impact protection.

Cecily was at home (Barron Park) with Ashton who was seven. When the shaking began, he thought it was caused by his mom's yelling, which was, no doubt, exceedingly loud. On Monday morning I phoned Jennifer in Boise. A position became available in the spring, and we flew the coop.

Ashton had been born at Stanford Hospital while I was still doing construction for a (very meager) living. When we settled in Boise we felt we could afford another child and we had Graham, nine years younger than his brother.

I left HP in 1996 -- before the Carlie regime -- when Graham was five.

According to Cecily, Boise is a lot like Palo Alto was in the 50's and 60's when she was growing up.