My Life

For years friends have suggested that I write a book about my life. I tell them that I have a website with some information. Recently a few suggested that I put it in chronological order. I intend to skip the boring parts, bad stuff, and certain parts about those still living. I will be editing this page as I remember more adventures that I hope are of interest.

I was born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1941.  By 1946, we were living at 1319 North Grove.  I was living there when I met Edgar Lee Blackman and had my first experience with racism.

For high school, we had moved out to Maybelle Ave., just a few hundred feet inside the Goddard High School district.  I graduated in a class of only 20.  At the time, I didn’t have a clue as to how important this would be in my life.

As young Duane, in my freshman year, I got my Ham Radio Novice license, KN0GST.  With that electronics background, I opened a TV repair shop in the basement of our house in my senior year.

During the spring semester of my second year, a guest speaker, Scott Herrick, made a presentation in my sociology class about what his group was doing as a protest against nuclear war.

I sold everything and took with Scott Herrick’s group to walk across the USA with the San Francisco to Moscow Walk for Peace.  

Traveling the USA with this eclectic group of socialists, communists, libertarians, anarchists, and Christians opened my mind to a whole new world.  I was forever changed.

I didn’t have the money to fly with the group to Europe, so I went back to Cleveland, Ohio, where I met many friendly people.  My time in Cleveland changed my life forever.

I needed a job, so I paid a headhunter for a job at Antenna Specialists.  I was the antenna tuner and inspector of all products that were shipped out.  That lasted almost a year.  Nearly all of the workers were women from the “Little Italy” area of Cleveland.  They told stories of their men going out and shooting at black people early in the morning while they waited at bus stops for a ride to their work.  The wives hated it.

Good luck has been the largest factor in my life.  You may read how luck got me this job at the Cleveland Clinic in artificial heart research

While working there, the draft board called me for my physical examination before being drafted into the military and going to Viet Nam.  I am a proud draft dodger.

While a freshman at our local college, Wichita University, the subject that I learned and changed my life the most was playing pool.

I played pool in a black pool hall in one of the rough parts of Cleveland. This experience taught me that one might find a great person in an unlikely place.

A friend from Wichita came to Cleveland to go with me on my motorcycle around the Eastern part of the USA.  It would be funded by playing pool for money.

It was in Cleveland that I had another experience with racism related to my first black girlfriend.

I left employment at the Cleveland Clinic to go back to college at my home in Wichita, KS.  That only lasted a year because it was too boring.  I returned to work another year at the Cleveland Clinic.

I was offered a job working for Gallo Displays, a contracting firm working for NASA.  The job was to travel all over the Eastern half of the USA and Canada, setting up displays for NASA.  I learned to travel and manage the laborers to set up a display that was shipped to some local event.  This was a major campaign to justify the financial cost of going to the moon. 

While working for NASA, I modified a BMW motorcycle to be powered by a VW engine.  In 1968 I opened an outlaw BMW repair shop in San Francisco and called it Duane’s Shop.  After only 3 1/2 years at that location, I got the BMW motorcycle franchise for Marin County.  Marin is just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.

That forever changed my life.  I gained financial freedom from the sale of my BMW motorcycle franchise in 1975 at age 33.  I have always been a workaholic, so I didn’t retire but had the freedom to work for free or for money.  I did both.

Last update 30 March 2023