I finally got to sorting through two boxes filled with documents that I took home from my office when I retired on November 2nd, two years ago and to sorting through another box that contained almost all of my award and training certificates. That third box was actually the first one in my garage, I put it in my government car, back in June 2001, when I was transferred from JFK airport to the Custom House in the WTC. I wound up taking all my work stuff out of the car and putting it into my new office, back then, except for that one. Then, maybe about a month later, I had to have my vehicles two way radio inventoried, which meant crawling into the trunk to access it. I took the box out of the car and left it in my garage and forgot about it. Many months, maybe even more than a year, after 9/11, and the partial collapse of 6 WTC (the Custom House), I was quite happily surprised to find that box in my garage. Almost al my other belongings had been destroyed in the rubble of 6 WTC. Well, I had always meant to go through all that stuff right after I retired, that was until the cancer I had back in 2011 became a nasty inconvenience.
While I can be the great procrastinator, I have to say in my defense that going through them was not a priority while cancer was raging inside of me back in the fall of 2011 and while I as recuperating from the cancer and the chemo and radiation therapies over about the next year. By then, when I was finally feeling somewhat better, my thyroid went belly-up, a result of the radiation therapy or so my radiation oncologist told me, and I was miserable again for several more months. While all that was ongoing, someone took the three boxes and put them in a loft storage area in my garage, probably my son doing me a favor. I forgot all about them. Then, just recently, I had a few folks sort of remind me all about them in a round about way. So, yesterday, I climbed up the ladder to the loft, got the boxes, and brought them down into my basement. I have been going through them since last night and pretty much have finished up. Some of the things I found inside of them were expected, others were not and sadly one thing I expected to find was missing and it is going to be sorely lost. A lot of what I found brought back some good memories.
One of the sets of things I had in those boxes were my awards and training certificates. For instance I found about 32-33 awards, commendations and letters of appreciation that I received in my career as a federal agent and LEO. It was fun for me to look them all over as they most definitely evoked a lot of good memories about the cases I worked to earn them. I won't bore you with the details of them, let me just say it was a good feeling to look them over and have them spur my memories of bygone days. I found my Customs Patrol Officer Academy graduation certificate and the graduation cert for when I became a criminal investigator with Customs. The big disappointment of last night, that lingers today, though is that my graduation certificate from the Border Patrol Academy is missing. I have all of the other documents I kept from the BP academy, just not the diploma. That has me pretty crest fallen, to me it is an important piece of my lifetime. In addition, I found all of my firearms instructor certifications, including the initial one I got from the NRA back in 1987. There were also a few marksmanship awards mixed in with them; I only wish I still could shoot as well as I did when I received them. And, there were a few pictures mixed in. Not many though, most of my work related photographs were in another box, one that I brought into my office at the WTC when I transferred there. They are gone forever but at least I have enough of my little gray cells remaining to remember some of them. There are also a few trinkets too and they too held good memories for me.
Today was a different story. I went through a different box, the last of the three. It contained a lot of work related personal records like travel documents for work assignments, work related injury reports, other work related stuff and also my tax returns for a few years in the 1980's and 90's. It was pretty amusing to see that in 1984 I had earned a total of $26,541 and that by 1986, the year I got married, I was up to a whopping $26,622 gross income - an $81 increase in two years. In addition there were cancelled checks and such showing how much rent and utilities cost me back in 1986 - don't ask, it might make you cry to find out compared to what we pay today.
I also found a number of receipts for different things. There were 6 receipts for firearms (not sure they were all claimed as deductions) but they were in the mix. There were other receipts for magazine and yet others for ammo. Surprisingly, for me, I found the receipt for my first Beretta 9mm pistol, a Beretta 92SB. That pistol cost me more back then than did one of my Beretta 92FS pistols maybe 10 years ago. I am going to save writing about the rest of receipts I found for another blog post. I think some of you may get a kick out of what I bought and how much they cost about 30 years ago.
So, I have kind of an interesting night and morning full of reminiscing about the good old days of my career when life for me was in the fast lane. It sure is nice to have things like hose I found to jog the memories.
All the best,
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