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Autobiography: Donald L. Mark
The Seventh Decade: 1988-1999

With my kids grown up and my desire for expensive toys sated, I retired from teaching in 1988. I moved to Ashland, Oregon, a tourist town in the Rogue Valley, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

When I first retired I tried volunteer work, at the local NPR affiliate and the Sierra Club. But I found that volunteer work was not for me. I'm not a money grubber, but if I'm working I want to get paid, even if not much. The only exception to that is church work.

I found my desire for expensive computers was not sated, so I opened up a small desktop publishing service to earn a little bit of extra money. I had never run a business before, and found it fascinating. I really learned a lot.

I began going to church again—something I had not done since I was nineteen. I joined (something I thought I'd never do), and even became Board Chair for a year and a half. I produced their newsletter for about nine years. When the Internet came along, I started their Web site. In other words, I became a very active member.

I had never been an avid Shakespeare fan, but the Oregon Shakespeare Festival puts on really good plays, not all of which are Shakespearean. For about 4 or 5 years I saw all their plays, probably 50 in all. That was a "really good shoe," as they say. (Some people do.) When relatives came to visit we went to plays. But then a series of bad experiences occurred, and I quit enjoying the plays. I'm sure you want to hear about this, so I'll list those bad experiences for you:

  • One evening the outdoor Elizabethan Theatre was so hot I nearly suffocated.
  • Another evening, my visiting relative got sick in the first act, so we had to leave.
  • A different evening, I went to a play I had really been looking forward to. But our seats were in a location where the infrared audio system for the hearing impaired produced an echo in my earphones, and I couldn't enjoy the play. Bummer!
  • Another evening, another visiting relative became very ill during the first act, and we had to get out of there.
  • One day an old friend was getting married right after church (noon, I had been told). I had tickets to the Scottish play, but it didn't start until 2:00, so I thought I'd have time to go to the wedding and then go to the play. When I got to the church, I found out the wedding was actually at 2:00. What to do, what to do. Since I had company, I went to the play with him and missed the wedding. But the bad part was, I couldn't follow the play, so I not only missed the wedding, but didn't enjoy the play besides.
  • Another time—this is definitely not the Shakespeare Festival's fault—I drank about a quart of ice tea before going in the theatre. Then I forgot to go to the restroom during intermission. I realized my mistake just as the second act started. Oh, oh. So I had to sneak out; but I couldn't sneak back in, so I missed the last third of the play.

There were a couple other bad experiences connected with the plays, but you get the idea. So I quit going to the Shakespeare.

I did some traveling. To Utah a few times. To Portland many times. One time I went through Death Valley and north along the eastern slope of the Sierra. And other places.

Toward the end of the decade I took up photography again in a big way and tried to photograph all the high Cascade peaks. I have really enjoyed that huge project, which is ongoing.

In 1999 my grandson Cristoph graduated from San Francisco State University. His father and I attended that, then I went on south to San Diego, east to Phoenix, north to the Grand Canyon, east then west through Utah, and back home, photographing national parks, LDS temples, and state capitols, and spending lots of money. A few weeks later I visited Yellowstone and the Tetons; on my way home from there I attended my high school fifty-year reunion and became reacquainted with a couple of old friends I hadn't seen in 50 years.

That's how THAT decade went. Fun, mostly.

The Eighth Decade

Autobiography | First Decade | Second Decade |
Third Decade | Fourth Decade | Fifth and Sixth Decades | Eighth Decade |