My Name is Tony James CARTER. I write it that way, as that is how it appears on my Live Birth Record.
I was born in Michigan. I am 39 years old, soon to be 40. Our family moved to Twentynine Palms, California, when I was about the age of three. My Dad served in the United States Marine Corps.
I experienced several cross county trips in a classic Ford Falcon. These were distant memories, and I wrote about what I remember at http://funkyonion.com/I_Wear_My_Heart.html. Through this course, I became part of what is now called the “X” generation. This generation could be known as the “extreme” generation. I can relate to this on a psychological level, as many in my age group “ping ponged” between loyalties to parents of a broken home.
We later moved to Oceanside, California, which neighbors Camp Pendleton. It was somewhere around that time that my parents separated. I remember staying with my Dad at the barracks on base. I used to visit him on weekends at his room-mated house in Vista, California. My Dad stayed with other fellow Marines, some of whom, including my Dad, attended Mira Costa College.
My Mom brought us down to North Park, San Diego. My Mom met a gentleman, who was a co-worker at Federal Express; both were couriers. The two later married, and we moved into his condo at the border town San Ysidro. We lived there during the time of the McDonald’s Massacre, on July 18, 1984. The night stalker was also a popular scare in those times.
I attended Grace Lutheran School, while living in North Park. My Mom, and second Father (Steve), was married there. Around second grade, I transferred to Pilgrim Lutheran School; this had a bearing closer to my Mom’s, and Steve’s, FedEx work commute to Kearny Mesa, San Diego.
Pac Man was a popular arcade game during those times. I do remember having Pac Man Fever myself. Steve’s Dad would often pick me up after school, and brought me to their place in Nestor, San Diego County, California. On my Mom’s side, I was an only child. I often sat in the back seat of cars and listened to adult conversations. Even back then, I was a thinker.
President Jimmy Carter was in office. My Dad is also named James Carter; he used to answer the phone with the greeting “White House”. While Dad was living in Vista, California (inland of Oceanside Valley), my first Brother, Kevin Whitley, was born by a lady named Kim. Kim’s Mom had a mulatto relationship back then. I would begin to learn to understand all people are the same back then. My Brother loves surfing. He also gets into fishing, and wrenching as a marine mechanic. Kevin still enjoys surf trips in Baja California, Mexico. This past year, he has worked alongside my Dad with So Cal Edison crews laying cable in the San Diego border town mountains. My dad has produced as helicopter flight controller for that project. Kevin’s Sister, Angie, is someone I haven’t seen since childhood.
My Dad announced my coming first Sister while I main stayed at Mom’s in San Ysidro. This Sister, Rachel Carter made a World Record as the youngest 9 year old to fly from San Diego, to New York, and back. My Dad, still a current flight instructor in Ramona, California, accompanied her during this feat. Rachel was born while Carter residence was at Dad’s pad; 6th & Ditmar, Oceanside, California. Oceanside was a bit different back then; you could find hookers on downtown corners of Hill Street. This is still today a USMC Marine Town, as it borders Camp Pendleton.
My Mom and Steve later bought a home in Cardiff by the Sea, San Diego County, California. Cardiff, now annexed as part of Encinitas, is a surf town with a definitive ‘kick back’ atmosphere. I attended my first public school during this transfer.
My Mom definitely Loves her only child. She would worry a lot back then. I could barely go to the other side of the block without feeling her alarm. I was introduced to public school, at Ada Harris Elementary, wearing slacks, and started right into the GATE program. I did not exactly fit in with the ‘cool’ crowd. I even met across the school’s street with the elementary ‘school bully’. Mr. Smith, History Teacher I believe (his house was just down the way from Mom’s), broke it up before any shenanigans took place.
Famed surfer Rob Machado also attended Ada Harris Elementary while I was there. I attended school, with Rob part of the Student Body, at San Dieguito High School as well. Rob actually gave me his surfboard, to ride in, during rescue at our Surf P.E. swim test try out. By that time, I was already a seasoned sportfishing deckhand at Helgren’s Sportfishing, in Oceanside. Surf PE instructor Lani Madrid advised me not to wear a cotton shirt (my novice idea of a rash guard) under my wetsuit. Mr. Madrid let me join the class; he knew my water background. Some very talented Surfers were part of those classes. It was entertainment just to catch scraps on the shoulder, and watch Rob destroy anything in his path, as well as those other guys.
I need to take history back to Jr. High, at Oak Crest Jr. High. This was the middle school for Encinitas. I began attendance there, and stayed until age 13. At age 13, I completed a training, and game, season as ‘ball boy’ for the San Diego Chargers. Dan Fouts was lead quarterback back then. Him, Kellen Winslow, and Lionel ‘lil train’ James, were my favorite players. Dan was one cool bird; I remember his beat blue pick up with squashed cans garnished in the truck bed. Kellen was a God fearing man; it was shown all over in his demonstration of Inner Peace. I was actually taller than Lionel at that time; he could juke all the giants on the field. I was able to learn, again, that all people are the same. We all have gifts.
Upon completion of employment for the Chargers, I had enough money saved to buy an 8’ dinghy, with a 2 H.P. outboard. I would get bored visiting my Dad on weekends, and I picked the hobby of fishing when I was about 8 years old. I would independently fish at the local Oceanside Harbor, or municipal pier. I loved to fish. I still do. I also had enough money saved for ticket aboard the Sea Trek, a ¾ day boat in Oceanside Harbor.
I was able to convince Deckhand Darius Williams to take me on as a ‘pin head’; a position for green horns that got all the shot jobs in exchange for fishing time and galley food. Nancy Metcalf was the Cook. Jamie Vernon was the Captain. I actually took the one, if not only, Sea Trek excursion to San Clemente Island, and within just the first few weeks of joining their crew. I slept in the Life Jacket locker, topside, near entrance to the wheelhouse. Fish meters were paper at that time, and worked just fine.
During middle school, I moved majority time to Dad’s house in Oceanside. I enjoyed unrestrained Freedom I was not accustomed to at Mom’s house. I worked every weekend, and every summer, as crew aboard sport boats in Oceanside Harbor. After three months into ‘pin heading’, Mark Oronoz, at time owner/operator of m/v Tortuga (a 42’ 1942 plywood boat) took me as crew, primarily as deckhand, for $25 a day plus food and tips. Days could be long, and ‘back to back’. I loved it. I met private charters reaching from locales as far as San Bernadino. The ‘Burrito Brothers’ were one of our favorite annual charters.
Around the age of fifteen for myself, Emily Rose Carter, my youngest Sister, was born. She has spent her thus far life being raised in Julian, San Diego, California. She is absolutely a Gifted Musician. I keep trying to talk her into trying out at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California.
Joanne Carter, Mom of Rachel and Emily, also lived with Dad, Rachel, and I, in Oceanside. At age 15 ½, or so, I moved back to Mom’s, and got my driver’s license. My first car was a 1978 (I think that was the year) Toyota Celica Hatchback. My second Dad Steve previously took this car with meticulous care. After one or two fender benders, I totaled it during the summer between my sophomore and junior years at San Dieguito High School. I was daydreaming, in Oceanside Harbor, while I should have been driving to the bait receiver. Thankfully, I had only ‘T-boned’ a king cab dually pick up truck that was parked for jet ski rinse near the launch ramp of the Harbor. I sold the car wreckage to Ecology Auto Wrecking for about $120, and bought a skateboard with the proceeds.
I completed High School in Encinitas. During my Junior and senior years, I would bicycle, bus, or hitch hike for work duties aboard the Tortuga. This work schedule was every weekend, school vacations, and all summer long. I had grown into myself during those times; I had a bronze tan and usually wore ‘flip flops’ to the most ‘laid back’ High School I know of. Our school rivals were Torrey Pines; I imagine they are still the rivals. Our school mascot is the Mustang. When asked if I participated in sports, I say, “Yes! I am into sport fishing.” I was ‘all thumbs’ back then when it came to normal school sports. I did love ocean sports, and skate boarding.
Three days after graduating High School, still without a car, I moved into a studio, which was walking distance from Oceanside Harbor. I would often walk the trestles to get there, the same train schedule met me each morning during mid-traverse across the bridge. The passing rush of nearby machinery was exhilarating, I also thought to myself, “what if someone left a stick hanging off the side of that locomotive”; it never happened.
During that summer, I changed from crew on the M/V Tortuga, to the 58’ m/v Sea Star, owned by still Captain Joseph Cacciola. The year round salary wages abated my worries of making rent, and I had known Captain Joe since I scrubbed deck, tied next door, aboard the m/v Tortuga. This was also another private charter boat. The benefit of private charters is that all the passengers know each other, and the passenger load is at the charter master’s discretion, up to designated capacity anyways. I learned business, ownership, and leadership skills well by working alongside these owner operators. Captain Joe has a Villa Nova master’s in psychology; he chose to be a fisherman.
At age 20, I achieved level of Captain; licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard for master, steam or motor vessels, near coastal waters, of not more than 100 gross tons.
I approached the then ‘living legend’ Richard Helgren about running his jewel the 85’ m/v Oceanside 95. Richard was one of the ‘smoothest’ operators I have ever known. I would cower in respect, with knowledge of his ‘old skool’ mentality. At age 22 (I think), I became the youngest sport boat Captain along the local coast. I was running the largest boat in Oceanside Harbor. I stuttered through the first ‘Whale Watch’ excursion. I remember saying the average gray whale can reach an average length of 80 tons. Flushed with embarrassment, and some raised eyebrows in the bow, I carried on. We found whales too. After the first ½ day fishing trip, full of ‘old timers’ that cheered me on, and with a decent catch, I docked the Ditmar hull with help of the tying crewmembers. I jumped into the Harbor, in uniform, less boots, and floated in satisfaction. I said, “I can die now”. Deckhand Pat McDevitt said, “huh? Get back on the boat Bub…”
I was honored to fill that position. I carried learned work ethic through various itineraries, including 1 ½ day, back to back, trips to San Clemente Island. I practically lived there during season. It was quite a challenge for a young guy, as myself, to lead seasoned crew, including 1st Mate Mike Roach, who is of age older than my own Dad. We also had cook Jimmy Sharp, various deck crew youths, second captains, and fire watches, aboard our ocean tours. I, at times, fell in grace, to serve as second, for owner Richard Helgren. That man forgot more than I knew. Towards my last days as crew, our excursions stretched into Mexico, with Isla San Martin and Guadalupe Island being ultimate destinations.
I met my former wife at Santa Catalina Island, in 1997. We had lived together from the moment we met, I still Love her, and always will. You do not give and take Love away, as far as I am concerned.
Our first child, James Carter, was born in 1998. He came about 8 months after marriage. He is 14 now, and is attending his freshman year at Huntington Beach High School. He is also a thinker. I tell him, wait until you recycle thoughts 3 or four times….
When James was born, I served as license aboard the 124’ Long Range m/v Excel. Trips varied as far as Hurricane Bank, Revillagigedo Islands, and as short as offshore Mexico 3 day trips. Then living legend Bill Poole was the owner of the Excel. I was down on the totem pole as a crewmember, with brothers Pat and Bill Cavanaugh taking chief positions. Richard Helgren and Bill Poole knew each other well from the ‘good ‘ol days’.
After 6 months, I became home sick over our new child, and from distance to my wife. As well, I didn’t make the best fit with the crew on the Excel at the time. With trips as long as 27 days, with merely 3 or 4-hour intermissions in between turn around, you definitely needed to be ‘the right fit’ for crew. The San Diego sport fishing fleet is also a slightly different breed than the Oceanside sport fishing fleet.
I did odd jobs such as ‘plumb and line’ labor for a contractor I knew from fishing. Another fishing contact had work installing laminate hardwood floors. I even did a couple Labor Ready jobs. A neighbor would occasionally have me finish coat bare furniture for him. I also crewed again, and some times skippered, for Mark Oronoz, aboard his second boat, the m/v New Tortuga, now known as Pacific Voyager, out of Mission Bay.
Part time jobs allowed not enough continuity for my new family responsibilities. I found an ad requiring mechanical skills in the white pages. I started at $9 an hour as helper for Vortex Industries. Those wages weren’t cutting it either, I eagerly volunteered to transfer to the company’s new location in San Jose, California. I doubled wages, gained sales / profit sharing, and was fitted into a brand new service truck performing commercial door repair and installation. My commute, while also sharing ‘on call’ duty, was about 32 miles, between San Jose airport and Gilroy, along a choked Highway 101. I began to enjoy playing the harmonica in traffic. With a huge service area, extending inside of Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Visalia; I had really began to enjoy political talk shows, Christian talk shows, music, and ‘blow harp’. This was right during the time of the ‘dot com gold rush’. The customer’s question was not, “how much”, it was “when”. We came into Central California at times when people were bidding over places to rent, at ridiculous prices, in the middle of a hot valley full of traffic.
I do not complain about what my employer made possible for residence, we had a remodeled second story, with 3 rooms and a never used bidet, built within a barn style structure. Our patio was off Roop Road, and overlooked a pond. Owls, pigs, wild turkeys, and the like, were all within view. The neighbor landowners attended a ‘fire and brimstone’ Pentecostal church in Hollister. Our dog, Lucy, a Queensland Heeler / black lab mix, learned not to bite tires after one broke her leg. I will not introduce a ball to that breed again.
I actually fixed doors at Apple’s main headquarters in Cupertino. Their stock went from $60 to about $7.50 during our stay in Central California. I knew to buy stock shares; I lacked the $2000 for an online brokerage account. This was even before considering stock splits.
Our next child, Grady Carter, was born in Morgan Hill at Saint Louise Regional Hospital during 2002. We had residence in nearby Gilroy, California. I had coined the former America Online screen name ‘funkyonion’ long before knowing that ‘garlic capital’ was even on the map. Grady was born a giver; he has a far older soul than myself. I only began to catch up to his secret wisdom here in my late thirties.
When Grady was being carried to term, the landowner advised us that they wanted to make their own use of the rental structure. We moved to Los Banos, California; rent was even steeper than during our stay in Gilroy. The commute became 80 miles, one way. I still maintained my ‘week on call’ period turns ‘on 24 hour call’. More than once, the pager would go off seconds after kicking my boots off at our 4 bedrooms, two stories, home. My 55-60 hour average workweeks could increase to 80 hour+ weeks during ‘on call’ schedules. I would just sleep in my truck, for the following scheduled job, the next morning, if the pager went off, after home, for a job somewhere towards San Jose airports’ direction. Thank God for double time wages, we needed it for two little guys tearing at Mom’s feet.
I was discouraged. Our children’s Mom was apart from known friends, in a house that survived, on air conditioning, in 115-degree heat. After six months in Los Banos, we gave notice to transfer back to Southern California. The company’s Escondido service center, of which I originated from with them, had no openings. The service center I was at needed a ‘salted hand’ until they could have my position filled. About 9 months later, we moved to Huntington Beach, California. This was about 10 years ago.
My wife was born in Newport Beach; this might as well have been her old ‘stomping grounds’. Our marriage fell apart within a year. September 11th rolled around during that period.
We split custody amicably. We both agree that our children are well balanced, and secure with themselves. We did not get bloodthirsty lawyers, and entered judgment with services of a paralegal. I have enjoyed custody at minimum four nights a week, up until a couple months ago, including every weekend. Perform your own Civic Duties if you want more record.
About 5+ years ago, after injury, and after feeling like a ‘step child’ upon work resumption, I decided to get ACL surgery. In that time, I formed an s-corporation with the California Secretary of the State, under the name Doorsmith, Inc. I qualify California State Contractor’s License as Responsible Managing Officer for the corporation. I am the primary shareholder of a teetering small business.
Out of current frustrations, I have decided to demonstrate my own sense of Civic Duties, and run for two offices. I know I will help our communities, regardless of election outcome.
I do not believe we need to kill all the politicians and lawyers; these are honorable positions designed to provide checks and balances. I believe we need to remove all of the unTruthful politicians and lawyers. Heck, we should all check ourselves…
Wouldn’t life be better if people wanted what they have, rather than what they cannot have?