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Tom and Lydia Welsh
Jacksonville, Florida
1972-1979

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1979 With the beginning of the school year, Lydia is on leave-of-absence after 6 years of teaching and I have been promoted to GS-12. In September, with Katie approaching her first birthday, we are vacationing during the Labor Day Holiday at Coronet Apartments in Ocean City. Katie's 1st birthday party, with the Maryland family, is lots of fun. She was stripped down to her diaper and provided with a birthday cake, much of which she spread all over herself. She hates a bath!
In December, George had an intestinal blockage which required a colostomy, followed by a bowel resection and then a reverse colostomy.
1978 In June, Lydia took a leave of absence from teaching, with child due in September. I was been promoted to GS-11.
September 15, we had steaks for dinner and Lyd had four bowls of ice cream. Following the 2nd Spinks-Ali fight, we retired near midnight. Shortly after retiring, Lyd sat up in surprise and in a puddle, as her water had broken. This was a signal to call the doctor, and while Lyd showered, I engaged in a comedy of trying to call Dr. Kelly. The answering service kept telling me that the doctor had tried to call us, but they kept transposing digits in our phone number. We went to Orange Park Hospital. Lyd was in labor for a short time until they turned her on her back and then all labor ceased. At 0400, Dr. Krebs, the doctor on call for Dr. Kelly, explained that a forceps delivery was necessary. I agreed, and Katherine Victoria Welsh was born at 4:19 in the morning. After a few hours of sleep, I went back to the hospital and we had dinner at bedside, a hospital tradition.
1977 In January, The drive from River Reach to Hilliard was too far, so we moved into Turtle Creek Apartments. June 24, with taxes eating up our savings, we moved into 8401 Country Creek Blvd, our first house, and celebrated our 3rd anniversary.
The beginning of the school year finds Lydia, in her 6th year of teaching, as a Science Teacher at Ribault Junior High School. I have been promoted from GS-7 to GS-9.
1976 In June, I was surplussed from Landon Junior High School due to reduced enrollment, hired by the FAA and appointed to the position of Air Traffic Control (ATC) Specialist at the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center in Hilliard.
Lyd and I drove to Oklahoma City where I spent 16 weeks learning the basics of ATC. I put on 30 pounds in the process, after discovering Coors beer.
Lyd, Schatzie, and Raisin spent a chunk of the summer in Ocean City. We celebrated our 2nd anniversary, apart. The beginning of the school year finds Lydia, in her 5th year of teaching, as a Science Teacher at Ribault Junior High School. In September, my parents flew out to OKC to visit me at the ATC academy, and, in October, Lyd flew out to OKC and we drove back together to JAX.
In November, with Bill, and his first wife, Vicki, splitting up, I took a FAM flight to Denver and counseled with them both.
Leave was out of the question, so Christmas was spent at home.
1975 In August, we worked drug rescue at the Rolling Stones concert in the Gator Bowl and celebrated our 1st anniversary.
The beginning of the school year finds me as the 7th grade counselor in the Guidance Office at Landon Junior High School and Lydia, in her 4th year of teaching, teaching reading at Ribault Junior High School.
In October, I broke my left ankle officiating a football game. Driving home in a stick-shift VW was a real adventure, climaxing when Raisin, extremely anxious, peed all over me.
1974 With Lydia's winter term not starting until late January, we spent 10 days together in Jacksonville, until Lyd returned to Baltimore.
Following months of letter writing and cassette tape exchanges, I flew to Baltimore for Spring break. At some point, I proposed and Lydia accepted.
In June, Bill Engle, Lyd’s brother, and Vicki married at the farm. Lydia completed her master's degree in Education in Reading and we were together in Baltimore until going to Ocean City to plan for the wedding.
August 3, we were married at First Presbyterian Church in Ocean City. The only drink I got was the one Lyd threw on me in the car as we left the reception. Our "honeymoon" was spent in one night at the Pocomoke City Holiday Inn. We then drove south with all of Lyd's possessions in a U-haul, behind the VW Squareback. Our first apartment was at 5000 San Jose Blvd, River Reach Apartments, a townhouse.
The beginning of the school year finds me as the 9th grade counselor in the Guidance Office at Landon Junior High School, and Lydia, in her 3rd year of teaching, teaching Reading at Ribault Junior High School. We needed a dog and Schatzie joined the family. We decided a 2nd dog was needed to keep the first one from barking, so we bought Raisin.
1973 We dated off and on during the 1972/1973 school year.
In June, we said our goodbyes when Lyd left Duval County to return to Graduate school at Towson State College. In July, Lyd called me first. I distinctly remember that. We communicated off and on during the fall, and resolved that we would exchange Christmas visits.
The beginning of the school year finds Lyd in Graduate School at Towson State College in Baltimore. Following a brief stint as a math teacher at Terry Parker, I am opening my 4th year as a counselor and my 1st year at Landon Junior High School. In December, I flew into Washington, prepared to take a shuttle to Baltimore, but the shuttle was grounded by the snow, so, I drove to Baltimore in a cab. We then drove down to the farm and I met Margaret and George Engle, and Margaret's mother Maude Laws (Gram). After Christmas, we flew back to Jacksonville.
1972 January 7: While serving as a 2nd year counselor at Stilwell Junior High School, and as a member of the Duval County Human Relations Team, I was on the staff of the workshop planned for developing leadership skills, in Ormond Beach. Lydia Engle, representing Highlands Junior High School, was also present as their cheerleader sponsor, and was a first year teacher. We dated off and on during the rest of the 1971/1972 school year.
The beginning of the school year finds Lyd, in her 2nd year of teaching and her 2nd at Highlands Junior High School, still teaching Science to the 8th grade. This is her 2nd year teaching Science. I am opening my 3rd year as a counselor and my 1st year at Terry Parker High School.