One resident, numerous anecdotes
Name: Guy Havelick
Occupation: Retired engineer
Where we found him: Writing class
Are you originally from Rochester? Born and raised in North Dakota; came down here to get a job at IBM in 1973, straight out of college.
How did you meet your wife? On a blind date. She needed a date for the high school prom. Her boyfriend had ditched her the week before prom, and I was in “desperate available” mode. Her cousin was a friend of mine from down the hall in the dorm. I passed the test.
And the rest was history? It was heaven. Meant to be. Still is. She is a people person—very empathetic, a softie. And I am an engineer—process oriented, emotion free. So we’ve learned from each other. I learned how to smile; she learned how to plan.
Engineer? Retired. I designed computers for IBM for a full career. I retired three years ago.
You retired early. Yes. After 39 years I got tired.
Was it a hard decision? No. I had made plans to retire, so I was cutting back the number of hours. For a couple of years, I would buy extra vacation, and then I started working four days a week. I wasn’t quite ready to quit yet, so I asked, ‘Can I have another year of four days a week?’ [My boss] said no. He wanted me to come back full time and take over managing a department. This was April. I said, ‘I’ll be done the end of May.’ I just couldn’t do that.
How’s retirement? Perfect in every way. I do very little that I had planned. We had a surprise grandbaby, so we’re full-time day care again. I love to write, so I do a blog (www.grandpaguysstories.com), which is just a lot of fun. I try to go out every day for coffee or lunch or dinner or a beer. I have to be around people every day—and my wife and my grandchildren do not count. The reason is, I want to go out and bring home stories. I’ve already heard her story, I don’t need to hear it again. I want to sit next to, say, Jen Koski, and bring home her story and share that one.
I get it. I also live vicariously through my wife, Judy. Five years ago, she decided that she wanted to be a drummer in a band. Raven’s Fire—traditional Irish music. So now I’m helping manage the band. We play the Irish Fest, the Tap House, Riverside on the Root in Lanesboro. I do the photography and the website and the FB page and some of the bookings and carry the equipment. I sleep with the drummer. It’s a good life.
Tell me about your writing. I grew up with my grandmother in Jamestown, North Dakota, and she loved to tell stories … but she only had about 12 stories. She told them incessantly. We were so freaking tired of those stories that we shut them out. And then she died. And then it was: What was the deal when Grandpa sold fencing? What was the deal when Grandma traded chickens for a car? Who was that? How did that work? … So for my blog, I’m trying to write down some of my stories, so at least I can remember them. And if the grandkids want to, too, that’s fine.
Tell me about an adventure. I don’t think of this as adventurous, but other people do: I used to do triathlons. Those were fun.
Have you always been athletic? That’s just it. I was never athletic. I loved to do those things, but I never considered myself athletic. Athletes are supposed to play football and hockey. And I have no interest in those. I did once watch an entire SuperBowl game. Denver and Green Bay. Denver won, and we were in Denver, at my brother’s house. I remember driving back to the hotel, and every street corner had people jumping up and down, cheering, hollering, hoisting beers into the air. For football. I don’t understand, but they thought it was a big deal.
What kind of dad were you when your kids were young? I like to say I tolerated my children, but I really love my grandchildren. Of course, I also tolerate my grandchildren and love my children. … I’m not one of those touchy, feely, huggie kind of dads. My daughter told me that maybe three times I’ve told her that I love her—but I do love them both.
What’s so great about grandchildren? They go home. And they love to come to my house. They’re just excited to be there, excited to see us. Back when I would pick them up at nursery school, they would fly across the room and jump, just leap, into my arms.
It sounds wonderful. I’ve always said that serendipity is my friend. You read these things about what to do with your life: “Find your passion. Follow your passion.” That’s bullshit. You just have to be ready when your passion shows up. I had no clue that I wanted to manage a band. I had no clue that I wanted to write a blog. But I was ready when the passion showed up.