Charles Spiro

Charlie Spiro

After graduating from Wheatley, it took me five years to get my first four-year degree; started at Bucknell but flunked out after one year, spent a semester at C.W. Post, another semester at Mitchell College in Connecticut and actually had a 3.0 GPA there, and finally finished at Post with a degree in economics. With Viet Nam heating up and being a devout coward, I continued at Post “working” on an MBA –but hardly as a student! Local Draft Board 3 surprised me with a letter on Friday the thirteenth of October, 1967 with the dreaded Greeting from the President of the United States!

I wasn’t going to let them assign me just anywhere so I enlisted as an officer candidate but dropped out of OCS in the fifth week of basic training. Surprisingly, I got stationed in Fort Bragg, North Carolina for a year and just outside Heidelburg, Germany for the second year. I managed to do some serious drinking in Germany and active alcoholism would be a problem for me until Halloween of 1978, when I entered the VA’s alcohol treatment program in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Before that memorable Halloween, I represented the family company in the Washington area for a couple years, worked at a Radio Shack near Washington, managed a Radio Shack store in Winchester, Virginia for two years, and then tended bar at Moose and Elk lodges. What a job for a drunk!

When I got my one and only DUI ticket and missed two Alcohol Safety Action Program meetings, the only thing that seemed sure was 90 or 180 days courtesy of the state. My only out was to be an inpatient at a treatment center prior to my court appearance on November 1, 1978. My stay at the VA facility was the eye opener that I needed and I haven’t had a drink in over 31 years and the urge left years ago. I’ll have a Shirley Temple on Saturday night and not envy you at all.

Once sober, I managed to get a job at the same RS store I had managed but this time as an hourly salesman. I also started to take classes at the local community college and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1981 with an associate degree in electronic technology. My mentor at the college convinced me to pursue a second bachelor degree at Capitol College in Maryland. Got that one Cum Laude a year later and landed a job teaching electronics at the same community college I had graduated from just a year earlier. I was happy as a clam to have a respectable job and it didn’t bother me at all that my starting salary was the lowest of Capitol’s class of 82!

As Lord Fairfax Community College expanded its offerings in information technology, I straddled the fence and taught a variety of classes in both electronics and IT. Eventually the electronics program folded due to low enrollment and I continued with only IT. I worked toward a master’s degree at Shenandoah University but never quite finished it. That degree would have boosted my salary but a few disagreements with my advisor ended that effort. May 15, 2008 marked the end of my 26 year career at LFCC and I look back on many, many wonderful memories and only a few bad ones. Since retirement I’ve had the luxury of teaching one class a semester as a part-timer and I don’t plan to fade away any time soon.

Miscellaneous notes:
• I’ve dated several lovely ladies but never tied the knot. Alice and I have been together almost four years.
• I missed the 40th reunion because my anxiety disorder was not under control and I had a monstrous panic attack on my way to Old Westbury.
• The antidepressant I take for anxiety works like a champ and I’ll be there this year!
• I consider my health to be pretty decent but I recently spent a few days in the hospital while the doctors found and repaired two blockages in a coronary artery.
• My main “job” is volunteering at the Winchester Medical Center. Currently I’m there once a week but will double that in June.
• You and I are the only two of 1960’s alumni who haven’t changed at all! :-)