Q: How long have you lived in Greenwich?
A: All my life.
Q: How do you think Greenwich has changed over the years?
A: There are no more trolley tracks. They used to run right in front of my front door on Shore Road.
Q: Are you married? How long?
A: I'm married to Ellen since 1987.
Q: Do you have any children? Grandchildren?
A: Ellen and I have two, Michael Jr. ("Spiker") and Meghan. I also have Michelle, Timothy and Patrick. All of my children had a wonderful mother. And I have seven grandchildren.
Q: Are you retired?
Q: What did you do when you worked full time?
A: Where do I start? I first washed dishes at Humpty Dumpty Sandwich Shop on Sound Beach Avenue and Route 1. At 16 I hitchhiked across the country and worked in a lumber camp as a choker-setter in the Potlatch Forest in Idaho. After two years at Kenyon College the Korean War was on and I was going to be drafted so I went over to the Naval Air Station and told them I wanted to fly. They told me I could become a Naval cadet if I had my teeth fixed. That's another story. I then became a Marine Corps pilot flying fighter planes, first off the USS Ticonderoga out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and then in the Mediteranean on the USS Lake Champlain. I joined Pan Am as a pilot in 1957 until 1991, and then with United until 2001. I flew Europe, Eastern Europe, India, South America and Africa. I got to know Africa very well. I flew to Tokyo and the Orient. I didn't go to Australia or New Zealand. I never flew the U.S. I lived in Hawaii for four years before I retired here in 2002.
Q: What was the most important thing you learned in your work?
A: Attention to detail. Read Full Article
Q: What was a significant memory or defining moment in your childhood?
A: When I was 6 years old, I was in the Port Chester hospital and the doctors had given up on me. They wouldn't operate on me as they said I would die. My family called a relative in New York City who was a doctor. He told the doctors he'd take charge and to start operating on me, to open me up from the rib to the pelvis and clean me out as he made his way out at 3 a.m. My appendix had erupted. Another significant memory: an Eastern Airlines captain came to my house after he learned of my interest in aircraft and planes from my mom who'd sold him a house in Belle Haven. I had saved plane cards from Wing cigarette packages and plane photographs from Wing magazine. The Captain took all the pictures and put them up high around the walls of my room. He then painted the ceiling blue, affixed a north star to my lamp, and pasted the constellations on the ceiling. I was building model airplanes then -- some actually flew!
Q: What are your main hobbies and interests?
A: Sailing. I also volunteer at Greenwich Hospital -- I'm a Red Baron, not a Pink Lady.
Q: Do you have a favorite sport?
A: I played football and baseball but my favorite sport was baseball. I gravitated to tennis. My wife didn't like me having my boat, "Casey," so I wound up trading "Casey" for a tennis racquet and that didn't work out. So, I traded my wife for a boat -- "Ecstasy."
Q: Do you have a favorite book?
A: "For Love and Money, The Brazil Affair," by Marilyn Kelly. It's about a Greenwich boy who asked me to fly him to Brazil. I'm Tom Ryan in the book.
Q: Do you have a favorite work of art?
A: Peter Michael Gish. He's a great artist -- he's done seaside prints, portraits, military and combat art.
Q: What music do you listen to and what is a favorite piece of music?
Q: If you could tell the president of the United States one thing, now, what would it be?
A: Balance the budget.
Q: What achievements in your life are you most proud of?
A: Having five healthy, happy children.
Q: If you had a magic wand, what would you wish for?
A: A better mortgage.
Q: What are you deeply concerned about?
A: The direction our country is going.
Q: Best piece of advice to give to the younger generation?
A: Be responsible. Don't be afraid to work -- and don't take no for an answer.
Q: What brings you your greatest joy?
A: My family.
Q: What are you looking forward to?
A: More time with my children as they grow up as adults.