Eric, GM of the The Bloody Bucket PBEM game, lives in Central PA with his lovely wife Joleine charming kids Jonathan and Cate, and faithful hounds Kayleigh and Ringo.
Eric has been interested in military history and music almost all of his life. He spent much of his youth tromping through some of the most beautiful wooded country on this planet, dressed in an old Army jacket, and armed with his trusty Daisy Powerline air rifle. Nazis and Commies beware... And if he was inside, he was always close to his guitar, a piano, or the Church organs at his father's two churches (an 1896 Mohler pipe organ, and a 1970's Rodgers Electronic). Yes, Eric is a PK -- Preacher's kid. He prefers TO -- Theological Offspring. Draw your own conclusion as to how this affected his life after leaving home...
Eric read every military history book his school library had. His father also had literally thousands of quality books, and Eric, like his father, was always reading 2 or 3 books about something. Eventually, he found Avalon Hill games such as Stalingrad, Panzer Leader, Tobruk, and Squad Leader, and he was hooked. Somewhere in the late 70's he discovered D&D, and Melee/Wizard, a Steve Jackson Games product that was an early version of GURPS.
His highschool, although very backward-thinking in most respects, permitted a small wargaming club, which ballooned into 60-odd members at it's peak. The group contacted nearby Carlisle Barracks, an Army Staff and Command College, and soon the students of Eric's school were playing against, (and often beating!) Majors and Colonels of the US, West German (yes there was also an East Germany at one time!), and Canadian Armies at games such as the HUGE Middle Eastern sim they loaned us -- the one with the 6'x6' maps and thousands of metallic counters (you moved them with a yardstick). This was thrilling for the students, and probably was a big factor in several of them enlisting.
Eric almost made that leap, it was either the Army for choppers, the Navy for submarines, or the USMC for, well, maybe not them... to much PT and yelling and screaming. The truth was, at 18, Eric didn't know WHAT he wanted, so he took the easy out -- college. Math/Computer Science major. After all, he had gotten all A's in high school math, not counting 8th grade Algebra (which we'll not discuss) College was 45 minutes from home. A lot of his highschool pals were there. And there was a good track team at the school...
Well, four years, numerous hangovers, and several thousand of Mom and Dad's dollars later, Eric had a piece of paper, but not much of a GPA to boast of. He worked as a temp for IBM, which was great, and Pfaltzgraff (the plate people) which wasn't so great. The market for computer programmers was glutted -- people with A's might find a job, people with C's, well, worked at department stores. Eric tried finding permanent employment in Washington, but the pace was not right for him. Then he thought about music.
If ever there was a leap of faith in Eric's life, this was it. He would be a musician, dammit, live the life, throw caution to the wind, and see where he ended up. Eric worked on average 18 hours a day, counting the FT music equipment sales job, the PT rare record shop job (you know, records, those black round things with grooves and a hole in the middle), gigs, practices, and occasional mayhem. It was the time of his life. He thought he was hotshit the year he made more from gigging than from the "real" jobs.
But even that gets stale. Plus Eric had an accident with a glass window that nearly cost him use of his left hand. He had 6 months of no playing, which taught him some humility. And that others might need some help from time to time. So he thought about using music to help others, and the job title Music Therapist came up. Soon, Eric was back in school (recurring theme alert...) and had met some real cool people like his longtime friend Chuck (Sean Cunningham in BB, and Godfather of Jonathan in RL), Wu-han, Jesse, Sickie, Schuuu-mann, Royboy, Poully, Sal, and Claymon. A multicultural group of music heads if there ever was one. Koreans, Chinese, American Indians, Krauts, Pollacks, Micks, and whatever the heck Schuuu-mann was (Alien?)... Eric also met someone so, SO different -- a real musician, a classical player, first chair clarinet in the orchestra. Oh, and she had these eyes, and legs, and SHE... aw Hell, I'll never meet her... I'm a little rough around the edges, and she's kinda preppy. Musically we were from opposite ends of the universe. What would I say, "Awesome Mozart! I'm jammin' with the Ad Libs at Coffeehouse -- ya wanna sit in?"
She called Jesse to ask my phone number and Jesse stepped outside of his dorm room, and yelled down the hall, "Berg! Joleine wants your number. What is it?" It took her two hours to get the courage to call me up. Thank you Joleine for having that courage. Thank you Jesse for not having any clue what was going on... or did you, you sly Commanche?
So Eric and Joleine were a thing, and then THE thing, and about a year after graduating they tied the knot, with the whole Multicultural entourage present, and Eric's dad Paul doing the Presbyterian thing, and Joleine's Father Mike doing the Catholic thing. Beautiful service, no problems with the different religions, wonderful food, classy music, and plane tickets to Disneyworld. What more could a guy want? How bout peace and quiet.
Jonathan came kicking and screaming into the world a few years later. Things haven't been peaceful or quiet ever since.
Well, Eric's first lowpaying, low-appreciation Music Therapist job at the nursing home lasted a year, and Eric took a better job doing the Music Therapist thing with the Mentally and Physically Handicapped. State Civil Service work. Lotsa holidays, benefits, Union hassles. Ah, the hours stunk. Summers, Eric was gone from his home like a ghost, and like a zombie when we WAS there. But this was were he belonged for the moment. This was challenging, yet rewarding work, and Eric was a golden boy, someone who the Suits up front in the offices would brag over, until 7 years had elapsed, Cate was due any day, and the ever-wise Commonwealth of PA had given Eric notice of a furlough. Downsized out of a job, well, maybe it was a favor. The place had really changed in 7 years -- too much red tape, too little caring. And the last ones left on a sinking ship were usually the rats.
Luckily, about a year before all this tumbled down, Eric had some interest in perhaps substitute teaching a little. He had all these days off that Joleine had to work, and the money would help pay for their castle and metallic steeds. So he got his start back to school, with students who could quite easily be his own children, if... well, we'll not go there.
Luck smiled on Eric and his family. While he was unemployed for more than a year, he finished school, and spent alot of time with his family. That just didn't happen when he worked for the State. He finished school, and had not one, but two job offers waiting for him. This, in a career where new teachers often substitute for 6-7 years until finding a permanent full-time job. So Eric is quite content with his circumstances -- working with others, using Music, directing a 120 voice Chorus, teaching guitar, keyboards, and songwriting. He is thankful for everyone who is a part of his life, for their support, encouragement, and friendship.
Eric plays acoustic and electric guitar, banjo, piano, and synths. He also has been studying a unique and progressive instrument called the Chapman Stick. He enjoys history of all sorts,(especially Civil War, WW II, and Railroading), reading, playing with his dogs, and chasing his kids around the backyard. Or is that playing with his kids, and chasing his dogs around the backyard...