Larry and Bill, poised to cross the continent

This page was written prior to Bill's death on May 17, 2016.

We are a married couple, having married in 2008 after a way-too-long 31-year engagement. We are both retired engineers, and we have lived on the same corner in San Francisco since 1982.

We are both individuals, but there are many things we have in common. Our web domains are choisser.com and larrykenney.com, and while here you will find pages that highlight our interests and reveal how we celebrate our lives. As individuals, we each have our own home pages - choisser.com/bill/ and www.larrykenney.com - and you can learn more about each of us by visiting those pages. Much of our site, though, is a joint effort, and also, here on this page you are reading now, you'll find some facts about us, facts that we share in common. They are in no particular order, but together, they say much about who we are.

We both hail from small towns of about 4000 population, far removed from any urban area. As children, we both saw nearby mountains out of the windows of our rooms. We both attended public grade schools where all of the town's children, rich and poor, attended class together. Our towns' peoples all saw themselves as "Americans", not as being in social sub-groups as is the case today in much of urban America. Our concept of "privacy" is different than that many Americans now hold, because everyone knew everyone else's business. This had an upside; their interest in others was largely rooted in their caring about others. A man in our towns grew up knowing he had this thing called "his reputation", which meant if you would be ashamed of something, you just wouldn't do it.

We both were boys who had an interest in radio. We listened to our radios and kept lists of the hundreds of stations we had received. By our high school years, we both had gotten amateur radio licenses, and this meant we could talk on our radios as well as listen to them. As you now read this, we have each held "ham radio" licenses for over fifty years.

Amateur radio is a hobby that has a century-old culture of its own. Its adherents were very much in communication with each other long before anyone dreamed of a thing now called "The Internet". By the time we entered their hobby in the 1960s, hams had already long ago worked out protocols for communicating with people from afar whom you seldom if ever see. We each brought that culture into the mix that became our own culture.

By the time we each were in our twenties, we were both working as disk jockeys at commercial radio stations. Soon after that, we first saw each other. It was at a ham radio club meeting in Chicago. Several weeks later we were living under the same roof, and we have been together ever since.

When the Internet came along in the 1990s, we shifted our communications hobby interest to it, as did many other hams. We brought our ham radio culture along with us, and in many ways we still regard the Internet as a hobby.

If one word were chosen to describe us, we are "communicators". We have edited newsletters for organizations we've belonged to. We have in more recent years created their web sites.

The value we place on communication is strong, despite the situation that we both have hearing impairments, although they don't interfere with our socializing much. Bill combines lip reading and the sound he does get, which is distorted, when he socializes, and he is outgoing enough that he tends to be the one to first meet new friends. Larry's hearing is low in volume. Larry can hear clearly though, and he can use a telephone while Bill cannot. This leads to the amusing situation that Bill often tells Larry that his phone is ringing, and then Larry proceeds to talk on it, something Bill could not do.

One might think that ham radio was an unusual interest for two men without stellar hearing, but ham radio is a very diverse communications hobby. Bill has no trouble understanding Morse code, and he used that mode of communication for many years. By the early 1980s, amateur radio operators had developed what we would now call an e-mail system, called "packet radio". We were doing e-mail for more than a decade before people in general were doing it, or even knew what it was. By the late 1980s, we were running a bulletin board system out of our house, and we have later heard it referred to as "San Francisco's first ISP". We had it backed up with emergency power, and it handled thousands of messages coming out of San Francisco after the 1989 earthquake.

Although often filled with joy and laughter, our house is a peaceful, quiet, and orderly place. We tend to fill it with things that actually do something, augmented with artwork that we especially like.

We are both very literate in reading and in writing. We both have authored books. We both have college degrees and professional licenses in the areas where we did our work.

You won't find resumes for either of us on our web site, and we don't join employment-related networking sites. Hey, we are retired! We do readily join other sites that meet our needs. When we do so, we use our real names, so you will know if you see us. The law required ham radio operators not be anonymous, our small-town backgrounds offered no such opportunity, and we've in fifty years never had anything ill come from saying who we are. Also, as communicators, we know a writer connects with his readers far better if they know who he is, and we place great value upon that connection.

Though we are retired now, in our work lives we were very stable. We tended to take a job and stick with it. We both know how to work with others and that "knowing when the ball is in one's court" is essential in getting work done. When we did leave an employment situation, it was generally met with our being asked to stay.

Every man with speech has an accent: Larry's was typical rural New England, and Bill's was typical Illinois Ozark hillbilly, but being in California for decades has tempered both for the most part.

Every man with a sexuality has a fetish: Larry's is boots, and Bill's is long hair. These interests have contributed to our own identities, and we value the unique identity that for every man lurks within.

We did not locate to San Francisco for cultural-group reasons. Honestly, we came here for the weather. We both enjoy travel and being outdoors too much to live in a place where the outdoors for much of the year is unfit for human habitation.

We also appreciate living in a world class city, despite our small-town origins. A world class city is a place where one's options to celebrate his uniqueness are the greatest. Such cities are few even in any widespread area, and typical of that, America only has a few. We are delighted to be living our lives in one of them.

We both enjoy travel and photography. We enjoyed these activities when we were working, and we enjoy them in retirement. You will see the results of our pursuit of those interests on our web site.

We've had our web site for a long time. Exploring from our home page will reveal what we are into now. We don't remove material if we feel others may still find it of interest, but we don't mix it in with our current interests, because we feel laying out our current interests is important. If you came to our site expecting to find something but don't, well, that is what Google is for.

The largest collection of our current interests can be found in three places. They are our "Adventures", where you will see photos of cool places we've been, people we've met, and things we have done. And there are our two home pages, Bill's and Larry's, which highlight the interests of each of us.


Bill Choisser
Larry Kenney
San Francisco