Guest Blogger – Back to the Marriage

Karen found a write-up she did during or right after we got married and covers the two weeks or so from the time we left Michigan to go west to get married until we eventually ended up in New Orleans a newly married couple. I wanted this to be saved for posterity, so I’m including it in this blog. When I publish this as a continuous story, I’ll put it in chronological order with the rest of the narrative. It will take several days to write it all, so I hope you enjoy re-living once again our marriage and honeymoon. I turn the remainder of this blog over to Karen for the next several days:

September 19 – 30, 1966

Loaded down with all kinds of foodstuffs, we started out from 1303 Capital, N.E. Battle Creek, Michigan (Karen’s address before we married) at 6 a.m. on September 19 (Monday). Those riding in the red and black Rambler station wagon were Sister Kader, Martin, Tootie, Jim and me, alias Karen Rupp. Our destination was Salt Lake City by September 22 (Thursday) or bust!! Our purpose was the marriage of Jim Hoag and Karen Rupp in the Temple of Our Lord and also the sealing of Sister Kader to her late husband and her children. There were many miles between Battle Creek and Salt Lake City (1800 miles to be exact!) and as we were to find out, many obstacles to confront us.

This did not enter our minds as we were in too good of spirits even though our eyelids were a little heavy. The air was brisk and cool. We had the road to ourselves. Battle Creek would have to do without three Kaders, one Hoag and one Rupp for awhile. In fact, they would never see this Rupp again, not with that name anyway. We saw Indiana, Illinois and Iowa on Monday. They all had pretty flat ground with very few picturesque scenes to catch our eye. We sacked out in York, Nebraska for the night at the Y Motel. The local time at which we stopped was 7:30 p.m. 

Up bright and early Tuesday morning, we left York about 6:30 a.m. We drove through the rest of Nebraska that day but not without mishap. I drove from North Platte, Nebraska through an itsy bit of Colorado to Sunol, Nebraska where it was my privilege (?) to be noticed by a state police officer. He soaked us $20.00 for my speeding. Jim took over the wheel then! 

More tomorrow…

Dad

Biomedical Engineering

I tried one last thing before we left BYU. Along the way, I had heard of a new field called Biomedical Engineering. It was brand new and hardly any school was offering it. I had always wanted to be a doctor, but since I faint at the sight of blood, it didn’t seem like a good fit. But to use engineering in the medical field seemed like a match made in heaven. The University of Utah was one of just a couple schools in the country that had a graduate Biomedical Engineering program. So, I sent off my application for Master’s Degree work at the U of U. If I had been accepted, our lives would have been greatly different than they were. But, unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I was not accepted.

That left IBM. So, we took the job in New Jersey and off we went. School was done and once again we were starting a new chapter in our lives. Coming to BYU, we were three. Now we were four. On my trip to New Jersey, I had found a little two-bedroom house that was for sale and we felt like we could afford. I called my mother and she agreed to loan us the down payment and so we moved into our first home in Hopatcong, New Jersey. Our new home was just a block or so from Hopatcong lake and we had private rights to use the little beach. It’s too bad we could never afford a boat or we might have really had some fun.

A footnote to the story about applying to U of U for graduate school: I was pretty bummed out when I didn’t get accepted. It took me a few months to really get over it. I don’t take rejection very well. It was a year or two later that I had some reason to communicate with the head of the Engineering Department at the University of Utah. I don’t remember why, but I wrote to him and asked him straight out why I had not been accepted. It was something that always bugged me and I wanted to know. He was very kind. He sent me back a nice letter. He said that the Biomedical course was very new and they were only accepting three new graduate students each year. He told me that the year I applied, they had received 36 applications and I had ranked number 6. Since they had only accepted 3, I missed the cut by 3. Well, I felt a lot better. Number 6 out of 36 is not too bad. And, I wonder where I’d be today if I had been accepted. Probably working as a professor for the University of Utah.

Dad

Graduation

I graduated from BYU in August of 1971 with a Bachelor of Engineering Science degree. During my last year at BYU, I took took classes which were to change my life forever. One was in basic Computer Science and the other was in the language FORTRAN. FORTRAN is no longer used anywhere, to my knowledge, but it was big in the 70’s. I decided that I really liked computers. In 1971, they were still something that was pretty new. The most sophisticated game on the computer was Pong. In fact, I’m not sure Pong was even invented yet at that point. I knew I didn’t want to go back to fixing keypunches, so I called my old boss at IBM in New Orleans and asked him if the company had any openings for programmers. IBM had to take me back since I was on a leave of absence, but they didn’t have to give me a new job. They could have put me right back into the old one I had before. I had decided I would quit if they tried to do that, so I went after a programming job.

I should explain that 1971 was a very bad year for college graduates. Nixon was the president and he had managed to screw up the economy so badly that it was really tough to find jobs. It was the end of the Vietnam War. There were political cartoons in the paper which showed PhD graduates working at McDonalds and things like that. I would estimate fully half of my graduating class did not have job offers when we walked down the aisle and graduated. IBM had to take me back, but they did not have to be nice about it.

But they were. I still think to this day that they are one of the greatest companies in this country (or they used to be). I’m grateful I could work for them for almost 3o years. My boss told me that the only place he knew about that was hiring programmers was in Morristown, New Jersey. So, he set it up and I took a trip out there to look it over and interview for a job. I had two choices, take the job and move to New Jersey or stay in school and go to graduate school. The second choice meant leaving IBM forever.

Dad

Taking the Summer Off

I went to school from June 1968 until Aug 1971 when I graduated. So, it was a little over three years. I took classes year round, summer included, except for the summer of 1969 when we decided to take a break. I (and probably Karen, too) was a little homesick. I hadn’t been home to Michigan for a couple years and I was kind of burned out from the studying. So, I called IBM and asked them if they had any summer temp jobs in the Battle Creek area that they could plug me into. This was a great program that the company had. They would hire you to fill in for people who were going on vacation during the summer and at the same time, the student could earn much better money that he could by working at the school or at a fast food restruant.

I was told that they had a job with the Kalamazoo Branch Office which was only about 15 miles from Battle Creek. It seemed perfect, so we shut up the Provo house and moved to Kalamazoo for three months. We rented a little upstairs apartment and set up house keeping. We just had the one baby then, so it wasn’t too crowded. My Dad eventually moved from Battle Creek to Kalamazoo, but I don’t think he had moved yet at this point. So, we drove over to Battle Creek to see him and to see my mother and we drove to Quincy, Michigan where Karen’s parents lived and saw them. We had been gone quite a while and since we were suddenly so close, they expected us to visit every weekend. It got old in a hurry.

I went to work at IBM and did what I knew how to do which was fix key punch machines. Karen stayed in the apartment and took care of Matthew. One incident that I remember (and, Karen correct me if I have this wrong) was the window of our living room opened onto the roof of the porch for the first floor of the building. You could go out the window and stand on the roof and get some air. It was summer and hot and that was a common occurance. I only have fuzzy memories of this, but I think Matthew got out that window one day when we weren’t looking and fell off the roof onto the ground below. I don’t know what kind of ground he landed on, but I don’t think he broke anything and didn’t seem to have any permanent scars from the fall, but it scared us pretty bad.

In the fall, we were really ready to go back to Provo and start school again. We decided that we would never live near family again and we never did.

Dad

David Comes into the World

The other significant thing which happened during the “BYU years” was on Aug 28, 1970, baby number two came into our lives. David Altman Hoag was born. As I explained before, I got to name the boys. David is named after David O McKay who was the prophet of the church when I joined, although he had passed on by the time our David was born. David was a real popular name during the 60’s and early 70’s because of that very reason.

David was very special, even if he doesn’t think so today. For one thing, he was the first of my children that I got to see born. I don’t remember much of it, but I know I was let into the birthing room and got to witness the birth. Also, he was the only one of my five children that I had to pay for. We were going to school, on leave from IBM and when you are on leave, you don’t have medical insurance. So, we had to pay the doctor and hospital bill ourselves. We may have gotten an student discount for being poor, I don’t know, but no insurance.

This is from Karen:

So many memories keep popping up. I just remember we made a dry run to Utah Valley Hospital before David was born so we’d get it right when I went into labor. Then waiting until after midnight (after my water broke) to go to the delivery room so we didn’t have to pay an extra day in the hospital!

And there had been an epidemic (with many babies dying) not many years before at the hospital so no visitors could come visit after the birth except immediate family. Also it took us a year to pay off David. Just before we went to your first real job (after graduating BYU) in NJ I went in to make the last payment on him (he was the only baby we had w/o insurance). The gal in the doctor’s office said when I thanked her for being patient with our payments, “What, did you want us to take him back!?” I plan to enlarge upon these memories.

Thanks to Karen for that I hope we hear more from her.

Dad

I Sit in the Library

Let’s get back to the story. We were going to BYU when I left to take a vacation at the hospital. I wrote this before I went in the hospital and takes us up to David’s birth.

Now this was in 1968 or 1969 and there were no books of lists of records like there is today. No one had compiled what songs had made the Top 40. So, I told Ian, before you could gather the records, you had to know what records to gather. The first thing I did was to go to the BYU library and look up the microfilm of Billboard and Variety magazines starting in 1955 and I started writing. I filled notebooks, I still have them to this day. Each page was a week of charts. I wrote down every song that hit the Top 40 and put them in the notebook. Later I was able to transfer them to a computer and sort them, etc. But, in the beginning, it was all manual.

I spent many hours in the library pouring over the microfilm writing down the songs. That was the beginning of the collection. I don’t know if my grades suffered because of this. I’m sure I could have been doing homework or studying engineering stuff, but if you know me, then you know that the songs were very important to me. I don’t think, in the three years I spent at BYU, I did anything I enjoyed more than compiling those lists (outside of the family).

This was only the late 60’s, so I only had about 12 or 13 years to do to get caught up. Once I was caught up to the present, it was easy each week to keep up to date. I kept up to date and continued keeping track of the songs until the year 2000 when I retired from doing the Top 40.

Tomorrow: David comes into the world

Dad

Visit to the Hospital

You’re probably all tired of hearing about it by now, but I thought I’d take a departure from the life story and tell you what really happened in the hospital and before getting there.

It was Saturday night, Jun 14, about 10:30. I was (ahem) sitting on the toilet and the next thing I knew Barb was calling 911. She said she heard me call her name twice, but I don’t remember it. She came into the bathroom and I was shaking like I was having a seisure,  my eyes had rolled back in my head and she thought I was having a heart attack or stroke. Turns out, she wasn’t far off.

I vaguely remember seeing the parametics come. I was in my underwear and barefooted. They made me walk out to a stretcher that they couldn’t bring into the house. The main thing I remember was that it was cold.  They helped me get on the stretcher and tied me down and rolled me into the ambulance and away we went.

We went to Timpanogous Hospital first and spent the night there. They took blood and did an EKG and took me down to Radiation and did a Cat Scan (not sure how that’s spelled). They decided I needed to go to the ICU  but the one at Timp was full, so they called the ambulance guys and about 6 a.m. the next morning (Sunday by this time), we went to Utah Valley Hospital. Should have gone there in the first place. Now I have two ambulance rides to pay for instead of one.

I was taken to a room in the ICU at Utah Valley and was there Sunday and Monday. Then they decided I could go to a regular room. They did every kind of test they could think of. I got to take an EEG which I don’t think I’ve ever had. They glue 26 probes to your head and measure your brain waves. The nurse hooked it all up and then looked at the machine kind of funny. “Why,” she said “There’s nothing in the head at all.” 🙂 So, now we know the cause of all my problems.

After 4 days, they decide that I have sleep apnea so bad that it is affecting my heart. They said I really didn’t have a seisure. They think the heart just sort of stopped beating and stopped sending blood to the brain for a few seconds and I passed out. They said I must use my C-Pap machine which is designed to help people with sleep apnea. I promised I would.

I came home Wednesday and am still very very weak. Funny how just 4 days in the hospital will run you down. I’m a lot more tired than when I went in. I have made some promises to myself. I will use the machine every night. I’ve told Barb to start buying more healthy foods. I eat mostly protein and carbohydrates. I eat very little vegatables or fruits. We’re going to change that. I’m motivated to try not to let this happen again.

I’ll keep you informed.

Dad 

The Start of the Collection

Now this was in 1968 or 1969 and there were no books of lists of records like there is today. No one had compiled what songs had made the Top 40. So, I told Ian, before you could gather the records, you had to know what records to gather. The first thing I did was to go to the BYU library and look up the microfilm of Billboard and Variety magazines starting in 1955 and I started writing. I filled notebooks with lists. I still have them to this day. Each page was a week of charts. I wrote down every song that hit the Top 40 and put them in the notebook. Later I was able to transfer that to a computer and sort them, etc. But, in the beginning, it was all manual.

I spent many hours in the library pouring over the microfilm writing down the songs. That was the beginning of the collection. I don’t know if my grades suffered because of this. I’m sure I could have been doing homework or studying engineering stuff, but if you know me, then you know that the songs were very important to me. I don’t think, in the three years I spent at BYU, I did anything I enjoyed more than compiling those lists.

This was only the late 60’s, so I only had about 12 or 13 years to do to get caught up. Once I was caught up to the present, it was easy each week to keep up to date. I kept up to date and continued keeping the songs updated until the year 2000 when I retired from doing the Top 40.

Dad

“I wonder if it is possible to get all of the songs..”

I’ve been trying to remember things that happened during the three years plus that we lived in Provo and attended BYU. I may have to get some help from Karen as I don’t remember much.

Let me start by telling you about 3 or 4 people who were significant in my or our lives during that three years. The first was Mel Bodily. He was an older guy like me, only a lot older. He was probably in his late 40’s or 50’s and was going back to school to get his engineering degree. He worked for Thiokol in Ogden and drove down to Provo every day he had classes. We became pretty good friends since neither one of us were in the age group that was common at BYU. We were also both married. He had grown children and I had just Matt and eventually David. I visited him at his house in Bountiful a couple times and always wondered what happened to him. I doubt he’s still alive. He’d be in his 90’s if he is.

Another friend of mine was a guy named Tom Tippits. He worked with me at the KBYU-TV station. He and I worked together a lot and became pretty good friends. At least while we were in school. He was from San Diego, CA and practically every time we worked, he would tell me how great it was to live in San Diego. It’s surprising that I have never been to San Diego. I think he wanted to be a Dentist when he graduated, but I’m not sure.

A couple that lived in Wyview Village near us was Ian and Rona Hyde. He became one of my best friends in school. He was from Australia, I think. At least he talked like it. He said “mate” a lot. It is his fault that I got interested in music in the first place. Well, I had always liked music and so did he. It was one thing we had in common and one reason why we were friends. (Kind of like Mike Sveen and me years later.) One night he and I were sitting around the house just talking and he posed the question: “I wonder if it is possible to get all of the songs which have made the Top 40 in the rock era?”

Continued tomorrow….

Dad

Getting a Job at KBYU

I don’t remember what classes I took that first summer (or any other year, either), but I was an electrical engineering student, so everything I took was aimed toward getting that degree. I had taken enough classes in junior college, that a five year curreculum could be finished in three years if I went year round. Since I was on leave from IBM, I needed to finish as soon as possible.

One significant thing happened that summer. I somehow found out that the KBYU-TV station needed on-the-air operators. I think I met someone who worked there, I’m not sure. I found out that if I had an FCC license, I would have a good chance of getting a job. Well, I didn’t want to clean floors for three years, so I thought I’d try for a job at the TV station. (It paid better, too.) I bought a book to study to take the FCC license test. As it turned out, all I needed was a third class license which is easy to get. You just send in an application. Instead, I studied for and took the test for the first class which is the highest class you can get. We were scheduled to go to Michigan on vacation during the summer. I’m not sure exactly when we went, probably between the summer term and the fall term, but while there, I took a day and drove over to Detroit and took the FCC test for my first class license. I found out a couple weeks later that I had passed and soon after that I got the license in the mail.

So, late in the summer, I got an appointment with the guy who ran the KBYU-TV station. He was the head engineer. I told him I was a student and I would like to work for the station in the fall when classes started again. He looked at me like everyone wants to work at the station, why should I hire you? He asked me if I had a FCC license. I said, yes sir, a first class. He smiled and said, when can you start? When you have a first class in the station, the station satisfies certain FCC regulations, so by hiring me, they were able to free up another license holder to do other things. I worked on the air at KBYU for three years until I graduated. It was a great job and I enjoyed it a lot. I was running on the air when the first Sesame Street was aired. I remember it very well. We also played Mr Roger’s Neighborhood and lots of other cool PBS type programming. It was a great job because we would load the next show on the VCR and then you didn’t have to do anything until the show was over and you had to load the next one. So you could study while shows played. You were there in case something went wrong, but nothing ever did. It was the perfect job for a student.

Dad