I met Bill in the tax accounting class about 20 years ago. We gradually got to know each other. He always wore professional pants and a shirt, and carried a professional bag. He looked very energetic. One day, he told me he was 80 years old, which surprised me a lot. He looked much younger than his age.
In this class, our instructor let us find a partner and do our homework and take-home tests together, so he gave me his e-mail address and told me we could help each other as partners. After I finished my homework assignments or tests, I e-mailed my answers for problems to him. He e-mailed me back if we had different answers. In order to solve our disagreements, he explained why he had different answers and told me the pages I should read. Bill is very knowledgeable about individual tax and read the textbook carefully. Sometimes, I insisted that my answers were right and let him read the textbook. It was not easy to prove to him that my answers were the right ones; I needed to explain the reasons and told him why I chose (a), not (b), (c) and (d); however, I really enjoyed discussing questions with him. We tried to reach agreements all the time. If not, the judge was our instructor.
Bill is a nice man; he likes helping people. We talked about ourselves after class or in the e-mails, so I knew something about his life, career, and family, but his life and experience is still like a book, which is full of mysteries that appeal to me; therefore, I decided to interview Bill.
Bill was born in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, where he grew up, received his education, got married and lived for half of his life. He has two brothers and two sisters, whom none of live in this city. One of his sisters died of a ruptured appendix when she was 13 years old because the doctor diagnosed her problem incorrectly. I pray for the little girl, wishing her has a happy life in another world, where everyone sooner or later will go and live forever someday.
The industries of Bill's hometown were coal mining and silk manufacturing; the railroads depended on both. He grew up during the Great Depression; some of the coalmines closed and put men out of work. The protestant churches set up a place what was called a soup kitchen for free meals. People not only ate there but also brought one-gallon cans to fill them and take back home for their children and other family members. Sometimes, they got flour and baked bread.
Bill's father was railroad clerk. Fortunately, he still had job, but his pay in the thirties was one third of what was in the twenties. He could not afford to pay the full payment on their mortgage, but bank made arrangements with people so that they just paid interest not principal on the mortgage. Bill's mother was elementary teacher. A teacher's job was great because the job was stable and guaranteed to be paid. The town had good schools, basketball, and baseball leagues. Bill attended a Catholic grade school and high school where he was taught by nuns, and he received an excellent education. The mission of the school was to develop the different sides of human beings, that is, their mental, physical, moral, aesthetic, social and religious sides. The best part of his education was the school giving him a desire to learn, and he has never stopped learning even now. I do believe what he said. I met him at the summer class about 20 years ago and sat beside him; he obviously still wishes to learn.
Bill's first job was as an IRS agent after he graduated from college. Later, he was not happy as a revenue agent because he had always wanted to have his own business, so he studied for the CPA exam. As soon as he passed the exam, he heard that an accountant who was one of the CPA firm owners died; he quitted the IRS's job and took over the accountant's clients. Three year later, he bought the practice and hired two employees. Bill made a very good income and established good relationships with clients. That lasted for about eight years before he moved to this city.
Bill's wife kept having health problems; she had continuous bouts with pneumonia. They went to see several different doctors in several different cities, but nobody was able to help her. People told Bill that his wife would be healthy in the great Southwest. Many people in the East always believed that, so he decided to sell his practice and moved to this city. Bill and his wife went to Presbyterian for treating her illness and met many people came from the East. Unfortunately, the change in climate could not help his wife; she continued to be sick and died in 1979.
Bill was very religious when he was young, so was his wife. They went to the same church and participated in the same ceremonies even though her Catholic religion was completely different from his Catholic religion. Bill said she had a very mean God. Their difference survived 28 years until she passed away. In this marriage, they had 8 children. Bill likes his children very much; he said that he enjoyed playing with them in the house or going outside.
In this city, Bill needed to find a job that allowed him to spend time taking care of his family. He tried to get a job teaching accounting; however, it did not work. He went back to school and got a master's degree in economics, and then he taught economics at the college. Also, he bought a small bookkeeping and tax practice after he received master's degree. Although he has been retired for many years, he still wanted to update his knowledge in his field.
Bill has experienced a lot in his long life and continues to experience life with a positive attitude. He has been very successful and after retiring he could have just stayed at home relaxing for the rest of his life. However, he likes to stay involved in society and keep learning new things. His positive attitude towards life really encourages me to do better not only now at the school but also in other aspects of life including my family and work.