While my wife Patricia and I were driving to town this morning on our way to pick up our youngest granddaughter who is scheduled to spend the weekend with us, I suddenly realized something special. The day is glorious, sun is shining, breeze is blowing, everything is green from the summer rains and then it dawned on me. Exactly 17 years ago, to the day, I was making this same drive as the brand new owner of the Manta Ray Bay Hotel, Yap Divers and Wave Crest Travel Agency. Sure, I started each of these businesses and ran them from the day they opened but August 1, 1973 was the first day that my family and I actually OWNED them.
What a time it was. The oldest and youngest kids had turned 12 & 4 years old less than 30 days earlier while the middle two were 8 & 6 respectively. Today, Numie the oldest one, has just turned 29 with a degree in Hotel Management from the University in Canberra, Australia is married and has a 14 month old daughter – Mary Patricia. Numie is now the Human Resource Manager for the Resort after having spent her life working at just about every job we have here. Next in line is Nathan a 24 year old Lance Corporal in the US Marine Corps who spent a year in Engineering School at the University of Auckland, New Zealand and 2 years at the University of Hawaii before finding his calling in the military. Nathan also spent 2 years as our chef between the time he was in Hawaii and the time he joined the Corps.
Valerie is next in line and she is back home working as a dive guide for Yap Divers after spending two years in the Business program at Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth where she was double majoring in Accounting and Entrepreneurial Studies. Val is now married and has an 19 month old son – Thaddaeus. Last, but certainly not least, is Oliver Patrick “OP” Acker who has just celebrated his 21st birthday and is set to graduate from the College of Micronesia in Pohnpei with an AA degree in Computer Information Systems. OP is looking forward to enrolling in the University of Hawaii at Manoa in January (the same school I attended for Graduate School).
I have been married for more than 25 years to Patricia Mangthin, who is sitting beside me this morning as we head for town. She is happy to finally be a grandmother and realizes how lucky we are that they are all living close to us in Yap. Patricia has a wonderful family spread between Yap, Saipan and the United States, my family are all still in Texas and doing well. The kids are healthy, there are two grandkids in Yap, the business is better than it’s ever been so, as Joe Walsh would sing . . . “Life’s Been Good to Me So Far.”