Rolland Doerfer since June, 1950 - A short and relatively unexciting autobiography
My post-graduation course of action was determined even before our big event. After breaking up with Charlene I needed a new table mate in study hall I spent some time with Floyd Harding, which resulted in a life changing event. He started bringing these colorful flyers outlining an exciting life in the U.S. Navy, which included an array of rates that one could ask for upon enlisting. One of those rates was becoming a photographer.
Well, I reasoned that I had been something of a decent photographer for dear old Sherman Community High School so I was hooked. I can blame Floyd for my course of action, but instead, I thank him. It's hard to say what my life would have become if not for my navy experience. I spent three years and nine months in service and avoided going to Korea. I visited several countries in Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and Labrador, an experience which led me to change my life's aspirations to becoming a teacher. That was a change from being a photo journalist.
Both occupations were less than inspiring for making a lot of money.
After we all finished our respective naval schools, Floyd, Ralph Scarrow and I wound up in Norfolk, Virgina, where Ralph found a neat little Methodist church, one where there happened to be a lot of girls. I married one of them, Terry, in June, 1953. Floyd was my best man. On one occasion, the three of us met in Naples, Italy, which was a surprise and a real treat.
I left the Navy on April 9, 1954 and in the next 31 years I was in some segment of public education. I earned a BA in 1957 at Fort Hays State (KS) and an MA in1967 at Wichita State U. I taught social studies and language arts in Colby, KS, Wichita, KS and Norfolk, VA. I was also on the professional staff of the Kansas and Virginia Education Associations as an advocate for teachers in the Wichita area, in Fairfax County and Virginia Beach in Virginia.
Terry and I separated after 24 years and divorced in 1985 after 32 years. It was an amicable separation and divorce and we are still best of friends. We each even attended the other's second wedding and had a great time. I joined Parents Without Partners after separation and spent 13 years as a member and in various leadership capacities and met some wonderful folks, including my present wife, Judy. We have been together nearly 22 years, married 15 years.
Between the NEA and PWP I did develop some skills in pubic speaking, workshop and small group facilitation and program organization that were the highlights of my involvement.in those organizations and others that came along.
I left the teacher's association in 1987 and in the following year tried more jobs than I can remember. I spent 5 years substitute teaching in Colorado and Florida and then, at age 78, decided that I should give the up classroom and retire. But I didn't.
In the early 1990s I wrote a book Entitled A Prairie Heritage, a narrative history of the eight family lines of Terry's and my family genealogies.
I wrote it as a legacy for my six kids and for their families and not for publication. From, part of that legacy, however, arose another book entitled, Odyssey in Exile, a novel based on the lives of my two sets of great-great grandparents, all of whom lived in Baden, Germany, in the late 1840s. It is being self-published and should be out in a couple of months. It will be available in Barnes and Noble stores (as long as it is around), on Ebooks and through the publisher, Friesen Press. I'll let you know when it comes out.
Time and health permitting, I plan to write a sequel to Odyssey In Exile, which would follow my families from Baden to Wisconsin in the early 1850s. I might even revisit A Prairie Heritage and re-write it for publication.