Still Steven

About Me Stories
Published in
6 min readDec 13, 2022


My first dog, Saudi, and I atop Ord Mountain in the Mojave Desert — 1973

About seven years ago I saw the movie, Still Alice. The story of Alice Howland, a brilliant professor who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 50. At the time I was 65 (as I write this, I am 72). This movie hit me like a ton of bricks. Not just because it is a very compelling story, but also because I happened to have had a grandmother who suffered from dementia in her later years, and she was also named Alice.

About a year or so ago, I started having memory issues. I would be sitting in my office and think, “I need something or other from another room.” I would go to that place, and by the time I arrived in this other room, I had forgotten what thing I was seeking. This sort of thing has probably happened to all of us throughout our lives… we get distracted. So, at first, I didn’t think much about this. But it started happening with greater frequency. So much so, that it started to worry me. I brought this up with my family doctor. She sent me to various specialists who tested me in several ways. The results were mixed. In some ways, my cognitive abilities were found to be above average, but my short-term memory was below average for my age. None of these specialists seemed to be very concerned, and they suggested that if I was still worried about this after a year, I could come back for another round of tests to see whether there had been any changes.

In the movie, Alice plans to commit suicide before she loses her sentience. She wants to enjoy as much life as she can, so she tries to devise a strategy to alert herself when it is time to say goodbye. As it turns out, she waits just a little bit too long… forgets about her suicide plan… and descends into dementia. It is difficult to imagine what it would be like to live in a state of rapidly deteriorating mental capacity, but I imagine it would be terribly difficult to be the relatives of such a person.

Thankfully, I don’t think my cognitive issues are the same thing Alice Howland or my grandmother Alice Merrill experienced. I doubt I have the emotional fortitude to take my own life, even if I found myself in Alice’s situation. My hope is that I go the way my father died… quietly, in his sleep. In the meantime, I plan to enjoy life as much as I can.

I’d like to start by telling a little more about myself than I did in my About Me essay.

My father was working as a geologist for Aramco Oil in Saudi Arabia where I was born in 1950.

Baby Steve

My family, including my two sisters, Elizabeth and Patricia were living in Dhahran Saudi Arabia when I was born.

Elizabeth & Pat in front of the Sphinx

I believe my mother was pregnant with me at the time this photo of my sisters, Elizabeth and Patricia, was taken in front of the Sphinx in Egypt. We had many opportunities to travel all over the world when we were young. I am very grateful for that.

The photo above was taken in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. I’m guessing I was about three in this photo. Notice that my foot just barely reaches the peddle at the top of its stroke. Even so, from the expression on my face, I’d say it was still fun for me.

My mother, my sister Pat, our german shepard, Serina, and me with my brace on the patio of our house in Manila, The Philippines.

Shortly after I turned six, when we were still living in Saudi Arabia, my parents noticed I was limping. They took me to the hospital in Dhahran where a doctor diagnosed my condition as perthes disease, a softening of the hip joint. We flew back to the states, where this diagnosis was confirmed. I was fitted with a brace which I wore for three years until my hip joint had recovered and naturally hardened. I am so very grateful for all my parents did to ensure this disease would not leave me permanently disabled. Shortly after the discovery of this problem, we moved to Manila in The Philippines.

Cub Scout Steve, shortly after the brace came off for good.

Not long after my brace came off for good, my father was transferred to the Canary Islands and then to Madrid. The picture below is of my sister Pat and I on Queen Elizabeth I, traveling from New York to Southampton, England.

Pat and I on the Queen Elizabeth I

Pat flew back to New York to attend Skidmore College. My mom, dad, and I drove from London to Cadiz in Spain and then took a small ship to Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands. I was enrolled in a school that did not have anyone who spoke any English. My parents figured this would be a good way for me to learn Spanish. I didn’t learn anything and was soon transferred to an American school where we practiced Christmas carols incessantly. Just before I turned ten we moved to Madrid, where I did manage to learn a little Spanish.

As is evident from the preceding family history, we were very fortunate and lived a very comfortable life with many opportunities to see the world. This changed in a very dramatic way in September of 1961. My father, who had quite a temper, got into an argument with his boss. He was summarily fired. We abruptly moved back to California, eventually settling in Barstow where my father established a business as a CPA. With all our international travel experience, my mother established a travel agency. We got by, but life was dramatically different than it had been.

Barstow High School Senior Photo

I completed fifth grade through my first year of college in Barstow. I studied psychology at UCR and then abandoned that field of study in 1972 without getting a degree.

Just before I turned twenty-one I got an opportunity to travel to East Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. As I said earlier, I have had the good fortune to travel to many places around the world. This adventure to Kilimanjaro was one of the most amazing and memorable experiences of my life.

Buana Eliapenda standing at 18,600 feet elevation on Mount Kilimanjaro — photo by Steve

In 1973 I moved to Seattle, and have lived in the Pacific Northwest ever since. Initially, I worked as a hydraulic mechanic for about a year and a half. In 1975 I went back to school to study mechanical engineering at the University of Washington. In 1978 I received my bachelor's degree and went to work at Boeing designing parts for the 757. In 1983 I left Boeing to start a company creating CAD software.

In 1985 I moved to a beautiful piece of land on Whidbey Island. My first dwelling was a tipi. I still live in south Whidbey… now in a house.

That covers the first half of my life… there is a little more to tell… perhaps there will be another article sometime…

Maya loves her Ooooooman



About Me Stories

On the internet they can’t tell that you’re actually a dog…