Mark Michaels

Hi Honey,

I suddenly remembered that you had emailed me informing me that my biography somehow vanished from the website.  I see Rod Serling and can hear the Twilight Zone music.  So I will attempt to write something hopefully not too dull and boring.  Here goes......

 

I matriculated in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, aka RPI, aka "the Tute", in 1961.  I majored in Chemical Engineering.  I have no idea why.  I really wanted to be a research chemist but science majors had to take a language.  As I barely got past three years of French, I thought better of it, especially when the language choices were either German or Russian.  So as I was good in math and chemistry, I thought why not Chemical Engineering?  No language requirement!  I quickly discovered that I hated it.  Early on, I helped a few of my fraternity brothers who were Architecture majors with their projects. I thought, wow, I like this!  So I switched my major to Architecture.  It was a five year program, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree after 4 years and a Bachelor of Architecture degree after 5 years. Then there was a 3 year apprentice program I had to complete while working for an architect, for serf wages, which then qualified me to take the 36 hour state examination.  If you are lucky to pass, most do not the first time, then voila, you are now an architect.

Over the years I worked in several architectural offices.  Tons of school projects, some residential and some commercial projects.  In late '73, I went to work for Suffolk County, as the Assistant County Architect, eventually retiring from there after 28 years, plus two years for early retirement incentive.  The county work was interesting and varied but the bureaucracy eventually got to me.  The County owned approximately 500 buildings.  I worked on three community college campuses, starting two from scratch.  Worked on many parks projects in the 44 county parks.  Did work on 2 jails, seven police precincts, police headquarters, fire fighting facilities, a slaughter house ( which fed inmates at one of the jails plus the county infirmary), office buildings, 12 story H.Lee Dennison office building, health clinics, skilled nursing facilities, and probably a lot more that I'm not remembering.  Throughout my time practicing architecture, I always had my own practice.  I've probably completed about 1000 projects on my own including many residential, commercial, and medical projects.

Married in 1968, to my wife Elayne, we had two sons, Jeremy & Eric.  I lived most of my life on Long Island.  Shortly after I got married, I thought "it would be fun" to try someplace new.  I had several offers, including one to relocate to Bermuda, which, fortunately I didn't choose.  We wound up in Hartford, Connecticut, right on the border of West Hartford, a beautiful community.  My office was so close to our apartment I walked to work.   It was in a beautiful renovated estate on parklike grounds. Mark Twain's house was directly across the street from our apartment.  And Harriet Beecher Stowe's house was right next to his.  Anyway, we soon grew homesick for family & friends and moved back  to Long Island.  Been here since.  I designed and built our current home in Setauket in 1983.  Our sons keep telling us to downsize but we love the house and location.  We have 4 grandchildren now ranging from 5 years old to 15.  Three girls and one boy. 

After practicing architecture for over 50 years, I decided that it was time to move on.  I think my website might still be active ( www.markmichaelsarchitect.com ) but I don't know for how much longer.  Now I'm only doing projects for family, friends, and past clients who need me.  We bought a condo in Fort Myers, Florida in the fall of 2018.  We are "snow birds", spending about 6 months in Florida.  I'm not sure if we will become residents. It's a beautiful community.  My wife and I both stay active.  We both play tennis.  I ride my bike in Florida 6 miles each day and am on three different tennis teams.  I still play the guitar but need to get one for Florida.  I'm addicted to playing bridge, sudoku, and Jeopardy.  I'm planning on drawing and painting again now that I have the time. Might try the ukulele.

I can't believe I'm 76 years old now.  I don't know about you but I try to ignore my birthdays.  Just concentrate on having fun & enjoying ourselves.  Although I've had several health issues over the years, including colon cancer in 1999, I consider myself lucky. My wife & I have traveled to over 70 countries, experiencing life & cultures all over the world.  We've been to most of the US states.  I feel blessed.  Regrets?  Sure, I've had a few ( isn't that from a song? ) but, all in all, its been a good ride.  It's nice to see that 80% of our classmates are still alive and kicking. The future?  Well, I believe in Art Linkletter's definition of "Life".  He said "life is what gets in the way of the plans you've made".  So true.  Right now, for me, life definitely does not suck.

p.s. my address in Florida is: 8772 Stockbridge Drive, Fort Myers, FL 33908

p.p.s. I will send some pics when I get back to NY in April