70. Eamon Reide, Technician

“This guy is really good.”

“This guy is really good.” That’s the first thing most people who work with Eamon will tell you about him. “Just don’t expect much conversation,” is probably next thing they’ll say. Eamon is one of those people who “talk” with their hands. Does that mean he gets into a lot of fights? It used to be. When he was a teenager and other kids would tease him, fighting was the only way he could respond. The words just wouldn’t come. He was held back in the eighth grade. One teacher called him “simple minded” in front of the whole class. In a parent-teacher conference with Eamon sitting right there, a teacher said, “Nothing much should be expected from this boy.” Mrs. Reide took it all in stride. She knew Eamon was a good boy. Eamon’s father, a maker of fine furniture, loved having Eamon’s help in his shop. Eamon dropped out of school soon as he legally could. His father got him a job at an engineering company. He started out sweeping floors. After a year, Eamon asked if he could go to work in the company’s machine shop. When his boss balked, Eamon said he’d work for free if he could learn the job. So, they gave him six months to show if he could. He more than succeeded. He was the best they had ever seen. He quickly learned how to read a drawing and to translate it into a part. Better still, he always seemed to know what would work. And what wouldn’t. And best of all, he was happy. He was good at something. He wasn’t going to be teased, held back, or have to put up with mean teachers. He bought a big sedan and thought about moving out of his room at home and getting an apartment of his own. And then, one of the women in billing took a shine to him. He didn’t know how to deal with that. He had never dated. But she knew what to do. That was all years ago. He was skinny and gawky when he started sweeping floors. These days, he’s put on a bit of weight. He and Sheila have three children. She runs a day-care company. He still works in the machine shop only now it’s all computerized. He also manages the company’s information technology department. The funny thing is, even though he never graduated, he keeps going back to his old school for sports events and plays.

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