Dutch Jones – My Life Story… So Far

Boring, boring, boring, but here it goes: It cost my parents the monumental sum of $8.86 for me to come into the world. It was 1959, my Dad was in the Army. The fact is the $8.86 wasn’t for the hospital or the doctors it was for the food my Mom ate while she was in the hospital! This all took place at Fort Ord in California. After less than a year we moved back to my parents hometown, Pasadena California. A suburb of Los Angeles.

My life as a child had all the same basic things in it that I think any child growing up in the sixties and seventies would have. Remembering this is when the war in Vietnam was raging, protests and drugs were everywhere. Good times! Living in the Southern California suburbs I think sheltered my sisters and I from most of the craziness.

I grew up with four younger sisters, thank goodness I am the oldest. It was a normal, quite middle class life. For the most part life was good… fun. Then high school and all the pressures that go with it. I’m not speaking about tougher classes or teachers or the pressure to get good grades. No! I’m talking about looking right, having the right friends and most important, girls! Oh yea, the girls. A lot of things changed in high school but then that story would be a book in itself!

I was one of those guys in high school with little direction for my life and even less motivation, except when it came to girls. It seemed like all my friends knew exactly what they wanted to do ‘when they grew up’. I did too. On Monday I wanted to be a cop; on Tuesday a Fireman; Wednesday a pilot and so on. One thing I did seem to care about, I always thought it would be important to me to make a great deal of money. How? I had no clue.

I was a lazy student; I barely made it out of high school and there was no chance I was ever going to go to college, so after a few odd jobs I joined the Army. Whew, was my Dad pissed. What the Army did for me I can never say enough. It taught me discipline and a work ethic I never had. It changed me into a better man.

After the Army still with no real direction and no interest in college I became a Deputy Sheriff (a cop). That also taught me a great deal, only this time not just about myself but also about people. The good, the bad and the really really ugly. It was a life lesson being a cop for several years, especially in L.A. Then in my fourth year of patrolling the streets I had my first chance to get into the business world. My Dad needed a partner at his newly acquired liquor store & deli. I gave up the police force and started working for myself. I worked more hours, more days and for less money than I was making as a cop… but loved it.

From the liquor store I moved into a rep business handling sporting goods. I made very good money and had fun doing it. Now, some twentyish years later I’ve owned 8 or 9 different businesses. Some more profitable than others, some harder than others and some more fun than others. Sadly, when I was at the top of my game one business wiped me out and I had to start all over, while in the middle of a super recession mind you. 2007? Did you feel it too?

Around the time of my second business I met my wife, I was 30. We met in a true blue act of fate; we dated for one month, got engaged and 6 months later we were married! We have been married for 21 years and we have two awesome teens, both soon to be out of the house, (we’ll see!). I got lucky. With all the ups and downs of business and our financial roller coaster my wife has always been there, a true partner. I don’t just love my wife, I adore my wife. She makes everything better.

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During all that time and effort I never lost the drive or motivation to write. I started a new novel too many times to mention but just couldn’t get it done. I have many many story ideas and as a habit I always put my ideas into a kind of outline so I won’t forget. When I get the urge I will go back to one of my outlines and start adding to it. Some of them have nearly been finished (in the outline form) but no novels.

Then one day early last year I was going over one of my favorite outlines and I decided to start writing it. Not sure why or where the motivation came from but six weeks later the first draft was done. That started it all. Now I am constantly working on a project. It took a bit but a publisher picked me up and my first finished novel,