In a lot of ways, Sandy & I were fortunate to meet when we did, because I think Sandy was ready to break out of her New York City steady gig, and I was ready to settle down with the woman of my dreams. There’s not enough time in my life to tell every story about our lives together, but it was good for both of us that we met when we did and shared 20 years together. And I am very grateful for it.
Sandy & I met on a fashion photo shoot in December 1992. I was a relative newbie PA/motohome driver and Sandy was a younger but much more experienced photo assistant and pretty much her boss David’s right hand for anything work related. We stayed long-distance friends for a while via phone and letters before my first trip to New York in September 1993. We immediately hit it off, and by the following summer Sandy was headed to Arizona so we could be together. In the business arena, we each had somewhat different strengths that made us an excellent business team as well and immediately formed East-West Productions to handle all the out-of-town shoots that came to Arizona in the winter.
Besides all the joys of self-employment I’ve mentioned in my other writings, I particularly enjoyed my life with Sandy because we both got 6-10 weeks off in the summer to travel for both business and pleasure. We would road trip it (I hated flying and loved road trips—Sandy was just the opposite, but she tolerated me—Hahahaha!) first to Chicago and Milwaukee to visit my people and pitch potential clients for a few weeks, and the we would do the same thing in New York. I had never been to NYC, and for a guy from suburban Milwaukee, New York City was like another country (at least in certain neighborhoods!) I really loved our long visits to New York, but what I’m most grateful for is that we were able to spend so much time with family and friends and really enjoy the luxury of maintaining those relationships for decades. Many people don’t get that opportunity (and get to see and do things that would only be possible in NYC!!)
The other great thing about our summer “working” vacations is that besides always going to our hometowns in the Midwest and NYC, we would add different detours almost every year! Throughout our 20 years of traveling the US, we visited a lot of different cities, towns, and parts of the countryside visiting many different people. Here’s a short list off the top of my head: Boston & rural New England, Upstate New York, North Carolina, Florida, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Dallas/Ft. Worth, St. Louis & rural Missouri, Minneapolis & rural Minnesota, and at least a half dozen other places I can’t even think of right now. We had the pleasure of connecting with family, friends, and clients over the years to a much greater extent than most people do. I am very grateful for all the close friendships that freedom has allowed me to maintain that are still with me today!
We also took an awesome 23-day trip to Europe that I’ll talk about in a separate story. And I could kick myself now for passing up a couple of trips to Hong Kong and Singapore over the years. Sandy had family there, and I (what a dumbass I was!) decided that work was a higher priority and that I would always have another chance to get there. In fact, Sandy used to chastise me for never saying no to a gig, even when we already had a few others happening. She thought I was a little nuts in that department–I was Mr. Ambitious to the extreme, and Sandy–You were absolutely right! I’d feel a lot smarter right about now if I had said yes to Asia and no to a few of the 900 shoots we did in over two decades. But hindsight is 20/20, and I never expected what is happening to me now (or at least not so soon–Apparently, 55 is the new 95 in my case!) All in all though, I have nothing to complain about. Sandy and I explored a lot of places and had fun with a lot of people in 20 years!!!
Since Sandy is actually a real photographer (with a real degree from FIT!), I’ll let each picture tell a thousand words. (And you’re probably sick of me blabbing by now—Hahaha!) Of course, I could spend a year posting pics, but I’ll put up a few good ones so you get the idea…