Howdy! I'm Ed Born-Long.
Jew's harp music has long been one of my special interests. I learned to play jew's harp from an Austrian young man I met in Spain’s Balearic Islands in 1971. The instrument goes well with so many folk music styles, like bluegrass and Celtic, for example.
Since arriving in Austin, Texas, in the spring of 1978, I spent many years in the roofing business. As I worked my way up from the field, I was foreman, superintendent, general manager, estimator, and salesman. However, believe it or not, over the years roofing lost its charm. Imagine that.
In the spring of 2001, I found my perfect career when I went to work full time at SafePlace, Austin's Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Survival Center. I began volunteering at SafePlace not long after my daughter Annie was killed by her former boyfriend in 1997. This fine organization embraced me with warmth, caring, and love, and literally saved my life through that trying time. I spent 2 years on the SafePlace staff, working with those wonderful people every day of the week. Most of that time I was in charge of vehicle donations, a very successful program that brings lots of much-needed money to SafePlace.
In spring of 1998 we formed Annie's Team for SafePlace's annual "Walk for Safe Families and Safe Streets." In this picture I'm wearing my 2001 Annie's Team T-shirt. Each year the Walk is SafePlace's biggest fund raiser. Thousands of walkers collect donations and walk together in an awesome display of love and caring. At its acme, 100 members of Annie's Team were giving their time and efforts to this wonderful cause in honor of my daughter's memory, and I couldn't be more grateful. Through their efforts we raised thousands of dollars for this outstanding organization.
And speaking of daughters, I have a second story to tell. My daughter Emilie was born before Annie. When Emilie was 3 years old—in my younger, wilder days, and in Emilie's best interests—I gave her up for adoption by her mother's new husband. For years I had no contact and completely lost track of Emilie and her mother. In 2002 I finally found Em, and we are a family again. Emilie presented me with four grandchildren, who since then have multiplied to the next generation. As of 2011 we have three great-grandsons. You can see more about those offspring in Emilie's Place (opens in new window). And to read the whole story of my lost-and-found daughters, click here (also a new window).
Me and my kitty Max
I retired in 2004 and really embraced the concept. For a while I worked a couple of mornings each week as a golf course marshall, and in trade I got to play for free, and so did Chris. We weren't very good, but we sure had fun. I also joined the Bastrop Senior Center in our closest town, about 12 miles away, and I still enjoy going there once or twice a week to play Texas Hold 'Em. We have a good group of old-timers like me, and their companionship means a lot to me.
In May 2009 Chris and I took a vacation to Chicago, our home town. We had been having a great time acting like tourists and visiting with Chris's cousins when, on the morning of our fourth day, I had a stroke. Long story short (and it is a long story), I was very lucky. The main result of the stroke is the effect on my speech and other language-based brain functions. My condition is called expressive aphasia. As of the end of 2011, I have been in speech therapy in one form or another ever since the stroke. I make slow, steady progress. It's frustrating sometimes, but not overwhelming. I enjoy my life. I am able to drive, and I go out to lunch often by myself. Getting out with other people is the best therapy, making conversation whenever I can. My afternoons at the poker table are very beneficial, and the seniors at the center are very friendly and helpful. And of course I do depend on Chris for lots of help...but then, I always have.
Me and our Teddy