A 20th Century Bridge: Selected Memories of a Family Named Foley

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AuthorHouse, Jan 5, 2006 - History - 352 pages
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A 20th Century Bridge opens with the Industrial Revolution underway. The majority of our citizens are illiterate and telegraphers will soon lose their jobs to telephone operators. The reader is taken on a journey with transportation by steam locomotive and “hoss cars” at the outset. These give way to a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce, an open cockpit biplane and a FedEx Airbus shuttling the world. Early on you learn Major Foley, the author’s father, shaped history during the 1918 influenza pandemic. Along the way you witness a frontier wedding at the gateway to the Klondike, the life-saving mission of an Alaskan bush pilot, a computer/telecommunications pioneer at work in Silicon Valley, Triathlon competition on a Caribbean island, a seven foot snowfall high in the Sierras and a goat herd in Maine saving lives. Four Irish Americans named Cooling, Coakley, Minahan and Foley formed a new gene pool almost 100 years ago. Their offspring, and children born of new matrimonial threads, have woven a rich, diverse, and continually growing fabric of common heritage among relatives named Allyn, Bosies, Conroy, Davidson, Estey, Foley, Grier, Halpin, Hopkins, Kohut, Maloney, Marchesi, Reilly, Rivet, Robinson, Sandefur, Sotire, Terhune, Tisdale and VanDyke. This memoir offers each and all an intimate glimpse of ancestral and contemporary personalities, lifetime experiences, and the cultural forces at work throughout the previous century.

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About the author (2006)

     The Great Depression and a tightly controlled political machine in the city where the author grew up, shaped his youth with lessons in the value of thrift and the dangers of entrenched power.  WWII, college, marriage, and wild adventures formed a prelude to his forty year career in manufacturing, electronics, education, biotechnology, publishing and consulting.


     Inception of today’s information technology (IT) began with pioneers like himself making use of punched cards, chadless tape, teletypes and primitive electronic computers.  He continuously infused the following decades of IT’s gestation with software to exploit the speed and memory of succeeding hardware generations and new data processing tools.  It was a bumpy ride. Told with many anecdotal stories and much humor, it is a trip worth taking.

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