Act I – The Beginning
Stephen Ledwith was born in a military hospital in Kansas in 1971. Shortly after arriving, the family moved from Kansas to Baldwinsville, in the heart of Central New York. Growing up, Steve played baseball, soccer and excelled at the martial arts. Around the age of 10, Stephen was exposed to computers when he received a TRS-80, for Christmas. It was the beginning of a wonderful friendship with computers.
After an exceptionally mediocre showing, at least as far as the GPA was concerned, at C.W. Baker High School, Steve went on to major in Chemistry at SUNY Oswego. A mere four and a half years later, and far too many Calculus classes, Steve graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry, while setting the educational excellence bar at a sufficiently low level for his siblings. Ed. note: You’re welcome.
With college completed and a crisp, white diploma for a subject that was no longer interesting, Steve moved to Virginia Beach, VA. Living near the beach and working retail was a great way to spend some time. Steve spent the rest of his time on the computer, engrossed in a multi-user domain game, Revenge at the End of the Line (EotL), which he had started playing college.
During the summer of 1994, Steve went out to California to meet Sandra, an interesting young lady he’d met on EotL in 1992. The two would travel to the northern portion of the state to attend a doomed marriage of two others they knew from the game. It was this initial trip that set the next phase of life into motion for Steve.
Act II – Dot Com, Here I come!
As fall approached in 1994, Steve packed up everything he owned, including a pearl faced cockatiel, and drove across country to live with Sandra and her family. Steve landed a job with a retail outfit fairly quickly and set out to make some money. Turns out that living in California was an expensive proposition.
One retail job led to another and each led to an increasing pool of friends and networked associates. One of those associates helped to get Steve into a small computer software firm that was making marine and motorcycle dealership information systems. The new tech support job was a lot better an slinging packaged software in a retail joint.
Steve’s tenure at the software company didn’t last long, most due to illness. A bout with cancer and chemotherapy made for a rough going and there wasn’t any working going on for quite a while. As Steve made his way back to reality post treatment, he studied for the all important Microsoft Certification! With that crisp, white, not-yet-useless diploma in hand, Steve set about freelance consulting, networking and software.
Since the first computer at age 10, Steve continued to work with computers along side everything else. In high school, there were countless hours spent in self-study classes focused on learning the ins and outs of computers and software development. In college, the campus had a great lab and absorbed nearly as much time as the chemistry labs. Ed. note: Yes, Steve was pale. Exceptionally pale. After college, there was the use of any and dial-up services Steve could get into, just to keep in touch with ever developing computer field.
Then, out of the blue, the Dot Com bubble started. Through a few networking connections, Steve landed a job with Homeseekers.com, an online real estate search engine. Homeseekers needed a developer and team leader that could do ASP and keep people on track. Steve needed a job and chance to use cool toys on the internet. It was a perfect match.
During this same time, Steve was finally able to convince Sandra that they should get married and their blissful union was started.
Fast forward a few years and the Dot Com bubble burst and Steve found himself in the familiar position of working as a freelance software developer. A few long term gigs with some small companies, and lot of great people in those years. It was during this time that next phase of life began.
Act III – Fatherhood
While fighting cancer, it had become clear to Steve and Sandra that having children of their own was not going to be a possibility. The cancer, the tremendous delay in starting treatment, and the chemo, had all conspired to ensure that Steve was not going to producing any children.
However, amid all of that evidence, Sandra, the wonderful wife, was carrying a child and fatherhood was mere months away. Discussions were started, re-started, tabled, and continued. Steve and Sandra agreed that raising a child with a stay at home mom was difficult proposition in Southern California.
A plan was hatched to get out of Southern California and go somewhere much more affordable. Steve and Sandra discussed Virgina, Montana, and a few other places. They finally decided that Central New York, Steve’s old stomping grounds, made the most sense. Sandra would have support to help with a small child and the small child would have grand parents, aunts, uncles and eventually cousins around.
Shortly after the decision was reached, Edward was born and officially changed Steve and Sandra’s lives for ever.
Act IV – Going Home
Steve took a trip to the Baldwinsville area to find a house for the family and managed to buy one on the first trip. Sandra, the trusting, wonderful, wife didn’t even see the house before she moved in.
Moving back to New York was not something Steve had really ever considered. Sure, its a great area, but there a lot of great areas in the country. In retrospect, it was a great decision. Sandra and Edward had the support they needed, especially when Steve took a job as a consultant that required 80% travel.
Somehow, during the next two years, Steve and Sandra managed to foil the anti-children forces, and Sandra was pregnant with another child. Everyone, even Edward was pleased by the prospect of another family member.
Nathan was born on tax day and has forever changed the dread usually associated with April 15th. The arrival of the second child prompted additional discussions, conversations, and planning. Not long after, Steve left his traveling consultant job and started a role with a local company that would allow for him to grow in his role as father.
Act V – Going Forward
To be determined …