Brief History of me – part one

A Navy “junior”, I was born the son of Louis Herbert Sugg and Irene Callen Sugg. Lou served on the commissioning crew of the USS Bream (SS243), a submarine that patrolled the Pacific during World War II. After the nau8war, he was accepted for flight school and qualified to fly Grumman F9F Panthers off of carriers. I was born while he was at flight school in Pensacola, Florida. A couple of years after flight school, he earned a Rhodes Scholarship to study philosophy and political science in Oxford, a time of which I have memories that are as pleasant as they are few.

Lou in front of an F9F

Lou in front of an F9F

The most poignant of those memories is that a day or so before his deployment to the Mediterranean, he and I were standing on the pier next to the biggest ship I could imagine.  It was an aircraft carrier, the USS Coral Sea (CV43), and it was huge to my 5-year old eyes. The Coral Sea was the carrier to which his flight squadron was attached, and he promised to take me aboard for a tour the next time he was in port. Unfortunately, during that deployment, the jet he was flying on a routine mission took a nosedive into the Mediterranean. Due to the depth of the Med at the crash site, no wreckage or remains were found.

I survived the tumultuous years of grade school and high school without my father and eventually followed his footsteps into the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, graduating in the class of 1972 with a Bachelor of Science – and a major in English. By the time the required 5 years of service were completed, I had realized and accepted that the Navy was not for me, so I resigned my commission.

guitar28Following the naval experience, I took a few years studying guitar (both classical and contemporary) privately and then took a year at Berklee College of Music, majoring in guitar performance. To my great disappointment, I realized I was never going to be Andres Segovia, Chet Atkins, Joe Pass or Carlos Santana.

The next leg of this long journey took me to working at the Intimate Bookshop in Chapel Hill, NC for Wallace Kuralt and his wife Brenda. I was named manager of “Books By Wire” and later Operations Manager for the Intimate Bookshops. By the way, that is “intimate” as in small and cozy, not as in big and sexy — although we did occasionally get calls on the 800 line asking about see-through lingerie and purple teddies.

At least the color is right...

At least the color is right...

Working at the Intimate, I met the Crown/Outlet publisher’s rep, Ellen Higgins and soon began what has become the most important role of my life – husband to Ellen. Brenda Kuralt played matchmaker and both she and her husband Wallace attended our wedding in Minneapolis.  For our honeymoon, we drove a newly purchased Plymouth Sundance seemingly thousands of miles (1,243) from Minneapolis to Chapel Hill. Boy, was that more than we bargained for!! Arriving worn out and needing to go to work for a rest, but soon settled in our apartment in Chapel Hill with our two cats and returned to selling books – I to the people of Chapel Hill and Ellen to the world.

Since Ellen and I were on either side of 40 (spinster and confirmed bachelor?) when we married, we were each accustomed to having plenty of alone time – especially me.  Ellen adjusted to the new role more easily than I did. In fact, by the time we finished our honeymoon, we had been together for 3 weeks non-stop. This was unusual, as at that time Ellen had a territory covering everything south of DC and east of the Mississippi and usually traveled 4 days a week, 3 to 4 weeks a month. At some point soon after returning to Chapel Hill, I looked at and asked (as sweetly as I could) “Isn’t there someplace you’re supposed to be?”
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