My themes in life have been think independently, think young, consider the broader good (We economists know self interest will take care of itself.), and keep your sense of humor. I found these themes easier to practice as a university professor. I chose economics because its study involved mathematics, history, social philosophy, and ethics.
One of my regrets in life is that I took courses at the junior college instead of at high school my senior year. While I got my BA at SMU a year earlier I missed the high school experience. In 1959 at SMU, Milla Cozart introduced me to Laura Garner who I married in 1963. My Ph.D. work at Vanderbilt lasted from 1961 to 1965. In the summer of 1964 I had a five-month internship with the National Bureau of Economic Research in New York City. With the World’s Fair, an election year, Broadway shows, and the opera my wife and I had a marvelous time.
After graduate school, I worked as an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta until 1968 and then became a Professor at Georgia State University. Over half the courses I taught were at the graduate level, and I directed a number of doctoral theses. I did some publishing, both hard copy and computer programs, but I should have done more. At the university I was active in campus politics and served three years as president of the American Association of University Professors chapters and worked to improve faculty governance and procedural due process at the university. During the late 1960s I did volunteer work with hippies, civil rights groups, and those promoting integrated housing. I still consider the term “liberal Democrat” a compliment. After 30 years at the university I earned a generous defined benefit pension and retired.
Until career and family took too much time, I actively played tournament chess with city championship titles in Dallas, Nashville, and Atlanta and state championship titles in Arkansas (3 times), Tennessee, and Iowa. Twice I played and lost to Bobby Fisher.
My wife and I spent a lot of time with our children and emphasized the importance of education. We insisted our children not take a job during high school and they could not own their own car. Peggy won an all expenses paid Presidential scholarship to SMU, studied a year at Oxford, earned an M.D. at the Medical College of Georgia, and is now a gynecologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Ruth earned a BA in English at Grinnell, is a medical transcriptionist, and is president of an Atlanta poetry group. Richard earned a BA and MS in computer science at Stanford, and is now a senior development manager at Oracle Corporation. We have three grandchildren and two-step grandchildren.
The family frequently bicycled together and went on camping vacations. In 1978 I took a 3-week bicycling vacation in England, France, and Holland with my 12-year-old daughter Peggy. In 1984 my son, Rick, and I bicycled across Iowa on a tandem. In 1985, the whole family did the Bicycle Ride across Georgia.
After retirement I have gone to Europe three times and taught a six-week course at the University of Cairo in Egypt. I am mentoring a young Chinese boy who has won the national scholastic chess tournament both for the sixth grade and the seventh grade.
In 1963 while hitchhiking, I was stopped on suspicion of bank robbery. Two guys had picked me up about the time a robbery committed by three men occurred. After showing identification and being question we were released.
On Friday August 13, 1971 I bought a factory new Mercedes for $3,880 in Germany. On Sunday Nixon announced the New Economic Policy and the value of the dollar dropped significantly.
In 1974, while riding my bicycle with friends, I was side swiped by a tow trailer carrying a boat and a pole on the vehicle hit my rear. With my bike and me being propelled by the trailer, my only escape was to climb off the bike and into the boat. Only then did the driver see me in his rear view mirror.
In 1986, while bicycling I was hit by a car in front of the Martin Luther King Center. When I told the driver we had to report this to the police, he pulled out a Clint Eastwood type gun, and told me to get my bike out from in front of his car. I obeyed, and he then drove off. The police never caught him.
Richard Long - 2003