In 1995, John Evans wasn’t living in Port Aransas nor was he retired. He’s doing both now. He retired in 2006. He and his wife, Margaret, bought a house in San Antonio and in Port Aransas. They’ve recently decided to sell the San Antonio house and live full-time in Port A.
In the mid-1990’s, though, the couple lived in Alexandria, Virginia. John was working hard at the Pentagon, serving as a Senior Executive in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
His hands, however, were lobbying for early retirement. John started experiencing annoying aches and pains. His doctor diagnosed arthritis and told John that it was important to keep his hands moving.
John looked for a seriously hands-on hobby. At first he tried tying flies. Then Margaret bought him a jewelry making kit and that became John’s new “occupational therapy.” Margaret has been the happy beneficiary of John’s projects ever since. She proudly shows off a bracelet specially designed with a flat underside so it doesn’t get in the way when she rests her wrist on a desk to write.
John also makes Christmas and birthday presents and donates jewelry to be raffled and auctioned off for charities. He donated some 30 pieces to the Parrot Heads of Port Aransas for that group’s Wings Over Port A 2012, a fundraiser for the ARK and the Food Pantry. It was at Parrot Head fundraisers where I acquired two of John’s silver rings, one set with an amethyst, the other with a white topaz.
John’s quite expert now but his first attempts didn’t all yield gorgeous results. “My first pieces were slag,” he says. He almost burned down a bedroom trying to smelt gold. John was also not pleased with himself the time that he cracked a one-carat piece of rare and costly tanzanite.
These days he tackles less challenging designs. After all, “I’m retired,” he says which is also why he hasn’t gone commercial. He likes making the jewelry but marketing and selling it would be too much like work.
When he’s not making jewelry and otherwise enjoying being retired in Port Aransas, John keeps his hands busy by writing novels. He started his first one over 20 years ago. In the mid 1980’s, some Reagan- administration government workers were given computers to use at work, and were encouraged to take them home so that they could get even more work done outside the office. The computer was the IBM 8080. It came with an integrated word processor/database/spreadsheet program called Enable. (To this day there are still collectors and users who meet in online forums to trade notes and tips about this legacy software.) John used it to keyboard his first novel. The problem came years later when he wanted to publish the book. By then, the 8080 and Enable were “so yesterday” that there was no easy way to get John’s book out of the computer. It took a lot of work to remove all the unnecessary code from the digital file so as to get a usable manuscript.
Due to the sensitive nature of the work that he did, John can’t draw too heavily on his Department of Defense experience for his novels. However, while John’s books Wild Options, Mercenary Angels and Encounter in Las Vegas are categorized as science fiction and fantasy, he does bring to his writing the serious credentials earned during his career. He’s currently at work on a fourth novel.
For more information about John’s books, visit the Web site at www.johnevansbooks.com. I’ll see you there. —http://devorahfox.com