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Ian’s Memoirs

My name is Ian Stock, and these are my memoirs. No surprises there!

I am a child of postwar England, born in Buckinghamshire, just west of London, while fruit was still being rationed by the government, and raised in the suburbs of Cardiff, Bristol, Birmingham and Bucks.

These first 18 years of my life in the Stock family are elaborated in If I Only Knew, the First Volume of these memoirs. Here is a peek at those years:

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I had the amazing good fortune to be educated at UC Berkeley in California and Yale Law School in Connecticut, after dropping out of Imperial College in London in a prolonged hippy fervor. Those were fruitful and enlightening years, the thrill of a time of hope, peace and love, the joy of a free-wheeling American liberal arts education, and the discovery of one of the great modern socio-political experiments, the US Constitution.

I traveled extensively, mostly in Canada and the US, before restarting my formal education. A variety of jobs funded these travels: my favorite was lorry driver. Other jobs helped fund the education itself. These years, from 1970 through 1983, will be the subject of the Second Volume of these memoirs, Gimme Some Truth, intermittently in progress.

In the meantime, here’s a small sample:

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Since 2020, I have been married to Lisa Valenzuela, she with the incredibly infectious smile!

Our amazing wedding overlooked Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe, and was followed by an equally amazing honeymoon, spent dodging the pandemic on a road trip around the western US States. If you’re interested, a few of the stories are here.

Here we are, in front of our ten guests (pandemic maximum) and the minister, who doubled as our photographer. It’s a beautiful spot, isn’t it?

It only took Lisa two or three weeks to organize the wedding, which included obtaining the license, arranging for the minister, deciding on a location (I did help there!) and getting herself and me dressed appropriately.

Part of what made it amazing was avoiding the complicated buildup, and most of the complicated politics, that weddings often entail. The guest list was limited by law, and by the dual natural disasters afflicting California at the time, the pandemic and numerous enormous wildfires.

We were able to focus on what counted.

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The Third Volume of these memoirs, still in the planning stages, will run from my father’s death in 1983 until 1994.

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My children are the centerpiece of the Fourth Volume of these memoirs, Zinzins, which runs from 1994 through 2009. This volume started as an online photo album of their childhood, and was expanded after the family broke up when I tried to understand where we’d gone wrong.

Nick was born in New York City in July 1986, about three years after Sunshine Britton and I got together and six months before we moved to Paris. Arlo (fka Tom) was born in Paris in October 1989 during the week of the Loma Prieta earthquake.

Charlie was born in Brittany in August 1995, a year after Marie-Hélène Berhaut and I got together, and Alex was born in Santa Cruz in January 1998, seven months after we moved there.

For over fifteen years, I raised Marie-Helene’s two children from the prior bed (“le lit antérieur,” as the French so endearingly put it!) Daphne was born in Brittany in August 1987, and Alban was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine in September 1989. Sadly, both cut contact with me after their mother and I separated in 2010.

Here’s a foretaste of the children:

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I exercised my profession of corporate lawyer in New York City (for four years), Paris (for ten) and Silicon Valley (for twenty plus). I worked for three law firms, in-house for three corporations and independently under my own shingle, the latter for about half the time, or seventeen of those years.

I retired at the end of 2018, although my professional website remains, if in poor condition!

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The Last Volume of these memoirs is a series of blog posts, here called somewhat hopefully “Aging Gracefully,” which I started after moving out of the then family home in 2010. It’s a series of diary entries, with the most recent appearing first, chronicling my life in its twists and turns and other anecdotes.

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The whole memoir can be a bit of a challenge to explore! The About page offers significant guidance on how to do it, under the Heading “Ways to Navigate this Site,” as does this page with respect to the Zinzins volume, under the Heading “How to Navigate.”

Annual Updates for each year from 1994 through 2022 are listed here, and “Wow, what a ride!” The zinzins diary pages for each year between 1994 and 2009, and other links to our zinzins history, can be found here.

To take a more random approach, here is a sample of what’s in these memoirs:

from boyhood: a personal take on Beatlemania; a miserable year at boarding school; and a hippy thumbing across Canada;

from our blended family: the children fooling around; our summer home in Brittany; halloween; and a one-page summary of our family history;

and in more recent years: a little adventure in the Sierra Nevada; some modest internet detective work; and, if you want too much information, there’s always Dating After 60!