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. Here is a peek at those years:
These first 18 years of my life in the Stock family are elaborated in If I Only Knew, the first volume of these memoirs.
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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 hopefully be the subject of the second volume of these memoirs, at times in progress.
In the meantime, here’s a sample:
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I am married to Lisa, she with the incredibly infectious smile! Our amazing wedding, overlooking Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe, was relatively recent, as was the ensuing 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.
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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I ‘m embarrassed to admit to three failed marriages. Failure nowadays seems to mean that each did not last indefinitely. But each also meant a lot, was a lot of fun for years, and created growth and insight, not just for me. Then of course the shit hit the fan!
I met Susan Blanc in Marlow, when she was an American waitress in the Wimpy Bar on the High Street and I was a long distance lorry driver stopping in for an occasional burger and milk shake. We were together for about five years.
Sunshine Britton and I met in San Francisco while studying to prepare for the New York State Bar exam together after law school. The roughly ten years we spent together, 1983 through 1992-3, will hopefully be the subject of the third volume of these memoirs.
Marie-Helene Berhaut was the office manager at my law firm in Paris when I arrived there, and after we connected years later we spent over fifteen years together. Those years are the subject of the fourth volume of these memoirs, Nous les Zinzins!
It does feel odd putting them together, but here are my three prior wedding days:
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Sunshine gave me two sons. Nick was born in New York City in July 1986, about six months before we moved to Paris, and Arlo was born in Paris in October 1989 during the week of the Loma Prieta earthquake.
Marie Helene gave me two sons. Charlie was born in Brittany in August 1995, a year after we 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, making her almost exactly a year younger than Nick, and Alban was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine in September 1989, making him three weeks older than Arlo. Sadly, both cut contact with me after their mother and I separated, first Daphne and then Alban.
All six of the children are all over the Zinzins volume of these memoirs, covering their childhoods, and here’s a foretaste:
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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: www.startupalacarte.com.
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The last volume of these memoirs is a blog, here called somewhat hopefully “Aging Gracefully,” which I started after moving out of the zinzins family home in 2010. It’s just a series of diary entries, still chronicling my families and me.
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Feel free to explore!
Here are a few suggestions, a sampling of what’s in here: