Biography of me, as told to Erik

My son Erik wrote this for his family history project in his junior year history class at Northgate.  He interviewed me, so some of it is almost word for word what I said.  Saves me a lot of time writing memoir stuff, ha ha…

Robert Alan Martz

My father was born in Columbus, Ohio on March 9th, 1963.  He grew up in a two story house with his parents and four siblings, one older sister and three older brothers.  About a year and a half after his birth, his fifth sibling, a younger sister was born.  In his early years, he spent most of his time playing outside, playing with toys, and watching TV.  His favorite toys and games included Legos, GI Joe, little plastic army men, tag with his siblings and friends, and pretend games such as cowboys and indians.  They had a tree fort as well, and rode bikes. His first favorite early TV shows were Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers.  Later on, he watched cartoons as well on Saturday mornings. He was especially close to his brother Jim, who was the next oldest sibling.  They were “Jim and Rob”, and they had friends who were “Rob and Jim”.  Together, they called themselves the “mischief makers”.  He also spent time with his younger sister Cathy on occasion.

During the summers, their family would go to Michigan to visit grandpa and grandma Petkwitz’s cottage by Palmer  Lake.  He remembers they would always eat fish every time, so sometimes he would get sick of it.  His Grandpa also had a pontoon boat on the lake, and they would often go out on it as a family. If you had to relieve yourself while on the lake, you were out of luck.  They also visited grandpa and grandma Martz in Cincinnati.  The food that his grandpa Martz made was greasy, and my father does not remember it as being very good in general.

He went to a Catholic middle school, where he found out that he was a hard working student.  He enjoyed being able to get all A’s.  Two friends that he remembers are Kevin and Joe, with whom he would often go to the arcade to play games like pinball using quarters.  Kevin was from a divorced family, so he had a ‘Big Brother’ Jim.  Jim would take the friends around to the arcade or miniature golfing.  They would hang out during the summer and had a great time together, often watching movies at his house.  Later in middle school though, in seventh and eighth grade he grew apart from that group of friends, so he did not have as much fun. He had one particular teacher that he liked, and meant a lot to him.  He started noticing girls around this time, and he had a couple of girlfriends.  Of course, being middle school relationships they were usually short lived and caused drama. He told me that if he could have redone things that he would have skipped that part of his life, and he envied me for staying away from any “deep” relationships with girls.  He said that he did not have nearly as many close buddies as I do now, so in that respect he did not have as much fun in middle school and high school as I do.  He watched a lot of TV, and liked shows such as “All In the Family”, “Hawaii Five-O”, “MASH”, “Mary Tyler Moore”, “Happy Days” and many others. He remembers that he and most of his family watched a lot of TV together.  Specifically, it was mostly him, his younger sister Cathy, and his Mom.

He spent his first two years of high school at a Catholic high school.  He realized that he was not happy there, so he switched to a public school after sophomore year.  Part if it was due to not enjoying the Catholic school in general, and the other part was to help his parents save money, even though they told him not to worry about it.  He was able to walk to the public school rather than take the bus, and he enjoyed the teachers much more, especially his English teacher.  He did not have a whole lot of friends at either school though, because he had switched schools.  During his senior year he decided to major in math, after thinking about it and talking with a counselor.  He chose it because he was good at math, and because he did not know what else to do.  In addition, he had an uncle that was a statistician, and one of his favorite games was a dice football game for which he kept statistics.  All of his older siblings had gone to college at Ohio State University, so he wanted to be a little bit different and chose to go to the University of Dayton instead.  He had a lot of relatives in Dayton, some of whom had gone to the University there.

Within the first few months of college, he dropped math as a major and switched to economics because he found out that he did not like calculus.  He was in an Honors program, where he had special courses that changed after each semester.  His favorite was Philosophy of Law, where he studied famous Supreme Court cases with an intriguing teacher.  His least favorite was biology which he described as a “joke”.  He had to study creationism compared to evolutionism, because he was at a Catholic college.  To him, it was a given that evolutionism was a more sound theory than creationism.  He found studying creationism almost insulting.  A lot of his peers, however, were religious and did actually believe in creationism.  He studied hard in college, but he also had a great time having fun at parties, like most college goers do.

After college he went to grad school at UC Berkeley, where he got his masters degree in Public Policy, and where he met my mother.  They married in 1991, after dating for about five years.  He wanted to wait to marry her until he was more sure about his career, and more financially stable.  He said that grad school was the most rigorous work he has ever done in his life, working extremely hard for two years in Cal to get his degree, which he does not currently use but which helped him to get a good job.  He liked Berkeley a lot because of the interesting diversity of people there, and the fun places to go.

Initially he got a job using his Public Policy degree to write a report about California Education.  After about a year however, he realized that it was not what he wanted to do.  He was willing to take just about any other job, and in 1988 he found a job in public finance.  He has had the same job ever since, and has actually worked with his boss Tony for all twenty-two years.  The firm he works for underwrites municipal bonds.  He does a lot of financial analysis, writing reports and advising clients on money issues such as how much they need to borrow and how they are going to pay back their loans.  His main qualm is that in school, he never really had a goal of what he wanted to do with his career later in life, because he was so focused in simply getting great grades.  As a result he got stuck in a job that has its rewards at times but is limited in creativity and is not his definition of a “dream job”.  After all of this he told me that if there was anything I should take away from all of this, it was that I should try and focus myself on something that I want to do so that at the very least I can end up with a career that I enjoy.

That last bit sounds a bit harsh in reference to my career, but the sentiment I conveyed to him is heartfelt.


About goldenbearflyer

Robert Martz is a writer who doesn't make any money writing, so he keeps a day job in finance. He lives and works in Walnut Creek, CA. He began blogging in 2011 as a way of taking responsibility for and finding a place to put his thoughts and feelings. He loves to eat, cook, and travel. He volunteers, practices yoga, runs, bicycles, hikes, and explores nature with passion and a child-like sense of wonder. He is inspired by his amazing friends, doers and other writers. Check out another of his blogs at
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