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Robert Sandberg – A Brief Bio

Montaña de Oro - Morro Bay, CA

Montaña de Oro – Morro Bay, CA

Before retiring in 2015 and moving to Sonora in northern California in May 2016, I was working and living in the Los Angeles area where I had been living since moving from Chicago in 1983. I spent the first 33 years of my life living in the northwest side of Chicago and the suburbs of Norridge, Des Plaines, and Evanston. I will always have fond memories of Chicago, especially Evanston and Rogers Park where I lived while attending Northwestern.

After attending various grade schools in Chicago and Ridgewood High School in suburban Norridge, I graduated in 1968 and enrolled at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois as a chemistry/pre-med major. At the end of my sophomore year, I changed my major to anthropology. It was the early ’70s: Woodstock was well on its way to becoming a legend; Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and James Morrison made their individual, tragic, way-too-soon, exits. In May 1970 the Kent State massacre sobered the nation. Just a day or two later I made my way to Washington D.C. to protest the war.

I earned all my degrees at Northwestern: B.A. in Anthropology, M.A.T. in Education, M.A. in 18th and 20th Century Literature in English, and, finally, in 1989, a Ph.D. in English. I wrote my dissertation on a volume of combined verse and prose that Herman Melville was working on during the last 10 or so years of his life. While working with the manuscripts at Harvard’s Houghton Library in the summer of 1981, I came across eight penciled manuscript pages of a preface Melville had written for the volume of combined poetry and prose that I was working on. This preface, “House of the Tragic Poet,” had never before been transcribed, let alone published. It was published for the first time as part of my dissertation. My decades-long involvement (beginning in the early 80’s) with the 15-volume Northwestern-Newberry edition of The Writings of Herman Melville, culminated in 2017 with the publication of Billy Budd, Sailorand Other Uncompleted Writings, the final and last volume of the edition to be published, of which I was one of four co-editors. Most recently, in August of 2019, the Library of America published Herman Melville: Complete Poems for which – at the invitation of Hershel Parker, the volume editor – I wrote the “Note on the Texts.” The texts of the Library of America volume are those of Northwestern-Newberry edition and my “Note on the Texts” is a detailed account of the careful, painstaking, decades-long work by the Northwestern-Newberry editors to establish accurate reading texts.

I met my wife, Marcia, on New Year’s Eve, 1982, and, in June 1983, having finished all course-work for my Ph.D., I moved from Chicago to Alhambra, a suburb of LA. We got married that December. Thirty three years later, Marcia is cuter than ever, can always make me laugh, and is still my best friend. We have two wonderful children; Tim was born in 1985 and Linny in 1988. In 1984 I began teaching English in Southern California high schools. In 1995, while continuing to teach literature and composition in the Los Angeles Unified School District, I became an instructional technology coordinator and technology consultant for several nearby schools. In 1998 I began teaching education technology courses in the Charter College of Education at California State University, Los Angeles.

I became a grandfather in 2014 when Tim and Wendy had Loretta. And then again in January 2019 when Lin and Russell had their first child, Corbin. Marcia and I retired in 2015 and in May 2016 moved to Sonora, CA where we are now enjoying life living on 8/10 of an acre in a 115 year old farm house in rural northern California, “Motherlode Country,” between California’s Central Valley and the western slope of the Sierra Nevada just two-and-a-half hours from San Franciso and an hour away from Yosemite. Tim, Wendy, and Loretta, and Lin and Russell can visit us easily and the lakes, hiking trails, and time away from the big city will give them many reasons to do so. And Lin, Russell and Corbin are only a short day’s drive away in LA.

The night sky here in Sonora is really dark (4 or sometimes 3 on the Bortle Scale), almost as dark as the night sky in Joshua Tree to which I would take my telescope when we lived in the LA area. I have set up a “Big Max” shed on our patio in which I keep my telescope setup and ready to use. I just carry it out a few feet onto the patio. I’m working on modifying the roof so that I can just slide it off to expose the night sky and not have to move the telescope.

That’s it for now.

Be well.

Bob Sandberg
Sonora, CA
September 15, 2019

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