Life as a Continuing Adventure

By Bill Carney

Like many, I went to Yale Law after graduation, being ill-equipped for much of anything else – at least it felt that way. I got married in my third year, and at graduation I thought all I wanted to do was become a partner in a nice law firm. I found one in Denver, Holland & Hart, but after making partner I began to say “is that all there is?” So my wife and children decamped to Aspen, where I practiced for about 2½ years, until I said it again. My life seemed fractured by the demands of billable hours and a fracturing marriage, which led to a divorce. Within the last year in Aspen I started taking my kids out with a lovely lady also in the process of divorcing.

We discovered that our friendship quickly became a romance, and Jane and I married in 1973, remaining so until this day. My next move was to teaching law at the University of Wyoming. While Laramie wasn’t exactly heaven, the work was. I found I loved both scholarship and teaching, and in 1978 we moved to Atlanta, where I taught at Emory until retirement in 2012. I published two leading casebooks and dozens of articles during that time. I often wondered if retirement was like falling off a cliff, but I found I still had time and the zest for writing, which continues until now. I had the pleasure of serving on the board of a biotech for a dozen years until we sold the company after we had discovered the cure for Hepatitis C.

Retirement was triggered because Jane had contracted Alzheimers disease, and I became a caregiver. More recently my own bouts with an arthritic spine caused us to get 24/7 help, which has saved my sanity. We’ve had a wonderful 48 years together. We lived for short periods in Belgium, Germany and Hungary, where I visited, as well as Ann Arbor, Charlottesville and New York for semesters as a visitor. Memberships in several associations enabled us to travel to numerous cities in Europe for conferences, and in retirement we used tours and cruises until Jane could no longer do that. But along the way, we saw all seven continents and about 40 countries. So it’s been an interesting journey that I could hardly have anticipated.

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