Home is Everywhere:
The Unbelievable True Story of One Man's Journey to Map American
By Charles L. Novak, Haddam Rural High School Class of 1947

Home is Everywhere

Author: Charles L. Novak Published: Feb 26, 2019
      As a young man living in rural Kansas in the 1940s, Charles Novak took a job with the federal government--not because he liked the work but because he heard it paid well. That job shaped his life in ways he could never have imagined. As a surveyor for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, Charles was tasked with measuring the unmapped American landscape.

      It has been reported, and not challenged, that at one time there were more men working for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey that from any other town in the United States.

      Over the years Charle's job would take him from being eaten up by mosquitoes in Alaska, to eating steak and lobster on oil rigs in Louisiana. His career became even more adventurous when his family later hit the road with him, making their home in a caravan of trailers as the survey team traversed the nation. The measurements taken by Charles and the team eventually helped build today's GPS technology. But such a contribution was the furthest thing from the minds of Charles and his family as they experienced life on the road during a time of astounding change in American life. From segregated trains, to Cold War military bases, and back to Kansas, Charles's family found that home is more than a place on a map.

      Home Is Everywhere spins a tale of travel, love, family, and reflection through the eyes of a man hired to document the last unmapped stretches of a nation. CHARLES L. NOVAK was born in Haddam, Kansas, in 1929. He joined the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey as a young man and traveled the United States for much of his life measuring unmapped land. During his time on the road with the USCGS, Charles met his wife Jean and they had three children. He retired from the Survey in 1985 but continued work in a position with the U.S. Boundary Commission. He has made his home in more than sixty places across the U.S. and now lives permanently in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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