Hi Ted -- APUG is a great place to learn whatever you need to get you started.
I started getting serious about my photography when I was about 26 or 27, and since I was in Japan at the time, relied on books shipped over from North America to teach me what I needed to know. When I eventually came back to Canada I took a basic black and white darkroom class which helped, but the real learning curve started when I was able to spend several days a week in the darkroom, rather than two hours once a week. I've also done a few workshops (one day to a week) which were great for giving me the confidence and/or inspiration to try new techniques. Although I'm far from proficient, I think the best way to become proficient is to shoot, shoot, shoot, and print, print, print. I started with colour neg, to colour slide, and now I shoot black and white. Although I learned quite a lot with colour (and that was the only way to go since I didn't have a darkroom), I've learned more by developing and printing my own negatives, than by any other process.
My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus
I live in Zionsville, IN- just northwest of Indy. Welcome to APUG and the wonderful world of analog photography. If you want to get together some time to go shooting or work in the darkroom, drop me a note.