My Stepfather Joe

 

                     He usually was smiling

Joe was my stepfather, but he was so much more to me than just a substitute dad for when my biological dad wasn’t around.  How does one go about writing a tribute story about someone they loved?  I guess it’s by sharing my favorite memories of that person.  This one is about my stepfather – Joe. Continue reading

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Regret is a Four Letter Word – Interview with Grandma & Granddad

Why?

Why?

When I was a little kid, we went only to one place for my parents’ vacations – Vincennes, Indiana.  The negative aspect of this fact is that we never went anywhere special for vacation.  I guess that’s why I think it’s so important to give my kids great vacations.  As a kid myself, I can recall only once, when we went to Mammoth Caves.  The pro though of going only to Vincennes is that because we usually stayed at my dad’s parents place, I got to spend a lot of time with Grandma and Granddad.  If given the opportunity, I’d love to interview them both today, to learn and write their story…..so many questions I’d love to ask.

Continue reading

My Boy Mitchell is a Grownup

My wife and firstborn toasting

My wife and firstborn toasting

Do you have a major, overriding life goal, one that guides your actions above all others?  I hope so as it can really help to drive your focus and attention to your long term planning activities as well as your contingency actions.  Mine was relatively straightforward; be a better dad than my own.  To me, this translates into working hard to provide them with options in life, options I never had, and trying to leverage my own life lessons in order to help my boys succeed, (or at least avoid some failures).

When my youngest boy graduated from a private liberal arts high school, I had felt that I had accomplished my life goal.  They each had attended college on my dime and now my youngest had the benefit of a Waldorf education and could go to college on my dime if he chose to.  Sometimes though, I have my doubts – did I really do the best that I could, did I give them each the best advice I could?  Continue reading

I Love You Dad – Corey the Wanderer

Fairly recent pic of Corey

Fairly recent pic of Corey

When I write these little true life adventures, I try my best to relate them to any event or thought that’s going on in the present.  Sometimes it doesn’t always work, but most of the time it does.  When I first began writing these, I did it on a whim, not thinking that I would still be writing them more than a year later.  I thought, how many stories can I write, fifty maybe?  At some point, I began to get excited over the prospect of leaving behind a compendium of my life, something my kids and grandkids could possibly enjoy reading after I’m long gone.  Continue reading

Everybody Loves Tim – Part Two

Our Little Man

Our Little Man

And now, the exciting conclusion to Everybody Loves Tim Part One.

And here we are, some 20 years later.

For awhile, during high school and a few months after, I was doing the ‘normal Dad thing’ with Tim.  You know, coaching him to go to college, offering him up with various alternatives for the future, etc.  I kept running into a brick wall until I finally realized – “Tim” needs to push himself.  Tim needs to be the one to figure out what it is he wants to be, what he wants to do to earn money enough to finance whatever lifestyle he wants to live.

Let’s do a big flashback and go back to the beginning.  Continue reading

Everybody Loves Tim – Part One

Everybody Loves Timmy

Everybody Loves Timmy

No one knows your weaknesses, your strengths, your vulnerabilities like your spouse does.  With that said, anyone who’s been married for a number of years knows then what a fair fight and an unfair fight is.  An unfair fight is one of harsh words, words that cut beneath the skin.  Words are more harmful than a smack in the face.  A smack leaves a mark but it always goes away within a few days.  Harmful words pierce the heart – they can take years to heal, if ever.  Continue reading

Breaking Commandments 8 & 9 – Stealing and Lying

Mmmmmm....yummy, especially with dry ice

Mmmmmm….yummy, especially with dry ice

Growing up, I didn’t attend a lot of church.  On Goodman Avenue, (ages 5-10), I attended Vacation Bible School (VBS) a few weeks in the summer.  I don’t think church was Dad’s thing and Mom’s thing was doing whatever Dad said.  When Mom got divorced and married to Joe, she discovered that she had quite a bit more freedom to do as she pleased.  Finding her church was one of those.

Even though we didn’t attend church on a regular basis when I was young, we were raised under a Christian roof.  As such, we were taught the Ten Commandments.  Well, ok…we were too young to discuss half of them, but numbers 3, 5, 6, 8 & 9 – those we knew.  If we broke them, we knew we’d meet up with a belt or a switch.  Eight and Nine, those two I was scared to death to break because my Dad warned us about them on a regular basis.

8 & 9?  Stealing and lying; never steal and never lie.  One day I did both.  I did both, was immediately found out and then immediately punished for my crimes. Continue reading

Our Little Picasso

 

Ours was slightly less attractive than this one

Ours was slightly less attractive than this

 

Go forth and multiply – procreation.  Procreation implies parenting.  Parenting is perhaps the toughest job on the planet.  It’s often thankless but now that I have the benefit of hindsight, I can honestly state that I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  Just because my kids are grown and out of the house doesn’t mean that the job’s over either.  Occasionally, they still need guidance.

You could have a dozen kids from the same two parents, raise them in the same city, the same house, the same rules, same schools, same everything and every single one of them could turn out entirely different from one another.  Like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolate, you really do never know what you’re going to get.  If you’re keeping your eyes peeled and paying attention though, your kids might give you a glimpse early on as to which way they lean.  Will they be musicians, will they be scientists, will they be good with their hands and become mechanics or plumbers?  How will you know?  Shouldn’t we watch for signs when they’re very young so we’ll know which side of the brain to stimulate? Continue reading