The World is How
You View It
I was born
into a family as a surprise. They were four people subsisting on a meager income when they were suddenly faced with the costs
of a fifth member.
given up dreams of life away from the family she was born to, to return home and take care of her ailing mother after her
father died. Her remaining six sisters and brothers refused to accept responsibility and my mother was forced to assume the
Yet, she was able to marry
the man she loved. My father loved her as well but was forced spend 10 hour days on the road to support his family. Although
he was home each evening, he continued doing his books as my mother prepared our dinner. His hours were compensated by pauper’s
My father gave up his
own dreams of moving west to support his wife’s need to mind for her own mother.
to his income, my father was forced to do necessary work on his car, build that which he wanted around the house and in his
evenings, do odd jobs in the neighborhood.
only escape was taking us to the lake every Sunday where he could find some semblance of tranquility. While his children found
their way through the lakes, parks and playgrounds, he and my mother relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company.
My brother, eight years my senior, dropped out of high
school and joined the Marines. While he was away, my parent’s lives were shattered one rainy night as they returned
from a relative’s house. The man who drove into them was drunk, taking a woman he’d met in a bar to
a motel. He turned his car head on into my parents, killed my father and crushed my mother.
she survived, my mother was destined to spend seven months in the hospital. While she repaired, my sister and I stayed extensively
with an aunt and uncle who lived in our school district. We were constantly reminded of their graciousness and to respect
them for their charity.
It was a huge
relief when my mother was able to return home. Never expected to walk again, she came back on crutches. She existed in constant
pain and spent years of follow up surgeries to rebuild her body and create a new face from parts grafted from her own skin.
The courts awarded her a financial settlement for her
losses but the lawyer who represented her stole all her assets and escaped to Mexico. When he was captured years later he
was broke and destitute.
After my sister
graduated she married her boyfriend, a “Country and Western” singer and they moved south so he might become a
At eleven years of age I became the
head of the household. We had a coal furnace and it was my job to shovel coal and stoke the fire before school each morning
then carry tubs of ash and rebuild the fire each evening. I did the cleaning and laundry and although neighbors provided food
for a month or two, I ended being the cook for a time.
became disconnected and withdrawn from the world. I took to walking the streets alone at night and found peace, secluded in
the darkness. That same darkness, however, teamed with danger so I gathered a few friends and we created a gang
for support. We formed a foundation each of us could feel secure in. I was fortunate enough to escape most encounters and
intelligent enough to become an advocate during skirmishes so the police bypassed me for the agitators.
the Viet Nam War, my lottery number was low. In my world, the war was inevitable so I chose to set my own direction and joined.
I found myself in a constant battle with the system and the war. When threatened with six months at hard labor for refusing
to carry a rifle, I spent every penny I could acquire for legal support. Many friends and even family members abandoned me.
After more than four years I was ultimately given an honorable discharge and told to never return to the military.
I took a job with a corporation solely for the money.
After bouncing around for 13 years I met my future wife during a company project. We were married a year later. For most of
28 years at that company, I hated going to work each morning. I despised the corporate contempt and their disdain for their
customers and the employees. When I finally reached a point where I became eligible to retire, I left that very week and my
wife and I left the city and moved to the country.
short five years later, a neighbor seized and destroyed a portion of our property. An ongoing battle for four more
years, several thousand dollars and untold misery were required to recover what I owned. Then three years later another neighbor
intended to turn our bay into an industrial area, teaming with filth, toxins, all night generators and workmen defecating
on the beach. The area, designated as one of the last remaining pristine waterways in the nation was about to be destroyed
along with several wild species. Thousands more dollars were required to stop the destruction and protect the environment.
Our finances were beginning to thin.
ago the economy turned, the corporation we worked for bankrupted our retirement and medical funds and we are now starting
over as nearly senior citizens in a world that sees us as invaluable volunteers sharing our knowledge but not worth a paid
God help us.
my outset, I chose to join with a charmed family. Their youngest was six years my senior and I was somewhat of a surprise
to them. Strange thing, five other marriages in the extended family all were visited by “surprise packages” later
that year, allowing me a team of boys to grow close to and grow up with.
brother and sister were far enough removed that I experienced none of the childhood rivalry visited by those more closely
born. I received the love of my parents as well as the support and love of my siblings.
was a strong woman and she was known for her beauty. She had traveled and lived the life she’d wanted prior to settling.
When she made the decision to marry she became a dedicated and loving wife who had a heart of gold.
was the central inspiration of both the extended family and our neighborhood. He was a renaissance man who drew everyone together.
The organizer, the attractor: he held that charm that everyone wanted to be around. Father was a poet, an artist, a builder,
a mechanic a sportsman. Everything he did, he did well.
in my family’s assurance, I found my first love at age four. Though only a child, the passion burned with such intensity
I can still feel it today. Susan and I talked of running away together to marry. I began school that year and took her with
me for “show and tell”. Unfortunately, her family moved the following year.
the while I was surrounded by family and friends. Summers were idyllic. We spent every weekend swimming, boating
and playing sports at local lakes. Each year we traveled to exotic places for several weeks to live free and become
School was easy and enjoyable.
I held a position in the neighborhood and through the years, developed a strong standing. I enjoyed a wonderful, dynamic youth.
After High School, the draft blew strong and cold so
I chose to take a different path. Although I had an opportunity to avoid military duty, it was a duty, so I turned down the
prospect of a career and joined the military as all the men in my family had done before.
in Basic Training I took a stand against the Drill Instructor about which, for me, was a moral issue. After an entire evening
of intimidation, alone with him and his assistant in the office, I refused to concede. For four years I battled
the military on moral grounds. At one point a Captain who was an attorney, confided that as a bombardier in the
war, he believed he might have killed people. He asked if I thought he would go to Hell for his actions. I explained I couldn’t
know, it was not up to me. In the end the Military succumbed and I left with honor and my principles intact.
For the following decade I built a career, growing and
progressing along the way. During that time I worked no more than 10 months in any year, at times only six, opting for summers
of freedom and experience.
housed me at the Warwick Hotel in Seattle, at their expense for seven months. I was chosen to develop and carry out a project
I’d been hand-picked for. There, I met my future wife and when the project ended I stayed in Seattle and married the
love of my life.
We had two
beautiful children and as hard as it might be to believe, we never experienced the “terrible twos”. When they
were teens, their friends often chose to call our house their home.
my wife and I were reasonably successful in our work, recruited for promotions and better positions; we were both able to
retire young. With that and several fortunate real estate transactions through the years, we ended living in a beautiful waterfront
We now share
our home with authors and artists, singers and songwriters from across the country and around the world.
Our world is whole and our lives are beautiful. How
could one ask for more?