During my high school years, we lived in a two-story house in south Minneapolis. Both of my parents were working. My dad was working as a door to door salesman in Fuller Brush and also in Watkins products, and my mom worked as a secretary. I don’t think either of them made too much money, but it was enough to get by. In those days it seemed like we all had our own lives; we looked out just for ourselves—all seven of us: two parents and five of us kids. It was a big family but none of us really saw each other much. Like I said, my parents worked a lot. And me, during the school months I was always involved in sports, and in the summer time you could usually find me at the beach on Lake Calhoun.
My older sister, Diane, like me, had her own life. I really couldn’t tell you what she was involved in, except that she was kind of a book worm. Mark, just a year younger than me, seemed to get in trouble a lot. Instead of being involved with sports, he would hang out with friends, that, well, I really don’t know what they did; it seemed that they would just walk around and act cool, and smoke. Mom was always worried about him.
I had another brother and sister, Jimmy and Donna, that came along later. When I was 17 and busy with high school, they were about 6 and 7. I really didn’t get to know them much at all. They were around, but I was so busy with my life that I didn’t hardly notice them. After high school I enlisted in the Marines, went off to Vietnam, and then stayed in North Carolina with the Navigators for the next four years. When I came back home, both Jim and Donna were almost like strangers.
I don’t know why, but I rally didn’t think about any of my siblings much, and I can’t remember that as a family we did anything together. When we lived on the farm (3 and 4 years earlier) it was a little different. I mean, we didn’t do any fun things together, but at least we worked together—in the fields and doing the chores.
I did see my mom the most. I saw her every morning when she got me up for my paper route and for school. I also saw her in the evening when she would be busy working around the house. I guess I did see my siblings from time to time, but, like ai said, we all had our own lives, and sadly, we didn’t much care what the other was doing. I guess mom cared most about the family and everyone came to her with their problems. Dad, on the other hand, seemed to be quite self-absorbed and was angry most of the time—so it was best to stay away from him. I think he was happiest when he was at work with his clients.
Well, that was my life at home. It was mainly just a place to eat and sleep. It was just a place to recharge my batteries for the main part of my life, which was school, sports, and being with my friends. I wish it could have been different, but it wasn’t. I wish home could have been more of a fun and friendly place, but it wasn’t. It was just a place to eat and sleep and to try to stay out of trouble—and away from my angry dad. I like being around mom, but it seemed like much of the time she was sad and crying—over a bad marriage. But I knew she loved and cared about me. And that was good. Fast forward to four years ago (2016), just before she died; she kept saying to me over and over again, “I love you so much Stephen. I’ve always loved you so much.”
Next blog post: I will talk about my high school, some of my classes, and my involvement in the band.