My Rants and Raves

LEARNING ABOUT RACISM 

This story illustrates my strong feeling regarding racism.  The summer after 6th grade, my family and I went to Bowling Green University in Ohio.  My Dad was attending a week-long Teacher’s Conference and we all stayed in a dormitory.  While there, I met a boy about my age and we ran around together during the week playing and having fun.  On Friday, the last day of our stay, the University offered open swimming in their indoor pool.  That was a big deal and something we all loved to do.  Well, my friend, who was from Mississippi – and who was black – said he couldn’t go.  I went ahead and had a good time but could not fathom why my new friend didn’t want to go.  As it turns out, blacks were not allowed to swim in the pool.  Now try explaining to me why that was – in Ohio yet.  It made no sense in my 11-year- old head in 1957. That was pure and evil racism – and it really pissed me off!

 

DISABILITIES

This RANT is about something that torques my jaw – picking on people who have a disability.  Maybe because I grew up with a brother who was disabled or maybe because our current President makes fun of disabled people on national TV – THIS REALLY BUGS ME!  In this case, it’s a disability caused by loss of hearing.  Most (80%) people lose a good portion of their hearing as they age so it’s quite common.  And I’ve been guilty of this too:  picking on people who can’t hear.  Like “Come on old man – turn up the hearing aid” or just laughing at them when they miss a joke.  And – speaking from experience – when they ask “What did you say?” and you get a negative response.  Again, we have all done this.  Just remember, we don’t make fun of blind people so what’s the difference?  My mother used to say that although she was a diabetic and used a cane, her biggest disability was her hearing. 

 

A FAVORITE CHANT

Go back, go back, go back to the woods. 

Your coach ain’t nothin’ and your team ain’t no good.*

 

 

WORDS OF WISDOM:

“Don’t let the bastards get you down!”

“Transcend the bullshit.”

“Nothing good ever happens after midnight.”  (Seriously!)

 

* On Audio Recording

Only One Left

IMPORTANT DATES AND PASSING’S OF MY FAMILY

My mother was born October 8, 1908; my father was born November 22, 1907. They married in 1933. My sister Ava Carol and twin, Arda Beth, were born premature on February 5, 1943. Both weighed about 2 ½ pounds. Arda Beth died after 8 short weeks.

My younger brother, Lyle, was born on March 14, 1949 and he died of hemophilia on November 9, 1966 at the age of 17 ½. He basically bled to death internally and at the time, there was nothing that could be done to save him.

My father passed away of a heart attack on July 30, 1981. He was 73 and was teaching school at Huron College the day he died. He taught school for 52 years.

Mother lived to be almost 93. She passed away July 30, 2001 – 20 years to the day that my father died. She had a difficult and often painful life losing two children, enduring several miscarriages and losing her husband in her early 70’s. However, she always maintained a wonderful spirit and lived a life of goodness and grace.

My older sister, Carol, lived to be 68. She died of ovarian cancer on May 6, 2011.

A Close Call for Lori Lyn

When Lori Lyn was one year old, we experienced a very traumatic event with her. We were at my in-laws for the weekend and had just enjoyed a home-cooked meal of roast beef, potatoes and gravy. Palmer, my father-in-law, and I were cleaning up in the kitchen when we heard the women screaming. We ran into the living room to find little Lori laying on the floor not breathing. She had grabbed a piece of meat from a plate in the kitchen and walked into the living room and then apparently fell backward on her butt. The piece of roast beef became lodged in her throat.

I felt a cold wave of fear that is difficult to describe but I knew I had to do something to save her. The women were paralyzed with fear and Uncle Bobby who was 12 at the time just paced the living room floor yelling “Shit! Shit! Shit!” It was panic city – the scariest scene imaginable. I grabbed Lori by the foot and held her upside down striking her back. Still she was not breathing and was turning blue. The God-awful thought went through my head about a film in a First Aid Class in college that demonstrated how to do a tracheotomy on a live animal using a razor blade and a pen to allow breathing through the throat. God – could I possible do that?? My next thought was to try to get a hold of the piece with my finger. Fear was over coming me as I tried to think what to do next. (The Helmick Maneuver wasn’t known to us back then!) The thought came to me to try to push the meat down her throat. So I put my finger in her small mouth and pushed on what I thought was the piece of meat. Suddenly she cried – the sweetest, most precious sound I had ever heard! She was breathing! We all hoped the meat passed to her stomach and not her lung, but she seemed to be okay. We called a nurse who said we should take her to the hospital in Sioux Falls to check her out. We did and they determined what we had hoped – that the meat had passed to her stomach.

I had never been so afraid in my life that my little girl might die. And I had to somehow save her. Thank God – I was able to do that. I felt a tremendous sense of gratefulness and when it was all over, it was the happiest day of my life!!

My Dogs

I had many dogs starting with Prince, my mid-size, black and white mutt. I received him from my parents when I was about 5 or 6. Not the best dog, but he was loyal to me and that’s what I remember most about him. He was with us for about 4-5 years when I was told he ‘ran away’. (Later I learned he was hit by a car.)

Then there was Sugar. Sugar was a purebred beagle that we purchased from Uncle Dwayne Knight since he bred and raised beagles. One day when I was 12, I was moving the lawn. I heard the brakes squealing and ran out to the road to see Sugar laying there dead. The driver who hit him just kept going. I cried over that for awhile☹ Then we got another beagle named Lady Bug. She was a great dog that Lyle and I shared. She lived a nice long life and had a super disposition – we all loved her! She was especially close to Lyle.

Once I got married and had kids, we had several dogs that didn’t last long for various reasons. Then I gave Lori a dog named Punkin. She loved Punkin and she reciprocated her love for Lori. Soon after, Lori received another dog from a friend who she called Nikki. Both dogs kept Lori very happy and we could see Lori was becoming a dog whisperer. She had a way with dogs and in her grown-up years and has since acquired many more.

When I met and married Sue, they had a little Bichon Shih Tzu dog named Tucker. He was just plain mean and even bit Dylan at age 2. Soon after, he bit the neighbor’s mother (Grandma George) and we had to put him down. It hurt Alissa but we had to do it since we just couldn’t break his mean streak.

Sue and I felt bad that Alissa didn’t have a dog so in August of 2000, we went to see Mother in Huron. I was running in Andy’s Road Race and it was also during the South Dakota State Fair. On Saturday afternoon we went to the fair, landing at the 4H Barn. A lot of commotion in the back of the building led us to a pen of miniature dachshunds just 6-8 weeks old. They were the cutest dogs ever. We found one we loved, bought him and named him Gus. My mother had a nickname called Gus when she was young and helping out on the farm. (All 5 sisters had boy nicknames since they all wore overalls!) We brought Gus home and he was so damn cute that we knew Alissa would love him. We got him mainly for her. We didn’t tell her a head of time and when we got home we told her to close her eyes and I put Gus’s nose on her check. She opened her eyes and loved him immediately and he loved her, too. Trisha, however, got up the next morning, saw Gus and jumped up on the piano bench screaming “What the hell is that?” Oh Trisha…

One year later, same place, same story but add Kevin, Lori, Trisha and Alissa to the scene. After my Mother’s funeral, we went to the fair to show the kids where we got Gus. Sure enough, there were more doxies from the same breeder in the 4H Barn. Everyone fell in love with the puppies and this time, we picked up two little black and tan female siblings – Greta for us and Maddy for Lori. Did we ever have fun with those dogs at the motel that night! Alissa, Trisha, Kevin and Lori and two little puppies were up most of the night laughing and having fun in their room.

So now we had two dogs – Gus and Greta – and they became inseparable. It was obvious they were pals from the start and loved each other. Gus was still attached to Alissa and Greta found her way to Trisha, but we all shared and enjoyed them. Years later, they became sick and we had to put them both down at the same time. That was a tough day for all four of us.

Fast forward to my retirement and my news of cancer. My dear wife thought it would be an opportune time to get me another dog – preferably another doxie. I was thrilled to receive Winnie, my little dog and companion. She’s coming up on 2 years old now and for the most part, gives me much pleasure. She weighs 10 pounds and is a smart and good little dog. Most of the time, you will find her on my lap or laying behind my neck. She loves to take naps with me!

My Piss Injuries

FEBRUARY 2009,  NUEVO VALLARTA, MEXICO

As told by Trisha:

It was the last day of our vacation and Mom came down with a stomach bug. So Arden, Michael and I spent the day together. Near the end of the day we decided to walk down to the Sea Garden for a change of scenery.  There was a wedding party at the pool bar and we quickly engaged with the group.  After a few (several??) drinks, we headed back to our hotel. As soon as we exited the water, the alcohol hit us. Turns out drinking in water can really mess with you! We were all much “happier” than we realized.

We walked on the beach back to the hotel. It was a beautiful time of the day. The sun was starting to set and we had a fun walk back – talking, laughing and taking pics.  When we got back to the edge of the Grand Mayan property Arden tried to put his shoes on and fell back, disappearing into the lush landscaping. A guard quickly came to his rescue, pulling him back to the path and on his feet.  I think that’s when Michael and I realized that Arden definitely had more to drink than any of us realized!

We all walked back to the hotel. We knew we all needed to eat something and didn’t want to dump a drunk Arden on a sick mom so decided to go to the Italian restaurant down the street to soak up the booze. The entire time Arden kept saying “How did we get so drunk?!?” Over and over. And Over. Michael and I can both hear his voice so clearly saying that on repeat and with great enthusiasm to this day.

We ate pizza and walked back to the hotel. By this point, Michael and I had sobered up quite a bit, but Arden still seemed pretty intoxicated. Somehow the idea of taking a sobriety test came up in conversation and we wondered if we would pass one. To test himself Arden tipped his head back and went to touch his nose with his finger. He was instantly thrown off balance and before any of us knew what was happening, charged headfirst into a little hill near the path, slamming his head into the grass.

Needless to say, he failed that test. Big time. We laughed so hard. And when we finally made our way back to the hotel and into the light of the lobby we realized he still had grass all over his head which of course made the hysterics return.  Such an unexpectedly fun day and night!

 

 

FEBRUARY 2013, RIVIERA MAYA, Mexico

It was another sunny afternoon sitting by the pool, drinking a few cervezas and margaritas. I headed to the bathroom where I slipped and fell. My feet went out from under me and I fell flat on my back. In fact, I did not spill a drop of my drink! As I was bracing myself, my left hand went out and caught the head of a nail on the makeshift bar. Blood…lots of blood. I felt like a VIP with the quick attention I was given by the EMT’s. Sue and I went to the resort clinic via a golf cart. I received 5 stitches and a tetanus shot. Cost: $145. That darn Michael was laughing at me the whole time!

 

 

FEBRUARY 2019, RIVIERA MAYA, MEXICO

Walking back from the bathroom, Arden slipped on the concrete (again!) and thought he just scraped his big toe.  After looking at it, we found a small tip of his toe was lacerated.  Found the pool medics where they cleaned it and bandaged it.  They gave it a really nice dressing 🙂 Another example of a piss injury!

 

The History of ‘piss injuries.’

My high school football coach, Ernie Edwards, first used that term for any injury where you didn’t break a bone or bleed to death. If there was an injury, the coach would say “It’s just a piss injury! Get back in the game!”

When my grandson, Brendan, was 4 years old, he took a nasty headfirst fall on his bike. He was a bloody mess with scrapes and cuts on his face. But he didn’t cry (much!) and assured his grandpa that it was just a ‘piss injury’. I was really proud of him!

My Late 20’s, 30’s and 40’s

A CLOSE CALL FOR LORI LYN

When Lori Lyn was one year old, we experienced a very traumatic event with her. We were at my in-laws for the weekend and had just enjoyed a home-cooked meal of roast beef, potatoes and gravy. Palmer, my father-in-law, and I were cleaning up in the kitchen when we heard the women screaming. We ran into the living room to find little Lori laying on the floor not breathing. She had grabbed a piece of meat from a plate in the kitchen and walked into the living room and then apparently fell backward on her butt. The piece of roast beef became lodged in her throat.

I felt a cold wave of fear that is difficult to describe but I knew I had to do something to save her. The women were paralyzed with fear and Uncle Bobby who was 12 at the time just paced the living room floor yelling “Shit! Shit! Shit!” It was panic city – the scariest scene imaginable. I grabbed Lori by the foot and held her upside down striking her back. Still she was not breathing and was turning blue. The God-awful thought went through my head about a film in a First Aid Class in college that demonstrated how to do a tracheotomy on a live animal using a razor blade and a pen to allow breathing through the throat. God – could I possible do that?? My next thought was to try to get a hold of the piece with my finger. Fear was over coming me as I tried to think what to do next. (The Heimlich Maneuver wasn’t known to us back then!) The thought came to me to try to push the meat down her throat. So I put my finger in her small mouth and pushed on what I thought was the piece of meat. Suddenly she cried – the sweetest, most precious sound I had ever heard! She was breathing! We all hoped the meat passed to her stomach and not her lung, but she seemed to be okay. We called a nurse who said we should take her to the hospital in Sioux Falls to check her out. We did and they determined what we had hoped – that the meat had passed to her stomach.

I had never been so afraid in my life that my little girl might die. And I had to somehow save her. Thank God – I was able to do that. I felt a tremendous sense of gratefulness and when it was all over; it was the happiest day of my life!!

 

MY LIFE AS A REFEREE

Shep – The Great Referee

Back on the reservation in 1972 where Shep and I were teachers, we decided to referee football. Our partners were Marlyn Goldhammer and Wayne Trousdale. Trousdale was about 6’ 7” and Goldhammer was 6’ 2”. Shep was maybe 5’ 5” and me – a giant at 5’ 7”. What a fine-looking crew!

That was the start of Shep and I refereeing together for a total of 16 years. Shep was an umpire and I was the referee. We both ended up living in Norfolk, Nebraska where we continued to form a crew to works games in the northeast part of the State.

One game stands out in my memory. A running back was running through a big hole in the defensive line. The only one in the way was Shep. He moved to his left and the runner cut to his right, colliding into Shep. Instead of Shep getting knocked on his butt, the big running back fell backwards to the ground. Little Shep was just standing there when the coach yelled “nice tackle, ref”! It was hilarious.

Shep was always in the middle of the action. Even after I moved to California, the crew kept refereeing. One night they were doing a game in Sioux City. There was a run up the middle and Shep was once again right in the way. He got rolled with elbows, hands and feet going every which way. He just laid on the ground and they finally brought a stretcher to take him to the hospital. He was soon released but the whole incident was caught on tape. Years later – when Shep formally retired from officiating, all of us former referees watched the tape about a dozen times – laughing at poor Shep getting rolled. He took it quite well. He was a damn good umpire over the years who was totally in charge on the field.

 

My Most Embarrassing Moment

Our crew received a contract to referee a game in Sioux City between Sioux City East and Sioux City Heelan – big rivals! There were 15,000 people in the stands and prior to the game, I was wired up for sound to announce penalties to the crowd. That was a first for me and we really felt like big time officials. Of course I was a little nervous: I had to remember to turn on the mike and then turn it back off. But this was big time football for these boys from Norfolk, NE.

The game was going okay with the two very competitive teams. At one point, I was feeling kind of cocky announcing penalties to the crowd – just like the NFL officials! But that didn’t last long. There was a long run down the middle of the field and Shep was downfield about 20 yards when I saw him throw his flag. Naturally I yelled at him “Hey Shep”! The I heard it repeated and echoing very loudly on the speakers. And I immediately said “Whatcha got?” and that of course was repeated nice and loud, too! I had forgotten to shut the microphone off! The fans laughed too when they heard me. What an embarrassing moment that we laughed about for weeks! So our first big time game in front of 15,000 people was pretty humorous…thanks to me!

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MY CAREER IN RUNNING

Around the age of 30, I decided that I was getting out of shape.  In my opinion, just looking in the mirror told the story.  Thus began a number of years of running road races.  I partnered with Shep and we ran our first race – a big 2 miler in O’Neill, NE.  I wish I would have logged all of our races after that.  We participated mostly in 5 K’s, 10 K’s and longer races up to and including a marathon in 1985.  After moving to California and then to Kansas City, I continued my running but with new and different partners.

Some of the highlights included:

  • My best 10K time of 45:21. Shep and I tied, as we often did!
  • I ran in the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia 3 different years; always on July 4th. It was a well-attended race, attracting 45,000 runners.
  • My best finish was a 10 K in Decatur, NE where I tied for 2nd place (with Shep). There were only 3 runners in our age group.
  • I participated many times in a run called ‘Andy’s Road Race’, named after my dad. He started the race prior to his passing and the race has been held every year since – always in Huron during the South Dakota State Fair.  My dad was an avid track fan and coach and he promoted running in Huron.  I never won but ran as strong as I could.  Even Kevin competed, along with Shep and my cousin, John Sweet.  My mother was invited to start the race.  She shot off the gun and really loved doing it!
  • The funniest run was a training run outside of Norfolk on a country road. About 8 of us were putting in an 8-mile run when a cattle truck passed us and a cow urinated on Ron Bruening.  He was just soaked with urine!  God, we laughed!!
  • Kevin, his mother and I ran a 7-mile race in San Francisco called the Bay to Breakers. I believe there were about 70,000 runners in this event – with several hundred running naked!  After all – it was in San Francisco!
  • During the 6 years that I lived in Kansas City, I ran in many races. Most had thousands of participants where the route took us on some beautiful areas of the city.
  • The highlight of my running was a marathon in Omaha called the Omaha Riverfront Marathon – 26.2 miles! Shep and I trained for months getting ready.  We did quite well – meeting our goal of under 4 hours.  We finished together in 3 hours and 55 minutes – averaging just under a 9 minute-mile.  

When I moved to Wisconsin, my running slowed down to walking.  Spending time with Sue seemed more important. 🙂 

 

KEVIN AND THE GRILL

When Kevin was a senior in high school, we moved to California and Kevin chose to stay in Norfolk.  We sold our house and the new buyer had been living there for a while.  We had a gas grill that was hooked up to a natural gas line on the patio in the back yard. It stayed with the house when it was sold.  Many a good steak and burger had been cooked on that grill.

One night in late spring, Phil, Rob, Brad and Kevin had a few beers and decided to have one last grill-out at the old house.  So, they bought steaks at the local grocery store and late at night headed there.  As quiet as possible, they started the grill and began cooking the steaks.  The smell of the grill woke up the new homeowner and upon investigating, he saw what was happening!  Kevin and his buddies grabbed the steaks, turned off the grill and took off running.  The cops were called and somehow, they were caught and arrested for trespassing. With the help of our attorney friend, Dave Copple, Kevin got off rather easy, but it cost me some serious money!! And I don’t remember Kevin paying me back!  Seriously – how many people do you know that have gotten in trouble by grilling steaks on someone else’s grill?  I guess it was a serious case of trespassing and a lesson learned.

 

My College Days

COLLEGE HUMILITY

I’m sure that most people do something in life that they regret or that they wish they could have a replay. Mine occurred at Springfield College in Springfield, MA during my sophomore year.

Springfield was a fairly conservative school that focused mainly on sports and recreation majors. As the only South Dakota boy there, I had to make new friends. I met a kid named Mike and we got along famously. He was from Troy, NY and became a really good friend. One weekend we were the only kids in our dorm since everyone else had gone home. We were just hanging out in his dorm room on a Saturday night and decided to get a six pack of beer. At the time, I didn’t think of this as being a big deal at all. We weren’t planning to get drunk…just sipping a few beers. But the college had a rule that no alcohol was allowed on campus. I honestly didn’t know this – nor did Mike. But I remember that I never saw anyone drinking in the dorms. Well after a beer or two, there was a knock on the door and we opened it to see our RA there. He saw our beer and said we weren’t supposed to have alcohol in the dorm. And that he was going to have to turn us in to the Dean. WOW! Wouldn’t you think since we were quiet and not causing any harm at all, he could have just warned us and taken the beer? That would be it! Problem solved; lesson learned. But NO! He had to turn us in. There was no consideration of the context of the scene. Rules were rules to him and he had to do his duty to uphold the rules and regulations of the school. After he pointed out the ‘no-alcohol’ policy we knew that we were in the wrong. But I had a hard time believing that we were causing any harm as no one was around and we were quietly have only a beer or two.

But he turned us into the Dean who was also a complete ‘by the rules’ guy and who had to uphold the policy of the school to retain control of the rebellious students. (A little sarcasm there) We were put on probation, had to observe a curfew of 10:30 PM every night and had to write a letter to our parents. Oh boy! That was going to go over big with my parents back in Huron!

At that point, I hated the Dean. He said he had no options which was total BS. I believe that I became a little ‘anti-establishment’ after that experience. I did apologize to my parents and said I learned my lesson. The lesson was this: no matter how unreasonable and stupid some rules are, you had better obey them or face the consequences. ‘Nuff said’!

 

THE UNDERDOGS

What a great name for an intramural football team!  Believe it or not, I came up with the name after Bob Berg and I talked about forming a team.  Man, we were excited because between my contacts and his in Watertown (a high school powerhouse), we could put together a winning team.  We began recruiting and I got a bunch of Huron players including Mike Mahoney, Bruce Kohler, Gary Busch, Bill Baer, Tim Stahley, Jim Walker and Bob Martin.  Birdie recruited several studs that included Steve Crandall, Scott Cusker, Bob Lee and numerous others.  We added Boog Stillwell and Keith Frick, friends of mine.  We started rolling over everyone playing platoon football and soon we became the top dogs.  There were 90 intramural teams in SDSU and we won the championship 4 years in a row – really impressing the varsity football coach with our talent!  We hung out together, partied together and kicked butt on the football field.  We added skilled players each year.  We even played the champions from North Dakota State and won that game.  As for me, I played linebacker on defense and loved it.  The Underdogs became a legend at South Dakota State University!

 

Growing Up

THE BASEBALL BAT

I assume that growing up with Lyle instilled in me a sense of guilt. (I didn’t get this disease – he did). But it also made me very protective of my little brother. You see, he was a wonderful kid. He was bright, witty, polite and very well-liked by everyone.

One spring day, me and a few friends were playing baseball in our back yard. I was at bat and Lyle was nearby watching us. As I swung the bat, Lyle walked into its path and hit him in the neck. He went down and I took off running. I was scared to death that I had killed him. In fact, I was sure that I had. My friends ran into the house to tell my parents while Lyle laid on the ground, not moving. I didn’t see any of this because I disappeared into the neighborhood. I was devastated and thought the worst.

As it turned out, my parents took Lyle to the emergency room and treated him and brought him home that same day. He was okay. After about 6 hours, I finally came home to find everyone there, along with Lyle. I was relieved and my parents tried to assure me that it was an accident and to be careful in the future. But I still felt tremendous guilt over the accident, and I will never forget the God-awful dread that I had potentially caused him a very serious injury or death.

 

THE FIRE

It was January 19, 1957. I was 10 ½ years old. Carol and her friend, Linda, Lyle and I had gone to the Huron Theater to see ‘The Three Stooges’ and a fire broke out. The theater was huge with two aisles and packed with 600 kids. While the 3 stooges were running around in a castle, somebody yelled ‘FIRE’! The curtain on the right-hand side of the stage went up in flames.

I guess my first thought was the fact that Lyle was on crutches and sitting about 10 rows ahead of me. And I needed to help get him out. I crawled over seats to get to him to carry him out. Linda and I lifted Lyle above the other kids while Carol carried his crutches. Despite the mass confusion, screaming and crazy chaos, we made it out safely. We went across the street to the donut shop where Carol called our parents to come and get us. Dad found our coats piled up outside of the theater.

There was an article in the newspaper where they mentioned my name so on Monday, my teacher asked me to stand to be recognized for an act of bravery. In all honesty, in my mind I did what any good brother would have done.

 

MY LOVE OF SPORTS

For those who know me, I have a passion for sports!  This addiction probably started for me with I was 3 or 4 years old.   No doubt it was because my father was a coach and he encouraged me and gave me opportunities to play.  Growing up, all my buddies had similar interests in sports too, including the Big 4 – Football, Basketball, Track and Baseball.  Even though I wasn’t very big (in fact, I was quite small), I began to excel with speed and quickness.  I enjoyed nothing more than a pick-up game of basketball or football.  I mean, we played sports 8-10 hours/day in the summer!

In high school, I started in football and basketball in both my Junior and Senior years.  The best coach I ever had was my dad.  He pushed me hard to give it my best and to be competitive.  His greatest praise was when he said, “He’s a hell of a competitor”.  I had many shining moments and several not so good ones, too.

I’ve continued my love for sports throughout my life even though I’m pretty much a spectator now!

My Family

I was born in Pierre, S.D., and within a year or so my folks moved to Sioux Falls. By the time I was 5, we located to Huron where I was raised through high school. In my memory, Huron was a great place to grow up. It was a town of about 14,000, had a 4-year college and an arena that seated about 7,000. That arena hosted many basketball games, some NBA games and many musical and cultural events.

My mother was an English teacher and my dad was a Math teacher and coach. Because he coached football, basketball and track, sports became an addiction of mine at a young age. We lived in a great neighborhood with my grade school friends. They included Billy Baer, Bruce Kohler, Gary Busch and many others. We made our own fun and had the run of ‘west’ Huron. I remember my dad teaching me basketball in our basement going one-on-one. I must admit, I was pretty good at a young age.

My older sister, Carol, was mainly into music. She was 3 years older than me and our interests were different. My younger brother, Lyle, was very intelligent and an excellent student who experienced all A’s his entire life. He was also a hemophiliac and spent about 1/3 of his life in the hospital. He died his senior year of High School as number 1 in his class. I always felt very protective of him growing up. He was a wonderful kid with a tremendous sense of humor and very well-liked by everyone.

Our family traveled a lot in the summer months, visiting both coasts but often traveling to California where we had many relatives.

In school I did pretty well – getting mostly A’s. I was homecoming King in my senior year and served as student body president. And of course, I excelled in football and basketball! However, I was very small, reaching 5’ 7” and 130 pounds by the time I was a senior. In football, I started playing Quarterback and received All-State Honors. In basketball, I started both my Junior and Senior years. My best friends in high school were Gary Busch, Jerry Fiala and Art Moxon. We were best buddies and hung out together all the time. I have really good memories growing up with very supportive and stable parents. Of course, church was important to us and especially to my parents. We didn’t ever miss a Sunday ‘going to church’ day and I was also active in Methodist Youth Fellowship. We had a nice gym in our church which helped my desire to be there. We played a ton of Sunday afternoon basketball there.

To wrap this up: my childhood was solid with good family values, lots of sports and education being a top priority. We kids were all expected to go to college and do well in school and we did. Unfortunately, Lyle’s illness had an ever-present effect on us as you never knew when the next crisis with his health would occur.