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PostSubject: CHILDHOOD   Wed May 06, 2015 8:56 am

I grew up in the Texas Panhandle in a small town of 30,000. The closest city to us was Amarillo (50 miles away). I was born in the mid 60s, grew up in the 70s and graduated high school in 1984. I had a good childhood. I wasn't abused and had a big family around me with lots of uncles and aunts and cousins and both my parents and grandparents and even my parents cousins and aunts and uncles. I even knew my great grandparents. (lots of family reunions and big holiday get together's) ..I remember several Christmas' when each of us got over 30 gifts apiece.  We had some money and lived in a decent house in a decent neighborhood and I went to public school like all the other kids. My grade school was all white. I had never even gone to a school with any other race till jr. High and even then I only had one class with mixed race (P.E.) The rest of my classes were segregated... My grandfather was a farmer. Farming and oilfield were the main jobs that most men had where I came from. My father was a truck driver and my mom a church secretary. We were the first on our street to have a microwave, a vcr and cable tv (we had cable in the late 70s Twisted Evil )... We went to the movies, got allowances and really had it pretty good. It was pretty laid back where I grew up. Alot of 'good ol boy" mentality...even among the town government and police force)..Where I come from people didn't really retire..they worked till they were dead. My wife's father was the first guy I ever met that had done 30s years at the company and actually retired. As I have grown older I have been amazed at how others from my generation grew up in different parts of the country..its hard to fathom sometimes..Do any of you ever find that its hard to understand peoples childhoods from other parts of the country? What was your childhood like?
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Guilty/Forgiven

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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Wed May 06, 2015 10:31 am

I had a pretty good childhood I guess. 
Born and raised in Los Angeles to a family just a tad above poverty. We had a very modest house (our whole house was the size of my current living room- housing 5 people. My Dad was a mechanic and Mom was a secretary. Got in trouble all the time in my neighborhood and at school (which was 2 blocks from home, so I was a latch-key kid clear back to 1st grade. 
Mom was very loving, a peacemaker and balanced off my gruff Dad rather well.  We knew about love and a bit of God from Mom (she grew up and raised us "baptist" which, though well-intended, was very legalistic like many churches). We knew discipline and refusing welfare "hand outs" or help from others from my Dad. As I've already said in a previous thread, he showed us he "loved" us by working and never seeing him. When we did see him, it was usually for discipline. My mom always made excuses for him and told us he loved us, he just had a hard time showing it.

Not a bad childhood, but I didn't have a silver spoon in my mouth either. That was my friend across the street- his parents bought him everything.. so I just went to his house to play :-)

We had a lot of family get togethers as well.. pretty much all of my Mom's side of the family as my dad's side was a bit strange. I remember Easter and Christmas time being huge as far as family and relatives getting together.

I had a great childhood, good friends, though we werent well-to-do, my mom managed to take us to Disneyland, sea world, Knotts berry farm and even the San Diego zoo. Christmas yielded a couple nice toys and a handful of inexpensive ones (usually socks and underwear  Evil or Very Mad )

Clothes were ALL hand me downs as I had 2 older brothers - who often picked on me and teased me, yet came to my defense when I was being bullied by anyone else :-D 
In 1979 we moved to Yucca Valley (North of Palm Springs -very inexpensive area to live... still is). My dad always told us it was to avoid the gangs and crime of L.A. but I wonder sometimes if it wasn't simply cuz he likes to keep to himself. We ended up on 10 acres with our closest neighbor being 25 acres away. But at 10 years old, it was like hell. No one to play with, nothing to do... so I was always getting into trouble. Played with matches, liked to break things, rode my bike and motorbike a lot. Eventually buddies up with another guy who moved from Los Angeles who was about a mile from me. We tore the desert UP !! 

Graduated in 87 and went off to college, thus ending my childhood until recently when I decided to begin my 2nd childhood  Very Happy


Last edited by Guilty/Forgiven on Wed May 06, 2015 3:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MikeInFla

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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Wed May 06, 2015 1:06 pm

I was born in Pontiac, MI and I am the youngest of 5 boys. My 2 oldest brothers were already out on their own by the time I came along. My oldest was already in the Air Force and living in California at the time and when his wife was pregnant with their first son, my mom was pregnant with me. So my nephew and i are 6 months apart and we have even commented that we are more like brothers. I also tell him I am closer to him than I was his dad (my oldest brother passed away in 2003 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery). So growing up it was me and 2 other brothers in the home but I saw the other who was on his own because he still lived nearby. My mom and dad were literaly Ward & June Cleaver. My dad wore a suit to work and I never heard the parents argue about anything (even to this day). I also got hand me downs from my older brothers but I loved to get their old clothes  because I admired them. And I too was picked on by them at times but as an adult I have my revenge as I am the biggest of the 5 of us. Smile  Like SA we had big family get togethers. My dad's brothers and sisters and my grandparents all lived in the same area. In fact, my grandparents and several cousins lived in the same neighborhood so I saw my cousins at school and would stop at grandma and grandpa's on the way to school in the morning (I walked to school). We went to church every Sunday, twice a day, morning service and night service. It was a Church Of God. We had to dress up all the time and I hated that. I really hated wearing a suit as a kid on a Sunday night. We had family get togethers all the time and they were a lot of fun, I have some great memories of those get togethers around holidays with my extended family. My dad has 9 brothers and sisters for a total of 10 kids (one uncle passed away a few months ago). So there were always kids to play with, it seems like I had 50 cousins. My dad sold insurance but his brothers worked for Detroit Steel or for GM. I remember strikes and picket lines in the 70's as a small child. I also remember my oldest brother who still lived in Michigan would regularly take me to Tiger Stadium to see the Tigers play in the summer (something we continued to do even after I moved to TN and we would take summer vacations to Michigan). 

In 1980 things changed quite a bit as my dad sensed a changed in Michigan and the state economy so he high tailed it out of there and moved to Tennessee. I was 9 years old and terrified of the Beverly Hillbillies that I was destined to meet when we arrived in the mountains of East Tennessee. By this time 3 of my brothers were now grown so it was just me and Tim moving to Tennessee. I no longer had cousins to play with, no relatives to visit and basically had a slow first summer in Tennessee. I eagerly awaited letters in the mail from my cousins and i would prompty write them back. After a few months I made some friends there and one kid in particular became a life long friend that I kept in touch with until he was killed in a car accident 2 years ago (even though I lived in Florida he was in Tennessee and we spoke almost daily on the phone or by text). 

In hindsight I see that moving to TN was the right thing to do. There wasn't a hillbilly to be seen anywhere. There were no Hatfields and McCoy's or any Clampets. My dad eventually worked with the post office and we had a great church home (Cumberland Presbyterian) and I knew most of the youth from school or my neighborhood. 

I have fond memories of growing up and thought I had a pretty good childhood. If my mom and dad were Ward and June then I also I have to conclude that I was The Beaver because whenever I got into any mischievious trouble my older brothers were usually there to bail me out and it was never serious trouble. 

We were a middle-class family and I was ok with that, I didn't know any different. As for segregation I had no idea what it was. SA said he went to an all white school. There were black kids in my schools in Michigan and Tennessee but I had never experienced southern racism (from whites AND blacks) until I moved to Tennessee (and it is even worse in NW Florida). 

So I had it pretty good and wouldn't change a thing. Really the only regrets I have are as an adult and things I would change about decisions I made once I was grown. I haven't been to Michigan since 1989 and haven't been to Tennessee in over 3 years. I would love to go back and visit there when I can because I have 2 brothers there now and mom and dad are still alive but we just don't go there. Typically when it is vacation time we spend it on the kids (Grand Canyon, Disney World, etc).

(oh, and a final note, my grandfather moved to Detroit in the 1930's because that is where the jobs were. He died in 1979).
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bassdude

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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Wed May 06, 2015 2:03 pm

I am the oldest of 8 kids in my family, 5 boys and 3 girls. My Dad worked 2nd shift so we didn't see him much except on Sundays, when we would all go to church. With dad being gone so much I became the "man" of the house at about age 8, mowing grass and doing a lot of the outside work around the house. We were poor, but we didn't know any different, so it was ok most of the time. I went to a Christian school thru 5th grade, but we had to move due to some rather extreme bullying that would have cost me my life if we had stayed....I still have the scars on my hands from blocking the knife from going into my guts. No charges were ever filed and no one was ever punished for this because the main kid involved was the son of the police chief.
My mom's parents always lived with us, so it was nice to have grandma and grandpa around. I have no aunts, uncles, or cousins because my mom and dad are both the only child so that's kind of weird.
Hated school, was bored to death...thank God for outstanding test scores, because I never did my homework, I knew the material but wasn't going to waste my time doing 50 math problems. I would do a few until I understood the concept and then quit....I don't recommend this approach, but that's just where I was at the time. Did really well in music classes, brought home a lot of awards from district and state contests for both vocal and instrumental performance, majored in music in college...didn't graduate because, again, I'm a bad student and I had started drinking heavily, which didn't make me a better student at all.
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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Wed May 06, 2015 2:18 pm

I'm an only child. I never realized how much this affected me until I started dating the woman who became my wife. I had no one to blame stuff on, no one to fight with, no one to back up or back me up in a fight... This is probably why now I would rather put on headphones with some good music, read a book and drink a beer or two. I do like socializing with friends but there's a time for it.

Anyway, when I was young, we were broke. My parents were schoolteachers so education was emphasized. I'm a nerd so school was easy. I remember several teachers that I corrected about the information they were teaching...

When I was about to finish sixth grade, my dad graduated with a Masters degree in School Administration and we promptly moved to a town about 30 minutes away so he could be principal. Then, three years later, he finished his specialist degree and became our superintendent. That was fun - moving to a new school where your dad is the prinicipal. I got picked on in 7th and   8th grade but that summer I went from 5'6" and 150 pounds to 6'2" and about 220. I suddenly wasn't being picked on and was actually stopping bullies from being a**holes to other people. I even got into a couple fights sticking up for other folks.

We were better off financially than most of my peers' families but at the expense of my dad working 70 hour weeks and attending school two nights a week after work. I remember days when he would be gone when I woke up and wouldn't be home when I went to bed. He retired 3 years ago after having a Doctorate in Education Admin. and being in the field for 30 years. He now teaches college part time, fishes a lot, and watches our son with my mom.

Christmas was good around our house, because dad was off work. He and my mom also took me to plenty of Cardinal baseball games (Go Redbirds!) over the years, usually 3 or 4 a season. I enjoyed this time as I usually got to sit by my dad at the game.

My mom and I were close and still are. My dad and I have done some work over the years to repair our relationship, which was accelerated when we brought our son (his only grandchild) home 6 years ago.
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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Wed May 06, 2015 5:13 pm

Great thread!  Trying to find the time to catch up on reading all of it and participating with my own brief history.

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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Wed May 06, 2015 5:30 pm

I'd have to say I had a pretty good childhood. I was raised in the same house in the same town all my life, in a very quiet residential neighbourhood (which was a short street next to a concession road intersection) not far from two towns of 15,000 people each. I had an older brother, and both of my parents; we didn't get along very well, probably due to our obstinate characters. (We're all either D or C on the DISC spectrum.) We had a bit of money to spare, but we mostly had older cars from the '80s and '90s because they were cheap to run and didn't want to waste money. However, we always had money in case of an emergency, and travelled pretty frequently. Also, my grandpa made a lot of money from the stock market and he was very generous. My maternal grandparents lived next door, and my grandma died when I was about 9 from a host of syndromes that gradually paralyzed her. My grandpa died a few years later in a car crash, and their house was sold to some neighbours who wanted a larger house. I went to French school all my life, started out at a public school until Grade 2, when I switched to a public-Catholic school (in Ontario, Catholic schools have a special status). At school, I was always the weirdo since I actually spoke French, whereas everyone else spoke English unless a teacher was nearby. I was also a huge bookworm and a very socially awkward person, so I was always left out, if not rejected, and so I adopted introversion. With time, though, I've started to become more and more confident in public, even if crowds and noise drain me of energy. With regards to churches, I grew up in a pretty "cold" brethren assembly, then my brother and I switched at the beginning of middle school to a Wesleyan church to join a youth group. The sermons there implicitly taught that if you didn't do enough good, then you might be in danger of losing your salvation, and I ended up absorbing this. Around 16, though, I realized that that couldn't be right, and so I switched to a Baptist assembly that teaches freedom in Christ, or grace with a biblical foundation. (There were other reasons, like what I felt was poor administration, and the disappearance of the youth group.) This assembly has been a huge blessing to me, and they're very sincere and Biblical in what they preach.
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MikeInFla

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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Wed May 06, 2015 6:12 pm

ishmael81 wrote:


We were better off financially than most of my peers' families but at the expense of my dad working 70 hour weeks and attending school two nights a week after work. I remember days when he would be gone when I woke up and wouldn't be home when I went to bed. 

This hits home with me and makes me sad, very sad.   Crying or Very sad  Not because it was my dad but because it is ME. I do not go to school after work but i work over 60 hours a week. Last week I worked 78 hours, all by my own choice. There are times when I leave for work in the early morning my daughters are still in bed. When I get home our 5 year old is already BACK in bed for the night. Sometimes I go days without seeing her. Our middle child is 13 so sometimes I see her in the morning when she gets ready for school and I see her for a little while before she goes to bed. 

I don't see this as a long term thing (my job, yes -- long term, the hours -- no). We have some debt that I am desperately trying to get rid of but it is going to take over a year to get it gone. I want our only debt to be our mortgage. But since she is only 5 I can see myself doing this until she is 8 or 9 and that just isn't good. I need to take more off time and stop working off days but I have become a slave to my debt and want to get rid of it as fast as possible. Luckily, no car payments, those are paid off. I am also trying to get 6 months worth of bills saved up in the savings account in case something happens. An "emergency fund" as Dave Ramsey calls it. 

Great stories people, keep them coming.
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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Thu May 07, 2015 6:26 am

Emergency funds are nice and being debt free is awesome, but is the price of your daughter not knowing you worth it?  She will never look back on this time of her life and say that she wished her daddy had worked more.  She will say she wished that he'd spent more time with her.

Anyway, that's just a sidebar.  I will try to put my story together soon.

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rockerVu2

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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Thu May 07, 2015 8:38 am

Give me some time to find the words to make my story.
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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Thu May 07, 2015 8:41 am

I'm kinda with alldat Mike. I understand - I would love to be out of debt and have a bigger emergency fund. But what if that emergency was something happening to one of your duaghters?

Please don't take that as condemnation or guilt - I'm just saying sometimes it's worth a little debt to show those people we love how much we love them.
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MikeInFla

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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Thu May 07, 2015 8:42 am

alldatndensum wrote:
Emergency funds are nice and being debt free is awesome, but is the price of your daughter not knowing you worth it?  She will never look back on this time of her life and say that she wished her daddy had worked more.  She will say she wished that he'd spent more time with her.

Anyway, that's just a sidebar.  I will try to put my story together soon.

Yes I know  Embarassed and not to derail the topic at all but it hits home with me pretty hard. NO it isn't worth it. I don't "have" to pay it off ASAP. I just want to. Whether I do or not, she doesn't care. The last weekend I was off I played with her and she enjoyed it (Littlest Pet Shop toys). The next day (Sunday) she said to me "I wish I had someone to play Littlest Pet Shop with me". And I asked "How about me?". She lit up like a Christmas tree so how could I resist? This is when I noticed that I have been working way to much. My employer is in the midst of a big audit that ends tomorrow. I feel that it is time to slack off, be home earlier and stop working off days. 

So let's get back to the topic at hand -- childhood. Would also be nice to see some old pictures from childhood.
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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Thu May 07, 2015 8:52 am

You did say the vacations were spent on the kids at least. But, yes, slacking off the hours soon would be wise. I feel for those that MUST work long hours just to try to make ends meet. After reading your story, Mike, I also found it odd that you haven't visited your folks in 3 years (or maybe I inferred that incorrectly).

And Driven is still living his childhood as far as I'm concerned. geek

Anyway, a very brief history of me... only child, upper middle class to a workaholic dad and mostly workaholic mom. Lived in the suburbs around Cleveland. You'd think I'd had a silver spoon but it wasn't my perception. I certainly didn't lack but I didn't have excess or the "best" by any means. I was extremely introverted since I was always on my own. Ended up doing a variety of things to get attention or to spite my folks.

Dad's family was fairly large to me and I enjoyed those gatherings once or twice a year and getting to play with my cousins who got to do cool stuff like fish, hunt, ride motorbikes, etc. Mom's side was smaller and there were only 2 cousins, one of which was significantly older than me.

Church didn't come into the picture until 4th grade and then consistently in 6th when my dad started coming, too. He and his father had a major falling out in his later youth over church so that kept us away from church for some time. While I didn't have a problem going, I didn't really have a clue (nor did this one mention that I recall) about being born again so I was just a pew warmer though I was very active and was even on the pastor nominating committee.

The best part of my youth was flying. We got our first plane in 75 and took nearly annual vacations to the Bahamas. Always loved planes of all kinds and flying. Best time with my dad was flying across the country the summer after 7th grade. Even though it was a business trip, we stopped at several neat sights. They gave me a lesson on 16th birthday and then said the rest was up to me, which I couldn't afford. Probably for the best though since I wouldn't have been able to afford to keep it up.

Tied for best part was my high school radio station. That started getting me out of my shell more. While I managed to have some friends before that, Communications class forced me to do things I never would have so I could also do the radio. We were all one big family in a way.

I am (was?) pretty smart (genius IQ) so did well in school when I applied myself. Unfortunately, I stopped caring about my senior year of high school. Still went to a great engineering school, but ended up having to work my behind off to make sure I made it through after slacking off still at the start.

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MikeInFla

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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Thu May 07, 2015 9:04 am

topshot rhit wrote:
You did say the vacations were spent on the kids at least. But, yes, slacking off the hours soon would be wise. I feel for those that MUST work long hours just to try to make ends meet. After reading your story, Mike, I also found it odd that you haven't visited your folks in 3 years (or maybe I inferred that incorrectly).


Yes, we took a vacation in Jan to see snow and we went to see "A Christmas Story House" and the kids loved it. We also went to Disney World last year and will probably be going on a little trip over memorial day weekend. And, yes, while I haven't been to Tennessee in 3 years I have seen my parents and in-laws. They have been here several times over the past 3 years. The issues are much deeper tho, not with me and my family but with her and her family so we avoid the area so-to-speak. And the bad thing about working long hours -- is I don't HAVE to do it, I just do. I can survive on 40 or 44 hours a week. I only work crazy hours because I want to pay off debt.
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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Thu May 07, 2015 12:04 pm

Forgot to mention that growing up we changed churches every few years..here is the rundown to the best of my knowledge..
Born (Lutheran..infant baptized)
Southern Baptist ( baptized again)
Apostolic Charismatic ( baptized again)
Disciples Of Christ
Southern Baptist
Calvinist Presbyterian ( baptized again)
By the time we were Calvinist I turned 18 and quit church never to return till in my 30s..It was tough as a kid changing all the time..the new church always had different theology's and told me to forget the last churches theology...tough time for me there..
.................
Quote :
you haven't visited your folks in 3 years
My father died back in 2001...I have 1 brother that I haven't seen or spoken to in about 6 years (thats a story in and of itself) and I haven't seen my mom in 2 years and my kids or grandkids in about a year (2 grandkids I have never met yet).. Just no time and we all live hundreds of miles apart..
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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Thu May 07, 2015 3:04 pm

I was born in Southern California (Long Beach) but we moved when I was around 3 and I don’t remember living there.  My step-father was active duty military and I moved around a lot as a child.  In addition to So. Cal. I also lived in the Denver Colorado area three separate times, in Virginia and three different cities in Germany before finally settling into Western Washington in the 7th grade (but still lived in two different cities in Washington before I graduated high school).  I was forced to make new friends every time I moved, thus I have zero life-long friends.  I was raised an only child, and didn’t even meet my birth father until I was 26…..that’s when I found out I had a half-brother and half-sister.
I was a very good student until around the 5th grade (when the homework started) and then just an average student from there on (I hated to do homework).  I was not much into sports but I did play baseball, some football and was in Judo for several years (before I broke my leg in three places).  I had a great imagination (probably because I had to play by myself quite often).  My family always seemed to be at the lower-middle class to nearly poor level.  I always got Christmas presents, but often they would be half clothes and half toys.  I fell in love with music when I was in the 7th grade and pretty much lived for hard rock and heavy metal for a few decades.

I was not raised in a Christian family so I never went to church with my family until I was 16, and had an instant dislike for it.  My parents had been functioning alcoholics for decades and when they finally dried out they started going to church and tried to get me to come along as well.  I wasn’t going to have any of it.  My parents loved me (very much) but we were also rather dysfunctional (mostly because of the alcoholism) and it wasn’t rare for someone to be hitting someone else (especially on Saturday nights)….and it wasn’t always me or my mother who got hurt.  They have since straightened themselves out and are fantastic grandparents.  Despite the mild abuse I would say they were still very good parents, it was obvious I was a priority in their life as they took an interest in my school and other interests and we did quite a few things as a family.

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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Tue May 12, 2015 12:20 pm

You guys took awesome vacations...We never did ..we always went to Oklahoma city  Rolling Eyes except one year we went to Denver and that turned into a disaster...OKC is a nice place but to go there every year was lame...
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MikeInFla

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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Tue May 12, 2015 12:29 pm

Speaking of vacation as a kid I remember travelling from Michigan to Toronto several times, driving to a farm in Jonesboro, Arkansas to see my mom's side of the family (and being bored stiff with nothing to do on a farm, even my brothers were incredibly bored). My dad's family, while most of them had moved to Michigan some of them moved to Missouri and we would go there every couple of years around the Lake Of The Ozards. One summer we went to Enid, OK while my oldest brother and his family was stationed there. When I was real small we went to Tucson, AZ. Don't remember much about that other than touring a ghost town.
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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Tue May 12, 2015 3:57 pm

I'm the youngest of four.  I was born and raised in Pasadena, TX.  Went to public school my entire life.  My mom, sister and myself went to a Southern Baptist church.  It was a mid-sized church.  We had a good children's program and youth program.  I was definitely the weird one since I played trumpet throughout school (junior high, high school & college) and enjoyed metal music.
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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Sat May 16, 2015 9:08 pm

Following is an outline of my childhood history.  Please note that I am going to release this in two installments (with the second coming hopefully later this weekend) due to the overall length of the essay.  As many of you know, I have a tendency to overdue it in the area of detail…
 
Part One:
 
My childhood could not have been more normal or mundane.  I grew up on the wind swept plain of Eastern Washington to a father (of Yugoslavian descent) and mother (Russian heritage) that got along quite well- I hardly recall them ever fighting or arguing.  Not so my grandparents (on the mothers side of the family and that lived next door), who had a dysfunctional relationship (we’ll just say that they did not get along).  That said, it was nice having family live side by side in that holiday gatherings were only a couple steps away.  I also have a younger sister, but we did not get along either in that we fought like cats and dogs- and drove our parent’s nuts in the process!
 
Also, for those wondering, we were not from Walla Walla, Washington but lived close by!
 
I would describe our family more as ‘middle class’ in that while we were not affluent we were not lack for anything either.  If we ever needed anything - new clothes for school, pair of eyeglasses, second car - we were able to afford it.  Again, we were my no means rich but were able to take some cool family vacations, such as a trip to Disneyland in the late seventies.  I even took a couple of fun road trips with my grandparents to visit family in Colorado.  At least the trips were fun when they were not fighting…
 
Both my parents and grandparents smoked like chimneys- whether in the house, car or wherever, they smoked non-stop.  This led to the major pet peeve I have in life: second hand smoke!  I hate stopping at a light and the driver of the vehicle in front of you has their arm out the window with a cigarette dangling between their fingers- leaving you with no other choice than to breathe in the noxious cigarette fumes!
 
Mother was always my biggest supporter; she was the one who always made that extra effort to encourage or show interest in what I was doing in terms of hobbies, school work, friends, etc (it was with her I bonded the most and formed the strongest relationship). Dad was emotionally detached and distant, but he was also a good provider in the physical sense.  Consider, for instance, how he was not afraid to get involved.  For example, when I got interested in Cub Scouts, he took on a leadership role within our ‘pack’.  When I started playing flag football, he assisted as a coach.
 
He took on head coaching duties during my final year playing flag football (seventh grade) and I can honestly say he had a very creative football mind.  Even though we were pretty much ‘pee wee’ league (made up of 12 to 13 year olds) we were way ahead of our time in terms of how we ran a full time ‘wildcat’ offense (keep in mind this is the late seventies).  We did not have a ‘real’ quarterback whose intent was to pass the football- I do not think we had more than a couple pass plays.  Rather, the guy who was supposed to run the football on a given play would line up behind center in a ‘shotgun’ formation.  Yes, we showed our hand to the opposing defense each play, but our motto was ‘stop us if you can’ and more likely than not the other team failed to do so. 
 
We also had both good size on the offense and defensive fronts (at least when factoring our age) and often beat the tar out of whatever team happened to be opposing us- good old fashion in your face and smash mouth football!  Bill Parcells would have been proud!  My main position was a crazy, half-mad middle linebacker (sort of like a miniature Jack Lambert) but also was part of the running back rotation.  I actually had halfway decent athletic ability as a young person and so once I got a step ahead of the defense on a running play I was gone!  We finished second in our division to a controversial team from the other side of town that had several 14 and 15 year olds as part of its line up (at least that was the rumor).
 
As one might imagine, with an overprotective mother and detached father (not to mention I was bullied mercilessly in school), I grew up painfully shy.  So I retreated into a childhood of Dungeons & Dragons, Marvel & DC comic superheroes, Star Wars, Star Trek, etc.  I remember one time suggesting that my grandparents name their new cat (a feisty calico) Star Trek.  They even obliged!  My initial superhero of choice was Superman but later gravitated towards the Incredible Hulk.  I much preferred the rip and scar and burn mentality of Hulk over some guy in blue leotards that spent all his time saving people from burning buildings…
 
My introduction to metal and hard rock took place in the summer of 1978 when I purchased my first album, Kiss’ “Double Platinum”.  Every single Kiss album soon followed as did those from Van Halen, Ted Nugent, Styx, Queen and others  I even took a liking to Devo after seeing them on Saturday Night Live. 
 
Church did not come into play until after I became a Christian at age 15.  However, I did not learn about Christian rock until several yeas later when during my junior and senior years in high school I attended a school associated  with an ultra-uber-hyper conservative Pentecostal church.  Yes, I made some good friends and met some real nice people at the school, but I also felt they were a bit uptight when it came to arts and entertainment.  Of course, just about all forms of secular entertainment were off limits but so was most Christian entertainment.  Christian rock was considered a ‘big deception’.
 
Despite this, in 1981 during my junior year a follow classmate loaned me a tape entitled “Rainbows End” by a group called Resurrection Band.  Needless to say, I was hooked and developed a taste for Christian hard music that has lasted to this day.  I later purchased the other Resurrection Band albums released at the time but also soon discovered Jerusalem, DeGarmo & Key, Petra, Servant, Stronghold, Barnabas, Daniel Band, etc.
 
I lived in a community large enough for many Christian bands to perform concerts.  My first Christian concert was Second Chapter of Acts, but later saw Servant (no less than four times, including the “Caught In The Act” album give away tour with the laser light show), Resurrection Band (five times!), Sweet Comfort Band, The Archers and Phil Keaggy.  Some of my favorite concerts include traveling to Portland and seeing Servant (“World of Sand” tour) with opening acts Northbound, Loyd Thogmartin and Will McFarlane.  I believe this was winter of 1982.  A couple summers later I attended the Youth Festival of Joy (in Puyallup) and saw 77’s, Quickflight, Resurrection Band and headliners The Darrell Mansfield Band.  Those were the days!
 
More to come later!
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MikeInFla

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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Sun May 17, 2015 5:28 am

Thanks for sharing Dynamis, interesting story. I am hoping you tell how you get along with your sister as an adult. Personally, I never really had disagreeements with my brothers but they were (in order) 21, 20, 10 and 7 years older than me. Occasionally the one who is 7 years older would get into it with me but none of the others because they were so much older than I.
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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Sun May 17, 2015 8:48 am

Quote :
Thanks for sharing Dynamis, interesting story. I am hoping you tell how you get along with your sister as an adult. Personally, I never really had disagreeements with my brothers but they were (in order) 21, 20, 10 and 7 years older than me. Occasionally the one who is 7 years older would get into it with me but none of the others because they were so much older than I.

We are completely different people and so have drifted apart over the years.
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MikeInFla

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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Sun May 17, 2015 11:15 am

Dynamis wrote:
Quote :
Thanks for sharing Dynamis, interesting story. I am hoping you tell how you get along with your sister as an adult. Personally, I never really had disagreeements with my brothers but they were (in order) 21, 20, 10 and 7 years older than me. Occasionally the one who is 7 years older would get into it with me but none of the others because they were so much older than I.

We are completely different people and so have drifted apart over the years.

 I have one brother I do not hear from (the one who is 7 years older than me). Nothing happened, he just doesn't keep in touch. My oldest brother passed away 12 years ago but since he was so much older than me he was like an uncle. His son is my age (my nephew) and he is more like a brother than a nephew. But the one that is 7 years older doesn't talk to anyone. I have not heard from him in 3 years. But if I happened to see him he would be happy to see me and act like he sees me every day. That's just the way he is, but the brother in the middle (10 years older than me) got fed up with him being a stranger. It isn't hard for me to understand because I live in a different state. They live in the same town and they don't talk. Finally he told him "you never talk to anyone and when you do you act as if everything is ok. Well it isn't so don't talk to me ever again". I asked him why he said that and he said he was just tired of his fake BS, acting like they are best buds but then outta sight, outta mind and it made him mad. 

So as grown ups, I guess we still act like kids although I do get along with all of them just fine, just as I did when I was a kid.
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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Sun May 17, 2015 3:53 pm

Thanks for sharing all this guys. It's very interesting to read it all, and it just goes to show what a patchwork quilt we all are!

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Dynamis

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PostSubject: Re: CHILDHOOD   Sun May 17, 2015 6:24 pm

For those that were up all night with anticipation, here is the second installment…
 
Part Two:
 
I was very fortunate as a young person to attend a Protestant church that had two solid feet on the ground in terms of teaching and youth activities for high school and college age kids.  I always felt that the churches youth pastor was way ahead of his time (keeping in mind this is the eighties) in terms of forward and open minded thinking.  He placed a strong emphasis on teaching- every Wednesday the high school kids would gather at his house for Bible study.  One semester we painstakingly went through the Book of Revelation verse by verse by verse. 
 
He equally emphasized service opportunities.  We had a church youth choir that each year would put on a Christmas program in addition to touring an entire week each summer.  We would start rehearsal for the summer tour in January and have over 30 or more kids jammed into the cramped rehearsal room at the start of each practice.  Following practice we would have a prayer request session (or break up into small groups for prayer) and then converge at a local pizza parlor for fun and fellowship.  One summer we toured Northern California (like rock starts in a rented Greyhound bus!) and summer previous throughout Oregon. 
 
We also worked very hard.  Consider how on several occasions all the youth would pile into a couple church vans Friday afternoon following work before driving to a church in a nearby community and spend the weekend practicing.  We even had fundraisers in terms of youth car washes, etc.
 
Fast forward 30 years and all too often I see local church youth activities based around fun and games: video night, gaming night, gym or volleyball night, etc.  Nothing against fun and games (which have there place), but rarely (if ever) do you see church youth presented with any type of ministry or service opportunities- at least not of the same type as we had back in the day.  I understand that a touring youth choir is not always realistic, but how difficult would it be a couple of times a month arrange for the church youth to serve meals at a downtown soup kitchen, complete work projects for the elderly, etc?
 
I find it disheartening when I read online articles about ‘Millennialists’ leaving the church or (worse yet) Christian youth abandoning the faith once they get out of high school or college.  The numbers presented in said articles are staggering, but some have suggested that up to 97% leave the faith.  I do not know how accurate this number is or how it was arrived; that said, am I out of line to suggest there is a perplexingly high turnover rate among Christian youth?
 
It cannot help but bring to mind the Parable of the Sower and the four different types of soils.  I do not know if the passage intends to reflect a certain percentage drop out rate in the faith (i.e.: only 25% are realistically expected to last in the faith in terms of falling on good soil and producing a crop) or if the focus is on one of four possible outcomes.  But if the benchmark is 25% and we are only retaining 3% (if that number is even realistic and within the ballpark) then what does that say?  I will conclude by stating that the youth associated with the church in which I attended as a young person more than likely have that that 25% rate more than trumped; I am willing to bet the retention percentage is in the 75% range if not higher.  What is the difference?  I feel as Christian youth we became much more rooted and grounded (and more mature in the faith long term in the process) from the teaching and ministry opportunities provided us.  Yes, the method was a bit Spartan (again, a lot of hard work and commitment involved) but the results speak for themselves.  I guess you could say that the church in question and its leadership set the standard and provided the benchmark when it comes to ministry for young people (at least based upon my experience).
 
As one might imagine, the church in question was also much more open minded in its thinking as it pertains to the arts and various forms of media.  It cannot help but bring to mind one fall in the early 80’s when all the church youth piled into a couple of vans and drove to a camp in the mountains for a weekend of fun, games, teaching and fellowship.  That Saturday evening the same youth minister decided to show several VHS clips (that he had recently recorded) to the youth and offered commentary on each.  He showed NFL highlights (I recall a long touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw to John Stallworth), highlights of Portland Wresting (I am certain Playboy Buddy Rose was involved) and a video of Billy Joel performing the track “Just The Way You Are”.
 
Once the song had ended, I expected him to go on a strongly worded and long-winded diatribe about the evils of rock music, how we need to burn our secular records and how certain artists or styles of music we should not be listening to as Christian youth.  He did not do that, but rather turned towards the gathered youth and in a matter of fact manner said, “I believe the Holy Spirit inspired that song”.
 
WAIT a minute?  WHAT did he say?
 
Did a youth minister in the all too conservative and at times hard-line to a fault church environment of the eighties actually provide endorsement for a song from a secular artist?
 
Yes, he did and proved himself very smart and forward thinking by doing so.  He was wise enough to understand that if you tell young people not to do something then you are only challenging them to rebel and go do it anyway.  In other words, he took the more back door and emotionally intelligent approach by being open-minded and questioning when it comes to secular arts.  If God can inspire one song from a mainstream artist then what other songs (and from what artists) are equally inspired?  Maybe we should not dismiss a whole generation of music based upon the transgressions of one or two artists but rather take a step back and think things through.  Perhaps it would be a better idea to understand how to set appropriate boundaries for ourselves as it pertains to the various forms of arts and entertainment and learn how to respect the boundaries that others set for themselves at the same time.
 
Does this make sense?  It certainly did to me, particularly in light of how it was a breath of fresh air in the face of the stuffy conservative standards (no matter how well intentioned) of the Pentecostal high school in which I attended.  The lesson learned is that it proves more proactive to encourage people to review the scriptures in order to learn how to make the right decisions for themselves (and understand and respect how others are different) as opposed to making a bunch of rules and guidelines and telling people what to do and not to do in the process.
 
After high school, I spent the next two years at a local community college pursing a prestigious Associates of Arts degree.  All it got me was a pizza delivery job.  Unduly inspired, I enrolled for one year at a nearby Baptist College prior to closing out the final two years of my career at a small liberal arts college south of Portland.  I went through some pretty tough and stressful experiences in college (almost Job like in capacity) and so afterwards decided to spend a couple of years unwinding by working whatever job happened to come my way.  It should not surprise that I returned to that old pizza delivery job…
 
Once I got two feet on the ground, I moved to Portland, returned to school and within a year had landed my first ‘real’ full time job with competitive salary, benefits, 401K, etc.  By the early nineties, I am living in the East side of Portland (Gresham, Troutdale area) and attempting in earnest to find a ‘home’ church.  It did not work out as I had hoped.  Perhaps due to the fact the church I had attended as a youth excelled so much in teaching and ministry opportunities that I took it for granted and mistakenly thought every church was the same.  I could not have been more wrong in my expectations.  We’ll just say that the churches in the East Portland area (keeping in mind this is early to mid nineties) left somewhat desired.  I am not going to go into too much detail (or be unnecessarily critical) in this area but it got to the point I gave up attempting to find a church; the last 10 years I lived in Portland I hardly attended church at all.  No, this is not something I recommend to anyone and I probably could have stuck it out more and persevered (I was partially to blame but was also a much younger man still in his twenties to early thirties).  In other words, I do not feel it is always fair to look back and second-guess yourself in terms of the mistakes you made as a young person.
 
One thing that sticks out about the late eighties to early nineties Portland days was the great Trail Blazer teams with Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, Buck William, Jerome Kersey and Cliff Robinson.  Those guys could run with anyone!  The problem is that a great fast break game does not always translate to playoff success- we will just say that the Detroit Pistons, LA Lakers and Chicago Bulls teams to which the Blazers lost in the post season were that much better.  Still, in my opinion the NBA from the 80’s and 90’s is much more interesting than it is today, which mostly consists of a bunch of guys running and gunning and jacking up three point shots.
 
I like to think of my nineties to early turn of the century Portland period as a time of humbling and testing (as outlined in Deuteronomy 8:16).  The best way to sum up would be to state that God was attempting (I was not always the most cooperative patient) to work that perseverance, maturity and completion in my life as outlined in James 1:4. In the process, he was getting me ready for the work that would soon follow.  Speaking of which…
 
Work started on Angelic Warlord in early 2004 but I encountered obstacle after obstacle.  Within a month after beginning work on the site, my mother passed away.  Later that same year I lost my job of close to 15 years.  Some crazy things happened as well.  I decided to take a risk by not renewing my dental insurance and lo and behold a tooth flairs up, which results in an uninsured (and very expensive) root canal.  The root canal starts to hurt post procedure but on the way to the dentist my car breaks down.  One thing after another…
 
It was also interesting how things worked out.  Whenever I needed a tape or CD, I always managed to find it.  The week before I was to start work on a review of Stryper’s “Yellow And Black Attack” I was concerned because I only had a vinyl copy but no working turntable.  I envisioned having to purchase a new turntable but several days later wondered into a local Goodwill and sitting on the shelves was a mint condition cassette copy of “The Yellow And Black Attack” (original mix).  Fortunately, I had a cassette player.  In early January 2004, I was browsing through a used record shop in downtown Vancouver, Washington and found a very rare cassette copy of Final Axe’s “Beyond Hell’s Gate”.  I later purchased a used cassette copy of Tempest’s A Coming Storm at a thrift shop in Salem.
 
By the time the spring of 2005 I was ready for a change in both scenery and climate and made one of the smartest decision I ever made in life by moving to Phoenix, Arizona.  Looking back it was tough losing my job at the time; however, there is no way I would have finished Angelic Warlord while also working full time.  There was simply too much to do in terms of writing several hundred reviews, learning web design and ultimately designing the site.  It was a classic case of God working for the best through a difficult situation (Romans 8:28).
 
The blessing of the move to Phoenix is that it allowed me to focus completely on the site without interruption or distraction- and get it completed and online within one year of making the move.  I decided to spend several months after launching the site to make sure it was running smoothly before starting my job search.  Good news is I landed a new job in early 2007, which was right before the economy collapsed.  So things worked out for the best in the end…
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