Often I am asked about my story; here is the abridged version.
As a child pain and notoriety as the oddball, looking on from the outside was my world. I was a chubby kid, born with crossed eyes. By kindergarten, I developed a stammer and it was prominent when I became excited or nervous. I was a curious child who disassembled radios and televisions just to see what made them work, making sure to put them back together and amazed they still worked – to me that was a rush.
I was held back in school on three levels, making me one of the biggest eighth graders in class. Much of my time in school, prior to dropping out in the tenth grade, was spent in detention – mostly for fighting or acting inappropriate in class.
To say my father was an SOB for the way he treated me would be putting it lightly. I was not shown the affections a father would normally share with his son, quite the opposite. I went through life convinced my dad hated me.
My family was severed when I was fifteen-years-old and we each went our separate ways. I hit the rails and hoboed my way across America. For some reason I felt the need to come back to Chicago to find my family – I did. They were separated, living here and there. I lived on the streets for quite a while.
As a young adult, there were not too many circles that I did not find my way into; one would say I had so many experiences, it would seems as though I lived many lives – I would agree. I have lived dreams come true, and too many times, I have witnessed my reality come crashing to the ground; I would give anything to have changed that.
I have driven everything known to humanity from motorcycles to semi-trucks, flown small aircraft and powerboats. I play several musical instruments; thirteen to be exact and I have thirteen tattoos.
I have been on the radio and on television, written about in the newspaper and I have even been written about in books. I have been wealthy and dirt poor; had many friends and no friends. I have been a member of a National Football team and I have worked with the Secret Service. I have visited other countries, and I have met some pretty spectacular people, and some not so cool people. I have met the President of the United States and I have met movie stars and rock stars. I have been at both ends of the spectrum when it comes to fame and anonymity, fortune and poverty.
Many times throughout my life, I have had my brushes with death – accidents, incidents, shootings, and stabbings. Gangs, drugs, booze and crime; I have been in the midst of it all. I have witnessed friends murdered at the hands of other friends and watched people I love decay before my eyes.
However, my life changed dramatically a few years back…
After spending most of my life in construction, due to a work related injury, I nearly lost my life. The doctors were convinced it was time to hang up my spurs. I was informed by the medical staff, to live out the remainder of my life, disabled and assuredly I would not walk properly again nor would I function normally.
The problems occurred from a loss of blood during surgery and developing an ileus shortly after surgery. What should have been a few days stay in the hospital turned into weeks.
There are two things the doctors did not know about me, I have the spirit of a Native Indian combined with the stubbornness of a German, and I have bounced back from much more difficult situations than this in my lifetime.
It was a rough road, and after two years of intensive physical therapy, I proved the doctors wrong – I was walking semi-normal again. Still not fully back to normal, unable to run or climb hills, but I was able to walk unassisted without the use of a cane, walker, or crutches for the first time in two years. I was finally liberated!
What I know now; I am a man in my mid-fifties. I am happily married for the third and final time. I have five beautiful children, two biological children I have fathered along the journey and one I have pseudo-adopted when she was a baby. My wife has two children she has brought along from the journey. We have five beautiful grandchildren we love dearly.
Because of my accident, I was unable to return to construction. I am an educated man now, the first in the history of my family to graduate college – a mere year ago, and I enjoy education. I am both German, on my father’s side of the family, and among other things, the one I most embrace on my mother’s side, is my Native Chiricahua Apache heritage. I study the plight of the Native Indians in hopes of one day serving their cause.
I am a writer by choice and I love to write. I plan to spend the remainder of my days on earth expanding my knowledge through education, and publishing my writing. I figure there is a reason I have been given such a “colorful” life, and that reason will only make sense if it is put to good use by placing pen to paper.
My crossed eyes were surgically repaired and my stammer, for the most part, has gone away. I live a full, somewhat normal, life. I am happy to say, my life is not any less colorful these days, it has merely changed the hues, which it filters this beautiful world through.
This has been my life in retrospect, the abridged version, a… View From My Loft