The first few years- 1980 – 1984

Before I was born they lived in the utility room off of the kitchen. My uncle Jeff would help them fix the summer house up into a livable space as they anticipated my arrival. My grandma Donna had a small garden on the same side of the house where the mint grew. My parents would expand the garden, plant the seeds, and leave it to grow. The issue was that they did not nurture the garden and it was quickly overgrown with weeds and never properly harvested. Yet, they spoke proudly about it and truly believed it was a huge accomplishment.

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They read books on how to live off of the land. My grandma Donna remembers them really wanting and believing in this lifestyle. She still has the books they used to read, front to back, creasing the pages and offered to mail them to me. I want to wait until I go visit my grandma to look at them. Some things seems safer to experience and remember when she is around. She does not mind the tears, the laughter, or the anger.

Neither one seemed to have a strong attachment to material items or memorabilia. Whenever they would move over the years, it consisted of grabbing a handful of belongings and hitting the road. The few pieces of memorabilia I have were those left behind in Ohio and saved by my grandma. The only items that I always carried with me from my early years are my baby blanket and Mr. Bear (my source of comfort well into my 20’s).

When they left the summer house in Ohio for the first time, I must have been at least one years old. My mother had joined the Coast Guard and she was assigned to do training in Maine. At first, my father and I went with my mom but that was short lived. The details get really fuzzy again here because I think we bounced from Maine to Ohio and back to Maine a few times. My dad was my sole caretaker as my mother was focused on her training and service and increasingly losing interest. We eventually ended up in Virginia. After the affair, after my sister was born.

I found some correspondence between my father and another woman from 1983. It appears they went to high school together and the letters are sad, reflective, and philosophical on both ends.

The years leading up to my 4th year are hard to pinpoint in regards to where we lived and where my mother was. I have grown up thinking that she left us and my dad was begging her to come back.

In a letter he never sent in 1984- he writes how about much he wants her home and how much we need her. That she has only been around 1.5 years out of 3 years since I was born. My sister was born when I was almost 3 years old. I do not think she has any early memories of my mother.

My mother admits an affair and that she wants a divorce. We were living in Ohio at the time but I think we moved to Chesapeake for a short while as they tried to work things out? 

One interesting thing my dad shared with me was that my first concert was the Grateful Dead.

Here are a bunch of pictures from newly born to 4/ 5 years old (I think):

ohio porch

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