It all started way back in August of 1964. It was the me generation and it was all about the sex, the drugs and the rock and roll. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones were making it big and the Vietnam War machine was just getting cranked up. Racial prejudice was running rampant in our country and President John F. Kennedy had just been assassinated the year before. Americans were just beginning to realize that just about anything was possible (good or bad) if you just set your mind to it.
We were a normal family, a mom and a dad and two kids, the great American dream, right? We had lots of friends and we lived in a small home in a nice neighborhood just outside of the inner city limits. My parents married in their late 30’s and they worked at a bar and restaurant across town from our house. Dad tended bar during the day and mom was a waitress during the night. My sister and I would get home from school and mom would load us into the car and take us along to work. When dad would get done his shift or done drinking for the night we would jump in the car and head back home.
It seems odd but some of my earliest memories are only of times that I got hurt. Like when I was two years old and I chased a bouncing ball onto the sidewalk and got run into and hurt pretty bad by an older kid on a bicycle or the time when I was five and we were playing cowboys and Indians and I slid behind a tree and ripped a huge whole in the side of my leg on a metal property marker that was sticking out of the ground. Weird I know, but that’s what I remember.
We spent a lot of time at my parents hunting camp in the mountains of northern Pennsylvania. My folks had off work every Sunday and Monday so we’d load the truck with the dirt bikes and the beer and we’d head north. Dad would drink all weekend and mom would a little too and my sister and I would ride our Honda minibikes and run around the mountains playing kids games. We were one big happy family, I thought.
As the years wore by we had the same routine every week. Hang out at the bar waiting for dad thru the week then head to the mountains on the weekends. As I got older I was beginning to get bored of this waiting around and killing time just waiting for my dad to get done drinking with his buddies at the bar. Not only was I getting bored but I was starting to learn new habits. Habits that weren’t very appropriate for a 12 year old.