Turning 60 – The teen years

As you might imagine, losing a parent at 15 has major ramifications, especially when it’s your mother.  All the things a mother teaches during your teen years; manners, how to dress, how to deal with girls and all the other things all go out the window.

Add to that a father who is working during the day and mourning at night; with a 17-year-old, a 15-year-old, and two little ones ages 6 and 3; well you can probably see where I’m going with this.

I’ll be merciful here and not talk about my brothers, let them start their own blog.  I will say that none of us would have won any awards for innocence.  Jail time maybe, but not innocence.

Personally, I started drinking when I was 16; Colt 45 was my beverage of choice initially.  Later I would try hard liquor, whiskey, vodka and gin, and of course all the so-called kiddie drinks like sloe gin, flavored vodka and the like.  I was already smoking for a year before I started to drink, so you can see why I am tethered to oxygen tubes.

School to me was a social club. I went to see my friends and have fun and my grades reflected it.  Virtually all of my teachers said that if I would apply my self, I could be at least a B average student.  My problem was I just didn’t care.

I graduated in the bottom third of my class and was just glad to be done.  I knew I wasn’t going to college, but I had an urge to be in theater.  I had done four plays in high school and really enjoyed it.  So I moved to Minneapolis with the idea of becoming an actor.  That’s when reality set in.

First of all, you have to get a job to pay rent, buy food and the other necessities.  When you are working you are not auditioning for parts; which ultimately means you aren’t acting.  My job started at 5 am and went to 5 pm.  I’d get home, get cleaned up and it was 7 pm.  Too late to audition, too tired to care.

So, I moved back home and got a job for a few months.  My dad, who was doing fine by this point, asked me what I was going to do with my life.  I had no real plan and I told him so.  He suggested I give it some thought.  My problem was I goofed off in high school, so college was out; I had no skills to speak of, so nothing to offer an employer.

Then one day as I was walking home, I happened to pass the old Armory building.  I noticed a sign for the Navy recruiters office, and as they say, “the rest is history.”

When I told my father I was shipping out for boot camp in three months, I think he was very proud of me, which is something I don’t think he had felt about me for some time.

Mumbles says

Anchors Aweigh

Next time Turning 60 – The Navy Years

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