I was born in a paper mill town called Mosinee, in the central part of Wisconsin. My parents' house sat on the edge of a thick woods just a few minute walk from the Wisconsin River. We weren't on a farm, but we didn't live in town either. We were in between and part of both but neither at the same time. I have found that this has been sort of symbolic of my life. Thankfully, I grew up on a country road with a bunch of other kids. We were all of similar ages and had many adventures throughout our shared childhood. In many ways, I felt/feel closer to them than I did/do my own siblings. But I'll get to that eventually.
My story really begins on March 9th. The possibly apocryphal story of my birth is that my mother went into labor during an episode of The Lucy Show and about an hour and a half later, I was born. I only couch this as a possibly apocryphal story because Lucy was on at 7pm and I was born around 8:30. That seems pretty fast but I don't know if she was already in the hospital at the time or if she went from our house to the hospital and to birth in 90 minutes. My mother would have enough trouble with me throughout my life so, if true, I'm glad that it sounds as though my birth was a fairly easy event and that at least she went into the delivery room laughing.
I was also a 'whoops'. My mom didn't think she'd have any more children so I was apparently a surprise. Perhaps this is why she and I got along so well. Knowing that you weren't planned is a kind of weird feeling as you realize that you almost weren't anything at all. It's also weird for me to know that my parents tenth wedding anniversary was June 20th, 1963 and that I was born 9 months later. It's nice to know that I was probably conceived during a celebratory time. :)
This photo is the earliest one of me that I have. Taken in March 1965, I would be one year old. It doesn't look like my parents home nor does it look like either of my grandparents' homes.. so I'm not sure where I am. But, it does look like I was comfy and clearly they were worried that I'd just wander away (probably a reasonable concern given my eventual peripatetic ways). I really love that pillow, by the way. It's super cool. I also kind of like the art deco green lamp behind me and the 'genie' bottle on the table. If I had to guess, I might think that I might be staying at a woman's house who had been our housekeeper (Mrs. Sinkhofer) in my early years. She would retire by about the time I was 3 or 4 and Mrs. Kasmirski would be with us up until my dad passed away in 1981.
Interestingly, later on in life, when I was with a boyfriend who was a serious snorer, I would spend a lot of time sleeping on the couch. It never bothered me. I guess it's because I had been a couch surfer from early on. :)
Anyway, I think that's a good start. I'll be back soon with a few more bits and pieces.
Would the sum total of your Story be - "I went to work and then I got married and then I died" ? Hopefully not. What did you DO? What are you most proud of? What did you learn? That's all part of your Story.
Starting on Saturday, December 22nd, I'm going to tell you my story. Some of it is nice. Some of it is not. I probably won't tell you some things, and you may even think that I'm over-sharing. But it is my Story. And, as I approach a Very Important Birthday on March 9th (one that I have written about in the past here and, more recently, here)I want to tell my Story while I can because we never really know what the future holds, do we?
I hope you'll join me. I hope that you find something that resonates with you. Like Elizabeth Moss' character on MAD MEN, I wish to create something of lasting value. Perhaps my Story will be it. Maybe not. But, I feel compelled to tell it at this point in my life.
Meanwhile, what is your Story?
Good morning all - hope you've had a GREAT week out and about in the world! As you might know, today is my 54th birthday and in honor of that, I'm posting some of my favorite music throughout the day. Enjoy!
You know, I have some friends who find it silly that a 54 year old man would make a big deal of his birthday. I understand the thoughts, but I don't agree with it. I celebrate my birthday every year because to me, it IS a big deal.
You see, when I was in my mid/late 20s, I had a friend with whom I joked that I was approaching 30 and hadn't accomplished anything. It was a joke, really, I was only in my 20s, but, because he had been in and out of ill health due to AIDS for some years, he grimly replied 'well, some people didn't get to be 30'. And you know, he was right to be annoyed by my ridiculous notion that 30 was something to be dreaded.
I was always a proponent for celebrating the day in style but, after that, I took an even harder line. There was one year in my 30s when I celebrated for two months with dinners, drinks and producing fundraising events around the country. That was my personal best until I approached 50 - I started celebrating in July 2013 and that lasted through to March 2015. Subsequent birthdays have been a bit quieter, of course, just to balance things out!
But, 54 for me is abit special as it could be the last 'normal' year. Let me explain.
In 1980 my dad was diagnosed with cancer. He was 55. He spent a year on chemo and died at 56. This made a big impact on me, a young man of 17. So, for all these years, I've lived with the looming worry of making it through my 56th year.
So, today, I begin the ramp up to a two year cycle of celebrating 54, 55, 56, and, with God's help, 57 and beyond. Because one person I loved didn't get to be 57.
I hope you'll join me in this journey, because it promises to be fun and interesting.
First up, a great way to start anything:
Today, I start what I think/hope will be a new era of my life and while I'm not ready/able to talk about it just yet, know that I will when I can.
Think of it like this: last summer, we grew a variety of plants - some decorative, some for cooking (and you all know how much we love cooking "in our tiny place" see my Instagram account @jacobandrewaltenburg). Some of them did well, some did not.
The tarragon was one of the ones that did just fine in the limited light of the space between our building and the one next door to us.
This morning we noticed that the tarragon is growing. It's just a little sprig of green, really, but it's a promising start to the next growing season. Life is like that. There's a little sprig of possibility and you nurture it. You give it light, air, food, and attention and, with a little luck, it'll grow into something larger.
With that in mind, enjoy this tune from MOANA, "How Far I'll Go" which seems particularly fitting for today.
Enjoy the day and catch you back here again soon!