It was a dark and stormy night…
I was born in Pullman Washington, the day after Mother’s Day, May 10, 1976. There were compilations, I had two seizures and spent two weeks in an incubator.
My mom was born and raised in Seattle and my dad grew up in Wenatchee WA. They meet at Washington State University in Pullman WA in 1973. They were married on June 22, 1974.
My dad worked in radio he had a BA in journalism and communications. I have a photo of him performing in a play called “Under Papa’s Picture.”
My mother has a masters degree in early childhood development and has mainly worked for non-profits as a case manger testing children’s learning abilities.
My brother was born January 14th 1980, a healthy baby boy named Chip. In May of 1981 my parents moved to Alaska. McGrath AK, in the middle of nowhere.
Where my dad ran the public radio station KSKO 870 am and my mom worked for various social work agencies. She also tried running her own daycare for a while. Needless to say it was a isolated, structured upbringing, school, work, activities ect..
My youngest brother was born November 12th 1982, Marcus. In 1988 we moved to Fairbanks AK, where my dad was unemployed for two years while my mom worked (he wrote a sci-fi novel) while unemployed. Side note I never got to read it and it’s lost forever, at least to me.
In 1990 my dad went in for an interview at a radio station, and ended up being News Director of KTVF an NBC affiliate in Fairbanks. My dad suffered his first heart attack in September 91.
In April of 1992 I got to travel to New York and sing in Carnegie Hall with my high school choir, I was 15 years old.
In November of 92 my mom moved out, she left. She also let a con-man of a boyfriend move in and bleed her dry financially and emotionally. He ended up marrying some girl he meet on-line after spending five years with my mom.
My dad got remarried May 22, 1995 to a strange German lady he met penpall style that was from New York. On Tuesday June 13, 1995 after returning from his honeymoon my dad was having chest pains and went to the hospital. He refused treatment and signed out AMA Wednesday afternoon, on the morning of Thursday June 15 he suffered a massive heart attack and passed away around 1:15 am. My dad’s widow was nice enough to hold his funeral on Father’s Day.
The insurance was a mess, because I was an adult, (I was 19) and my brothers were minors and my mom was divorced. My dad had never added his new wife, I got my share in cash and my brothers were set up with a guardian account my mother being the guardian. The money let me go to school and move away from my mother.
I went to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, (the piece I wrote called Tripping Through My Memories is the first semester after my dad died) I didn’t finish, I ran out of money and didn’t see a point in it at the time. I also meet Mike at UAF. He helped convince me to move out and live my own life. (with him)
For a while Mike and I both worked, we had friends, roommates came and went. In August of 1998 Marcus got sick, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that was already consuming his neck and lungs. My mom took him to Seattle’s Children’s Hospital and they resided in the Ronald McDonald house. My mother never spoke to me directly about what was going on, I heard everything second hand through Chip or my Grandmother. He passed away April 30 1999.
On December 13 1998 I got on a plane by myself and flew standby into Tulsa OK, a friend from high school lived in Stella MO and I went to stay with her. In February I got Mike to also join me in Missouri.
We worked, then I got pregnant with Christopher and flipped out, (mainly from the morning sickness.) We drove to Michigan to see Mike’s parents. Ended up living in Michigan for seven months, both of us working part-time and making no money.
Mike had a friend on-line that said come to Colorado there’s better work. So March 2000 we (me at eight months pregnant) drove to Denver CO. We made things work in Denver for two years, moved outside of Denver to Greeley. Where roommates made things worse and we went back to Michigan. November 02 to November 04 we made it work in Michigan, Mike working me taking care of Christopher, we hung out with Mike’s parents they were bowlers.
November 04 we moved back to Denver (in with the same friend from 2000) and made it all work once again for three years. Side note February 13, 2005 Mike’s dad passed away and we took a quick trip driving back to Michigan for the funeral. November once again in 06 we left Denver and drove to Kansas City, Kansas, which is where Mike’s younger brother was at the time.
At this point I do realize that we have a pattern of moving on average every 2 years 10 months. Optimism that the grass is greener on the other side or that there is something more or different to experience. We hung out with Mike’s brother for two weeks it was crazy and strange, we ended up back in Stella, MO (of all places) We needed shelter and that was the only friend I had at the moment. (the friend from the Reach piece with the cats) So more craziness, that lasted till March 07, at that point we pack up and drive west, thinking Seattle but making it to Ogden UT, and re-evaluate. Mike’s dad was Navy so he has lived everywhere even overseas and in Iceland. When he was 14 his dad was stationed as a recruiter in Grand Junction CO. So we ended up there March of 2007. First time we were homeless and had to learn things as we went.
I learned a few things the hard way but it all ended up ok, Mike got to work and we had a decent apartment. Grand Junction CO a small 60 thousand ish population, college town, boom bust town because of the oil and gas industry. Mike was making good money and we were stable, then the bottom dropped out. April of 2009 everyone every where was laid off, we made unemployment work and I worked at a assisted living facility as a residential aid, I lasted a week.
June 2010 we could no longer pay rent and drove to Denver, thinking we had one more unemployment payment, (we didn’t) we had to sleep in our Jeep, I found a family homeless shelter program, we did four week in that program, during the second week someone hired Mike to help paint fences and do landscaping and odd jobs.
We moved into a motel, with weekly rates $220 a week. It was gross, bed bugs and all. Crazy people ect… We lived there for two years. (WTF why did we stay so long) Mike worked in the tire industry almost always in the 20 years I’ve been with him, and it takes a toll on you, physically. He has also gotten hurt quite a few times on the job. Another factor to moving so many times always looking for something not so strenuous.
June 2012 we left Denver and drove back to Grand Junction, getting on our feet a little quicker this time because we knew what needed to happen. Once again making it work for three years, then burn out and exhaustion of putting up with stupid people we moved to Seattle.