We Showed Up

There’s a huge advantage to living nearly halfway across the country from the rest of your clan when you are 21 and you are a brand new dad. This formative experience fosters deep bonds between you and the other two members of your unit.

Being so young and suddenly thrust into the role of parents forced the two of us to become really clear about our lives and our love for one another. Yes, I suppose we could have gone in the opposite direction, but what we lacked in money and resourceswe more than made up for in devotion to one another and our newborn baby boy, Mark.

When I look at photos of the two of us from the early 1980s, I’m struck by a couple of things. First, I’m amazed at how young we both looked. This was the stage in life when many people our age were getting started on a career, and contemplating what grad school to apply at. For the two of us, it was cobbling together enough cash to pay our rent, keep one of our two clunkers running and on the road, and later, how best to sync our dual work schedules so that Mark could have a parent home, spending time with him and nurturing his spirit.

On the steps of our duplex in Chesterton, IN (circa 1986)

After I fell out with the God people in Hammond and Crown Point, Indiana, I landed a job working in a prison. While Westville Correctional Center sure as hell wasn’t glamorous, it offered decent wages and even more important for our young family at the time—access to health insurance and our first HMO. Continue reading

Back To the Real World

This morning (Monday) is getaway day for the remaining two members of Team Baumer (or Mrs. B, Mr. B, and Baby Boy, our “official” name we registered under). Mark, aka, Baby Boy, jumped the 1:00 pm Amtrak back to points south and Providence after we sat down, breaking bread post-race, over lobster, along with a thousand or so other people.

All good things must come to an end. Mary and I had hoped to get up and watch the sun come up over the water this morning. Instead, we were greeted with a wet parking lot and a light rain falling when we stepped out the door of The Edgewater. No sunrise for the early risers today. Continue reading

Sons and Fathers

Beaver with hid dad (and mom).

Beaver with hid dad (and mom).

I heard a news story last week that spending on dads for Father’s Day is 40 percent less than similar spending for Mother’s Day. I probably could have guessed that. Father’s Day has always seemed to possess less luster than May’s paean to mothers, at least on the Hallmark side of things.

Dads are still important. I’m sure daughters have their own thoughts about their fathers. Boys, dads, and the dynamics inherent in that relationship are an entirely different animal. Continue reading

Time Marches On

One year ago, to the weekend, I was feted as the “author in residence” at Kennebec Fruit Company in Lisbon Falls. Members of Moxie Nation know it simply as “The Moxie Store.” That book signing for Moxie: Maine In A Bottle, took place on May 5, 2012; it doesn’t seem like it was one year ago, but it was.

Yesterday, my sister and I pulled off a surprise 80th birthday party for our father, Herman the German. The location was another Lisbon Falls landmark, The Slovak Social Club, on Avery Street.

My sister and I with our parents, Helen and Herman.

My sister and I with our parents, Helen and Herman.

There’s a saying that “time waits for no man,” and it doesn’t play gender favorites, either. The seconds, minutes, and hours of life continue ticking away and then, the clock ticks no more. Continue reading

This is not a Thanksgiving post

Life is often filled with uncertainty. Not knowing can cause anxiety and worse, even fear. Often, fear is irrational but it still stalks us creatures craving directions and crystal clear pictures of the future.

My year began with so much excitement and then, I got dished a large dollop of unpredictability, which segued into a period of dissonance, and eventually, employment’s door shut in my face. By late June, I was uncertain about what new revelations were just around the corner. Continue reading