My Teenage Years (#2)  

SteveandJennie 59M/58F  
6 posts
11/23/2021 7:00 am
My Teenage Years (#2)

As a , I was rather shy around girls. They were a very mysterious species. I went on a few dates in my teenage years with women who looked like relatives of Sasquatch. They usually broke up with me after they found someone better looking.

With normal girls avoiding me like the plague, I developed an interest in muscle cars. I also became hooked on video games.“(Asteroids was my favorite. (My personal score is 3.2 Million.) I fed a lot of quarters into those machines. Looking back, amazed how hard I worked to stay busy, anything to avoid thinking of my failures in general, and with girls in particular.

I have always been a creature of habit. During , I developed a daily routine that mostly revolved around . When my dad gave the job of taking the trash every Wednesday morning, it was a difficult thing to remember because it happened once a week. It didn't fit into my routine. Consequently, I rarely remembered to take out the trash. My dad viewed this forgetfulness as deliberate and punished me several times over the course of the next year.

I recall coming home from one and, upon entering the kitchen, realized I had forgotten to take the trash. With the sanitation department having come and gone, and my dad due home within the hour, I had to think fast. I grabbed the two trash bags, dragged them the back door, and hid them away in a small ravine located in a nearby patch of tall, dense trees. As far as I know, the two bags are still there.

On one Wednesday, my dad came home from work and discovered that I had, yet again, forgotten to take the trash. In a fit of rage, my dad slammed me against the wall, pressing his forearm against my<b> chest. </font></b>His was so red, it was the time I ever recall truly fearing for my life. Just that moment, my stepped in and gently suggested there might be better ways to settle this matter. My dad relented, his eyes growing wide as if suddenly realizing what he was about to do.

If someone had reminded to take the trash on Wednesday mornings, then things like that would never have happened. Maybe. Anyway, that's my story and sticking to it.

After this incident, I pleaded with my dad to assign trash duties to someone - anyone - else in the family. He obliged, probably coerced by my mom, and my brother inherited the task. Much to my satisfaction, my brother forgot to do it on his first week. I said nothing but sure the expression on my plainly displayed the vindication I felt.

When I was about , my dad was diagnosed with bad kidneys. Thankfully, he had great insurance and had an operation to prepare him for using an artificial kidney. They even to have a dialysis machine installed in our house. It was a large system, with two large tanks stored in the garage. This was half the system.

In the kitchen sat the other half, a large device the size of a washing machine. Several hoses went from the tanks in the garage, through the walls, and into the dialysis machine situated in the kitchen. Also in the kitchen was a green vinyl recliner where Dad sat during his treatments. Said treatments came four hours at a time, three times a week. During these times, the transparent artificial kidney, -“ really just a filter for the blood, removed impurities from his body.

My mom learned to insert the needles into his arms and even setup the machine. The treatments left my dad physically drained. He could not have assisted her with the tear down process even if he had wanted to.

To reduce Mom's workload, my sister and I both learned how to set up and tear down the dialysis machine. My sister had a natural knack for the task and could do it faster and more efficiently than me. Her ability did not go unnoticed by my dad. He complimented her one by saying, "You'll make a great nurse one ."

His words must have made an impact. She went on to achieve a nursing degree the University of Indianapolis. Today, my sister is one of the best, most caring nurses I know.

Eventually, it became obvious that dad's health was declining. I recall arm wrestling with him once shortly after turning . I was dumbfounded I had won. The joy I felt my victory was cut short when I saw the grim expression on my father's . Suddenly, I wished that I had let him win. Not long after this, he suffered another defeat when he lost a foot race against my brother. My brother expressed a similar series of emotions after his victory.

Somewhere inside, a nagging voice warned me something was very wrong. I ignored it, not wanting to believe my dad's condition was responsible for the change in his health. He became tired more often and more easily. About this time, I volunteered to one of my kidneys to him. When I mentioned the idea to him, he suggested we wait until I turned 18, as I would be an official adult then. I agreed the time but now wonder if this was a delay tactic for him. Would he have used the time to think of another excuse after I turned 18? I'll never know.

By this time, I was thinking about college. My folks made it clear they could not possibly to put through . With my average grades, so there were no scholarships awaiting to help either. Perhaps there was another way.
I had been told families could get government grants if their income was low enough. Since my folks always talked about how poor they were, I figured I had a good chance. I went to my and spoke with a student counselor about applying. As she filled out the forms, she asked questions to see if I qualified. We were nearly done, and things were looking good until she asked for my parent's income, the previous year's AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) as determined by tax form 40. When I gave her the , it was less than a hundred dollars over the maximum allowed by the guidelines of the grant. There was no room for a grey area; I didn't qualify.

I was so close yet so far. did I know, a free opportunity would soon be available to when my dad passed away. I wish someone had told me about it. To this , I wonder how the lives of and my siblings would be different had we gone to college.

On November 18, 1978, I learned that my 's sister committed suicide Jonestown, Guyana. the urging of Jim Jones, and years of brain washing, both she and her drank a glass of Kool-Aid laced with cyanide. Her had broken his arm and was in the local hospital the time. Her husband was the dentist. They were both saved but, understandably, the returned to Indiana a bitter and angry man. It took him many years to find peace with God.

This event is notable because my grandparents used to attend Jim Jones' Indianapolis church while my mom was still a . Jim Jones preached against marital coitus - which is hard enough to swallow by itself. My Grandpa decided to leave when Jim Jones' wife became pregnant shortly after one such string of teachings. Had he not realized Jones' irrationality, my entire family, myself included, could have fallen victim to the man's insanity at Guyana.

Next time, I'll reveal how my wife and I met and the events leading up to it.

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