California, Japan, Northern Virginia, Illinois, Southwest Virginia…. that pretty much covers the places I lived until I finished University at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and left the United States as a Bahá’í pioneer and social-economic development worker, serving on 6 of 7 continents.
From birth to 1970
In writing this memoire, I first just record memories—or at least how I remembered them. But the object of the memoire was not just a historical listing of where I’ve been and who I’ve known.
The various periods of my life can be grouped. From birth, until 1970 is was a quiet, happy child in an unhappy family. In 1967 I met Bev Sher and 1970 Colleen O’Mahoney; they essentially propelled me into my future life. The family moved 6 times in 18 years: California, Japan, Hawaii, McLean, O’Fallon, and back to McLean. Six different homes and up to O’Fallon my parents were fighting, and then my parents were divorced in 1965 when I was 14 years old. I remember my mother as a socialite, very concerned with her image and the image of her family. From my childhood, she made sure her children were washed, going to church, attending school, and applying to college. Without many words, she instilled in us a strong work ethic, moral values, and self-assurance. But she did not show physical love or express love openly. My father was not directly involved in my upbringing. He was often absent, both physically and emotionally, including for long periods. But at the same time, he was an example that was imprinted on me. I see many similarities between me and my father, and few between me and my mother. For example, I feel very comfortable in a leadership role because my father was a leader. He was not overly ambitious and did not strive for the top, both traits that I display. And I love sports, like my father.
Between genetics and my home experiences growing up, I was a confirmed introvert. I was not outgoing. I kept my emotions hidden, and I had a few good friends in my life. Neither my family, nor academics, and even sports motivated me. I lived intuitively, without thinking too much. With Bev, deep, serious, important emotions opened up. I think before Bev they were bottled up and with Bev they exploded—both with me and with her. I learned to feel love with Bev and what it felt liked to be loved. Love became a need. It was what made me happy. When Bev was removed from my life (by her parents) my need for love was fulfilled by a number of girls, and then arrived Colleen and a pregnancy. Without hesitation, I decided to marry. But I was confused, uncertain, and hesitant—and my mother sent me to a priest to arranged the marriage and I balked. Immediately Colleen’s father took any future with Colleen away and aborted the child. And the next period of my life started.