My Family and Me

I grew up on the north side of Chicago.

My parents also grew up on the north side of Chicago. They were kids during WWI, teenagers during the Roaring 20s, and young adults when the Great Depression began. Their lives during those years are still difficult for me to imagine. I was born about the time my father was called to serve in the Pacific during WWII.  After the war my father returned to working in his uncle’s engraving business in downtown Chicago, in an area now known as Printer’s Row. He gave me my first Lionel train set. My sister, the baby boomer, was born. Our grandmother lived with us in our West Rogers Park home as we entered the second half of the century.

My parents both worked hard. Growing up, I don’t recall hearing about living the American Dream in the early 1950s. By the end of the 50s, though, things were good. We moved to Rocky River, just west of Cleveland, the summer before my senior year in high school. My father, working in marketing for US Steel, had been transferred there from Chicago.

19650323-self-portraitKaren and I met during our senior year; we dated during high school and college, and were married the weekend after we graduated in 1964. Within months, as a newly-minted US Army Second Lieutenant, I was off to France (sketch at the right). My bride joined me several months later, and we lived for a few years near Orleans, in an art history book, about 100 clicks from Paris and Chartres.

We returned home in 1967 to begin our family, and I began my graduate work. Forty years, two children and two grandchildren later, a marketing career and a consulting business accomplished, I’m putting my MFA to work once again, teaching in the Frostic School of Art at Western Michigan University (nine years now, but who’s counting).

While I’m developing my current work, storytelling by time and place, I’m beginning to tell my own story as I ponder the best time to be alive.

The Best Time to be Alive