I was born in Aurora Illinois in 1947 at the height of the baby boom. I am the oldest of four siblings with one brother, Jim, and two sisters, Carol and Sue. My education was a Renaissance mix of the sciences and classical philosophy. I graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1970 with a bachelor of science in education. It was there that I met my future wife, Linda. However, we did not marry until 1978. She was already the mother of six boys [Kevin, Eric, Peter, Christopher, Jeremy, and David] whom I adopted shortly after the wedding. We went on to have two more sons, Stephen and Nicholas. My family used to joke around that the TV program, Eight is Enough, must’ve influenced us as the eighth child in the program was also named Nicholas.
The 1980s were not kind to us. I had been teaching fifth grade in the Rockford Illinois School District for one year but my contract was not renewed due to the closure of 11 schools and the permanent layoff of over 300 teachers. The only opportunities for teaching work at the time appeared to be down in Houston Texas. So, we got ourselves some camping equipment and hit the road to the Lone Star State. When we arrived in Houston, it was hotter than blue blazes. As I was putting on my tie at the campground in 95° heat, the guy on the radio said, “well folks, today is going to be warm but tomorrow’s going to be really hot!” It turned out that the district had openings, all right. But there were 200+ applicants for each position being offered. Consequently, we headed back north.
By the grace of God, I landed a position back in Rockford as an educator at a couple of state facilities; one a residential center for troubled teens and another for developmentally delayed adults. From 1987 on, we lived rurally, raising all our own food and cutting wood for fuel. For many of those years Linda actually milked a cow twice a day. From that point we also home schooled our children. It was a busy but happy time. We finally ended up in southern Wisconsin, where I worked as a special education teacher for the Madison School District until retiring in 2006 and moving to northern Wisconsin.
My wife Linda established herself as a capable journalist, working as a stringer for the Milwaukee Journal. We then settled in the Owen-Withee area where she worked as a reporter for the Sentinel and Rural News until her passing in 2016. Her editor, Travis Rogers, encourage me to try writing for the paper. I decided to write a column, This Present Moment. Writing from a spiritual perspective seemed the best path. Looking back, it becomes clear to me that the overriding meaning of my life experiences has been meant to show me how to find the divine in people. My fondest wish is to share that perspective with others.
Sentinel Rural News is the leading source of news for rural Wisconsin. We utilize locals as our content creators and then we independently verify those posts for accuracy.