Thursday, April 14, 2011

Where I come from

Today I am paying my respects to the two people that came together to make my life possible. They have both been on my mind a lot lately considering their failing health. My parents couldn't be more different. He's a city boy from Little Rock, Arkansas and she's a country girl from Northern Lower Michigan.

Their stories come together when Ralph, a recently divorced, father of one moved to Michigan to be with his also recently divorced mother. He was a 29 year old veteran of World War 2. For a little entertainment in his new town, he and some friends went to a barn dance. That's when he saw her. The stunningly beautiful 19 year old girl, Maxine that had come to the dance with her mother. He asked her to dance and the sparks flew. Three short months later, they were married.
Starting his life over again, he decided to leave everything that they both knew behind and take his wife off to the new Chiropractic College in Davenport , Iowa. It was a new concept in health care and he really believed in what they were teaching. Between having children, she also attended the college. Upon graduation, as a team they rented an old house in Leesville, Louisiana and started the first Chiropractic office in that town. It didn't do very well as you might imagine and they heard of an existing practice for sale down further South in Houma. So they packed up their ever increasing family and moved again. It was now the 1960's and Chiropractic was still trying to take off. When the business didn't make it, they packed up and moved back to Michigan where he went to work for Ford Motor Company. She started her own accounting firm out of the house. They continued more informally with patients in Michigan but never opened an official practice again.
Together they had and raised seven children while his ex-wife raised his first son. The family was reunited many years later but we have now lost my half brother to a heart attack last year. It was definitely hard on my father, losing his first born son. It's something that no parent should ever go through, no matter what age they are.
They have now been together for 58 years. I'll always admire both of them for believing in something and following their passion for it, even when the rest of the world didn't see what they saw. They did what they needed to do to raise all those children and I think they did a pretty good job.
I may not have had the perfect childhood, but I place no blame on anyone. If they had not gone through everything they did, I would be a completely different person now. And I'd have to say that I am quite happy with who I am and where I come from.

5 comments:

That corgi :) said...

What a wonderful tribute to your parents!! It does seem like they were very hard working and were willing to try a different career with being a chiropractor. I didn't realize how hard it must have been to promote that type of medicine in years past, but I am sure they made their best attempt to do so. I am sorry with the death of your half-brother; I can see that it would have been so hard on your dad. What a wonderful legacy though I believe that your parents have and will leave you and your family. It is sad when our parents age, mine are both gone, but hubby's parents are in their mid to late 80s and I see the struggle they all face.

Thanks for sharing this; I really enjoyed reading it.

betty

Hesta Nesta said...

What a small world, my hubby is a part time Mc Timoney Chiropractor here in the Uk and studied Chiropractic Philosophy at Palmer College in Davenport Iowa a few years back and was awarded the Palmer Legion of Chiropractic Philosophers. A lovely story Stew and thank you for sharing.
Jo xx

Jim said...

This was so interesting to read Stew. Amazing how all the stories are different and yet here we find ourselves living our lives due to them. And the cycle continues....

Anonymous said...

Jack wrote: "It is so easy to see where the wonderful person you are came from. You have really great parents."

Anonymous said...

Linda wrote: "Thank you for the family history. This is the kind of info I've never heard from Maxine when talking to her."