With Father’s Day around the corner, I wanted to take a few nights to share a bit about one of the most impactful things in my life; having and being a stepfather.
At an early age of four or so, my parents went separate ways. It was probably around 1970. During that time, my sister and I spent nearly every weekend with our grandparents. Mother tried her best to keep us fed and clothed.
Within a year or two, she remarried to a man we affectionately called ‘Chick,’ which was short for a difficult to pronounce polish name he really didn’t like to use. Chick was in his mid-thirties at the time, medium height, and had short curly hair.
He worked at Rockwell International in town and was able to help with getting our home upgraded and loved to make Christmas great for us; especially those boxing gloves he wanted us to have… My nose is still bent from that one!
What I remember most about Chick was that he took to my sister and me right away. He would spend time with us wrestling on the floor, teaching me things in the garage, and even teaching me the basics of mowing the grass. He was very patient and gentle.
Not surprisingly, he was known for his laid-back attitude and also loved his Schlitz beer after work. He was no alcoholic mind you, but he enjoyed a few beers and watching the Tigers on television every chance he could get. That was when I became a Tiger’s fan.
After they married, Chick purchased a family car for us. It was a 4-door Chevy Impala convertible much like the one in the photo today. It had the electric retractor that was so much fun watching open. My sister and I loved the back seat but fought over every inch of it!
On one of our vacations, we drove the convertible all the way down to Miami from Michigan, mostly with the top down. Believe me, my mother could have killed us after that trip. We heard the old, ‘if you don’t stop it, we’ll pull the car over right now!’ more than once.
Chick took on a lot of responsibility. He married a single mom with two kids. One, especially, was truly a dork (me). He was one of the first to teach me hard work around the house, care for what we have, and to use my hands to fix things.
One of my fonder memories of him was when we would all watch the old Abbot and Costello movies like Meet Frankenstein and the Mommy. Or, Dracula. They were silly movies, but they frightened me at six-years-old. I would always curl up next to his chair and watch with him because I knew he would keep me safe.
Sadly, they were married for only a few years and then went separate ways. Chick would still come by and make sure we had food in the fridge and money. Life doesn’t always turn out like we think it should as a kid. Life gets pretty real sooner than we’d like.
For him, he never had kids and we became his own, which is one of the great things about being a stepdad. It’s also one of the most difficult. All too often, things don’t work out and the kids are gone. Or, having to share the kids with their biological father can also bring challenges of its own.
This week, I want to share the good things about my stepfathers. I’ve have had several and each brought lessons to my life that I needed.
You may be a stepfather or have had one in your life. This week, when it’s Father’s Day, I want to encourage you to remember them and thank them. It’s a tough job. I’m truly blessed to have been a stepfather now for nearly eighteen years and I wouldn’t trade a minute of it!...
Tonight, here’s to Chick for taking us under his wing, providing us a stable home, and being a loving father figure I can look back on and remember with good thoughts.
Wishing you a blessed week my friends…