It’s easy to walk on a high-wire when you know there’s a safety net below you to catch you if you fall. For me, my parents have always been my personal safety net and they’ve always been there for me. The following story is just one example of their constant support and encouragement.
Sometime in April of 1993, when I was 35-years-old, I had what most people would call “a crazy idea.” It wasn’t the first nutty scheme I was about to hatch and it definitely wasn’t the last. In a nutshell (with the emphasis on the word, “nut”) I decided to quit my job at Fleming Potter here in Peoria, Illinois, cash in a thirteen year union pension fund, sell my car and almost all of my possessions and take the money and run off to New York City to pursue my dream of writing.
I knew about four people that lived in New York, none of them very well and I had no job waiting for me there. I just had a dream and wanted to chase it. I knew the tough part would be telling people about this plan because quitting a job I had worked at for 13 years, cashing in a retirement plan, selling all of your belongings and moving to New York without a job or really knowing anyone was somewhat akin to telling people you were going to build a spaceship and fly it to Mars. It was scary to do, scary to think about and I knew that people would think I was nuts. I knew that telling people this plan wouldn’t be easy, so I started with the two people that have helped me out the most in my life, my parents.
I took a night off from work and went to their house to have dinner with them. We ate and I was really nervous because I hadn’t shared this idea with anyone yet and part of me knew it was one crazy-ass plan. So after dinner I told my parents about my idea to move to New York and I didn’t know what to expect. I was filled with a sense of dread about the whole thing and my stomach was in a million knots.
What happened after I explained to them about how I wanted to move to New York was that they sat their at the dinner table for about a minute, looked a little shocked, but then my mom said, “You know if you don’t do this now, you’ll really regret it later on in life. So go ahead and if it doesn’t work out you can always move back here and start all over.” Then my dad agreed with her and they said they’d help me out in anyway possible to make this happen. And they did.
I lived in New York for 19 years and it was a pretty wild ride at times and I’m so thankful I was able to do it. I don’t think I would or could have done it without the support of my parents.
I could fill pages with more stories about how my parents helped out and supported not only me, but my brothers, Jim and Tom and my sister Terry through the years. My parents are two of the best people in the world and I’ve always felt that I was really lucky to have them as my parents. I know without them my life would have been so different. I probably wouldn’t be doing this blog right now if they hadn’t shown so much encouragement when I started writing back in the mid ‘80’s.
They’ve been a part of all of my blogs and I want to share a couple of pictures of them that I took from a place that we started taking photos from because of a blog I did and it’s always cracked us up.
The place is the bar in their basement. It’s been there since they moved into their house in 1976. in January of 2011 I was finishing up yet another one of my crazy ideas, this one was going to 365 bars in 365 days for a blog/writing project and I was winding up this journey by returning back to Peoria from New York and I was staying at my parents house. I was so tired at this point and the year had really taken a toll on me and I decided that this night I would take it easy and just go to my parents basement bar and we christened it “Jerry’s Bar” that night and had some laughs down there. And a few of drinks too. My parents have always encouraged all of us to be silly and laugh and as I get older I realize that this is really the only way you should live life. Life is too absurd and insane not to laugh at it as much as you can.
My mom died on May 12th, 2017. She went quickly and peacefully. She was an encouraging and an optimistic person and lived a long and happy life. I’m so happy I got to spend 59 years with her. Lots of people have shared nice thoughts and memories with our family since she died. Thanks to all of you and our family really appreciates everyone’s kindness.