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YOU'RE HERE AREN'T YOU?
Author: Gary L. Palmer
Genre: Creative non-fiction memoir (347 pages, pictures available)

Registry #: non013

 

"You Goddamned son-of-a-bitchin' whore! I'LL KILL YOU!" yelled my father amid the crashing sounds of broken lamps, pots and pans, and anything my parents could get their hands on to throw at each other. My mother was a bloody mess! I was only five-years old. A lifestyle of domestic violence, alcoholism and poverty were rampant during the early years of my life.

In 1946, when I was six-years old, my parents abandoned my sixteen and fifteen-year old brothers and me and went their separate ways. My brothers dropped out of school in the ninth grade and were "on their own" struggling to survive. I was "taken-in" by my maternal grandmother, at a time when she was experiencing serious financial and health problems. From 1946 to 1948, I lived with my grandmother and her alcoholic husband in a one-room shack, without electricity, water, sanitary facilities or heat. After cancer took my grandmother's life in 1948, I spent the rest of my growing up years in foster homes and a children's welfare home.

The unlikely setting was Chagrin Falls, Ohio, a small, upper middle-class, Midwest town. The discipline and competitiveness of sports and a loving foster mother, who died when I was in high school, gave me a reason to stay in school and try to make something of my life. Alone in the world at age eighteen, I found a home in the Navy (1958-1962) and saved enough money for one year of college. As a walk-on, I earned a football scholarship for two years. I worked long summer hours at demanding physical-labor jobs in order to finish college. Despite academically finishing near the bottom of my high school graduating class, I earned a degree from Ohio University in January 1967. After graduation, I began a fifteen-year career in teaching and coaching before entering the business world.

My wife and family, foster mothers, high school football coach and my faith in God, established purpose in my life. My story is about the supportive roles they have played in my determined efforts to "fight through adversity" and accomphish many of my goals.

 

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