“For me, this is the most stunning, remarkable, and beautiful music ever recorded – this is grown man’s music . . . not because he’s singing about any manner of manliness, but because he sings with such urgency, such unrestrained emotion, such erupting power . . . the hypnotically thunderous plodding of stanza after stanza, exploding with his primal hollering at the end – I could listen to this 20 times in a row and the 20th time it can still grab me and bring me to tears.”
You can tell much about a man’s heart, when he dances, and even more, when he dances with his little girl. SD
It is my honor to introduce you to Mickey Sr, a wonderful writer who I met on hubpages. Touching many by his lovely stories, I am glad to share a deeper look into the man behind the page as he shares his life’s story.
“I was born on June 3rd, 1954 in Martinez, a small town suburb of San Francisco. My father was full French and my mother was Welsh/Scandinavian. My father abandoned us when I was an infant and my mom raised my (2 years) older sister and I on her own. My mom was/is a very impressive woman – very smart, strong & independent, morally inspiring, artistic, and stunning to look at.
My mother’s family was the Edwards, and they were a remarkable bunch, headed by my great-grandmother – Pansy Maud Essie Burton Wade Edwards. She kept and passed-on the family record, starting with Dawson Wade arriving in Virginia from Wales in 1750, his travels with Daniel Boone, his son & Pansy’s grandfather William Wade leaving Kentucky for Missouri, her own birth in Kansas, marriage to Ford Edwards and then their 1920s trek to California in the famous Edwards Tin Lizzy turned Conestoga car. From the time they arrived in America the Wade/Edwards moved west until they could go no further – the Edwards are a part of California and California is in the Edwards.
My mom and sister and I were quite poor my entire youth, moving every couple of years, frequently living with relatives. We lived paycheck to paycheck, when there was a paycheck . . . no car, no tv, not many toys or clothes, and frequently without electricity. Yet, my mom raised us and ran her household in such a manner, I never felt deprived, I always felt like I was the luckiest kid in the world. When I was 10 we moved to Harrisburg, Pa – this was a gigantic event in my life.
We took the Union Pacific Railroad from San Francisco to Chicago and there transferred to the Pennsylvania railroad – this is where the big change began. California was new and clean and fresh and the Union Pacific railroad was modern and even elegant – stepping into the Pennsylvania Railroad car was like going back to the cowboy days, it seemed like the first locomotive built-in the United States. And it got worse when we pulled in to the Harrisburg train station. In California we had hobos, they were adventurous free-spirits who traveled the country – in Pennsylvania there were bums, scary mean old men who wanted your money. All the new and clean and fresh of California was instantly replaced with the old and dirty and stale of Pennsylvania.
We moved right on what was called ‘the line’. It was 1963 and everything east of 18th St was Black and everything west of 18th St was White. We did not fit in . . . my mom was ‘the divorced woman’ on the block and I brought Black home from school to play with. Yet, amidst that dark and dingy Harrisburg, surrounded by racism, the only kid on the block without a dad, etc, the 18 block of Park St was the three best years of my youth. I went from an American sitcom-ish ‘Leave It to Beaver’ life to a Dickensian “Oliver Twist” world – and all I did was have fun for three years.
Then we moved about 20 miles outside of Harrisburg, to Linnglestown, the years I was in jr high. It’s interesting to note here that I lived 3 houses down from Linnglestown’s little community park, Koon’s Park and in the shadow of the big gold domed church up on the hill. Jr high was exciting, in 7th grade I was told by the vice principal that I received the record detention halls since he’d been there – but around the house things were quite dull. Just as something to do, I used to go up to the corner store with a rubber band safety pinned to the inside of my sleeve with a tack attached to the end I had pulled tight around my thumb . . . while talking with the clerk at the register I would reach into the chest freezer, push the tack through the stick of an ice cream bar, and let the treat shoot up my sleeve. I was not a good boy and it was the age of James Bond – I wasn’t desperately in need of ice cream, I was just entertaining myself.
Then we moved halfway back toward Harrisburg to an apartment complex during my high school days. Like most folks I suppose, my mid/late teenage years set the course my life would take . . . not merely that these were the years I was developing into the independent adult I would become, but it was during this time that the two most defining events in my life took place. I know being my mother’s son molded me, I assumed growing-up without a father must certainly have affected my development, and moving across the country had a big impact on me – but I am still, over 40 years later, being transformed by these two most significant events in my life; at 16 I met the girl I would share my life with, and a t 18 I became a Christian.
I was in our high school parking lot sitting in a car with a friend waiting for a group of jr high girls, who had been trying-out for next year’s cheerleader squad, to pass our vehicle so we could be on our way. In the middle of the group was the prettiest girl I had ever seen . . . long dark hair, dark eyes, voluptuous figure, she was striking in the midst of a gang of pretty cheerleaders.”
No matter how distant and far away,
Time can never erase;
The day I recklessly lifted my head,
And became a prisoner of her face.
I wasn’t even seriously asking, just exclaiming “Who is that?!” and my friend answered “That’s Pixie Wenrich”. I was head-over-heels, instantly and forever. He told me that she frequented a local dance with local bands on Saturday nights and I told him he had to introduce me to her. Now, I was a hippie and she was an ‘A’ student cheerleader type, and I wasn’t at all the kind of guy to be introduced, to just present myself to a girl as someone she might have an interest to know – but this girl was so pretty I could not try to get close to her. We dated for about 3 years, got married, had 6 kids, and I love her today more than ever.
Earlier I said “It’s interesting to note here that I lived 3 houses down from Linnglestown’s little community park, Koons Park and in the shadow of the big gold domed church up on the hill” . . . what’s interesting about this is, it turned out that the ‘Koons’ of ‘Koons Park’ and the chief citizen who donated the land for the big gold domed church up on the hill was Pixie’s grandfather – her mother’s maiden name was Koons.
Around this same time I was reading a lot of ancient religious works, esoteric poetry, philosophy, etc. I wasn’t searching for any truth, I didn’t at all feel any need or lack, I was just interested . . . I had always been kind of academically oriented, always I liked ideas and pondering the big questions, etc, and I took reading the Dhammapada, Koran, Bhagavad Gita, Apocrypha, and the Bible, etc, as fun. But eventually, the Bible more and more struck me as not at all like anything else I was reading, had ever read, or had ever considered – it started to become clear to me that this was not at all like other books or in accord with other ideas.
I became a Christian, in my late teens in my bedroom, my own reading the Bible. For me, my Christianity is not a religion, it’s nothing I was raised to believe and I’m not the ‘joiner’ type, I am by nature and disposition a skeptic, even an iconoclast. I wasn’t searching for anything, I wasn’t longing for anything, I’m not emotionally needy, and I’m not intellectually feeble – for me, Christianity was a discovery, it was the learning of a truth . . . my conversion was a circumstance informed by evidence and ascertained by reason. But, it was validated and confirmed by a dramatic spiritual experience – and I have never been the same.
My high school sweetheart and I married, and I spent the next year studying the Bible . . . then I began to read theology, then church history. For the first 3 or 4 years of our marriage and the first 3 or 4 years of being a Christian we did not go to any church – I urgently and alliteratively wanted to know the truth, not a religion or some denomination’s notion of the truth. Eventually I determined that some orthodox denominations within Presbyterianism were closest to what I understood the Bible to present as the truth, and we became active in a local congregation.
Pixie and I had 3 girls in row and then a boy. I was then in a serious motorcycle accident that prohibited me from doing the kind of physical work I had done since dropping out of high school (construction, remodeling, even a bouncer in a crummy bar), and a few years later, restricted to cars, someone rammed into me while sitting at a red light – I worked and Pixie stayed home the first 20 years of our marriage, now Pixie works and I’m at home. After having twins, making it 4 girls and 2 boys, Pix and I thought that was quite enough of that . . . currently, we’re hovering at 12 grand kids.
Knowing my love of language and storytelling, one of my many daughters directed me to HubPages. My initial intention was to publish hubs on theological ideas and perhaps occasionally something on music, however Kimberly Gray encouraged me to publish more intimate material – personal stories, even poetry . . . I’m delighted I followed her suggestion.
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Mickey’s Favorite Quote –
“Warm affections, without knowledge, can rise no higher than superstition; and that knowledge which does not influence the heart and affection, will only make a hypocrite” ~ John Newton
Mickey’s Favorite Poem
” Thus in the desert’s dreary waste,
By magic pow’r produc’d in haste,
As old romances say,
Castles and groves, and music sweet,
The senses of the trav’ller cheat,
And stop him in his way;
But while he gazes with surprise,
The charm dissolves, the vision dies;
‘Twas but enchanted ground:
Thus, if the Lord our spirit touch,
The world, which promis’d us so much,
A wilderness is found. ”
~ John Newton
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I shaved my head some years ago when my oldest son was losing his hair at a pretty young age – he was considering shaving his head and in an effort to diminish the aloneness of such a course, I shaved mine as well . . . and, found it to be easier maintenance than having any hair at all.
When I was young, green was more than a color to me – it seemed to me far prettier to look at than any other color, I learned that it’s the only color that actually soothes the optic nerve, and it seemed much of the planet was green . . . so when I was about 14 I filled the bathtub with green food coloring, stuck a straw in my mouth, and submerged long enough to be green for a few days.
Around that same time I was interested to know what it was like to be blind – so I patched my eyes shut for 48 hours.
I’m one of those miserable people who decided to quit smoking cigarettes (I was maybe 20) so I threw a pack in the garbage and never smoked again.
I love American Blues music and Hollywood films of the 30s & 40s . . . and Mexican & Chinese food.
I did a lot of drugs in my mid-teen years – the first time I smoked pot I promised myself that, no matter what, I would never use needles . . . eventually, while my companions would easily and happily shoot-up, I would tear my nose apart snorting cocaine and heroin because it was important to me to keep my promise to myself.
And, even though I was skipping school daily and doing drugs, if my mom told me I was grounded I would say “yes ma’am” and go to my room. I never talked back, not once, to my mother, and I’ve never once raised my voice or said anything I’ve had to apologize for to my wife. None of that I assert as anything noble about me, it’s just the way I am – I’ve done tons of bad stuff, I’m not the man I should be, but I don’t say things I don’t mean and I don’t ever lose my cool or behave unlike myself.
I almost always wear long sleeves; in my teens I used to win money in bars playing a foolish ‘guts’ game with bikers . . . we would place our forearms tightly together on the bar and drop a lit cigarette in the seam between them, the loser is whoever pulls away first – I always won and my forearms are spotted with cigarette burns.
I handle real situations very efficiently, always rational and in control . . . I don’t get upset or distraught or cry, etc – but I cry instantly and all the time at movies or tv or music. I cry when things are done well – when I watch a perfectly upbeat and happy Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers dance number, I cry because they’re so good at what they do.
In a more personal note, please enjoy this face to face with Mickey.
Thank you Mickey for sharing your wonderful biography. Your story is one that will touch many, as it shows the depth of one man, living a colorful journey, and coming full circle. May you continue to dance through life with joy in your heart.