What I Remember, 2005. I
grew up in Charlotte, the oldest of four children.
From my birth through age 5, we lived near Southpark.
We called it "the country." Southpark was a dairy farm
at that point, and downtown Charlotte didn't look anything
like it does now. We moved in to Myers Park back when
everyone else was moving out to Foxcroft.
the time I reached elementary school, one of the popular debates
among my friends was
whether The Beatles or The Monkees was the better band.
Our parents took us to see movies like Mary Poppins and The
Sound of Music. Captain Kangaroo was a
daily staple of our television diet. Winter basketball
league at the Dowd YMCA and summer swim team at Charlotte Country Club
figure prominently in my childhood years. At that
point, the Dowd Y was simply called "the Y" because it was
the only one in town.
Summertime was all about catching lightening bugs, the tire
swing at the Millers' house and pestering our parents to let
us go barefooted. Rowan & Martin's Laugh In
would soon launch Goldie Hawn to superstardom. One of my favorite activities was
horseback riding at Cedar Hill Farms on Providence Road,
which is now a residential development. Back then, if
you drove that far out Providence Road, you were pretty much
parents strictly enforced mandatory Church and Sunday School
attendance at Christ
Episcopal Church. I went
to Eastover and Myers Park Elementary Schools; A.G. and
Piedmont Junior High Schools and West Charlotte Open High
School - class of 1977. It was an a time of social and
political upheaval in
America. My next-door-neighbor, Leslie, staged a
sit-in for 6th graders at Myers Park Elementary because
girls were not allowed to wear pants to school. Much
more importantly, we were the children who desegregated the
public schools in fulfillment of the hope and promise of Brown v. Board of Education and Swann
v. Board of Education. We were also the children
who watched, every day, as
Walter Cronkite narrated America's descent into the Vietnam
experience. Meanwhile, Alan Alda parodied the
establishment and its war on M*A*S*H.
age 10, I was too young for Woodstock - but my friends and I
knew about it, we played the album, read the liner notes and
wished we'd been there. Around this time, Abbie Hoffman published Steal this Book,
Jimi Hendrix died, Charles Manson was partying in
California, The Beatles broke up, Patty Hearst was robbing
banks, Jefferson Airplane became Jefferson Starship and everyone wore bell-bottom, hip-hugger jeans.
Somehow, Saturday Night Live got away with
bringing all this madness into our homes with a healthy dose of
my junior high school years, my friends and I were jammin'
to Led Zeppelin and The Who while we learned our social
graces through weekly attendance at Teen Cotillion and
Promenade programs. We went to see
The Godfather over and over again while Vietnam began to
wind down to the sound of American Pie on the now
burgeoning FM band. Our awareness of the world outside
America and Vietnam grew as George Harrison performed The
Concert for Bangladesh. Then Neil Young cut the
iconic Harvest album.
America celebrated its 200th birthday, high schoolers were
either instigating or running from race riots -
desegregation wasn't easy. And
most of my friends mixed Pink Floyd with The Allman Brothers;
The Doors with Yes; and Emerson Lake & Palmer with
Little Feat. A popular debate was whether Rocky
or Star Wars was the better motion picture.
It was a crazy mixed up time, but we had great music, and we
knew how to ask a lady to dance, which we would need to do
when disco later swept America as a blissful salve after
years of political and social lacerations and the sometimes
salty music that followed. Disco might not have been
serious music, but bands
like Earth, Wind & Fire saved it from complete
this point, life reached something of a turning point.
We were becoming adults. The law would say, we had attained
the age of majority. That's a tough sell when The
Rocky Horror Picture Show is becoming a phenomenon, a
bridge between punk rock and disco. Yet the national post-Vietnam
hangover wasn't responding well to images of Americans being held
hostage in the US Embassy in Tehran, and we knew our time
Since then, a lot has happened
in my life and in the world in which I live,
some of which is reflected on this
website in one way or another. So, I'll just skip right
to the present.
the age of 46, I
finally got married on June 10, 2005 at the Isle of Palms - near
Charleston, South Carolina. My wife, Stephanie, is the
second of five children and grew up at Myrtle Beach (but
doesn't know the official South Carolina State Dance, the
Shag, thank goodness). She is a
third-grade teacher at McAlpine Elementary School but
transfers to Elizabeth Traditional School in the fall of
She's an avid runner and loves her dog - a pug named
"Arthur" - more than life itself. Shortly before we
got married, we cried together watching Million Dollar Baby,
and The White Stripes were permeating the airwaves. A
lot of people still get going with The Beastie Boys, and The
Red Hot Chili Peppers are as hot as ever. But even as
we embraced the future at our wedding, we were coddled by the past
when Stephanie processed in to Morning Has Broken
by Cat Stevens and we processed out groovin' to Van
where are things now? At this point, I'm a lawyer, the
honeymoon is over, the Internet is old hat, Osama
Bin Laden is still on the run, XM-and Sirius satellite radio
are new, downtown Charlotte looks like a real city and
Southpark is a bigger deal than downtown was when I was
born. We recently saw Crash, and we were both
And the funny thing is that I still think of
myself as a "young person."
"Every saint has a past and every sinner
has a future."
- Oscar Wilde