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    • I am guessing your father grew up in an era "when men were men", "spare the rod spoil the child" and "men don't cry" era.

      That's so true. I've often wondered why I grew up to be a pushover, as my kids all tell me I am. It was hard on my wife but our kids loved it until they had kids of their own and now they don't like it.

      Your photo of your mother and dad reminds me of what a promotional photo of two movie stars of that era looks like.

      Now that you say that and I look at their photos again I see it!

    • Thank you, Awais. I often wonder what would have happened had I not been caught stealing that sweater? I very nearly outran the detective and for awhile I was mad at myself for giving up because when he caught me I could tell he was completely gassed.

      What would have happened had I followed my instincts and run away, which I so nearly did? I could have pulled it off. Oakland was just over the hill and I knew how to stay hidden. What if I didn't meet Mr. Davis in high school? What if Julie didn't turn out to be the step mom she was? What if I didn't meet Toni at summer camp? I've always wondered about these things.

    • I would never have guessed your story, Chris. I was homeless at age 16, after I moved out to get away. I had the opposite experience of very few people helping, and being preyed upon. It left lifelong scars around trusting anyone that I still struggle with. You are so fortunate to have had Julie and others who helped lift you up.

    • Fantastic. Over the years of knowing you, you've let out bits and pieces of this story to me. I recall talking about some of parts 1 and 2 in our early days on knowing each other, when the average phone call was 2.5 hours :)

    • Thank you, Anne. I can't imagine what it must be like to be homeless and a teen girl. I don't remember even knowing that adults preying on kids/teens was a thing until maybe my 20s? I know some boys are preyed upon too, I just can't imagine and was lucky enough to never have to.

      My daughter recently took in a pregnant teen through a wonderful, inspiring program:

    • Thank you, Chris. I’ll be thinking about you and your life story for quite some time, I expect. The immediate impact took me back to the scriptures and the beautiful passage on love. “Love.....bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” The “believes all things” phrase had me stumped for some years as a young man. Your life story is such a powerful example of the impact of love when it is manifested as the investment of belief in another person. Belief in response to abject failure, even. And such love was not lost on you as you clearly rose to it. How can we understand this kind of love? How are we to respond to the examples of those who loved you in this way? Can we learn to give this kind of love to those we encounter in life? Even to our adversaries? So much content here.


    • Chris, thank you so much for sharing this. It is an increadible story and it meant a lot to me to know of this. I am in awe of the difficulties and strength you had. -Justin Russell

    • Hey Justin!! Great to see you here. For those following along, Justin is one of my sister Jane's sons. Your avatar makes you look all grown up and handsome. I don't know if you've ever seen this, but I digitized one of Grampie's movies of your mom and our older sister Robin with my mom before her illness. It's adorable!

    You've been invited!