My home life was still a turmoil, and I was still the failure there. My father’s favorite sarcastic expression to anything I had an opinion about was “you are right and the world is wrong”. It got to where I started to believe it. I fell in with the wrong crowd at school and I started to smoke pot.
Smoking pot was great! It took all that pain away and I now had friends to hang out with who accepted me. I still worked but I started skipping school to party. I didn’t care anymore. I figured if I was to be a failure all my life, might as well have fun along the way.
I met my high school sweetheart shortly after I started getting high. She also had issues with her hypocrite father who was Mr. Religion who owned 6 Christian radio stations, a restaurant in Scottsdale and did bible studies. All good except he drank like a fish.
Carolyn and I were like two peas in a pod. We knew we would be together forever. Then one day we got busted smoking weed and her dad went ballistic. Of course my parents sided with hers and neither parent cared about our love for each other. Carolyn’s father promptly shipped her off to be with her mother in Cincinnati. A few weeks later my parents went on one of their vacations without me. Despite the protests of that nice nanny, I was out the door, thumb out and on my way to follow my love.
Freedom: The Cincinnati Adventure
It only took me 3 days to travel across the country the first time. Actually, I got lucky and caught a ride all the way to PA and the I-75 with a coffee freak that rarely slept. It was just a short half day up the 75 and into Cincinnati where my love was waiting with a friend to pick me up.
We spent a few days with her mother, met a few of her friends and poof, her dad made her go back to Scottsdale. It turned out that my parents had contacted him and warned him I was coming. Back on the road again and this time not so lucky, it took me 2 weeks to get back. This time, she met me and we kept going all the way to Cardiff, CA.
We lived as bums on the beach in CA for about 2 months before getting caught by the local sheriff. We were still minors so we were shipped home. My memory is a bit fuzzy, I was so stoned all the time back then, but somehow we ended up in this skid row apartment in central Phoenix. I was working at a Mexican restaurant and we were barely getting by. Then the apartment burned up and I lost all my childhood pictures and memories. The only thing that didn’t burn was our clothes.
After the fire, we hitchhiked again to Cincinnati where I got a job at a large country club working as a dishwasher. That job did not last long and I found myself employed at Kenner Toys.
Kenner was named after the street not vice versa.
Working at Kenner was like working in a mini city. There were roads where forklifts would zoom about their business. All the buildings were connected in some way to keep out the snow. I traveled around quite a bit as it was my job to keep the assemblers supplied with parts. It was a much better position compared to sitting in one spot all day.