Peeling open a chapter

Tucked safely away in Chippewa Falls, for today anyway, it’s allowed me to close the chapter or even a book on what’s come before in my life.

That will all change in short order, at least for a week. Let me take it from the top:

I’ve divided my life into chapters – who hasn’t? – and my first chapter is those instances I still remember when my parents were still together, still married. The few glimpses I can recall well before we reached Big Fish Lake near Ortonville, Mich. The next chapter was my next move, the one to Davisburg, Mich. and after my parents were divorced.

When that move happened, all of those schoolmates I knew from good ol’ H.T. Burt Elementary School were forgotten. Instead, I was at Andersonville Elementary.

Each chapter from then on was a new move. I lived with my Dad, visited my Mom, and how those visitations changed as my Dad moved us to South Carolina. A new chapter began as I left behind friends and family in Michigan.

Now, these were some formative years I spent in the South. I grew to be an individual – in personal responsibilities. I didn’t know it then, and perhaps I did, that my conservative thoughts and beliefs were being nurtured by few. I grew to be a loner as I looked out for one and only one – myself.

It was selfish and it was self-preservation considering the debacle that was my Dad’s second marriage. I’m stubborn and bull-headed, and at the same time, I did what I could to survive the so-called “fairness” when it came to the discipline I received. I still wear those marks.

All of this was going on as we went from Walhalla to Westminster, S.C., and in so many different houses that at one point, it seemed as though it was pointless to unpack the boxes from the last move.

During our six-year exile in the South, I still visited my Mom in the North. Even then, no friends I sought and no friends pursued me. I went at things with my little brother.

Before my sophomore year of high school was when my Dad moved us back to Michigan to start another chapter of my life. That began when I stepped foot in Pinconning’s high school. That’s where I graduated from and opened up a new chapter at my alma mater, Central Michigan University.

I met wife, we had our daughter, got a full-time job in Caro, Mich., got married, and then we had our son. After five years and what seemed like an impending axe on my job because of office politics, I took this move to Chippewa Falls.

Another chapter closed, right? Wrong.

The ghosts of my past found a way to haunt me. Without going into specifics, some of the people I once called friend from Pinconning betrayed me in some of the worst ways possible. And I’m going to the heart of the beast, the very places these rotten souls live. Sure, I’m seeing family and others that are/were friends of mine or my wife’s.

But should I cross paths with my betrayers, I don’t know how I will handle it.

My wife’s worried about it. I am, too.

If it weren’t for my family, I would never return to the Saginaw Valley. Ever.

If it were up to me, I’d return to someplace like Mount Pleasant to keep encouraging my kids to follow me as a Chippewa alum. I’d return to Detroit, the city I love. I’d return to Mackinac, a beautiful convergences of nature and history with some tourist trap thrown in. I’d go to the Upper Peninsula, with its vast wilderness, or the shores of Lake Michigan, shimmering with gold as the sun sets.

After I was betrayed last year, I wrote off all but a select few people from a place I view more like Sodom and Gomorrah than Pinconning or Bay City. My Facebook account was cleansed of nearly all of those contacts. I discontinued my profile. I’ve done all I can think of to create a canyon between myself and those soulless people. I’d just assume that the brief time I spent in those places of evil never happened in my life.

Outside of meeting my wife, nothing good came of those places. The way I see it, I went straight from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to Mount Pleasant, Mich. No stopping on Go. No collecting $200. Go straight to CMU.

I take betrayal of trust to be a serious offense. Without apology, and given the mood I could be in, I may just beat an apology out of someone. It’s that serious.

I’ve not gotten an apology by the offending parties. I don’t expect one.

And I don’t forget who has betrayed me. Ever. I don’t place my trust in just anyone. Trust is earned over a long time, and it’s not something that is restored easily.

So that chapter of my life, the one I want burned away, will return momentarily. I have to survive one week of not only being apprehensive but also the same nervousness my wife shares.

And I’ll probably feel like I’ll need a vacation when it’s all over.


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