The following letter is my publishers’ column for the Winter issue of American Track & Field, which mailed recently. It is on Role Models. Just last week, my sisters, my brother and I had a surprise fiftieth anniversary party for our parents in San Jose, CA. The grandkids were all there (four of them) and they were mesmerized by the stories our parents friends told them about our parent’s lives…
I open this issue with a picture of my family, taken in about 1965. My parents, Marilu and Stan, are in the background. In the foreground, from left to right, are my sister Mary Lou, my little brother Brian, then, of course, me, my sister Kathy and my sister
My parents were married on November 28, 1957 in St. Louis Missouri. Both wanted a big family and they got it. When I was growing up, Dad always told me that when he met
Mom, it was love at first sight. Less than ten months after their wedding, I was born on September 11. The twins, Mary Lou and Mary Beth, were born one year later, on December 5. Kathy was born one year later, to the day, again on December 5, and Brian came along on March 29, two years later. I remember Mom pregnant with Brian and telling me she was hoping for a boy. I was about four, sitting in the kitchen and I
can remember thinking, ” So, do I!”
My father is the official worrier, and my mother has this quiet confidence that things will always work out. What I have noticed, having observed them for all of my 49 years, is that they keep each other laughing. And they are each other’s best friends. Fifty-three years later, I think they still see each other as about seventeen. They travel, they dance, they see movies, lots of them, although Dad does not deal with subtitles real well, so those are reserved for Mom and I.
Mom is the head of detention ministry at a women’s prison in Northern California. Dad is retired from the auto industry, and acts as Mom’s secretary now, but he is a man who is in love with the internal combustion engine. They laugh about each other’s eccentricities. Laughter is in the house, and there was and is something in the air of their home that encouraged my three sisters, my brother and myself to pursue our dreams.
The house I grew up in was exciting, eccentric and full of energy, laughing, crying, all of
human emotion. It is why, in that air of acceptance, that all five of us grew up to pursue interests that gave us life. We learned from what we saw and experienced. I am writing this to tell you about my parents, Stan & Marilu, as they are my role models. This came up after watching the weekend of high theatre with Marion Jones in late September and
speaking to some high school kids. I spent a week considering who, really, were my life models.
In the end, as I made reservations for my son, Adam and myself to visit Mom and Dad
for Thanksgiving and celebrate their 50th anniversary, it filled me with honor and tears. Tears that, when my Dad had a heart attack two years ago, I first thought of Mom alone after over fifty years, and my first conversation with Dad six hours after his heart attack and surgery.
Live life to the fullest, Laugh, Love someone and allow yourself to be loved, and always,
always, return to your family. Life lessons, and something for us to consider at the end of a long year of sport, when the good and catastrophic have challenged our beliefs.
Oh, and Happy 50th anniversary to Stan and Marilu Eder. Your kids, and grand kids will
be at the old homestead in a few weeks! Rest up!
P.S. â€” On behalf of the 30,000 readers of American Track & Field, our thoughts are prayers are with the family of Ryan Shay, his wife, Alicia, his coaches, Joe Piane and Joe Vigil, and his many friends. He gave much more than he took, in his 28 years…