Work, Earn, Do it Again, and Again and Again…

Everybody Needs A Purpose

It seems that so many want a gift and do not want to put in any effort (a job) to attain their desires.  The entitlement generation is in full swing.

At times I feel as though I am living in a third-world country again…what language is it that you are speaking?  Well there are seventy dialects in the Philippines but they at

Friends on Morelos Street, Cebu…

least have two languages that are spoken throughout the islands: Tagalog (the national Pilipino language) and English… (English, the language of business).

The U.S. of A. used to be entitled to have its own language (English) but now rather than learn American English when our country is adopted, many of the new immigrants continue using their native tongue and so there are a number of languages spoken here.

That was a far cry from when my great aunt Lizzie was in school because she told me that in those days (1920’s and 30’s) she was scolded in class one day for spelling her name, Ricci.  “You are in America now and will spell it the American way, Richie.”  Back then it was an embarrassment to even have an accent so times have definitely changed.  Maybe they changed for the better, but perhaps not.

I’m not sure how or why the process happened as it did.  All I do know for sure is that the “Land of the free” has become the land of chaos and racial tensions.

Tense days in London… is that tension headed this way?

So many people tell me it’s not right but that’s the way it is.

What about all the things that this process does to the person on the receiving end…loss of self-esteem, motivation, and an apathetic lifestyle because they receive just enough to keep their heads above water.

There are some who consider me on the dole.  But am I really?  Yes I receive social security disability insurance, but that is an insurance policy that I paid into all of my working years.  I have not been able to get back into that line of work and my employer did not have the funds to get me into a school to help me learn something new.  I do get assistance on my housing, is that socialism? I do not receive federal food stamps nor do I receive welfare, so no, I don’t think I am on the dole.

I am in front of the computer roughly twelve hours a day, trying to write things people will find of interest.  But aside from that I am raising my beautiful, talented daughter, Stephanie.

2008 – Stephanie and her first real computer.

Her life began very dubiously and I was with her everyone of her waking hours.  See she had a diagnosis of autism at age two, and yet, through my total immersion with her,  Stephanie was able to begin kindergarten without a need for special education.  Her mom actually got angry with me for spending so much time with Steph, but I told her that Stephanie already has a strike against her so I will help her all I can.

No handouts here except for the housing assistance and that only because I needed to take my daughter and myself away from her mother, and now cannot seem to get out of the legal hassles that began only after bringing her mom to this country from an otherworldly land.

I have wholeheartedly tried to get back to work but was always unable to do so, mainly because my thought processes are so slow.  Yeah you guessed it…traumatic brain injury or TBI.

Do some look down on me because I am disabled?  Without a doubt and those same people even point out what another with a totally different disability is able to do.  You might as well be comparing apples to oranges; it cannot be done.  Mine is often referred to as the silent or invisible disability because most people do not see the crippling effects that the brain has over the entire body.  When your mind is not in sync, well then, neither are you.  Where did I go, is a question that could very easily be asked of myself?

I recently had something happen that really messed up my plans for January and beyond. All I am looking for is peace of mind and thought I was well on my way with those plans until…I had voted when I wasn’t supposed to and because of that, things are delayed indefinitely.  Always stress and each time it enters it is more severe and stays longer.

I am so tired of taking the blame for things that I did not do but because of this damned head trauma I automatically take the fall because you know, “You had a head injury and don’t remember what you said or did.” I just want to disappear to a tropical island and never be heard from again.

I always get to the point where I believe nothing terrible will happen anymore, but that’s when the bad seeps into my life again; then, the cycle begins anew.

Another thing is that I repeatedly (in my own head) warn myself not to do something because I know it is not the right thing to do, but then I usually end up doing it anyway just because the thought had been placed.  “The things I want to do I don’t do, and the things I don’t want to do, I do,” that’s just how it is with me.  A single simple thought gets placed in my head and like, it or not; it is dwelled upon until it gets acted upon.

Since July 31, 1988 “The day I’ll never remember,” (the date of my car accident) I have been going downhill.  Sometimes the descent has been extremely fast and sometimes excruciatingly slow but always down or backwards.

I keep picking myself up but it seems more useless every time.  I do so now because of my daughter; I must stay strong and alert and sharp, for Stephanie’s sake.  My vitality and verve are nearly gone, but I know that I must keep going for Steph and I will.  It has all been worth it…Still, there are times when I would like to go to the garage, get in my car turn the radio on and the ignition and peacefully fall asleep.  However, Stephanie keeps me from ever getting to that point.

It has been a two-way street for the two of us because I am able to help her with friends at times.  She has a real inability to interact with others take this afternoon for example… I waited in the car for her while she was inside at the Filipino cultural dance rehearsal.  She came to the car about an hour and a half before it was supposed to be done. She walked to the car with shoulder’s stooped, head bowed low, and eyes that stared in defeat.  She complained of the other kids telling her to go away while she wanted to sit with them and listen to a part of the program.

One of many photos on Picture Day with CSFA.

It has been this way all through her childhood and at age two she was diagnosed with autism.

Stephanie is always clean and dressed nicely; she is not overweight in the least, she is a terrific reader, I just don’t know.

But anyway I went inside and l guess I broke the ice for her because I (with Stephanie sitting next to me) began talking to the oldest girl in that group, but I really didn’t say much and soon it was Steph and that girl talking; I went back to the car.

She came limping to the car when it was over with one shoe on and one in her hand, “What happened Steph?”

“I got this blister on my foot and it really hurts!”

Thank goodness, “How did you get along with the other girls?”

“Oh real good Dad but my foot hurts when I move it.”

“Well soak it in the tub tonight and after you wash it I’ll put some antiseptic on there.”

“Does that hurt Dad?”

“Well maybe a little.  Why don’t we stop at Dairy Queen and get a malt for the ride home?”

Steve Richie

Hi folks, Two lives in one lifetime. The first me, lived to age thirty-four. That Steve was overly confident and oozing with pride. Then, on a record heat-setting day (107º) here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a one car near-fatal wreck left me in a two-month long coma. I emerged much as I was before minus certain physical capabilities, but my mind seemed mostly in tact. The crash and its effects did not change me (I emerged a happy individual) but the deeds perpetrated against me in the ensuing months from my wife of sixteen years scared and humbled me as I was dragged down with nothing left by my wife who now had guardianship over all of our accounts. And neither would she allow me to see our kids. She took everything out of, "Our" names and changed them to her name only; then would not allow me to our home and divorced me. I was angry, but no more. I spent half of 1988 and more than half of 1989 in hospitals, nursing homes and a three month stint at a head-injury rehab center where I was being taught how to re-enter society as this different person, that I didn't know. I was not able to return to my previous line of work, a self-employed decorator, you know, painting and paperhanging. It was a physical job which required much dexterity, finesse, and a good grasp of numbers. I returned to the beginning, school, but on a community college level. One of the instructor's liked my writing and I began focusing my attention on that. I attended classes at, "The Loft," A Place for Writers in Minneapolis. While there, a classmate of mine was having her friend from New York, a CBS executive, to her home for the holidays and asked me if she could do a critique on a couple chapters of a book I was writing, "A Day I'll Never Remember" and I obliged. When she returned to class the following Monday she told me that the exec wanted a ten-page synopsis of the book for a possible movie; I was excited. After obliging for that also, I never saw or heard from her or the guy from CBS. Next thing I knew I was watching a movie called, "Regarding Henry" starring Harrison Ford and the scenes of therapy were exactly like what I went through and had written about. Regarding Henry - could've been my story except that, "Henry" got his head injury from a gunshot and his wife stayed with him throughout the ordeal. Coincidence I'm sure, though, the therapy scenes entailed what I described in the book so I always wondered..... My hope, my dream is to bolster our income for my daughter and for myself. I am and have been raising this beautiful, talented little girl who was diagnosed with autism at age two, since 2006 singlehandedly. I divorced her mother the same year following complaints that I spent too much time with our daughter. However, Stephanie began school with no need for special education. She has been reading since age four and understanding what she'd read. Stephanie maintains straight "A's" on her report card, has published two books (through school) and has been selected as an, "Honors" student for seventh grade English. My ex moved to New York to be closer to her sister and has been remarried now for a number of years. Well, that's only a snippet of my sixty-one years and I would like to thank you for reading, thank you.

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