I prayed to God, our friend again and always…


Back to My Parents’


The only picture that I own, of the car.   It was discovered in a New Richmond newspaper, maybe Aug. 1st as the accident occurred on the 31st of July, 1988.
The only picture that I own, of the car. It was discovered in a New Richmond newspaper, maybe Aug. 1st as the accident occurred on the 31st of July, 1988.

I made a phone call to my parents’ and told them what the situation was; at that time (early 1989) I was still thought of with dignity and respect, so no questions asked and with no hesitation Mom said, “Yes of course,” Dad who was on the extension said, “That’s great Steve; I’ll have Dave” (a brother) “pick you up.  When can you leave?”


Thank God, oh that’s right I disowned him that day at the nursing home.  Being back at my childhood home brought back many memories.  Remembering brought me to when Nancy and I first met.


That day will never be forgotten, though the date is…  It all happened in August of 1968.  I was fifteen years old and had just hitchhiked from my driver’s training class in the Midway area of St. Paul.  The day was perfect, the sky was cloudless and a soft, pastel blue with just a hint of a breeze in the air. 



Midnight Confessions
Midnight Confessions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I went to my girlfriend’s house and heard the Grass Roots blaring, “It’s a Beautiful

Picture of a Led Zeppelin exhibition at Montre...
Picture of a Led Zeppelin exhibition at Montreaux taken on March 7, 1970 by Fabio Rizzato (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Morning,” and it sure was as the laughter of friends carried through the screens on a breeze.  The Grass Roots on the radio was soon replaced with a Led Zeppelin Album… a new band that I’d never heard before.  


My girlfriend, Laura, introduced me to her best friend, PeaWee (Nancy).  The two of us really hit it off and before leaving in early afternoon PeaWee and I were boyfriend and girlfriend.  We all left Laura’s place because her parents’ were due home soon and we began walking the railroad tracks east to the trestle (a place reserved for the “cool” kids actually, the troubled kids).  A place for parties, drinking, smoking tobacco and the…  Then showing off, a train or two would be hopped.  Ahh, those were the days.


But now, here I am thirty-four years old with two daughter’s nine and ten and living back with my parents, my earning days had vanished and so too Nancy. 


One morning I woke and wondered what I could do because I was bored out of my mind.   Before my feet touched the ground, I knew.  Excitedly I went down the stairs (two flights) to the basement where the shower was.  Mom of course was in the kitchen, as she was continually cooking, cleaning or reading if she had the time. 


“Good morning,” she said as I ambled through the kitchen on my way to the basement.  She looked on with a fear of where I was headed because just the previous day I had an accident.  While trying to get my underwear on after the shower, I fell, and like that T.V. commercial I couldn’t get up!  I screamed for Dad with my soft voice and luckily he heard me, came running down the stairs and stood me up and sat me down on the toilet seat.  I told him that I fell over trying to put the underwear on, “I should’ve sat on here instead of doing it while standing, I’ll know next time.”  Not another word was mentioned about the incident from either of them. 


This would be a banner day for me – I could tell!  I never fell while showering and Mom made me a fantastic breakfast (I loved her cooking) but then I told her what I was going to try to do. 


“Do you think you can, Steve?” 


I’ve got to learn to care for myself Mom, I’ll be alright.” 


So cane in hand, I ventured out on my own.  I was going to take a bus to the mall a few miles away.  It probably took me twenty minutes to walk the block to the bus stop and I had gone for daily walks around the square block for weeks; I thought I could do this.


The bus driver was patient as he waited for me to scale the three high steps and plop down into the seat directly behind him.  Always conscious of slowing others, I apologized and we began rolling away from the stop.


At the mall I tried purchasing a pair of jeans with my credit card but was told I had to go downstairs to customer service.  I ambled down to find out what the problem was  and this is what I was told when my number had finally been called.  I handed the clerk my card and said, “This card wouldn’t work and can you tell me why?”


She looked at her computer briefly and snapped, “This card isn’t in your name.” 


Instinctively I knew, but I asked anyway, “Whose name is it in?”


‘Nancy?”  Well of course.  I wondered what else she had done to my credit and with my once, honorable name?   “Did you want to apply for another one,” she asked?


How could I?  My possessions were all gone and being unable to work what chance did I have?  “No, thanks.”  Why did I say thanks?  I phoned my poor mother and asked if she would pick me up, of course she obliged.  I couldn’t take the bus home because I didn’t have any strength left and because I couldn’t think clearly on which bus to take; I was a mess.


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.


  • I like the details here, because it reminds me how difficult it is in every sense of the word. Unfortunately, you had a wife (now ex) that had abused you physically, emotionally and financially when you were already vulnerable. Just trying to have some normalcy in your life is hard, and every time you tried something new cropped up. Thank God mom helped, but being totally independent is what we all strive for. How are your oldest daughters today? Do they understand? Take care and stay safe.


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