Dear in the headlights moment, ten years old at Battle Creek Park, Maplewood
Dear (deer) in the headlights moment, ten years old at Battle Creek Park, Maplewood


After seeing some pictures of my daughter, Stephanie, my beloved cousin Patricia said and then asked, “Stephanie is beautiful! How old is she, Steve?

“She is ten and already…boy problems! She never tells me what’s troubling her when I ask, so last night I waited until she was settled in bed then I went up to her room while it was dark in there, pulled a chair up next to the bed and asked, “What’s bothering you Steph? Are things okay at school? Do you have all of your work done? What’s goin’ on,” Marvin Gaye said that more famously, but this is what she told me…

“Dad, a kid I like at school likes a different girl.”

“So sweet that you knew when she would feel most safe to tell you,” said another loved cousin, Pamela. “You must be a fantastic father. She is lucky.” 

I’m the lucky one Pam.

My little talk with Stephanie continued…“Oh well, you know not everybody you like is going to like you back; that’s just the way it is Steph. Some will like you but you maybe won’t like them;  and the same is true for them.  You must always be honest and true to yourself.” She asked what that meant and I told her, “It means never try to be like someone else because you can never be another. God made each person unique and you are special just for being you.  All in good time you will have boyfriends.”

2012 - Just before her dance performance.
2012 – Just before her dance with other beautiful FilAm’s from the CSFA in the performance of Pamana IX at Burnsville Performing Arts Center.

“Dad, he wasn’t my boyfriend!  But as long as we’re talking about it there are three girls in my class who already date and hold hands, when can I start?”

“Well how does a-hundred sound? No? Well, you are way to young yet, enjoy being a kid for at least a few more years.” She persisted…

“Really Dad.”

So I told her she could begin at about thirteen…and you know sixteen is around thirteen, haha.

Patricia made this reply, “What a tender conversation you shared with Stephanie. Your intuitive and gentle inquiry into her feelings in the stillness of evening was very special. I like how you validated her as a special person who is not meant to be like another…that she is her own, unique person.

Patty, you are too kind.  I try to be patient, loving, caring and with a positive attitude like most Mothers’ to their child. I even told her that last night, “You can talk to me about boy problems because I used to be one, and you know, I’m your mom too, I will always listen and will not get upset, at least I’ll try not to.”

 Thanks for the affirmation that I am getting it right concerning Stephanie because I am never sure, thanks Patty and Pam.

Growing up!
Growing up!
Morning picture before school...
Morning picture before school…

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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