Once Upon a Love…

While a junior in high school back in 1971, I drove to where Dad and my brother were hanging vinyl at some new apartment buildings over on Cty. Rd. D at LaBorre Rd. It was ugly vinyl (I thought) but their job was to hang it and not to choose. It was a black & grey damask vinyl that looked similar to the one below… Watching Dad balance on the extension ladders as he dropped the 27 ft folded sheet (roll really) I observed the master.

In a few minutes he was down and we went into one of the rooms and began talking about me driving up to Fargo, “You’re nuts,” Dad said. But then he asked, “Do you need some money?” Dad paid me for some of what I had coming; he reached in his pocket and pulled out 2 new $50’s. I stopped to fill up the gas tank and was soon on 94… I always wanted to help Dad, but he didn’t have the patience to show anybody what he so easily knew, until years later that is.

I arrived in that tractor town of Glendon, Minnesota just across from Fargo and there was a gas station (the local hangout) a couple o’ bars, and a post office.

The P.O. was closed but I noticed the lively gas station so I drove the revamped, (jacked up a little) classic-looking and fast, 1963 ex-highway patrol car, to the station. This beautiful auto had a large block 383 and dual points for quicker acceleration (when working correctly), shiny mags and low moaning muffler; the car was newly washed and waxed with new upholstery over the bucket seats (few cars had “Buckets” at the time) and back seat.   The tiny race car steering wheel with chrome button for the horn and black soft-grip wheel was an extra add-on. While the car was being admired by some I went inside to ask directions to RR2. The guy says, “You’re in it.” And he pointed across some barren fields.  I asked him how to get there, but he just pointed.

So I got back in and began driving over the mounds of dirt to get, Nancy.  Years later and Nancy and her mom still talked about that day.

Her mom remembered asking Nancy, “What is that coming this way?”

Nancy looked out the small, trailer home kitchen window and replied, “That’s, Steve!”

We enjoyed sixteen great and loving years together, two wonderful girls, a new home built on eight acres of rolling hills and two ponds that were spring-fed, but then…..

Nancy and I - At home in New Richmond, WI - 1987
Nancy and I – At home in New Richmond, WI – 1987


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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