Born in Lansing Michigan, my 2 earliest memories are of playing ball in the backyard with my dad and when they brought a baby home to stay with us who turned out to be my youngest brother Jim. I had no idea mom was pregnant or even what that meant. We lived with my grandparents for a period of time and in the house next door to them as well. They were Christians and involved heavily in Perry Baptist Church. I began my schooling in Perry Baptist School. One day in 1st or second grade it was story time. We had a 'mean old lady' as a substitute that day and she read us a big picture book. All I remember is the picture of flames and the question, "Do you want to burn here?" or something to that degree. "Bow your heads and close your eyes, if you don't want to go to hell when you die raise your hand." Since nobody was looking around, I didn't even care if they did I certainly didn't want to burn in hell for crying out loud.
So me and another boy Steve, were brought out into the hallway and led in a prayer by Mrs. Cross. (Seriously, that was her name.) I don't remember anything I said, I do remember getting a letter from one of the pastors at the church congratulating me on my decision to become a Christian. Life went on exactly as it had before and my #1 memory of that time was the fact that the school had a gas station next door to it. I would usually steal 5-10 cents wherever I could, out of mom's purse, teacher's desk, other kid's desk. (One Sunday, in between services, I went around the church parking lot and raided everyone's ash tray of coins.) Then I would go next door to the full service station. When the attendant would leave to pump gas, I would fill my pockets with candy bars or anything else that caught my fancy. This went on for years. I actually become quite an accomplished thief and could steal just about anything. I got caught three times in my life. The first time was at a baseball tournament, we went to the Sporting Goods store with a group of kids. I had sprained my ankle and dad gave me money to buy athletic tape. I attempted to steal it and keep the money. This was a small town boys exposure to the big city as I learned about cameras and stuff.
The golf glove- the other two times of my life getting caught stealing were both attempts at taking golf gloves. Once in college, Wal-Mart nailed me- for which I get to say "Yes" on applications to the question, "have you ever been convicted of a crime?" (we reap what we sow)and the other time it was at a golf course where I stole it and some kid saw me. he told the pro, and it was a big confrontation in front of many people. I denied it and he searched everywhere but never found it. I mention this because it comes up later in my life.