I was born and raised in Tulsa I have 2 sisters Most of my family now lives in Houston.
In The early 70’s, my parents moved to Colorado and lived there until they moved to be with my sisters and their families in Houston. In 2000, I married a wonderful Woman. This was a first marriage for me and a third one for her. We had 7 great years together that ended in 2012 due to complications from her Multiple Sclerosis and related health problems. Last year, because of her health problems, we moved to a nursing care facility, which is where I am today, I enjoy the community atmosphere here, and I am able to focus on my writing and music.
In 1965, I enrolled at Okla. State University and got my BA degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. After college, I worked at various jobs from Landscaper, Greenhouse attendant to Policy and procedures writer, and newspaper reporter. My last job was A Library Clerk at Parkside, a Community Mental Health Center. I held this position for 13 years. I experienced chronic unemployment throughout my working life, and blatant discrimination because of my disability. Despite affirmative action and Civil Rights legislation, employers have routinely refused to hire someone like me with impunity.
For two years after `being laid off from Parkside I looked for work. Even though I did not find work, I was repeatedly told by employers that I had one of the best resumes they had seen.
I have always enjoyed a rich musical life. I started taking piano at an early age, and I began playing trombone when I was in grade school. I come from a musical family. My Dad played violin while still in high school, and was concert master of the University of Tulsa orchestra, he also played trombone. My Mom played piano and could have played professionally. My Uncle was a Jazz musician, Big band leader, composer and arranger. From an early age, I was fascinated with his music and was dedicated to learning to play jazz chords and harmony. In college, I took up guitar, harmonica and became interested in folk music. At the time, I was writing short Jazz pieces for piano, and singing in the college mixed chorus. Despite this plethora of musical activity, my Cerebral Palsy prevented me from playing much with other people.
I first experienced this frustration in high school when I could not play good enough to make any of the bands, although through special arrangement, I was given the opportunity to play with the stage band. `I could not play the piano in front of people because I would be so focused on trying to make up for my lack of coordination that I couldn’t play anything; the effort I would exert to control my muscles enough to hit the right keys took so much energy out of my playing.
I spent about 20 years oil painting, and despite perils in my working and personal life, those years were very satisfying for me creatively. I had wanted to start painting for years, but. I had no art education since 4th grade, when I was kicked out of art class for spilling paint on a classmate’s painting. When I was in my 30s, I used to watch a friend paint. I finally talked him into showing me how to start. I only found out last month that he was reluctant to teach me because he knew how difficult painting would be for me. I was a dedicated painter for 20 years, and decided to quit after I gradually lost some control of my hands, which made it difficult for me to even prepare a palette, and I was wanting to devote myself more fully to writing.
Be part of Special Academy
Your support of the special needs community helps increase public awareness,recognition and appreciation of the creative talents of people with disabilities by providing opportunities to many Artists in your community.