Years ago I wrote down stories of my life growing up with 3
other siblings, parents and grandmother in the house. I titled the stories
"Rowley Family Anthology: boys will be boys". I had my siblings
look over the stories and even added some I totally forgot about. Well, I
read those stories to the children while working for the YMCA. Over the
years I would have these same children come up to me and ask me to read a
specific story they enjoyed. I had about 50 to 60 TRUE TO LIFE stories of
what it was like growing up in the Rowley Family. Talk about some serious
funny, knee slapping, throat choking, belly holding and pants messing stories. You best make
sure your bladder is empty before reading any of these stories....
Years ago I published a couple of "pamphlets" or "small books"
used in the Mental Health Field: Words Can Hurt 1993 & There's No Back
Door 1994. I have several works that I have been working on for over
10+ years. Man, will I be happy when they are finished.
Well, over the past year I have had numerous youth who have
grown up and heard about my new website and asked if I would create a page strictly
for these stories. These children who are now young adults remember every
bit of their favorite story. Well, I pondered over it for awhile and shucks, I figure
I just best sit down at this here computer screen and type away on this darn
keyboard and make some words.
So, if you know me through the YMCA
Camps then YOU HAVE HEARD these stories. Tell me which ones you wish to
read and I will get them on FIRST.
Belt Fight, Deep Heating
Tooth Paste, Rambo Granny,
Mice in the Car,
Rattle-Snake Bite, The Spankings,
and much more
book is dedicated to my Family.
I would like to take a moment and thank the Very Special Persons in my life that
made this book possible, My Family. My mom and dad, for whom without them I
would not be here, the best parents any child could ever ask for. They allowed
us kids to experience life, failure and success by maintaining a consistent
source of love, care, support, discipline and guidance through their every day
actions. My siblings, though a constantly at each others throats, were loving in
spirit and in time grew a mutual respect for one another. To my grandmother, who
has lived with us since I can remember and put up with all sorts of mischief by
us. I would like to thank her for not telling our mom and dad everything we used
to do. Even though you are in Heaven now Grandma, you are still watching over
Begging For Food And Money:
When I was between the ages of 6 and 7 years old
living in Italy I learned strange habits from local kids that I would play with.
After School my friend Bruce and I would go to the local restaurants. These
restaurants were very high class places. Like something you would see in the
movie Scare Face with huge chandeliers, fine china and everyone dressed very
formal or as I would call “Fancy Clothes”. Anyway, my friend and I would go into
these places and Beg For Food and Money. Yes, you heard me right. I would go up
to peoples tables while they ate and put my hand out begging for food or money.
Most of the time I would be given a bread roll and other times I would be given
1 lira (which was equal to about a 20 cents). If we got the bread we ate it
right there, if we got the money we would put it in our pocket then eventually
run down the road to where they made fresh bread or ice-cream on the back brick
roads. These roads were barely wide enough o get one car down.
The restaurant owner would allow local children to come into his restaurant and
made it clear that once we asked people for food or money we had to move on.
“No” meant “No” and to ask twice at the same table would get us thrown out for
good. Keep in mind that year I lived in and the part of the world I was growing
up in. This was a common practice in Italy among children.
One time while in the restaurant the curtains were closed so when we came out
the sun was down and I was late getting home. I ran all the way home knowing I
was going to be in trouble. My mother never knew what I was doing and if she did
she would of put a hurting on my behind so hard I would of never considered
doing it again. I can not believer that I actually begged or food and money but
“when in Rome do as the Roman’s do”.
|Christmas Day Torture:
This story is twisted and funny all at the same
time. Our family, well my parents, had a tradition of “fun torture” during
Christmas. It would start with Christmas Eve when we were all told to go to bed
early and if anyone woke that Santa may pass us by. On Christmas Eve we were
allowed to open up one gift if we were good. Naturally we would look for the
biggest gift and our parents would end up giving us the smallest one.
That evening it’s hard for any of us children to fall asleep let alone get in
bed. We all thought about the different things Santa would bring us then we all
thought about “what if we were bad”. Sure, my younger brother and sister and I
would think that but my older brother never worried about it. He was good at
blaming everything on anyone but himself.
Morning would come and my older brother would wake me up who would then wake up
our younger brother and sister. We would all sit outside of our parents door
waiting until the right time to wake them. Oh, did I forget to mention they put
a sign on their door “do not knock on this door or wake us until 8:00am”. Well,
it was a long morning of waiting considering we were up by 6:00/7:00am. We all
sat out in the hallway talking about what we thought Santa brought us and
unknown to us our parents were wide awake listening to everything we said. The
hallway was narrow and on the second floor. Now, granny was in her room on the
other end of the hall and slept well just for the fact her hearing wasn’t that
good. I think she also slept with ear plugs. If I was her living in a house of 4
children I would too.
At 8:00am on the dot our parent’s door awoke with thunderous knocking from 8
small hands. Our parents would take their time responding (in our home you did
not open a door unless you were given permission) then you would hear our dad’s
belt buckle and we knew he was getting dressed. Then the bedroom door would open
and mom and dad would be there with their eyes half open, give out a huge yawn
and act like they didn’t know why we were all banging on their door.
Now you would think it would be time for gifts, no you are wrong! Once our
parents got up, dressed then we all would wait while our mom and dad would
remove furniture that was pushed up into the stairwell on our two story home.
Our father would push a full size couch, love seats, tables and chairs up into
the stairwell to keep my older brother from getting down stairs before anyone
else. Sure, looking back it may have been a huge fire hazard but at that moment
and during those years it was the furthest think from anyone’s mind.
The furniture finally is removed and actually put back in it’s place. All four
of us would have to wait until we were given permission to walk down the stairs.
Not run we had to walk, in a line, oldest to youngest. Man, talk about torture.
Mother and granny would be the caboose of this small train of children. In our
home the living room was literally to the left of the stairs so when you walk
down and look to the left the room opened into the living room and formal
dinning room. As we all walked down stairs ready to look around the corner our
dad stood strong and ready to grab any of us that tried to make a run for it
into the Christmas Tree. We all walked in a line down the stairs and got a quick
glance of the Christmas Tree and gifts under it before we were all ushered into
the kitchen were we all sat around the table.
Now, there are 365 days in a year and 364 of those days are a normal breakfast
of cereal, toast, waffles and maybe a little more on weekends but that 1 day of
the year, Christmas, my mom pulled out every pot and pan she had. Granny would
help while dad go the coffee brewing. Four children sat around a table watching
the grown ups cook a 12 course breakfast on Christmas Day! Man, talk about
Christmas Day Torture. None of us children were hungry but we all had to wait
until our parents cooked a huge meal then filled everyone’s plates up with hot
fresh breakfast food. No cereal on Christmas Day.
After shoveling our food in our mouths and washed it down with some ice cold
milk we were all ready for the gifts. Nope, it’s not going to happen. The
breakfast was bad and torturous but the “coffee time” was worse. After everyone
had their meal mom and dad would then pour a cup of hot fresh coffee and SIP IT
DOWN. Yep, don’t drink it like normal people but sip it down slower then a
turtle in a race. This may be the reason I have Never, Ever drank
coffee and never will.
By now anyone reading this must have sympathy for us at that age but wait it
gets even better. After the coffee time my mom makes a comment about needing to
wash the dishes first, granny says she needs a nap and dad rubs his belly and
talks about needing to cut the yard or clean the garage to work off some of the
food he ate. Now, by this time you would think 4 children would be ready for
jackets with buckles and a padded white room, nope we were use to it. That is
what makes all 4 of us strong and able to adapt in life.
After a few minutes of arguing (not really), crying, moans our parents and
granny give in. NOW, we can run to the Christmas Tree and dive into the gifts.
Nope, we had to stop off at the bathroom wash our hands then stay in a line and
follow our mom into the living room. Once in the living room we were ASSIGNED a
spot to sit, mom would be the closest to the tree and would be surrounded by the
gifts and dad would be near the sofa with a knife and trash bag (the knife was
to help open gifts if needed). Granny would work her way down to the floor or
better yet, sit on the edge of the couch.
Now are we ready to dig in? Nope, in our family passing our gifts was always
done by mom and ONE AT A TIME! Yep, no one was allowed to open a gift until the
other had opened their gift shown everyone then smiled. Man, talk about
Christmas Day Torture! Granny would every so often say “you can use the wrapping
paper next year”. Dad would take the boxes and crush them to fit them in the
trash bag. After about 2 to 3 gifts each we would remind our mom to open a gift
herself and we would all wait patiently while she opened her gift. Sometime you
never knew if she was going to get the gag gift or not. The gag fits, which
turned out to be needed items were funny to us while we wrapped them with dad
the night before. This gifts would be a huge supply of toilet paper, napkins,
paper towels. We would all smile, laugh while mom put on her best acting show.
She really did a great job.
Now, at our young age no child wanted to unwrap a gift of underwear, T-shirts or
socks but our parents do a wonderful job making sure we all got them. Now, those
gifts were unwrapped in the quickest time. If there was a card attached to the
gift we had to read it out loud for everyone to hear. Man, talk about Christmas
Now, after about 1 ½ to 2 hours of opening gifts one at a time it was over. The
gifts were all opened and we all then would stand up and everyone would hug each
other then take most of our gifts to our room while dad would help us out with
the electronic toys and granny and mom would (her mother) would hug again and
smell each other’s perfume they got and show each other the jewelry .
These traditions still continue to this day when we all get together from across
the USA for Holidays. The tradition has changed some but the family, fellowship
and true love for one another is always there and I am so very happy my parents
were the Best Parent’s In The World. Our parent’s taught us about: family,
honor, respect and appreciation for one another. Thank you mom, dad and granny
for the Christmas Day Tortures that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.
|Gerbils in my Shirt:
When I was between the ages of 13 to 15
years old I not only raised hamsters but I raised gerbils as well. My
brother had snakes and I had gerbils. My younger brother had chickens
and my sister wanted nothing to do with any of it. She’s such a girl!
Anyway my brother liked to hold me down and put a gerbil in my shirt. I
would thrash around screaming and laughing at the same time with tears
rolling down my face begging my older brother to stop. That little
gerbil wound scamper around on my chest and belly with it’s tiny claws
and that would send me into a screaming/laughing fit. My brother knew I
was ticklish .
Eventually my brother would get up quickly then go running toward his
room. I couldn’t go right after him since I had a gerbil still in my
shirt. I had to get that little booger out first, put him back in his
cage then go after him.
To this day every time I stop in a pet store and see a gerbil I start to
twitch and smile about the laughing torture my older brother put me
through. Who knows, I might have even messed my pants as hard and I was
laughing and having a fit with that gerbil in my shirt. If that was the
case I have repressed it deep into my brain to hopefully never reveal
|Getting Even With Brother:
While living in Jacksonville, Fl. and
living with my family (mom, dad, little sister and brother) I decided to
go looking for some of
my tapes that I let my little brother borrow. He was at school and I
went into his room looking for my tapes, I found them in a pile.
The tapes were Out of their cases and mixed up with his tapes. This made
me angry so I dumped his tapes out on the floor after getting mine back.
I left him a little note on a sticky thing telling him that he
would not be allowed to use my tapes until he could take care of them.
Well, while I was at work he decided to get me back. I got home about
12:00am that morning and I went right to my room up stairs. When I
opened my door, there must of been about 10 rolls of toilet
paper, unused, unrolled all over my
room. Along with about 30 little sticky notes stuck al~ over the my
room. Since it was late I decided I would not wake him up, instead I
would plan my revenge. When I went to open my door to go down stairs,
there was Vaseline all over the inside door knob. All I could do was
laugh, because I thought that was a pretty good one.
I didn’t know that my little brother was hiding in his closet expecting
me to go after him that night. The next morning my brother left for
school before I got up. When I did get up, I had a plan. Christmas, was
a month before and I got my brother a very large Family Tent, which not
had been open yet. It was time to try it out, but not in the back yard,
but in his BEDROOM! It took me about 1 hour to put that tent up in his
room. The tent reached all for corners and boy it was a challenge for
me. I ended up in the far corner of the room and had to crawl under the
bed to get to the door. I could barely open the door to get out. I
laughed all the
way to work just thinking about my brother trying to open his bedroom
door and finding a family size tent in there. After putting the tent up
my mom came up to me and told me, “now that’s it” she said we’ve gotten
each other back now and it was time to stop before we went to far. I
must say I had a lot of fun getting even with him and no one got hurt.
|GOD is Coming:
When I was growing up in Virginia Beach,
Virginia my mother told me of a story. Our family was going to church one Sunday
morning like the family would do every Sunday and at times I would attend Sunday
School. That Sunday the pastor spoke about the day that God, Jesus Christ would
come back and take all those that believed in him back to Heaven with him. The
Pastor spoke of the importance of having faith and believing in God and being a
Christian. The pastor mentioned that all believers will be saved and taken to
Heaven before the earth is destroyed. Man, that can be some serious powerful
stuff in a child’s head. Well, the pastor must have done a good job that day
since I remembered it. At a young age many children don’t remember what the
I asked my mom about what the pastor had said and she too said that God would
save all those that believed in him. She went on to tell a wonderful story about
how the heavens would open up. She told of how God would come down from the
heavens with lights and Angels surrounding him and looking to take all
Christians with him.
I sat there in amazement at the idea of the clouds opening up with a chariot of
Angels descending on to the earth, with God leading the way. I asked my mom when
this day would come. She told me that no one knew and only God knows when that
day will come.
Well, for the next week I dressed in my Sunday clothes and sat on the front
porch waiting for God to come. I looked up toward the clouds hoping to see the
Angels coming for me. After a week, I realized that God wasn’t coming in a week,
a month or a year but when he does come I would be ready no matter what I was
doing or wearing. Every so often I look toward the heavens and wonder if this
will be the day.
That story you just read has shaped my life to who I am
and where I am today. I still look toward the Heavens and wonder sometimes,
“will this be the day?”. Yes, as we become adults our pure child minds become
cluttered with adult issues, adult pressures and we lose focus of what is truly
important in our life. Regardless of your faith, make sure you take that
“moment” to look toward your heaven and ask yourself, “will this be the day?”
and most importantly, "will you be ready?". God Bless.
|It Won’t Bite, It’s TAMED!!:
My older brother had a liken for snakes
that eventually worked it’s way down to me. During the summer months my brother
and I would go snake hunting for hours, walking around every possible place a
snake could hide. My brother would take some of his friends snake hunting too.
After a long day of snake hunting my brother would bring these snakes home. Keep
in mind these snakes are the ones he caught without me.
My brother and I shared a room and when I would come home after running around
with friends all day my brother would have snakes in a cage. I would come over
to where he kept the snakes and I would ask, “do they bite?”. Well, this was the
perfect opportunity for my older brother to tell me the truth in life, tell me
the right thing, keep me on the right track and be a role model. Well, this
wasn’t the day, he looked over at me and with true grit said, “Yep, they’re
tamed. I’ve been holding them all day. Why don’t you pick them up…”. Well, being
the trusting little brother I was I believed him. I reached my hand into the
cage as my brother took a small, unnoticeable step back and then it would
I got “tagged” bit by the snake. I would scream and pull my hand back. My
brother would laugh or just give that brotherly “grin love”. Yep, I think that
is what they called it back then. Anyway, my older brother figured if the snake
didn’t bite me then he would pick it up and hold it for awhile. If the snake bit
me he’d just let it hang out in the cage for a few days.
You would think I would have learned after the first or second time but NOPE! It
took some time before I figured out what was going on. I learned something about
those experiences….. I learned to let my Big Brother hold the snakes first.
Well, my older brother now lives up North many States away and I have now passed
on this “wisdom” to my snake handling assistant.
|Jumping Off Buildings:
When I was around 6 or 7 years old living
in Italy my older brother and I did a very dangerous thing. But at that
age we didn’t think it was that dangerous, just fun. If our parents knew
what we were doing we would be in some serious trouble.
Near where we lived were some old tower buildings being tore down or
being rebuilt, either way the place was a mess. There was one old hotel
that was definitely being torn down. My brother and I explored in that
particular building one day and noticed all the furniture was taken out
and the mattresses were thrown out the windows making a large pile of
mattresses on the ground below.
See all the mattresses on the ground stacked up like they were gave my
brother and I an idea that we saw in the movies. We figured if we stood
on the window seal 5 floors up and jumped out onto the mattresses that
would be fun! Well, I looked out the 5th floor window and after some
“motivational speaking” from my brother I jumped! Needless to say when I
landed and safely walked away my brother then jumped.
Could you imagine what must have gone through drivers minds while they
drove down the road and saw 2 children jump out of a 5th floor broken
down hotel window? I can not believe I did that and maybe that is where
I get my fear of heights from now.
When my younger brother mark was about 9
or 10 years old he had a bad habit or farting at the family dinner table. During
this time we all lived in Charleston South Carolina and lived in a 2 story
During one night at the dinner table our dad got fed up with the farting at the
dinner table and told my younger brother if he did it again he would get a
spanking. Well, we were able to finish dinner that night and Mark did a good job
about not stinking up the family meal. Mark was also still upset of the
potential of getting a spanking. Once dinner was over we all dismissed ourselves
from the table and Mark walked up stairs toward his room. Our dad was at the
bottom of the stairs watching him walk up and giving him that “don’t challenge
me son” look. Just as Mark reached the top step and put his foot down he let out
one of the loudest farts ever heard in the Rowley Family. Mark got so scared
that he looked back at our dad at the bottom of the steps and began to cry. My
older brother Michael was around the corner upstairs when this happened and was
laughing so hard he couldn’t breathe.
This was the first time in the Rowley Family History that a fart caused a family
member to cry. To this day, when ever my older brother Michael thinks about this
he can not help but to laugh. I can tell you my younger brother Mark has grown
up and when the family gets together for Holiday’s dinner is a “fart-free” zone.
|Mom’s First Driving Lesson with The Kids:
While living in Italy my dad would be off
at work and mom would be home with the children and needing things from the
local store. The only thing was that mom didn’t know how to drive a stick shift.
And of course the only car in the driveway was a stick shift. Well, needless to
say my mom learned how to drive the car but she kept the kids with her at all
times like any good and safe mother would. Only my older brother Michael was
brave enough to sit up front with mom as her facial expressions told a tale of
horror and terror only every child in the world could see. AS mom drove down the
road and about 2ft. At a time the 3 other kids were in the back seat crying our
eyes out which didn’t help mom any and her already stressed out situation. My
brother of course kept confident and told her to continue on. There must have
been a candy sale at the store for him to encourage her so much.
Keep in mind we were in Italy and back then people drove fast and crazy compared
today’s standards. I didn’t know that much Italian but when the motorist were
able to get back they slung their arm out the window, gave a couple of gestures
and yelled a lot of Italian that I didn’t understand. I will assume they were
not saying nice things. Mom continued to hit every pot hole in the road and at
times in the other lane too. Mom finally gave up and turned around and headed
home. T he only way we made it home alive was with the help of an Italian man
that helped my mom get off the road for good.
Once home mom went into her room to relax and call dad to tell him what
happened. My brother and I raced to our room to change our shorts then go out to
play our young lives away.
|Monsters in my bed:
Growing up with an older brother and having to share a bed with him until the
age of 10 to 11 years old could be hazardous to your Mental Health. Many nights
when I was just about to fall asleep my old brother Michael would begin talking
in a low and deep voice, “I’m not your brother”. I would then wake up real
quick, open my eyes and tell him he was lying. Hearing myself telling my brother
he was lying somehow made me feel better or I was just trying to convince myself
he was lying.
My brother would continue to tell me he was not my brother and that he was
actually an Alien or Monster from some other place. During this whole time I
would not look at my brother and lay perfectly still. I would either be hiding
under the covers or looking at the wall. If I looked at my brother he would
scare me more and what if he was right, what if he really was a monster?
Laying there totally terrified with the thought of my brother Michael being a
monster did not help my sleeping habits. I would try to get smart and told
Michael if he kept trying to scare me that I would tell on him and he would get
in trouble (this technique would usually work). Well, that didn’t work. Michael
told me that our parents were actually Aliens too and I was the only one left in
the house that wasn’t an Alien. He told me that if I told on him then my Alien
parents would now know that I know they were Aliens…. See where this is going?
Regardless I end up falling asleep terrified only to wake up the next day and
wonder if my brother and parents were monsters. Once my bother started picking
on me again I realized he was in fact my older, mean brother. I never did tell
my parents what he used to do because, what if my brother was right? What he my
mom and dad were actually monsters or Aliens. I didn’t want to take chance.
Around the age of 11 to 12 I finally got my own bed but continued to
share a room with my brother. Gee, my own bed I thought, now I wouldn’t
get scared anymore. Nope, every so often as I was about to fall asleep a
low, deep voice came from the other side of the room, “I’m not your
|Michael the Fashion Model:
My older brother never could grasp the
concept of matching clothes let alone colors. Our mom would pick out his
clothes to wear to school every day well into his high school years.
One day when he was in 8th grade, mom was sick and she couldn’t pick his
clothes out, so he picked them out himself and went to school in his
“fashion statement”. The teachers at school knew something was up and
asked him if he picked out his own clothes that day. My brother couldn’t
figure out why the teachers would be asking him. When he got home that
afternoon mom was up and feeling better until she saw what he was
wearing and had a fit. My older brother went to school wearing yellow
plaid pants and an orange and blue striped shirt. He looked ridiculous
and never even knew it. To this day my older brother will never fin
himself on the cover of GQ magazine and his wife picks out his clothes
to wear now. I have even heard that his little daughter sometimes helps
daddy pick out his work clothes.
|Missile Toe Time:
When my older brother and I were living in
Virginia Beach, Virginia we had our own way of earning money for
Christmas gifts. During Christmas time people are a lot more giving and
Missile-Toe is the one thing to get people in that mood. The problem was
on how we would get the missile toe out of the tree. My older brother
would climb up the very tall trees by hugging the tree trunk and inching
his way upward. Once there he would break off the missile toe branches
and I would be on the ground ready to pick them up.
Sometime the tree would be too high or the limbs the missile toe was on
was to weak and thin so that is when I would shoot the missile toe out
of the tree. I became pretty good using our BB gun we got for Christmas
years earlier and I could shoot pretty good. After all the missile toe
was collected my brother and I would go home and put them in small
sandwich bags to sale. My brother and I would go door to door selling
them for .25 a bag. One Christmas my brother and I made about $100 each,
that is not bad when you are about 10 to 12 years old.
|Most Fun I Had Being Sick:
When I was 10 years old living in South
Carolina (Charleston), I came down with the chickenpox. My mother,
having four children, didn’t want to have to go through 4 individual
children being sick, staying home and all that stuff. Instead, she
thought if we all got sick at the same time she could get it over with.
So, my mother told my older brother to stand right in front of me and
told me to cough on him. Yep, my own mother gave me permission to cough
in my brothers face knowing I was sick. Now, this drove my brother crazy
having to stand there while I coughed in his face. So, I had to clear my
throat a few times and may have even put more than a cough on his face….
I milked this experience for everything I could. This was my revenge for
years of being picked on by my older brother. Sure I was sick with
chickenpox but it didn’t matter as long as I had the permission to cough
in my brother’s face.
My bother eventually came down with chickenpox too. My mother realizing
the chickenpox idea words try to do the same with head lice. My younger
brother and sister had head lice and my mom thought if they rubbed their
heads against ours we, my older brother and I, would get head lice too
then get it over. What she didn’t know was head lice was a virus and if
you get it once; you can get it again. Needless to say I did not come
down with head lice and to this day have never had head lice.
|Mother's Day Special:
Our family has a twisted way of showing
how much we love each other. On Mothers Day of every year while we
were all young, our mom would get the most unusual things. The night
before, our dad would have us get together to go over the plan of
action. The more bizarre the better. In our house on Mothers Day, mom
does not get out of bed in the morning. She stays in bed and is served a
breakfast in bed along with the morning newspaper. Now, keep in mind my
dad would inform our mom that something is up and not to get out of bed
until we had our fun. The night before I would write up a menu for her
to choose from. Some of the items on the menu would be: tadpole soup,
mud pies, apple slices with sand sprinkles, coffee on the rocks, toast
with cat litter sped and fur ball salad. Now, we would also have normal
foods too, such as grapefruit halves, eggs and toast, milk, beacon and
On Mothers Day, we all would come into
her bedroom -with towels over our arm and in church clothes. We were
trying to look like butlers. After handing our mother the menu she of
course would go all the way and order most of the weird stuff. After,
she placed her order, we would give her the newspaper for her to read
while her meal was being prepared. Our dad would be down stairs
preparing all this strange stuff. We would get the mud from outside and
the tadpoles were gotten the day before down by the creek. After
preparing the gross stuff, our dad would then prepare our mom some real
food. When my mom finally got her meal she would smile and pretend to
taste it while us kids would stand there laughing -and having a good
time. After about 5 minutes of that, our dad would then come into the
room holding her breakfast and a rose. The rest of the day our mom would
lay around the house being waited on hand and foot. It was her day to
enjoy and our day to work our butts off.
When I was a teenager growing up in
Orlando, Florida I went through what every young boy goes through, puberty.
However, with reddish blonde hair, blue eyes and freckles any facial hair that
grew was hard to see with my fair skin. So, what would a fair skinned boy do in
this situation when all his other dark haired friends were getting facial hair?
I drew it on! Yep, one day I would have no facial hair and the next day I had a
dark “peach-fuss” on my upper lip that was created using eye-liner brush.
I can only imagine what the teachers thought about me. Man, I Must have been the
talk of the water-cooler and smoke break area for teachers. Now, of course my
friends noticed it and boy did I hear about it. I tried to lighten the
“peach-fuzz” under my nose but enough so everyone could tell I was “growing up
into a MAN”. Okay, so I look back on it and I know what I did was small potatoes
compared to what other boys do at that time in their life.
|My First Room:
While living in South Carolina my brother
and I shared a room and had been ever since I can remember. Anyway, my
brother and I were getting on each others nerves. Well, he was getting
on my nerves so, I decided to move out. Move out of the room that is. I
told my parents and they said I could if I could find a place to stay.
Well, I did find a place, my younger brother and sisters bedroom closet.
It was a walk in closet and was used as a storage room. I took the large
boxes that were stacked up and laid then on the ground one next to the
other to form a bed. I then put a mattress on it and my sheets and
blanket. I put some pictures up in there I drew and made it my FIRST
very own room. I was happy as can be and I’m sure my brother was happy
to have the whole room to himself too. This lasted for a couple of weeks
until I could no longer take my little brother coming into MY ROOM
taking my things or messing with them. My mom and dad allowed me to make
my own decision on when I would return back to my brother and I’s room.
When I did return to my bedroom with my brother, the picking started
right back up just like any brothers would do.
Between the ages of 9 to 15 years old, I
had something strange happen to me but it would only happen in school.
While in elementary school it was common knowledge, among t he students,
that if you picked your nose to much your nose would bleed. Well, while
in middle, junior and high school my nose would bleed. Some of the kids
in my class would think I picked my nose to much and would tease me.
Fact is that I didn’t pick my nose and my nose would begin to bleed
after I laid my head on my desk or just titled my head down or back for
a short time. Needless to say that the nurse in my schools knew who I
was since I would be visiting them almost daily. Once at the nurses
office it would take about 8 to 10 minutes before they could get my nose
to stop bleeding.
In the event I ever got the nose bleed at home and my older brother was
being a bully I would just blame it on him and he would get in trouble.
Hey, what are brothers for. To this day I am very protective of my nose
and having anyone touch it, pinch or bump it in anyway.
|Pet Food Craving:
Okay, this one you may be saying “no way,
he’s making it up” but I am not and it is all true.
While living in Virginia Beach, Virginia I learned a bad habit of eating dried
dog and cat food. I tried it while at a friends house on a dare and ended up
liking it. When I would go to my friends house he would pour me a small bowl of
pet food and I would eat it like it was snack. Needless to say neither of our
parents were aware of what I was doing and that my friend was my “dealer” or
“supplier” of pet food!
I remember one time while at another friends house I was playing outside in his
back yard when I spotted the dog dish. The dog was inside and there was still
food in the dog bowl/dish. I didn’t think my friend would mind so I grabbed up a
handful of dried dog food and began eating it. Well, I did this several times at
this friends house until his mother found out.
Now I am not sure what happened at that time but I do remember my mom
confronting me about my “eating habits” and being very upset. She told me that
my friend’s mom came knocking one day and accused my mom of abusing me for
feeding me dog food. My mom not knowing anything about all this denied such
allegations and said a healthy meal everyday and didn’t get fed dog food. This
one back in the day when parents actually spoke to other parents before calling
the news or the police.
Anyway, I told my mom that I tried the pet food awhile ago and ended up liking
it. She told me that pet food was for pets and their food didn’t have all the
“right stuff” that little boys need to grow up healthy and strong. I had to go
over to my friends house and tell his mother that my mom didn’t abuse me and
that I liked the food but would stop eating it.
Well, after going cold turkey and having withdrawals I gave it up and on rare
occasions find myself walking down the pet food isle at supermarkets.
|Poke Weed Dinner:
When I was about 13 years old in 8th grade
I was in Boy Scouts along with my older brother. Our Scout Master told
us of a college course on Botany and edible plants. Well, neither of us
were old enough for college courses but we took the course since it was
something my brother and I were very interested in. We camped a lot wit
the scouts and learning what we could and could not eat from the land
was really cool to know.
My brother and I went to the evening classes. Needless to say I was the
youngest in the entire class of about 20 students by as much as 8 years.
Out of all the plants were learned about and sampled the dish my brother
liked Poke Weed the most. Poke Weed in poisonous to human’s in it’s
natural state until it is “bleached” (boiled) several times to take out
I on the other hand didn’t like Poke Weed that much, it tasted to much
like greens to me. I preferred Mustard Seed make into soup with the
stalks of Poke Weed. My brother didn’t like the Mustard Seed and when
the course was finally over we both had our favorite recipes from
My brother one day shortly after the course ended when into the fields
to pick plenty of Poke Weed for our mom to cook up. I think he had it
planned since he knew I didn’t like Poke Weed. Just like in the story of
“Greens” I sat at the dinner table pleading with my mom that I wouldn’t
have to eat the Poke Weed. Of course my older brother was finished with
his Poke Weed and I sat while mine got colder and colder which only made
it that much worse. My older brother smiling at me didn’t help either.
My mother finally allowed me to leave the table after only eating about
3 large pieces of Poke Weed. I believe I spit it up later that night.
When it came my turn to have Mustard Seed soup made for dinner one night
I looked in my room for the recipe but couldn’t find it. It seemed the
Mustard Seed Soup that I liked but my brother didn’t seem to have
mysteriously disappeared. I never did get to have my dinner of Mustard
Seed Soup and watch my brother squirm in his dinner chair while I got to
smile across the table from him. I learned a lesson that year to make
copies of anything I like or might use later in life.
When I was about 22 years old living in
Jacksonville, Florida I came into contact with a rattle snake. First,
let me give you some background. I’ve been catching snakes since I was a
young boy of about 10 years old. Since working for a local Mental health
Facility I have caught more poisonous snakes than ever. Pygmy Dusky
Rattle Snakes are common around the months of June and July. During
these months at work I go out to the “smoke Break Area” and look for any
snakes before letting my adult patients out there. Now, that you are up
to date let us continue..
I caught a rattle snake at work the day before and kept it in my bedroom
in a pillow case. The next day, Sunday, I planned to let it go in my
parents back yard, like I’ve done with about 3 others. My parents back
yard is a patch of woods and swamp that lead to the Intercostals
Waterway. Anyway, I decided to take a picture of the snake before
letting him go. The problem was that I didn’t have enough hands. My
father was on the screened in porch reading the paper, having his coffee
and smoking a cigarette. My mother was inside doing what ever moms do.
Granny, was asleep or at work, I don’t remember. I took the snake to the
backyard, holding the snake in my right hand I tried to focus my camera
and hold the snake with my left hand. Now, this camera was a Cannon A-1
model and had detachable lenses. Well, while trying to focus on the
snake I didn’t see the snake turn his head to the right and bite the tar
out of my thumb. I quickly took my eye away from the view finder and saw
the snake biting down on my thumb. I threw the snake to the ground and
looked closely at my thumb. It wasn’t to hard to figure out that the
rattle snake bit me, their was a little stream of blood shooting from me
thumb. Now, here I was standing in the back yard just bitten by a
poisonous rattle snake. You would think I would go running in the house
and call 911. No, I didn’t! I was shocked that I was bitten by a
venomous snake having catching them for so many years. I looked down at
the rattle snake on the ground. It was curled up and looking like he was
ready to strike again. Do you think that scared me off? No, I bent down
toward the snake and tried to take it’s picture. Don’t forget I am still
bleeding from a venomous snake bite. I took a couple of pictures of the
snake then decided to go inside and let my parents know. I remained very
calm for someone that just got bit by a rattle snake. I walked in the
back porch and told my dad who was still reading the paper, drinking his
coffee and smoking a cigarette, all at the same time by the way. He at
first thought I was kidding, I like to play jokes.
My mom happened to over hear what I told my dad and told me not to kid
like that. When I showed them the bloody thumb my mom freaked. She
started rambling on about calling 911 and my dad was trying to keep her
calm. Yes, I reminded them that a rattle snake was a poisonous snake.
While my mom walked around in circles telling me to go to the hospital I
got on the phone to my Primary Physician. I’ve heard of stories of
people getting stuck with large medical bills and I didn’t want that to
happen to me. So, I called my doctor. I got his answering service. I
forgot it was Sunday! I told her that I just got bit by a poisonous
snake. She said she would contact the doctor immediately and have him
call me. While waiting to hear from the doctor my mom was flipping
through the yellow pages looking for Poison Control. My dad was asking
me how I felt. My thumb was tingling but that’s it. After what seemed
like 10 to 15 minutes, which was actually 2 to 3 minutes, the phone
rang. It was a doctor but not mine. He told me he was taking all calls
for my doctor. When I told him what happened he started yelling at me to
call 911and seek medical help immediately. I asked him about who would
get stuck with the bill. He told me that my insurance covered Emergency.
While I was asking him to explain the policy he was telling me to hang
up the phone. I hung up the phone.
Now, do you think I called 911 or went
to the hospital? No, I didn’t. I called the hospital to let them know I
was on the way. I lived behind the hospital which, was about 5 minutes
away. The nurse who took the call started freaking and told me they were
ready and to get here immediately. I. decided to drive myself to the
hospital. My parents didn’t like that idea so my dad followed me in his
car. Once there I saw a gurney waiting outside of the emergency
entrance. I parked the car and walked up to them. I asked them if they
were waiting for a person that got bit by a rattle snake. They said they
were. I said “here I am”. They were surprised to see me calm and walking
up to them. They walked me inside and asked me to describe the snake
again. I told them I had the snake in the pillow case I was carrying
with me. Did I forget to tell you I took a LIVE venomous snake to a
hospital? Well, I did! When they realized that the snake was still alive
they freaked. They said they would take it out back at kill it. I told
them they wouldn’t do that. My dad was right next to me by this time,
looking for a parking spot. The medical staff put me in a wheel chair
and rolled me. I met the doctor that would handle my case. I asked him
to look in the pillow case and identify the snake. He did so, I knew he
knew his snake bite treatment. The snake was put under my car tire. My
dad didn’t want to carry the snake home. I dad gave the front desk staff
the medical and insurance information while I was in back laying in a
bed with IV’S stuck in me and a heart monitor.
I remained at the hospital for about 5 hours. The doctor eventually gave
me the anti-venom. He wanted to see if I showed any signs of having the
poison injected in me from the bite. I am happy to say that I’m pretty
sure when the snake bit me it didn’t inject any venom. My dad went home
about an hour after getting there. I told them I would call them if
anything happened. I drove myself home that night. I will say that I
didn’t have to go to work on Monday. I called my charge nurse told her
what happened. She had no problem with me staying home for a day. I
learned my lesson, don’t get to cocky or you might get bit!
Before coming to North America, while
living in Morocco, Africa my older brother , Michael, was the first to run away
from home after things not going his way at home. My older brother, who was
about 5 or 6 years old at the time, decided he wanted to go live with his friend
and his family which lived down the dirt road. My brother thought they were
“nicer” parents and even was bold enough to tell this to our mom and dad. Our
parents surprised him by telling him if he wanted to leave he could. I was too
young to know what was going on so I just sat on the carpet looking at everyone
while picking my nose.
While my brother was in his room packing his suit case our parents were on the
phone to my brother’s friends parents. You know when parents start talking that
can only mean something is up. Anyway, the other parents were willing to take my
older brother into their home. My brother still thought our mom and dad would
stop him but they didn’t. Our mom even held the door open for my brother since
his hands were full with his suitcase. He walked down the road to his friends
parent’s house. When he reached his friend’s house his mother met Michael at the
door, grabbed his suitcase and walked him to his new room which he would share
with his friend. She helped him unpack then took him to the kitchen handed him a
bucket of water and brush. This mom said if he was going to live there he would
have to work for it and share the chores. That mom kept Michael busy cleaning
everything she could possible find to clean.
Before the sun could set my brother was back home in his own house in his own
room and glad to be back. He realized that he had it better at home than he
thought. By then I had finished picking my nose and had plans to move South to
my butt. Needless to say my brother remained a Rowley and has grown up and has a
family of his own now.
Did I ever tell you about when I saw Santa
Clause? Well, then sit back and read on.
While I was a little boy of 8 or 9 years old living in North Carolina I
had a very unusual experience. No, I was abducted by aliens and “lost
time”. I saw something in the sky.
My older brother and I were in the back yard raking up leaves that meant
it was either Spring or Fall time. I can not remember. Anyway, earlier
that day we were picking on each other (it was more like him picking on
me ALL THE TIME) and were sent outside to rake leaves for punishment.
While my brother and I were raking leaves and complaining to each other,
more like blaming each other I looked up and saw something incredible.
What did my wondering eyes should appear but a tiny red sled and eight
tiny reindeer, flying across the sky. It was the middle of the day and
not a cloud in the sky when I saw what I saw. Heck, it wasn’t even
Christmas Time. I really did see Santa Clause flying across the sky and
told my brother.
Of course when my brother looked up to see what I was pointing and
yelling at it was gone. My brother thought I was seeing things and
everyone else for that matter. However, I do remember my brother telling
me that he saw a 6ft. Rabbit in our shed in the backyard while we lived
in Italy. Let me just say no one believed him then but with my
experience we agreed to believe each other and what we saw.
I am much older now and haven’t had such an experience anymore nor has
my brother. I learned my lesson to keep a camera
with me at all times.
|“S” Talk by Mom:
Okay, this subject maybe to intense for
younger persons so read with a dictionary next to you.
When I was in 5th grade growing up in Virginia I was about 11 years old. In 5th
grade is when the teachers decided it was a good time to begin telling students
about the “Birds & The Bees”. Now schools begin in kindergarten, man I am glad I
am not a student these days. Anyway, it was that time of year, more like the
last month of school before the summer so I brought a note home for my mom to
sign giving permission for me to participate in the education of my body!
Now, my dad was out to sea being in the Navy and I heard many things from my
friends. My brother and I never spoke about such topics nor could I ever imagine
us having those conversations. At school I would do like most boys did, pretend
we knew everything and fake it. Of course at that time I didn’t realize that 99%
of the boys were pretending too.
When I brought the note home for my mom to sign she looked over the permission
slip then asked me if I already knew about the “Birds and The Bees”. I told her
I knew about it all of course lying through my small pearly white teeth. Well,
that just allowed my mother to say those words, “tell me what you know…”. Are
you CRAZY? I can’t tell my mom about sss.sss.sss. Sex education about “Birds and
The Bees”. She was my mom, I can’t tell it to a girl.
Okay, besides her being a girl and my mom I didn’t know a thing about the “Birds
and The Bees”. I think my mom could tell I was very nervous and decided to make
this situation a lot less stressful for the both of us. She sat me down on the
corner of her bed and told me about the “Birds and The Bees”. She decided that
she would tell me about it all like a “refresher” course and if I had any
questions to just speak up.
I sat on the corner of the bed for about 25 minutes while she told me everything
about Sex Education. I said nothing and listened with great interest. I also
tried to act like I heard everything before. When she was finished she asked if
I learned anything new and I told her I already knew everything. Once again I
was lying out of my teeth.
I left my moms room with the signed permission slip in hand and went to my room.
I learned a lot in that 25 minutes and for the rest of the day I told myself I
would never get married or have kids. That was gross what she told me but I must
say it made taking that class so much easier.
As I got older I remember “sharing information” about the “Birds and The Bees”
with friends of mine. If a friend had information on some areas that I didn’t we
“switched and shared” information. We asked each other first if we got it from
our parents or some other kids.
Now that I am older I still use my mom’s method of talking about difficult
topics when dealing with youth. In today’s world many parents rely on the
schools to teach their child about the “Birds and The Bees” but then complain
when they don’t like what they taught their child. WHAT IF: parents were parents
and actually taught their child the values they wish their child to learn and
allow the schools to be teachers. If parents were like “role models” then
growing up would be a lot easier! Okay, I will get off my soapbox and I hope you
too learned something from this short story of mine.
|Snakes Hide Out:
Over the years as a preteen and teenager my older brother and I would catch
snakes then keep them in cages at home. On many occasion, some of the snakes
would get loose.
One time while my mom was in the bathroom a black racer, which got out a day or
two before came slithering by her feet. She let out such a scream. That was the
quickest I ever saw my mom use the restroom. She came running out of the
bathroom pulling her pants up at the same time and yelling at me to get that
Another time, my older brother’s king snake got loose and had been out for a few
days. One early morning my mother woke up hearing a moan coming from the other
side of the house. It was her mom, our grandmother. My mom quickly woke up my
brother and I. We all went over to my grandmother’s room and opened the door.
Their on the bed was my grandmother with her eyes wide open and a terrified look
on her face. My mother asked her what was wrong and she could barely get out the
My grandmother pulled back the bed sheets on her body and there at the bottom of
the mattress was the king snake curled up next to her right leg. The snake was
trying to keep warm with granny’s body heat. Needless to say my grandmother had
a hard time sleeping each night after that. My brother was happy to find his
snake again but our mom didn’t find it funny at all. For the next few weeks that
story was told to all of our friends and family.
I believe it was this story that kept the rest of our relatives from visiting us
for long periods of time.
|Tacks in the bed:
When I was 11 to 12 years old while living in SC,
my brother and I still shared a room together. Our beds were on both sides of
the room and we had a different way of dealing with Sibling Rivalry (getting
even). One day my older brother, who was 2 years older than me, got mad at me
because I was messing with his things. The problem with my brother was I didn’t
ask and I ended up breaking what ever it was. My brother decided to teach me a
lesson and teach it in a way that it would ”stick” with me for awhile.
My brother went through my desk and took out about a dozen thumb tacks and put
them up under my bed sheet with the sharp in sticking through the bed sheet. He
then put the blanket back over the bed sheet. Well, that evening after dinner
and a shower I was ready for bed. My brother was sitting on his bed just looking
over at me. I was used to my brother giving me the mean look or the look that
says “what are you doing dork?”. I didn’t think twice about my normal routine of
pulling the covers back and hopping into my bed. Did I mention the lights were
turned out? Well, my brother could have sold tickets for what came next. I was
at an age where puberty was creeping up on me and my voice was already changing.
Well, when I hit that bed and those dozen tacks stuck into my young tender body
I screamed like a little girl having her hair pulled. My brother on the other
hand was laughing with tears in his eyes. Man, talk about Brotherly Love. Every
time I tried to get off the bed by using my hands I just put my hand on another
tack. I was yelling, crying and telling him he was going to get in trouble. The
only thing that brought some sort of relief was the knowledge knowing my brother
would get in trouble for it.
Well, I walked around feeling sore for a couple of days. I learned my lesson
soon about asking my brother for permission before using or taking anything of
|SLEEPING THROUGH CHRISTMAS:
Well, I am not sure how it happened but I was between the age of 10-11
living in South Carolina. It was one of those times in my life I can’t
explain. I do know that my older brother Michael will never forget.
It started like any other Christmas Night with all of us siblings
trying to sleep knowing Santa was coming that night. Well, kids sleeping
the night before Christmas is very rare and it happened to me.
Christmas Day arrives and some how my older brother Michael and
younger brother and sister already woke my parents after sitting outside
their door for hours. They all made their way downstairs over the
furniture pushed up into the hallway and even had breakfast. All this
was done while I remained curled up in my warm, comfortable bed.
Apparently my parents were just as baffled as my siblings and thought
I may be pulling a prank to drive my older brother crazy. Well, they
decided to go with that idea and told my brother Michael that no one
could open up any Christmas gifts until I woke up ON MY OWN. My younger
brother and sister couldn’t understand why they were all sitting around
the Christmas Tree and no gifts were being opened. Granny had no problem
with this and was ready to go back up stairs for a nap.
Now remember we have 3 children downstairs sitting in front of a
Christmas Tree staring out gifts with their names on them but no one is
allowed to touch them until I woke up from my bed upstairs on my own.
Apparently my brother went into the kitchen several times to get stuff
for my parents and would slam the cabinet doors shut, rattle some pots
and pans and do what ever he could to wake my sleeping behind up. As you
can see it didn’t work.
While I laid in my bed sleeping under my warm covers and dreaming of
what ever a young boy dreams of my family sat downstairs around the
Christmas tree waiting patiently. That was all nice and fine until I was
suddenly and aggressively woken up by my older brother standing over me
yelling, “It’s Christmas you dummy. Get up so we can open our gifts
stupid…”. What loving words from my older brother that shared a room
I eventually woke up, rubbed my eyes and walked downstairs. I think
my parents were as surprised as I was that I slept through Christmas
Morning. That may be why they let my brother come up stairs and wake me
up. I am guessing I would have slept much of the morning away if I could
To this day I can honestly say I have not slept through Christmas
since that young day in my life.
Keep Checking Back as
Stories will appear out of thin air
(sure, when pigs fly and my six lucky numbers come in)