Persona(s) — Part 2

Photo by Gerard Richard on Unsplash

Growing up, I often wondered where I would end up. That question could be answered in so many different ways. By location? Texas to Illinois to Indiana to Texas to where?

I grew up in a tiny town, and everyone knew everyone. Both sides of my family were important to me and valuable assets to their community.

My grandfathers each served in different ways. My maternal grandfather, Calvin J., was a well-known local pastor. He led a local church for a period of his life before leaving this world. My paternal grandfather, Gerald R. Sr., came from a large family and is a twin, as am I. He worked for the local school district for about 15 years until he retired.

Looking back now, both of these men significantly influenced me. Calvin J. and I had a pretty close relationship growing up. One of the fondest memories that I got to have with him was getting the chance to help him coordinate his Sunday morning attire. The tie was what connected everything together! Cuff links had to look good with the dress shirt, and the dress shirt had to compliment the tie. It felt good to be praised by the man I found so much in common.

My “Paw-Paw” is a complex and intelligent simple man. Raising five kids with my grandmother in the ’70s had to be something else. Coming from a large family himself, I am sure he understood what it meant to be a strong male figure in his household. His father was the Theo that I refer to in my introduction. Considering that he was one of the best facility engineers at one of the local school districts, this man can fix anything! Even in the more seasoned parts of his life, you can find him waking up to cut his grass at dawn.

As I moved into my thirties, I often asked myself about the legacy that I wanted to leave. Even after seeing their failures and successes as a kid, I hoped that one day I would have a fraction of the influence that they have had. One thing that I was not ready for was my pain from failures.

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