For 13 years I was raised as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. I remember living in Ballinger, Texas and we would travel up to Irving to visit my father's parents for the religious Assemblies being held there on the weekends. They were rare visits indeed. So much so that they were really the only times I ever remember seeing my grandparents.
I recall every time we arrived at my grandparent's home it was always near dark, and army-surplus sleeping bags were placed on the floor with quiet conversations from the adults. The older I became the more I became interested in family history and the chatter about the kitchen table. During those visits my grandmother would recover a book from the top of the living room closet. THE TEXAS SNOWs had be printed from a family reunion on mimeographed pages and stapled together in the most simplistic of terms, but for me is was a most fascinating adventure, (besides, my own name was on page 23!) Years later I acquired this very book and have embellished it with additional updated material from various sources: Find A Grave, Ancestry, and others.
As a Jehovah's Witness (JW) I was raised with doom and gloom just on the horizon. The Society had always implied that "the end of this wicked system of things" was just around the corner; and with that marriage and higher education were never stressed and even discouraged. Tracy and Cindy dropped out of school. Dad had an eighth grade education and we were all (secretly) proud of him for getting his GED later in life. Mom, Brenda, had become an LVN back in '69, she worked in nursing homes as a Medication nurse, and Dad worked for Coca-Cola as a service Manager on the machines.
The JWs officially ended in our lives in 1976 when the family disassociated themselves from the Organization; yet, mom and I still went to the Kingdom Hall. After a while our attendance faded as well. 1977 I saw Star Wars, it was an amazing flick! I saw my first Rated R film in 1979: Alien, it was a blast!
By Junior High I had begun making friends. I thoroughly enjoyed this time as lifelong friends were made, like Mike Cope, Shannon Love, Paul Mean, Tony Cox and Troy Hines. Each one were an explosionary boost to my personality as I had never had such friends before growing up as a JW. Mike Cope was my dearest and closest confidant even into adulthood. At this time, 1980 Shannon introduced us to some college friends: Don Walker and Michael Smith who played Dungeons & Dragons, (a Nerdy roleplaying game for folks with overly active imaginations). Don lived in a trailer park across from the school and so the walk was not that far, then again nothing was very far in Brownwood, Texas.
We use to go to The Kettle Restaurant and drink coffee all the time and sing Elvira at the top of our lungs over and over and over again; until one time they actually had to pull the plug on the 'ol jute box!!!