My family raised my sister and I in a number of different locations throughout our childhood.
For a few years we lived in an apartment along the Gulf Coast in Florida. I’ll never forget the fear I felt seeing an alligator about 30 feet away in the wild for the first time, and the emotions it caused me to feel. I was being a troublemaker that day by going on a natural trail without telling my mother. This wasn’t as a teenager, I was only eight years old at the time with almost no experience in the woods alone. To make matters even worse, this was the first time for me being out in nature in the swamp. I could have been bitten by a rattlesnake and die having no cell phone in those days. But the day I ran up on that gator on accident is the day when I realized that I needed to listen to my parents. It didn’t chase me, but the gator scared me stiff. I was much happier when my dad got a new job at a company in Muskegon County in western Michigan. Instead of moving us to the city of Muskegon, my parents wanted us to live in a place that’s more conducive for families and young children. That’s how we ended up in Whitehall in a neighborhood near Mill Pond. I loved how lush and green the grass is in Michigan during the summer when it’s the rainy season. We even have a number of legal cannabis dispensaries open in the city after Michigan legalized cannabis for recreational use in 2019. Before then, you had to possess a medical marijuana card and drive far distances to get to the closet dispensary.