Dave swiped this front page bannerline from Siskel and Ebert without reservations. A quick change twisted the subhead from Variety in an outrageous robbery of altered statements. But remember, his best defense was being bedazzled by a silent movie before they were even born.

This is my llife, the story of David. It happened one night. Suddenly, I came into my world in the same year that Skippy Peanut Butter and Ritz, not animal, crackers first appeared. The big story began on a night to remember in the dead of winter. Our town was Erie. All of our relations liked being there so much that they still hold the family reunion nearby. I was the first male animal born in my grandparents' big house. I was always "Grandma's boy." She saw me as almost an angel, the best boy ever. Maybe it was my dimples-or maybe it was my curly top...

But, wintertime is fierce in Erie. The wind blows a big chill from the lake all night long, and you have to lean against the wind time after time. America is a big country, and my parents decided to go west on the train. Dad grew up on the farm in Ohio, so our next stop was the station of Greenwich, village population 600. Next of kin can't begin to describe a place like that. It always seems that the whole town's talking about everyone else because they're all cousins to each other.

Cleveland came next and my lifelong love affair with baseball. I was gung ho to be a major leaguer! Our gang, chosen from the neighbors, were just sandlot players, but we fielded a winning team. Staying together from the time I was 10, we became runners-up for the state American Legion championship seven years later. The kid in me still recalls the thrill of it all when meeting Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and Tris Speaker, and the day after when I learned that someone had stolen their autographs. I still love everything about the game, except Steinbrenner and the damn Yankees.

Baseball fever didn't follow me to college.. Times change, and the freshman couldn't go in for monkey business with the Miami Redskins. You can't have everything. Still, it was bittersweet when our legion team's number two pitcher led Ohio State to the College World Series. I didn't moon over Miami. The Korean War was on, and I wanted to do the right thing. The next thing I remember was the sergeant telling me, "You're in the Army now," and there was no way out.

Soon it was back to school to graduate with high hopes and great expectations. And then something special happened. I'm no angel; but after a brief encounter, I married an angel.. Marriage can be a risky business with some girls. But you don't have to be a real genius to know when a man and a woman are made for each other. You feel ecstasy, kismet, and you know which of your girlfiriends has the right stuff. One smile from her and her bright eyes, and two shy people were sitting pretty.

The wedding, the apartment, parenthood and bringing up baby, a pretty baby too, and all that jazz of modern romance was no accident. My sweetie is a good mother, a blithe spirit, and a truly vivacious lady. She was my first love, and is still both my favorite wife. and my favorite brunette. She accepted my tales of Manhattan, the city lights, and easy living. We left to follow that dream to the nmetropolis, New York, New York, with a place of our own on the edge of the city, the 'burbs.

Notorious Wall Street beguiled me; big business, becoming a tycoon with illusion of fame, power, easy money, and all that money can buy--where anything goes. Life was frantic, a frenzy of desperate hours; today in search for an airport in San Francisco to hopscotch across the Pacific. Tomorrow, you would be an American in Paris trying to make conversation with a taxi driver to get you to your french connection with an airplane at Orly taking you on a mission to Lisbon, Algiers, or bonny Scotland. It was a dead end. My good wife was often home alone, and I was becoming a basket case.

The in-laws had a summer place in Waupaca, a perk from the success of the family business. We took a vacation summer rental in the great outdoors with the river, the big trees, the birds, blue skies, the chain of lakes, and Point beer. We had the best of times. That holiday was a turning point for us. With a brainstorm, I told my wife point blank, "Babe, you can't take it with you. Let's get away from it all. We can escape the rat race, web of greed, and wild bunch of hustlers, wise guys, and ruthless people. These city slickers with a lust for loot are bad company and a bad influence."

My sweetheart answered, "You're telling me. I'm a westerner, a country girl deep in my heart, and the heartland is the best place for you and me." Now we're living our American dream. I'm turning into a blob, fighting the battle of the bulge. I'm no millionaire. We don't have the big dollars or career anymore. Life is no bed of roses, but the visitors and children keep coming home, ironically even on Independence Day. The more, the merrier we say. In the final analysis, we're carefree, I sleep with an angel, and we're enjoying far and away the best years of our lives

*If you didn't find at least 200, you better get some popcorn and take a refresher course.

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