Hi kids. It is July 15, 1991. I am Gregory Basil White, your future dad. I really don’t like my name. This is the day our life started.
I’m 23 years old working for my stepbrother – Grandpa Perry’s son, Lee. It’s a hot rod shop in San Antonio, I’m making $5/hr. There’s no family money, and I have run out of loans, money, and time to finish college. I wanted a four year, bachelors degree in engineering. I carry a two year degree in ‘electronics science’ in my wallet from Texas A&M.
In 1991, computers may or may not happen yet. Robotics and lasers are the high hope. I went to school to be a better roadie. I wanted to work for bands. I have a $9,000 student loan that I have to start repaying, now. On $5/hr.
I spent the last year depleting Grannies college savings at a christian university that lied to me on a degree plan. She raised me after 10yrs old as a single mother. Your uncle James left soon after your Granddad.
Your Granddad was a minister/realtor/bible/oil salesman when I was growing up. He often jokes how we should see each other every few years. Granny and I survived on something like $10k/yr from her part time jobs and the horse/petting zoo farm. I didn’t know we were poor, we just didn’t eat much nor do much outside of church and the farm.
I always worked hard and went to church until I was 16 when I yelled ‘fuck you’ to my mom and raced off on my piece of shit cruiser motorcycle. It didn’t have a first gear. Racing off in second gear is not that dramatic.
I moved out at 17. I partied and did stupid shit. I can’t buy the ‘Jesus or hell’ christian faith I was raised and educated in. Nor can I believe there is no God, some higher power that makes us want to be better. Something that keeps us together after all this passes. I’ve always wanted to be a good guy despite many asshole moves.
Around 20, I got sick of competing for minimum wage jobs so I started the electronics school with grants, student loans, and a job at the front desk of Holiday Inn, downtown San Antonio – the one by El Mercado. I knew how to conform, smile, and wear a tie. I’m good and patient with pissed off people.
Turns out I wasn’t a dumbass in college despite my solid ‘D’ average from high school. I excelled in a school when they didn’t give a shit if I showed up or cared. I learned best stoned. It gives me some kind of weird focus. Marlboro Reds cigarettes became tolerable to cover up the illegal smell of pot. Marijuana is perceived like hard drugs back then. I did research. They’re nothing similar. I puke when I drink. I actually enjoy Boolean algebra and hotel assholes after a few bowls or joints a few times a day.
So, July 15, 1991 – I’m a typical white American kid from a broken christian home. A tech certificate trade in my wallet. Fresh from a good fucking from a christian university, to working minimum wage back in the party town I wanted to get out of. I felt very alone. Kinda pissed, and really lost. I want to be a good man.
I met your mom at the chain link fence inside the car shop I worked at. We were on opposite sides.
You know we love the 80s movies. I knew right away she is the girl I want to marry. She’s Demi Moore from One Crazy Summer; Ally Sheedy from Short Circuit; Kerri Green from The Goonies – all of them wrapped up in this cow print bikini top and mini skirt right here in the auto shop.
I’m a shit storm of insecurity wrapped in a fast Camaro with a dresser full of Van Halen spandex sporting a blow dried mullet. Clueless, shyly confident. God how I wanna be liked, my only prayer these days. She just needs to say something, anything, and I’ll share my goofiness because I like people and she’s the closest I’ll ever get to ‘Andy’ (The Goonies girl, not Toy Story).
My dream guy…everything in this paragraph, my dream guy…
I don’t even try talking to her after walking by to look at cars, then check the desk, then back to cars, desk, cars, desk, cars…. I suck when I’m around girls this hot. I don’t believe I have a chance, not gonna even try, and all these guys I work with are trying. Yet she chose to talk to me about the shop dog, a Corgi.
I thought she could be 16 or 25. I try so hard to look into her eyes. So beautiful. So confident. A voice and attitude that draws you to her… bikini… shit. Eyes. Look at the eyes, man. I just wanted to talk. She made it easy. I didn’t actually get the date, she did and made me think I did. She said she had plans that night that fell through. She had to say it a few times before I offered the night. I wanted nothing more than to spend time with her. Lots of it. I had never felt the desire to be such a gentleman. Never wanted to make anyone feel like such a lady.
We drove around in my ’76 Camaro till morning the next several nights in a row and I hardly wanted a kiss goodnight. I wanted to spend time with her. Lots of time. And hold her hand.
We were painfully common. Your mom came from a broken family too. Mexicans, the Trevinos. A rough stepdad we’ve told you a little about. Your grandma was a busy mom back then. Jenn was raised by her mom and her mom’s mom, a cute little grandma named Rose that she also called mom. Ya’ll got to meet her a few times when you were babies.
Your mom had left her home at 16 and was living with a Mexican guy friend named Luis. He was clear with me – I will kill you and bury your white ass. Do not hurt her. Mexicans are awesome. You all are very blessed to have Mexican blood in your veins.
After becoming hopelessly infatuated with her, I learn she is only 17. I’m 23 and felt like a schmuck to be so hopeless and helplessly in love already. I somehow know I love this woman and want nothing more than to take care of her. Forever.
A week after meeting, she took the Greyhound bus to Del Rio for the weekend to hang out with a friend. I hoped for her return. I hoped she wouldn’t realize I’m a poser. How insecure and unable I am to take care of her. I partied in sameness that weekend like I had been for years, my last time ever. She got thrown in a Mexican jail for drug smuggling.
Wasn’t my stuff…Not even kidding…
That’s what they all say.
We can count on one hand the days we’ve been apart since then. That same hand that is on your mom’s butt.